Kids

#6 wins again!

#6 wins again!

As a blended family, I strive to raise all of my kids the same.  I assume that they will do stupid things and try to get over on me.  I am a parent, not a friend.  I have done more incredibly dumb things than they ever need to know in my youth and I remember all of them.  Basic stuff like that.

It came as a surprise to me when S.O. had some decidedly different ideas on parenting than what I do because the EX really never was involved in how I raised the OG5.   It has been a struggle at times to reconcile how I think the kids should be raised and how he thinks that it should be done.  It is normally not over any big thing but there are enough small differences that it can make for some interesting conversations.  For instance, co-sleeping.

The OG5 had bedtimes from the time that they had a sleep schedule.  They slept in their own beds in their own rooms.  If they were sick or had a nightmare then they could cuddle in bed with me but other than that, it was lights out at 8 p.m.   With the exception of #5 who snuck in my bed every night like a ninja until he was in kindergarten.  But he still went to sleep in his own bed in his own room.  Looking back, I was so much more organized in my youth than now.  S.O. was adamant that #6 was only going to be little for so long and if she wanted to sleep in mommy and daddy’s bed than it was okay by him.  Silly me, this was one of those battles that I decided not to fight.  It was his first biological child and how bad could it be?

Fast forward 6 years.  #6 still thinks that her bedroom is our bedroom.  That our bed is hers.  She cries and whines and moans and throws a fit and tells me how I am a horrible mom because she has to go to sleep in her own bed in her own room.  And S.O., being the big softy that he is, will inevitably let her sleep in our bed because she is a child and she knows which parent is being the weak link in the armor of parenting.

#6 has a beautiful bedroom.  It is decorated in lilac and has fairy’s and a queen sized bed.  I slept in bunk beds with my siblings until I moved out.  I didn’t get a bed bigger than a full-size until 8 years ago.  I would have killed to have my own room with a bed big enough to roll over in and not fall on the floor.    She will complain that her bed is too lumpy, too soft, too hard, haunted, doesn’t like her, makes her wake up, has zombies underneath it, and isn’t our bed.  After listening to her various complaints and concerns, I remind her that as long as she goes to sleep in her own room, IF she wakes up in the middle of the night, she can come into our room.  She will lay down after sobbing as if I had just murdered her puppy in front of her and come trotting in 10 minutes later.  In an Oscar worthy performance (watch out Meryl Streep) she will stumble in our room, rubbing her eyes like she has been sleeping for 24 hours, and say “I fell asleep and woke up.  Now can I lay in your bed?”   Every night.

I am coming to terms with the fact that she just may, in fact, sleep in our room until she realizes that her parents suck and know nothing.  So around 14.   I have some advice to give parents who are looking into the whole co-sleeping thing.  Don’t.  Sure, they are cuddly as babies and you can snuggle with them (and wake up every 10 minutes to make sure you haven’t rolled over on them.) When breastfeeding, it is much easier to roll over and pop a boob in the squalling mouth that requires sustenance than stumbling across the hallway and banging your shins into the crib to pick up said squalling infant.

I read all the helpful articles about how to get your toddler to sleep in their own bed filled with helpful advice like, “comfort them and than let them cry it out” and “start with staying in their room for an hour and slowly work up to a good night kiss and leave.”  Which is all well and good but didn’t work.  I don’t believe in letting a child cry it out.  It is not good for my eardrums and my husband can only last about 5 minutes without feeling like a bad parent and caving.   So, we tried putting her mattress in our room and letting her sleep on the mattress at night.  Still in her own bed, not in her own room.  That worked once.  She still managed to climb into our bed and still cried 75%  of the time about not being in our bed to begin with.

I will continue to put her to bed in her own room every night.  With about 20 stuffed animals arranged in a precise pattern that only #6 understands and two nightlights.  She also has to have the Hello Kitty radio on just the right station and at just the right volume.  S.O. and I take turns sitting in the rocking chair until she falls asleep (normally takes about 10 minutes.)   And every night, quiet as a kitten, she will sneak into our bed, snuggle in between us, and than sleep in a position resembling a cross so that S.O. and I have about an inch of space to sleep on.   I did learn a lesson from all of this though.  I rocked as a parent in my 20’s, S.O. has lost his voting rights in parental elections, and #7 is never going to get to sleep in my bed.  Ever.

 

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mom, week from hell, bad day
Exactly how my morning went

Exactly how my morning went

I had a pretty great Saturday.  I got to go sans kids to a bridal shower and marvel at the youth and naivety of a young woman about to walk down the aisle.  I’m not disparaging marriage at all.  I love my husband and 95% of the time I even like him.  I just enjoy seeing the sunny  oh-so-in-love expressions and than compare it to future photos of that same person.  It’s like you can mark the time from “he is wonderful” to “he doesn’t know that sometimes I stand over him while he’s sleeping with a pillow” phase.  Maybe that’s just me though.  We spent the day with the in-laws, got to deal with hurricane force winds, and had a family sit down dinner.  It was really a pretty good Saturday.  And than I woke up Sunday morning.

Oh Sundays.  The day of rest.  The day of reflection and relaxation.  How I miss those days.  Sundays with kids is like a Monday without having to make lunches or getting dressed.  Saturdays are exciting because it’s the first day of the weekend.  Sundays are exciting when you wake up till you realize that tomorrow is Monday.

This Sunday started off with me explaining to #7 that chocolate milk and doughnuts are not good for breakfast everyday.  I mean, it should be, but I have to adult sometimes.   Instead I made pancakes because pancakes are much better than sugar laced doughnuts.  It should not count just because the kids drown them in syrup and butter and I spend 30 minutes cooking them for me to eat the last cold misshapen one, it’s still a more traditional breakfast than doughnuts.  That’s what I kept telling myself anyway.

Than, S.O. kept napping on the couch.  Not a big deal.  He’s been working a lot of hours lately and it’s not like I don’t get to just nap on the couch when my shift is over.  Oh, that’s right.  My shift is never over.  I am on perpetual overtime and my bosses are pretty shitty.  They whine, argue, moan, drool, poop and never give me a raise.   So, maybe I was a little irritated that every 5 minutes S.O. would snore loud enough to scare the kitty boys and the neighbors.  And maybe I was getting just a little peeved that he originally wanted to go shopping and now it was coming up on early afternoon and if we don’t get out of the house before 1 p.m., it ain’t happening.

This would explain why when he finally roused himself from his slumber he immediately asked me, yep, the one who had slaved over breakfast (kinda), kept the kids at bay (sort of), and prevented #6 from choking out #7 for touching her Shopkins, why I had let him nap for so long when I knew he wanted to go shopping for garden supplies.   Not a “thanks honey” or “hey, do you want to nap now” or even a “you really rock those yoga pants and slippers.”  Nope.

So, I might have just over reacted a tad bit.  I might have snapped at my beloved and told him that he could take his shopping expedition and shove it.  I might have even thrown mismatched socks in his general direction when he asked me if I had sorted any clothes yet.

Here is my problem with Sundays.  I set my expectations too high.  I expect to wake up and stretch and to have bluebirds singing me a freaking song.  I do not expect to wake up because #5 can’t find the toilet paper and #4 is hiding it from him.   I expect it to be a lovely lazy day where we eat brunch and all hang out and do family things together.  I just need to realize that Sundays at my house are more akin to a roadie crew trying to get Axl Rose on stage.  On time and sober.   As in, this is never going to happen.

Sunday ended on a better note.  We made the trek to get gardening supplies even though the wind was still blowing harder than Monica Lewinsky and we are under a freeze warning.  In April.  S.O. only spent 2 hours looking at everything while I took 10 minutes to get exactly what I needed.  But we got to do it together.   We sort of watched a movie together at home although with toddlers a 2 hour movie turns into 4 hours with much pausing and rewinding and finally giving up.  S.O. put the kids to bed for me so I could do schoolwork and I got to spend 45 minutes picking up the downstairs from all of our slothful activities.

Tomorrow is Monday.  I will rush around making lunches and finding book bags.  I will drink a gallon of sweet tea and attempt to conquer the bills.  I will attempt to catch up on laundry. I may even organize the mudroom.  I will miss you Sunday.

 

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They look sweet but looks are sooo deceiving

They look sweet but looks are sooo deceiving

 

Ahh Spring Break.  That time of year that comes too soon after Christmas (Holiday) Break and right on the heels of summer vacation.  I really do not hate Spring Break.  But I am not in love with it either.  First, #6’s birthday falls before, during, or after Spring Break depending on when Easter is.  This year, her birthday was on the first day of Spring Break.  Secondly, #7 always has a hard time adjusting when #4, #5, and #6 go back to school from break.  He is still little enough to like having his sister and brothers home and doesn’t understand when they have to go back to school.  Third, mommy was on spring break from her school at the same time that all the kids were.

So, Spring Break in my house is chaos.  Everyone home.  Nobody relaxed.  We typically don’t go on vacation for Spring Break because S.O. works in agriculture and that is the time that they are going out in the fields for spraying and planting.  Joy.  We are all stuck at home, one on top of another.  In muddy, rainy, could be cold, could be warm but not warm enough to play outside weather.

I had a birthday party to plan for #6, Easter dinner for the whole family, sister-in-laws birthday, hubby getting geared up for 15 hour days and no weekends off and all the kids  home.  It was not horrible but it was not pleasant.  Visions of sleeping in were banished when #6 was still stuck on school mode.  And she had to make sure that #7 was up with her.  Staying up late was in, because although #6 could not sleep in she could stay up all night like a tweaker on a 3 day binge.

The boys occupied the family room with friends and video games while #6 and #7 occupied the living room with Peppa Pig and Mickey Mouse.  That left mom with either listening to teenage boys yelling at other teenage boys online over what a nube they were or listening to #6 argue with #7 over how Mickey Mouse was for babies.

And did I mention I was planning #6’s birthday party?  A Harry Potter themed birthday party?  Just in case you were wondering, and I’m sure the curiosity was killing you, there are no pre-made Harry Potter decorations.  That’s right.   Pinterest it was.  I made homemade wands using paper, hot glue, paint and tiny bits of my soul.  I printed out reams of paper dedicated to all things Harry Potter.  I made Honeydukes for gods sake!  And I got to do all this while playing peacekeeper between the children who shall not be named.

Now that Spring Break is officially over, I get to concentrate on writing papers and pretending to be interested in all the discussion my classmates feel are necessary.  (I get it, interacting with your classmates is an important part of school work, I just don’t like it.)  Please, 20 year old perky girl who knows nothing about life, tell me how social services and welfare reform in the 19th century is just what America will be like under (insert Presidential candidate here)  while I am making PB&J’s and chasing after a 2 1/2 year old who has discovered he can take off his diaper at will.   I am so interested.

I appreciate the fact that I get the opportunity to stay at home with my kids.  I just don’t always want the opportunity.  I am counting down the time to Summer Break.  Not because I am looking forward to as much as I need to know how much time I have to stock up on Vodka and find a nanny who will work for nothing.  Send me your applications now, I promise that I will respond!

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