Multimama

I'm a multitasking writer/mom to multiple multi-ethnic little ones, via multiple routes to parenthood. Just call me Multimom!

Breakthrough

We had a hard day today. Dev was home from school because they sent him home one hour into yesterday’s schoolday with an alleged fever, and I didn’t want to deal with that again today, so it seemed easier to just stay in PJs at home.  I was (& still am), super sick, which is really the least useful of possible superpowers.  The husband was heading south for a convention this morning, but thanks to the repaving of our street, couldn’t leave till right around naptime–this was actually quite a win, since it meant he could put Dev down for nap while I took care of Lili, saving me an awful lot of putting-them-to-bed-simultaneously grief, and also make my own nap time arrive faster.

So the really bad didn’t start till after nap time. Baby woke up crying after I had actually managed to sleep, which was a plus. I fed her while Dev played quietly in his room (that’s how he always puts it: “I was playing quietly in my room”–I love it!) since he was having fun and she was clearly going to be a wreck till she had nursed. Then I went to retrieve him, and found his sheets covered in poo.  One of his hands was also coated, as was the railing of his bed.  When I went to change him (he’s been wearing Pullups for some naps and all bedtimes this past month, though he is fully daytime potty-trained), a big piece of poo fell on the floor. So much grossness!  He has always been fastidious–the kid won’t even eat cake because he doesn’t want icing on his fingers!–so I still don’t understand how this pootastrophe could have come to pass.  I was furious. I tried to stay cool, telling him simply, “You know how to poop in the potty” (he went, just a tiny bit, last week–other than that he’s been saving it for the Pullups, but at least I knew & he knew it was possible) and “Poop all over the bed is so disgusting!” I actually think I handled this ok, despite my illness-addled state, focusing on where poop belongs and that it is gross elsewhere (which I think we can all agree on), but not criticizing him or calling HIM gross.

But then, after I cleaned him up but while I was changing his sheets and scrubbing crap from side of his bed (seriously, how did this happen?!), he started merrily riding around on his Trunki, telling his busily crawling sister to “watch out” as he plowed past her. Yeah, I left her free-range on his floor while I dealt with the poopocalypse because really, I couldn’t think what else to do. I told him a couple of times to be careful, that he was the one who needed to watch out because he knows how and she doesn’t, but he kept laughingly advancing on her.  Seeing her tiny fingers dangerously close to his ride-on’s wheels, I finally lost it. I shouted something to the effect of, “If you don’t stop threatening your sister while I’m stuck cleaning up your crap, I will take that toy away FOREVER.”  Note: not okay with the use of “crap” in front of my kids, or with the unrealistic “forever” timeline on taking his Trunki, but that’s why this qualified as “losing it.” On the upside, though, it worked. He played further down the hallway (with the stairs safely gated off), and even helped direct his sister toward the safer zone of his room when she crawled determinedly after him.

And then here’s the really bright spot: after all of my complaints about the grossness of this cleanup job, he asked me to come to the bathroom with him at bedtime (he’s been big on going all by himself lately–or as he puts it, “all myself”).  He sat down and went right ahead and pooped in the potty, for the first time in a year of casual potty training plus a month of post-3-day-bootcamp potty-trainedness.  And there was much rejoicing! He was so proud, and I was so proud, and while today was likely not the last time he’ll have a #2 accident once the Pullup goes on, it was a HUGE step forward. So what felt at the time like a big parenting fail–that is, harping on the horrifyingness of the nap time poosplosion–actually, I believe, led to this breakthrough.  Neither one of us ever wanted to deal with a scene like that again, and he was ready to make sure we didn’t have to.  I would not have taken such a hard line if he hadn’t achieved a tiny bit of poopoo in the potty just last week, but now the timing was right and he was ready and it all worked out.

Which to me, is a wonderful reminder that even when I am not at my best (sick, and extra-exhausted from sickness-induced insomnia, and facing down a day and a half on my own with two lil’ ones thanks to husband’s business trip), and even when I don’t handle things exactly as I would want to in a perfect world where I got rehearsals for the crazy stuff kids throw at you, the overall environment of loving support that I’ve provided still makes great things possible for my kiddos. And even in the midst of what seems like a rough day, things can turn around in miraculous ways. Also, that I have a pretty amazing, sweet, fun and smart little guy on my hands–and his sister ain’t bad either.  Now all I need is for this cloud of sickness that has been plaguing me all week to lift, and I’ll be happy to guarantee a fabulous day tomorrow for all three of us. But short of that, I’m just hoping, as usual, for fewer low points and more high points, minimal frustration and tears and maximum joys and laughter. What more is there to hope for, after all?  Well, that, and that I will not have occasion to write or think nearly this much about poop again for quite some time.

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Look At Me

Between writing for a living and raising my two little ones, it’s so easy to be distracted, to get caught up in multitasking and forget to actually focus in on what really matters.  But my kids have been reminding me lately that just looking, really looking at them, and giving them the gift of my undivided attention, can mean so much.  My daughter might be fussing or my son might start calling, “Mommy, Mommy!” and there is always the temptation to try to finish just one more thing before I turn back to them, but I’ve learned that what they need is simply to know that I am there, that I am looking and listening. They light up in the warmth of my gaze.  As someone who worked so long and hard to become a mom, it’s such a thrill to realize I’m that vital to another person, to be able to make them feel better simply by looking at them, or cuddling them, or playing with them.  It makes me never want to look away.  It reminds me to put down the iPhone and bask instead in the magic that is my children growing and changing with each passing moment.  I wonder how many adults who seem annoying might need nothing more than to be truly seen, too.  So that’s today’s lesson from my kiddos: to give the gift of my attention, to really look at them and others in my life, and enjoy what a difference that focus makes. 

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Call Your Mother

I keep meaning to start with this big long post about our journey through infertility, adoption, and IVF that led us to these two absolutely fabulous babies:

But I’m just not feeling it.  I think because, these days, I’m so much in the thick of parenting after infertility that the 5 years of struggle just aren’t what I’m in the mood to write about.  I will get to that, I’m sure, since we are not finished having babies and it will never be easy for us, and I will always be an infertile lady who gets her hackles up when someone gloats about being “super fertile, tee hee!”  But for now, I’d like to start things off with a post in a series I’d like to call “Lessons From My Kids.”

Lesson 1: Call Your Mother

My baby girl is happy as long as she is near me.  If I’m holding her, looking at her, or at least within arm’s reach, she is perfectly cheerful and calm.  And I’ll be honest–while this does make working or playing with my son or doing pretty much anything but cuddling her a challenge, I really don’t mind.  Because with an almost-3-year-old boy who used to give me slobbery kisses all the time and now, if I’m lucky, sort of air-kisses before running off to his next adventure, I know how fleeting this dependency is.  I know how much I will miss our long, snuggly days–sleep deprivation and all–when she is older.  I miss it already with my son, and he’s just in preschool a couple of days a week, and with me constantly otherwise.

Which brings me to my point–I have not lived in the same state as my parents since I left for college 14 years ago.  I’ve been halfway across the country from them for 10 of those years–1 in New York and the last almost-9 (how is that possible?!) in Los Angeles.  My mom and I were super-close (and of course, in the preteen/teen years, sometimes at each other’s throats) when I was growing up, an only child raised primarily by a single mom.  I’m sure, in the midst of my childhood, it never occurred to her that this person she had created would one day be so far away.

But I think about it all the time.  I hope that my babies will never move so far that I only get to see them once or twice a year.  My hope is that they will be so used to sunny California that they won’t be able to stand living anywhere else, and thus will have to stay here (my Midwestern home didn’t have quite the same draw).  Looking at their sweet faces, snuggling up with their warm little bodies beside me, I can’t imagine what it was like for my parents when I moved away for good.

And that’s why I want to remind you all to call your mom (or dad, or other parental figure), as often as you can handle and then maybe a little bit more.  I know that once these little ones take off into the wide world, I won’t be able to get enough of hearing from them and seeing them, not ever, not when I’ve gotten so used to having them always within reach.  What I’ve learned is that I will always be my parents’ baby, just as these babies will always be mine, no matter how old they are or how far they roam.  One day, they’ll be walking around in the world, with jobs and houses and spouses and kids, and they’ll be thinking of themselves as adults and I will respect that and be amazed by it, and yet I will always see their soft baby cheeks and rosebud lips and pudgy little elbows and ankles, like the ones on my baby girl as she snoozes beside me right now.  I will always remember how they much they need me now, and I will be proud to have raised them to be adults who do not need me so desperately–and yet, I will always want to know that they do still need me, at least a little.  I bet your mom would like to know that, too.

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