Sunday, August 14, 2011

Surviving

I want to say I'm enjoying my summer vacation.  I'm a teacher, after all.  I'm supposed to like my time off, right? 

But it's been tough.  Really tough.  And I find myself saying (more often than not), "When does school start again??" 

Bottom line: I am NOT meant to be a stay-at-home-mom.  I would love to say I could be, and maybe I could under different circumstances, but let's just say my 3-year-old is one tough cookie.  I'm not trying to make this a Debbie Downer post... just venting a bit. 

Aidan is unpredictable.  And moody.  And still lacking the ability to communicate his needs and frustrations.  He'll do things like ask for something, and when I offer it to him, he screams and doesn't want it.  But if I put it back, he screams because he wants it again.  I find myself saying, "What's wrong?  What do you need?" a lot.  Or threatening timeout.  Or putting him IN timeout.

I am one of those anything-bad-that-happens-in-the-morning-sets-the-tone-for-the-day kind of people.  Not good when you have a kid that wakes up on the wrong side of the bed... often.  I usually get him from his room first (we still have a doorknob cover on his door - or else he'd come out at 5am!) and then we get Lilah.  Well, the other morning, I said, "Come help me get Lilah."  Usually that means we'll go in, see Lilah's smiling face, and Aidan will smile back and say (in the CUTEST babyish voice ever), "Hi, Yi-yah!!"  And then, what normally happens next is I lift her out of the crib.  Well, he decided that "come help me" must've meant, "YOU PICK HER UP," because as soon as I started lifting her out of bed, he put his arms up like he wanted to.  But then immediately fell apart because Mommy did it.  Quickly realizing what he wanted, I put Lilah back down (she was willing) and asked Aidan if he could help me, but it was too late.  He was already on the floor, crying.

This morning, it was I went too fast down the stairs and he wanted me to hold his hand.  But when I came back to hold his hand, he was yelling at me to "Stop!"  Then he wanted milk, but when I handed it to him, he cried and didn't want it.  But wanted it again after I said I'd put it away.  This afternoon, he asked for juice in a "straw cup," but after screaming at me that I did it wrong, Chad finally told me that Aidan really wanted a "sippy" cup lid, not a straw cup lid.  Aidan knows how to ask for a sippy cup lid, so it wasn't a lack of vocabulary on that one.

I just don't get him sometimes.  Most times.  And tonight, Chad agreed with me.  Usually, Chad has that, "Aidan is always great for me" outlook.  Truth is, Aidan is better for Chad.  But I think Chad's booming voice is a little scarier too!  haha  Tonight, however, Aidan was just whiny.  Whining to go here or there, whining for milk, trying to run on the train tracks, whatever.  At one point, Chad said, "Aidan!  Stop whining!"  So Aidan said, "No!"  So (my mature husband) Chad says, "Yes!"  And Aidan quickly yells, "NO!!!!!!"  Good grief.  Yes, let's get in a power struggle with our 3-year-old.

I think if it were JUST Aidan home with me, it might be more tolerable.  But I have an energetic, sometimes stubborn 1-year-old on my hands too.  And when she's wandering off towards the street and Aidan's having a meltdown at the merry-go-round, I just want to throw my hands up!  Obviously I save the Bean from the street.  But I have to keep my eye on both kids, all the time.  And that's hard by myself.  I honestly don't know how moms of 3 or more can handle it!

Preschool starts in a month, and I'm really and truly hoping that it will bring some change.  He's never been around a lot of kids on a daily basis, so hopefully his social skills will improve.  And communication.  Chad and I have a lot to work on with this parenting stuff too.  I know consistency is key, but being consistent is really tough when you have another little person to look out for (timeouts can't always happen when they need to, etc.)  Also, Aidan really needs to be fed on a schedule (he's happier when he's full!), but sometimes his timeouts hinder his eating. 

I know getting breaks would be good too, but I tend NOT to find babysitters because I know Aidan is a lot of work (IF he's in a bad mood.)  Chad had the kids Friday morning, though, and took him to Jill's house for an hour (one of his employees - sweet!)  She reported back that Aidan played AND shared with her 4-year-old son and there was not ONE tantrum from either of them.  Oh, and Lilah walked around with a doll the whole time.  Yep, that's my girl.         

It's easy to get bogged down by every little tantrum and whiny moment.  But then, after I tuck him into bed, he'll say, "Eee you tomorrow, Mama.  Yuh-go Mama.  Mmmmm-whah!" (yuh-go = love you.)  And I'm reminded of what a truly sweet boy he can be.  Or when he's playing with Lilah, he can be SO sweet with her (when he's not knocking her over!)  And I love when he does his best wild thing impersonation and "roars a terrible roar!" at me.  Or when he asks me to roll down my window... and when I do, he'll say, "Doing a great gob, Mama" (great "job.")  How can I not love that??

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When I was watching So You Think You Can Dance the other week, Marko said he was a "tough kid" for his mom.  He had outbursts and tantrumed a lot.  But once he got into dance (I think), he had something to focus on.   I looked at my son, who was "dancing" in our living room at that moment (read: madly flailing his arms and stomping), and sort of chuckled picturing him on that show.  But you never know.  He could be a dancer.  Or anything fantastic.  And maybe one day he'll say, "I was tough for my mom, but look at me now."

Got any advice for this stressed-out Mama (besides "stop complaining!")?  Anybody have kids that went through this stage?  Did they come OUT of it?  Did YOU come out of it???  That's what I want to know!

Thanks for listening.  Happy post with pictures next.  Promise.  : )