Thursday, June 23, 2011

When it rains....

There are moments in life when it seems that everything is going wrong all at once.  It would be nice if trials came at intervals further apart but it appears it is our lot in life for them to come barreling down all at once.  A torrential downpour has hit our household.  As if the colicky infant combined with the tantruming two-year-old weren't enough.

After another all-nighter with the baby, I woke this morning to find Jenna is up at 6 am as usual, despite missing her 7 pm bedtime and falling asleep at 10.  I smile though because Naomi is still fast asleep and just maybe Mike will whisk Jenna away to a quiet place so I can sleep till 7. “Mommy! I WANT TO SEE MOMMY!” Jenna pushes the door open and jumps on the bed, “Hi Mommy! You sleeping?” Naomi awakes with a start and begins to cry. So I nurse the baby and drag myself out of bed only to find that Naomi’s last hick-up resulted in hot vomit completely missing the spit rag. Instead, it is slowly dripping down between my breasts.  Good morning to me!

Next thing, I’m in the shower, baby wailing in the background, and my Jenna is sliding the shower door open and closed screaming “Mommy I need a shower too!” and I’m like, “No, Jenna you had a bath last night-close the door and go watch Wiggles!” Jenna: “NO! Mommy, I want to see you! You need to read books!” (Door sliding open and closed, open and closed) The only reason I know this is not because I can see it, I have soap covering my eyes because I just washed my face.  No, I’m feeling the frigid breeze, then the warmth of the water, then freeze again.  So like every wonderfully stressed out parent I resort to the only weapon I have left when I am too tired and naked to enforce a timeout: bribery.  “Jenna, if you don’t close the door right now you won’t go to the park with Grandma this morning!” Jenna, “Ohhhhh…. alright.” She opens the door one last time and suddenly everything gets really quiet. I sigh.

Is this what my 4 years of college and 7 years of teaching experience have taught me? Give in, be inconsistent with my punishment? What would Super Nanny have done? Probably marched out of the shower, birthday suit and all and improvised some timeout bench with the potty chair.  But I’m too tired from my 6-hour screaming session with Naomi last night to even chastise myself for long.  So instead I rinse the suds from my eyes only to feel another glacial air blast. “JENNA!!!!” I look up just in time to see that little stinker scamper off again.  Just like Jenna, always needing to have the last stubborn word or action.  I swear that kid has Oppositional Defiant Disorder! But then what two-year-old doesn't? Score: Jenna 1, Mommy 0.

Toweling off I glance at the floor. Not only is it flooded but the place on the wall that we paid a repair guy $400 to fix is now sopping wet again.  I gently feel it with my fingertips and suddenly to my delight, my hand makes a sudden jerk forward as the drywall crumples beneath it.  A tangerine size hole creates a fabulous mouse size entrance to the wall housing our pocket door.  I’m too ashamed to write which words I chose to express my fury but let’s just say it’s a good thing Jenna wasn’t in earshot because I just might have some other obscenities to try and un-teach Jenna. Just the other day she dropped her toy and the sweetest squeaky voice shouts out “BLAST IT!”  Jenna innocently looks up at my stunned face and says “I don’t say shit mommy, that’s not nice!” Mom of the year award definitely heading to someone other than me!

After breakfast, we head out in two cars to take our Toyota Camry scheduled for repair because the check engine light came on again and some sensor something that controls I don’t know what is faulty and needs to be replaced or our car will continue to stall at every red light and stop sign. That price tag is $350. As Mike is pulling out of the driveway we hear a loud bang noise.  At first, we didn’t know what it was until Mike couldn’t roll the window back up. Our window motor broke and the window pane dropped out.  It is rainy season now in Florida so this presents a huge problem.  So we drop off the Van instead totaling $250 and head home.  The Camry is a super mess so Mike brings in boxes of items from the trunk and back seat inside for us to go through together.

Soon my mom arrives for the promised visit to the park.  The living room is strewn with junk from the car. Naomi is crying again and Jenna is screaming chasing the dog because our Jack Russell Terrier just ate the rest of her Peanut Butter Crunch Cereal. Hello mother, welcome to the insanity! Mom asks if we have a ball for Jenna to take to the park.  I go to the porch to find one and as I pull it back from the wall there lays the largest most disgusting black widow spider I’ve ever seen.  Now I am far from the girly squeal type. As a kid, I used to pick up lizards, put sea slugs in my beach pail, and collected bugs with my dad. But black widows really freak me out.  I yell for Mike who rushes out and the nasty arachnid crawls up under the awning where of course Mike can’t reach inside.  So now I am hunting the rotten little thing with a pointy stick and butter knife sawing away and jumping back each time another decapitated insect drops from the spider’s messy web.  Soon egg cases are smashed and the spider is no more than a smear on the concrete.  Just in case I scour the porch for more and find a total of 5 widow spiders and 7 egg cases.  The most unnerving of all is a nest settle in the underside of Jenna’s tricycle.  God have mercy! I don’t even want to imagine the what-ifs with that one! I’m sure I’ll have nightmares to make up for it later. As you can probably tell, we haven’t been to play on the back porch for a while-nearly a month now, considering the weather is so hot and Naomi so difficult. So our house cleaning is a touch behind.

Jenna now has her ball, my mom and her leave.  Mike gets the hose and is now blasting what web remnants were left to discover a fire ant nest in the box of Jenna’s art board.  Mike’s yells about our house being a piece of crap and how we need to call an exterminator are muffled enough that Naomi doesn’t seem to mind too much. In the comfort of our central air-conditioning, she gradually falls asleep on my shoulder and I lay her in her swing to finally go to sleep.  
Success!!! Rapture!!! I can hear the hallelujah chorus! A moment to myself! What shall I do with it I wonder! Eat breakfast? Check my Email? Pee in peace? Sleep? I decided that sleep is far more important to me than food at the moment but figured I’d better pee first so the urge doesn’t interrupt my rest.  On my way to the bathroom, I notice the smell.  I flip on the light and see the remnants of Peanut Butter Crunch Cereal barfed/pooped all over the bedroom floor.  “MINDY!” Clorox wipes in hand, dog in her kennel, I clean up the mess, wash my hands and then proceed to the bedroom.  At last, I lay my head down.  Naomi sounds like she is resting comfortably.  I close my eyes and hear the loudest fart a baby has ever made echoing from the monitor and throughout our two bedroom house.  Naomi must have been freaked out too because she is now awake and screaming. Oh! The JOY! Change poopy diaper, nurse, burp, rocking chair-then my mom and Jenna comes through the door.

The rest of the day was pretty much the same.  Got stuck in Home Depot, Jenna fit because she can’t climb the ladders to the plywood, baby screams, went home, more tantrums, more crying, accidental spill of the last of the brand new $12 bottle of Gripe water.  Jenna finally falls asleep at 9:30 p.m. and believe it or not Naomi is still fighting sleep at 10:20- but for the moment the crying is lessening. I’m still amazed that so many things could go wrong in one day, and I’m even more amazed that my own crying session about my inabilities to be a good mother only lasted about 3 minutes before I pulled it together again. But as I reflect on it all, I realize that none of us are perfect mothers no matter how hard we try.  We are human and therefore doomed to imperfection.  The only thing we can do is give it our best effort and as some say, try to laugh about it.  I don’t feel much like laughing but I’m sure if this wasn’t my own life I was living right now and I was an onlooker it might seem funny how disastrous things can be.  Until I can laugh and not cry, hope is what gets me through the day.  Hope that my prayers will be answered and soon Naomi will be all better, will finally sleep and I just might catch a few winks.  Hope that if my friends, family and the doctors are right, we only have three more months of days like this.  And finally, as my heroine, Anne Shirley, once said, “Hope that tomorrow is always fresh with no mistakes in it.” I may not be the perfect mother.  On the amount of sleep I’m running on, I’d say I’ve done pretty darn good……….
Naomi is crying again…(SIGH)

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