Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Perfect Storm

I'm gonna call it as I see it. The shifty clouds. The elements gathering.
Six more weeks of this could very well conjure up The Perfect Storm.

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No single component is outweighing another. It's the swirling of them into one big mix that is making the future look a little frightening. Like a surging, encroaching blitz!

Let me explain.

For starters, April 15th seems like light years away. Head-wind blaring, Doug is full-on into tax season. Which means Monday through Saturday I have a husband who sleeps in my bed and uses our shower, but other than that, he spends most waking hours at the office. Sundays, however, (Oh blessed Sunday!) he is all ours.

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Next up? Ali and Sami (mostly Ali) have decided this is the perfect time for Potty Training.

You must know I have not encouraged this. I did purchase a small potty seat for the toilet but other than that? Haven't even talked about it.

After finding them in Eliza's underwear a few too many times I caved and bought pull-ups.

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But months ago I decided the girls would have to beg for potty privileges. Because once we start... there is no going back!

And boy have we been having fun! Every day the floor of their room looks like this.

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I'm finding wet diapers and pull-ups all over the house.

And I always seem to be feeding babies or preparing food when someone has an accident or needs wiping! I know. Sorry. Gross. (I'm doing an insane amount of hand-washing!)

In addition to the new potty factor, the girls are (as mentioned before) entering that awful endurance haul that comes from dropping a nap. Thankfully, if I devote some time to sitting in their room I can still get them down. But it's pushing bedtime back a bit. And I don't know how long we can keep this up!

And... now the girls are proudly climbing IN AND OUT of their cribs.

So why keep them in their cribs? I. Don't. Know.

Sami perches on the edge, dangling her legs, then JUMPS out of her crib with a loud thunk. Ali delicately scales out of hers. But it's happening the second they wake up - EARLY! Too early. And this new wake-up-bedroom-escape is colliding with my morning shower and quiet time.

This morning by 8:15 I had already cleaned up one missed potty puddle in the bathroom, an entire box of Raisin Bran dumped onto the kitchen floor (Eliza was skillfully stacking cereal boxes sky high), and a bowl of milk and cereal that completely missed the sink.

A few minutes after breakfast, two polly pockets were tearfully brought to me. One beheaded, the other scalped. Sadly, I think the damage is irreparable.

(Post Script: While looking at this picture, Ali had something to say about balding Ariel. "Her look like Moses." ?)

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The boys have dropped their catnap. Goodbye to those priceless 45 minutes. 'Twas just enough time to get dinner on. Just enough sleep to last until go down around 8. But now everyone's part of the endurance haul as we try to get through dinnertime with two fussy babies and two exhausted toddlers.

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Good thing these boys are so cute and good-natured. If we can keep them mildly entertained, their "fussy" is manageable.

So those are the most daunting elements of Our Perfect Storm.

But every cloud has a silver lining. Right?

Here are some of the glistenings I've noticed.

Ali is basically potty-training herself. The first few times Miss Independent decided to "go" I sent Eliza with her (I must have been feeding the boys). Eliza taught her the ropes and now she refuses my help.

"I can do it myself Mom!" And most of the time she can. She's surprisingly motivated and can't STAND a wet diaper or pull-up. But really, what would I do without Big Sister Eliza?

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Doug is coming home early one night every week so we can spend time together as a family.

Or - if I've been frequenting Wit's End (term gleaned from Shawni), he takes over and I head out for Barnes & Noble.

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He's also been sticking around Saturday mornings to make pancakes and play with the kids. We LOVE it! It tempers his absence just enough that this year actually feels more tolerable than others.

And when it comes down to it, how can I complain? Doug is gainfully employed. He takes this providing thing seriously - making it possible for me to be home with our five little ones. I know we are blessed. And I love him for all his hard work.

Last week my parents did our grocery shopping. Today my Dad went to Costco for us (I've been trying to get there for three weeks!) And I have my stand-by helpers to thank (you know who you are) for watching the kids here and there so I can make appointments, run a few errands, or go to dinner with Doug.

Lastly, I'm not pregnant, nor quite so petulant.

Things are more intense, more crazy, and more messy but I have the energy for it. And I'm trying really hard not to feel like a mommy martyr.

My latest survival tactics?

Music. It helps both me and the kids. How can you get frustrated when you're bopping around to John Mayer or cleaning up milk while Andrew York is lofting through the air?

Wearing comfortable clothes helps. This might translate into looking like a slob. But seriously - I'm just more relaxed. And I care less about messes when I'm in sweat pants and a running shirt.

Getting out when I think I might lose my mind is a good thing for all of us. I had my first pedicure (since the boys were born) last week. Blissful. Looking down at my painted toenails just makes me happy.

And did I mention Disney movies? Where would I be without Disney!?

So who knows? Maybe this will be The Perfect Storm that wasn't. I can only hope.

But despite the ominous brewing, even on the hardest days, I would take a perfect storm over no storm at all.

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I love all these little people.

Uh oh. Gotta run. Ali and Sami are clattering around in their bedroom trying to change their own diapers. And I hear two darling boys chirping to be fed.

Hurrah for Mary Poppins and leftovers. We may survive yet!

How do you weather the storm?

I'm currently accepting all suggestions, recommendations, and donations (especially if you are a chef, personal shopper, or baby-sitter!)

15 comments:

  1. I loved reading about your crazy schedule...........WOW.......what a lucky girl you are. Those little ones are so beautiful. I remember visiting teaching when you were waiting for your first miracle. That doesn't seem that long ago and look at you now............
    Out numbered doesn't seem to address the situation. You are amazing.

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  2. Amazing. You are amazing. And those pictures are awesome.

    You'll be so glad you documented all of this.

    Way to hang in there! What a beautiful storm.

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  3. Andrea - Yes. How can I ever forget eating your fabulous enchiladas while I was on bed rest!? You were so good to us. Funny. A few days of bed rest right now actually sounds inviting! (But not at the expense of my little miracles!)

    Melissa - I like that. It is a beautiful storm (except for the poop clean-up last night, followed by Sami washing Spencer's toy in toilet water! Ummm... Not so beautiful!)

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  4. thanks for this glimpse into your "perfect storm"! it is perfect isn't it??

    what a busy, challenging, yet rewarding time of life. i admire you as a mother and always being aware of the "silver lining"

    what a darling family you have.

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  5. i am totally worn out just reading about all of this...yes, you own a mother heart. xox

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  6. my life of four days/week working, 1 hour commute each way, and one 3-year old sounds glorious now. but i'm so happy for you that you have such a wonderful family. and yes, you're incredibly lucky to be home with all of them.

    let's see-ideas. does your grocery store have peapod delivery?

    early morning wakeups and escapes from the cribs...maybe you could set an alarm in the room and tell them they can't come out in the morning until the alarm goes off (unless they need to potty of course, and then it's straight back to their room). you could have a stack of books or something they could quietly read while you shower. i haven't done that personally, but when ella transitioned to a toddler bed i told her she couldn't come out of bed until it was light outside. muahahhahaha. :-)

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  7. Al - I really appreciate your encouragement. Coming from such a fabulous Mom like you - it means a lot. Thanks!

    Cristie - Yeah. It is exhausting to read. I hope I don't regret writing all this down - like the pages of a journal you re-read later and are so bugged you rip them out! Am I keeping it too real?

    Erin - No pea pod here. Bummer. But! The stack of books is a great idea! I'll try it. And I'm hoping daylight savings will buy me a little more time (keep the room darker longer).

    Loved your villainous online laugh. Made me chuckle. Thanks.

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  8. Cath- Albertson's delivers groceries. We put a clock in Carter's room and told him he couldn't leave until 7:00 a.m.

    My cousin taught her kids how to put in a dvd and told them that if they're up early, go to it.

    You're freaking amazing.

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  9. Brod - thanks for the Albertson's suggestion. I'm gonna look into it. And I like the clock idea. It worked for another friend of mine. Gotta lay down the law, right!? Thanks Brod.

    ps - Done with Catching Fire. It was my favorite of the two. Thank you!!

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  10. Cath, I'm just amazed at all you are able to accomplish. The fact that you can document your craziness or even read, or visit anyone else's blog is in fact amazing! But as crazy as those factors are to add into the mix, those moments of connecting and reading are what keep us from absolutely going crazy, aren't they? (I loved Catching Fire too! Although the storyline stressed me out!) Hang in there! I love the morning DVD idea, and the alarm clock--you could even set it to music so that if they were still asleep, it wouldn't startle them so much. Good luck!!! (Do you have a crock pot?)

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  11. Shelli - you're spot on. I write so I don't go crazy. So I will remember what this was like. How hard. How tender. How joyous. How challenging. And it helps me feel connected during such an insular time for me. I would write every day if I could carve out the time. I want to, need to, but this is all I can manage right now.

    As for Collins' series - I'm with you. Distressing (and disturbing) story line. Probably because it's a little more believable than vampires and werewolves. As for impressed, I'm wowed by you. I guess we make time for the things we love, right? Love your heart Shelli. Thanks.

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  13. I love that Eliza is so helpful. What would you do without that? I also think that those boys could not be cuter. The potty training is crazy, with one! Good luck and FYI both Belle and Sleeping beauty lost their heads at our house, we tried to fix them, but the first time they pull off a dress, they come right off again. Time for new polly's!

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  14. M - Spoken from experience. Thanks for the tip on the polly pockets. Doug was able to replace Sleeping Beauty's head - but now I know - first wardrobe change and she'll be back to the guillotine! Thank U!

    ps - do you think we should read Mitten Strings... for Bgroup?

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  15. Yes, I think that Mitten Strings would make very interesting discussion, more so than most books we have read. I would like to see what others think of it.

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