I picked up M from daycare today, like most days, right around 5:15pm. This is undoubtedly her worst time of the day. She’s hungry, she’s getting tired and she’s pissed I’m making her leave her friends to come home. Here’s a snapshot of our first hour at home, otherwise known as the night mommy lost it and blew up and then felt guilty ALL night for being such a nasty mom.
5:30: Walk in the door and M gets knocked over by one of the dogs and starts screaming.
5:35: M sees a spoon on the counter and starts yelling “spoon!” over and over and over until I give her the spoon.
5:36: White fluffy dog is still trying to welcome M home and gets nailed in the head with said spoon and yelps in pain.
5:37: I take the spoon away from crazy toddler resulting in a full blown tantrum, including stomping her feet, banging on the front door and crying. Loudly. This freaks out both dogs who continue barking nonstop.
5:45: I put the (still crying) toddler in her high chair and give her a cup of apple juice. She throws it across the room.
5:46: I give her a plate of food. She uses both hands to throw it all over the floor. I tell her no. I pick up the food from the floor (while fighting hungry dogs who are scavenging for chicken) and put it back on her tray. I’ll be damned if I’m giving her anything else. She can eat the food from the floor, dog hair and all.
5:47 – 6pm: We have a battle of wills over dinner. She eventually eats her dinner and drinks her juice, but only after I’ve taken everything away from her and told her she would just be hungry later and wasn’t going to get anything except what was on her tray (I know – mean mommy wouldn’t give her fishy crackers even though she pleaded with me).
6:15: Attempt to change
crazy crabby toddler’s diaper. She slams my fingers in the top drawer of her changing table (after I’ve told her not to close the drawer about 5 times). She then kicks me in the boobs. Hard.
6:16: I LOSE IT. I yell at her. A lot. I make her cry. A lot. She ends up in her pajamas an hour early.
6:30: I try to read her a few books, but she keeps kicking me. I put her in bed (an hour early), tell her I love her and give her a kiss. She cries. I cry.
I have never felt so guilty and so mean in my entire life. I don’t typically yell at her. Not like I did tonight. I get frustrated with her and I get tired of the tantrums, but tonight I really couldn’t take it. And I know she’s not even 2-years old. And I know she’s a tiny person who can’t communicate what she needs. And I know she’s getting her fucking molars and is in pain. And I know these “terrible two’s” suck and are just beginning. But I yelled at her anyway. And I seriously have been feeling like the world’s worst mother ever since. I actually went in her room after she fell asleep to just stroke her hair and tell her how much I love her even if she couldn’t tell tonight. I was sort of hoping she’d wake up so she could hear me. Crazy, right?
And then, I ate a carmel sundae for dinner. Yes, that’s right. Ice cream for dinner. Because I’m good at eating my feelings.
I hope tomorrow is a better day for both of us, otherwise I’m going to pay a visit to my friends Ben and Jerry in the freezer section.
We’ve sort of neglected our posting duties over at Bloggers for Hope, but the team put together a new schedule starting this month and we should be posting more frequently.
I’m kicking things off with a post about open adoption and how to nurture the relationship with your child’s birth family. Head on over and check it out!
My boss recently told me that one of her friends is trying to decide how to tell her 16-year old daughter that she’s adopted. The daughter has NO idea and her parents are worried about how she’ll react to this news. Maybe it won’t phase her at all and she’ll take it in stride or maybe she’ll freak out and question her entire identity. Or maybe her reaction will be somewhere in the middle. Regardless, she’s going to have a lot of questions.
I am so grateful we won’t run into the problem of when to tell M she’s adopted, because we’ve already told her. And we will continue to talk about it as she grows up. Yes, I know she’s not even 2-years old, but we still talk about it (really, we do). Right now, M is too young to understand or vocalize much, but we sometimes read adoption-themed books to her or we talk about her birth family when we look at pictures.
In fact, we have a photo board in M’s room with an assortment of pictures displayed on it. She likes to grab the pictures off the board and tell me who everyone is (“grandpa” “dada” “baby”, etc.). The other night after I put her pajamas on, she grabbed a picture and said “who’s that?” as she pointed to her birth mom. I told her, “that’s C – she’s your birth mom and she loves you a lot.” She replied, “ooooh” and then kissed C’s face in the picture.
We have many pictures of her birth family on this photo board so she sees them everyday, but this is the first time she has asked me specifically about any of them. It was a little bit of a wake up call for me that we need to be prepared when she starts asking more questions, especially now that her vocabulary is quickly expanding.
As she gets older, the tactics will change and the conversations will get harder, but I want to make sure the communication is still happening because I want her to feel comfortable asking questions and telling us how she feels.
Eventually, I want her to look at a picture of her birth family and instead of asking “who’s that?” I want her to know exactly who they are and how much they adore her.
Today was M’s second dance class. Last week, she was the only kid who showed up because of the snow so she got a 1-1 lesson and she did great. Last week, she listened fairly well, she tried all the moves and stretches and she only ran wild a few times. Today, she was one of 6 kids and it was a whole different story. She was distracted, she didn’t want to listen and she ran wild about 80% of the class time. Other kids were also running wild and not listening, but it seemed like she was the worst one. I felt like a horrible mom who couldn’t control my kid or get her to listen.
At the end of the class, her teacher said something that I really needed to hear. She said, “moms and dads, please remember to be patient with your little dancers. They are young and they are not used to being in a class and listening. They have a lot to learn and they will improve.” I love this teacher. She was wonderful in M’s 1-1 class last week and she was wonderful this week with all the kids. Plus, she obviously understands that 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 year olds are not going to get it the first ten times. And I’m sure she could sense that some of us were
extremely slightly frustrated that our children were not behaving.
As a first-time parent and as a newbie to the world of toddler activities and classes, I am starting to grasp the reality that it’s going to be stressful sometimes and she’s not going to always listen. And that’s okay. I don’t have to be embarrassed if my toddler doesn’t want to march across the room or if she doesn’t want to sit down and stretch because she’d rather run and hug the other moms and dads (yes, this happened today). I am doing the best I can and so is she. In the future, if I see other moms or dads looking as frazzled as I felt, I’m going to tell them that it’s okay – it’s normal for our kids to be maniacs during these classes because they are toddlers and all toddlers are maniacs! I wish another parent had reminded me of this before (especially during our horrible month of gymnastics), but I’m glad Ms. Nikki reminded me today. I’m actually looking forward to next week’s dance class now.
I’ve been thinking about communication in general a lot lately – how I communicate with my husband, my family and friends, my coworkers, even people I’ve never met in person but communicate with via this blog and Twitter.
After the communication breakdown a few weeks ago in which my husband and I realized we weren’t on the same page regarding adopting again, I started analyzing (ok, let’s be real, over analyzing) how I communicate. How did I not know his feelings? Why were we so disconnected? Turns out, maybe we weren’t asking each other the right questions.
The other day, my friend Emily posted a link to an article called The Questions That Will Save Your Relationships. Read it. It resonated with me SO MUCH. It reminded me to ask specific questions. To ask meaningful questions. To ask questions that encourage a heartfelt response instead of an empty one.
Asking questions like “why are you nervous about adopting again?” or “what can I do to help you feel less overwhelmed with the adoption process?” would start a more meaningful conversation and help me understand his feelings much more effectively than say, asking “what the hell is your problem?” Agree?
So, I’m going to try to remember to ask better questions to everyone in my life because I want to start better conversations. Try not to be weirded out, okay?
We’ve been trying to coordinate a visit with M’s birth mom and grandma for a few months now but each time we put something on the calendar they canceled the night before. Well, a few days ago, I got a text from her bio grandma asking if she could come over today and visit. I was free, so I said yes.
She came over with her fiance and spent all afternoon playing with M and visiting with us. They arrived just as M was waking up from her afternoon nap. She was a little shy at first, but quickly warmed up and was giving her bio grandma hugs and kisses, bringing her books, sitting on her lap and chattering away with everyone. It was SO nice to spend time with them and catch up; we haven’t seen them since August.
And, two interesting things happened this afternoon.
First, M’s bio grandma told me that M’s birth mom has a really hard time seeing M in person. She said she loves getting pictures and updates, but every time she sees her in person it sends her into a depression because she misses her so much. This explains why she canceled our last two visits and makes much more sense to me. I feel terrible that she struggles so much, but I completely understand her need to not visit right now and to take the time she needs to heal. I hope eventually she will be more comfortable with seeing us and will visit again, but I’m not going to push it.
Second, they asked us if we were still hoping to adopt again. I had no idea how to respond to this after recent events. Before I could even think of an answer my husband said, “yeah, we’ll probably start looking into it again in a few months.” Um, WTF? I thought he wanted time to think about whether or not he really wanted to adopt a second child, so telling them we were going to start looking into it was a complete surprise to me. When I asked him about it after they left he said, “well, we will adopt again, but we probably won’t start the paperwork until later this year.” WHAT? We talked more and he said he’s definitely open to adopting again but he doesn’t want to rush it. I’m smiling about this (a lot, actually), but it’s such a surprise to me that I’m not really wanting to get too excited about it just yet. So, I’m not going to push him either. I’m going to enjoy my time as a family of three and see where things go this year.
Binky. Paci. Nuk. Whatever you call it, these little items are a huge pain in the ass. M took to her binky right away as a baby and used it to soothe herself. As she got older, we only let her have it at nap time and bedtime. Lately she wants it all the time. We’ve been talking about taking it away for a while now but just haven’t done it yet. Well, on Sunday I asked her to take her binky out of her mouth and put it back in her crib. Instead of listening to me, she threw it across the room in defiance and said no. Bye, bye binky!
Now, we’re at war. Her strategy is to cry all night so mom and dad are exhausted. I’m sure she’s trying to wear us down so we give in and give it back to her. Nice try, but not happening kid.
Her nap on Sunday was only 30 minutes (normally 2 hours) because she was pissed. I thought bedtime would be easier (what was I thinking?!) because all that crying instead of sleeping should’ve been exhausting. Nope. She kept us up all night crying. She’d fall asleep for 45 minutes and then wake up and search for her binky. I was watching her on the video monitor hunt for it; it was a little sad, but I didn’t cave in. When she couldn’t find it, she’d start screaming. About 20 minutes later she’d fall back to sleep. Repeat. All night. I feel like a zombie today. I think I got maybe 3 hours of sleep total, and not all in one shot.
Night two should’ve been easier, right? HA! TWO HOURS of crying at bedtime (some of it real tears, some of it angry screaming and some of it completely fake crying). I made the mistake of going in her room to see her and she immediately turned the tears off, only to start again as soon as I left the room without giving her what she wanted. Again, she finally fell asleep only to wake up crying multiple times during the night when she couldn’t find her binky in the crib.
Night three isn’t looking much better. She was being sweet and cuddly so I let her stay up a little later tonight. Secretly, I was hoping keeping her up would make her more tired and I wouldn’t have to listen to the constant crying. She’s been in her crib for 30 minutes now and guess what she’s doing….crying.
I will win this battle. I will not give in and give her the damn binky. I may be a walking zombie by the end of the week if I don’t get some sleep, but she’s not going to wear me down!