Tuesday, May 29, 2012

DROWNING IN A SEA OF CLOTHES

The one mammoth job nobody warns you about when you have kids is the nightmare of clothing them. 

It's a job that permanently drags me down as I drown in a sea of their clothes overflowing from three wardrobes. 

There are bags that I've been given that are still too big for them. Half-filled bags of clothes that are too small for them in limbo (will I keep them or pass on?). Bags of clothes from friends that I haven't even had a chance to bring into daily circulation yet. And because all 3 kids are having massive growth spurts every month, I can't keep up with everything.

I've spent the last three days trying to get on top of this clothes mountain because I found I had started to get angry at my nearly 3 year-old diva who drags everything out of her wardrobe every morning, trying on 5 different outfits until she's satisfied it feels right. 

The only problem with this is she was either settling on clothes that fitted her last summer or putting on winter clothes that are too heavy for warmer temperatures. And every morning we would have meltdown upon meltdown after I vetoed an obscenely small outfit or a thick winter-wooly on our hottest day of the year.

She is getting really into clothes and expressing herself through clothes, which is lovely, but it's also hard to let her have total free reign over this.

I started to get cross because she leaves all her clothes scattered all over her bedroom for me to pick up. I hate picking stuff up (yet another thing that anyone considering having kids should be warned about: you will spend the rest of your life constantly bending over to pick stuff up!).

But it was unfair of me to get angry with her. Because it was a job  I had not got on top of. I needed to retire all the clothes that no longer fitted her and present her with a summer wardrobe to choose from every morning. But to do that requires a lot of energy and time when they are not around - because they scream that they love something so much that they still want to wear it, even if it's ridiculously small.
 
I find my anger is so raw at the moment - and very connected with her volatile emotional state and the stress I feel when the baby screams at me all the time and the feeling of being overwhelmed by all the supposedly simple jobs like this to do in the house. 

So anyway, after 3 days of sorting through their clothes, I feel like I've finally conquered Mount Everest, and I feel less overwhelmed. Phew!

As she turns 3 my sweet, darling girl is a highly charged emotional banshee, testing all the boundaries and saying no so explosively to everything that I'm left totally drained (this includes every basic thing such as putting shoes on, going to the toilet, brushing teeth) And quite right too. It's just another eye of the storm for me to get through, and much of it is connected with my reactions and her need to feel secure as she embraces her new confidence. 





When I'm in the middle of the 10th meltdown of the day, I struggle. My rage wells up. I'm not being listened to. I have to repeat myself 10 times. I can't get through to her. She won't let me help her anymore. I've lost my patience. I've lost my mind.

Deep breaths now. I try and take a break. It will pass I know. And she'll come out of this the most delightful little girl ever. I'll get my amazing girl back.

It's just a phase. It's just a phase...







Thursday, May 17, 2012

HERALD THE TODDLER...

It happened overnight. 

Whilst I was sleeping my baby was taken over by a demon and woke up more determined than ever to wreak destruction in the house he was born in. A home supposedly already thoroughly child-tested by two other little hurricanes.

He woke up no longer a baby, more of a manboy heavily-armed tank toddler, ploughing his way through fire guards and dismantling sinks and toilets, pulling everything out of cupboards, intent on living in the dishwasher but not with those pesky pots mummy and daddy insist on leaving in his wet playden. Smash, out with them, smash.

I thought my other hurricane boy was destructive, until this one came along. This morning he pulled the extremely heavy and deadly china casing that surrounded the sink in our downstairs toilet away from the sink. How he did it we don't know, as he's stealthy - he crawls off and makes a swift attack on his target whilst I'm dealing with the other two or trying to clear up the last mess he made.

He cracked the china but thankfully not his skull. He was more shocked by his own power and the noise it made when it crashed onto the tile floor, than hurt. Hubby fixed it temporarily back to the wall with cable ties but will it hold in the face of Lorcan's determination? It will probably become his new sport now, knowing his intense personality.

So my baby has well and truly gone. He's walking now - well a few steps here and there, then grabbing hold of my trousers and pulling them down as he steadies himself. One of the hidden joys of toddlers I find, having my own bottom regularly exposed (note to self - wear belts).

Don't get my wrong, I'm delighted the baby stage has finally gone, but I wasn't quite prepared to have my house wrecked any more than it already is by the other two. 

We've only just come up for air after the other two babies. They still believe that everything lives scattered messily on the floor and that it's fun to hear exhausted mum constantly moaning about picking up their stuff. Actually it probably is fun - so maybe I need to find a new approach? Suggestions gratefully welcomed...

I've had four and a half years of baby stages - being woken up in the night, trying to get hyper baby to sleep when they won't nap for more than an hour during the day, screaming screaming screaming, teething, reflux, sickness when a baby clings to you as he pukes all over you, wanting to be in my arms constantly when my back is sprained and my arms are weak. I think the baby stage is only fun if you have a dream, angel baby, who sleeps and coos and doesn't scream when being driven anywhere, and refuses to fall asleep when you're out and about, or in his cot for that matter. 

Give me a distractible toddler any day who will stop screaming if handed a snack or whispered: "Look at the birdie"... I love that my boy now responds to a good old finger-point and the mention of any animal. Yippie for distractions. This is when life with high-need babies starts to get easier.

Last Sunday he turned 1 and we hosted and presented a special Naming Ceremony for him, giving him Guideparents and a blessing. He is now well and truly launched into this world - Lorcan Tom├ís Evans. 




So houray to the end of Baby Stages! May it never happen again, because I don't think I could cope with another baby. I really don't know how mums with loads of kids cope, especially going through another pregnancy and the first year when they have other young kids that keep them so busy. I mean just the picking up stuff, bum-wiping and changing peed-on sheets is already a full time job in itself - another baby just tips you over the edge, right?!

This one took me to the brink of my sanity - but now the manic first year is over, I'm feeling very relieved. Having survived that, I think I can survive anything now.

Apart from the total destruction of my house! 

But then again, my hubby is very good at fixing things. We'll deal with whatever he throws at us.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

LIFE'S VERY SHORT

I've been struck numb and dumb by the death of a friend in the last week. 

The lovely Sharon Lane died unexpectedly last Monday night after a seizure, leaving 3 beautiful young kids to grow up without a mum. Our whole community has been in shock, trying to comprehend why something so unthinkable could happen. Why such a wonderful young woman who had boundless energy for life would be cruelly snatched away like that.

She was 39, the same age as me, preparing for her 40th birthday in November, wondering, just like I am when I turn 40 in September, where to escape to - a celebratory holiday having survived the madness of 3 babies.

I can't remember her ever moaning about anything - she always had a smile on her face for everyone. And as well as being mum to 3 young kids, she even managed to work; she was a midwife in Cork University Maternity Hospital. That's why it's so very cruel, she was someone who really mattered, who really did something to help others. I see her kids now and my heart truly breaks for them.

I saw her husband on Tuesday with their 3-year-old girl at the toddler group that Sharon would always come to. He said he had to keep doing normal things for the kids, because that's what Sharon would have wanted. I think he's the bravest man I've met in a long time. Especially after he delivered a 10 minute eulogy at her funeral last Thursday, that had us all in tears. 

So my blog has slipped out of my priorities - and I've been trying to give more to my kids. Trying to live by Sharon's example and enjoy them more. I've stopped being grumpy with them, and thanks to my new thyroid medication, I've more energy for them so I'm taking them to our new favourite place, Trabolgan, all the time.

It's a holiday centre just 5 minutes drive from here that has a pool and loads of playgrounds, indoor (for our awful weather) and outdoor (for a rare moment of sun this afternoon), and rides and shows for the kids. I think I'm more addicted to it than the kids, because it feels like we're on permanent holiday when we go there. Today we caught the Bob the Builder show, which is great fun, the other day Jago went on the go-carts and then I took 2 of them swimming (never 3, I'd never manage 3 at once in the pool).



 
So I guess what I'm saying is that life knocks you off balance now and again, but no matter how we're feeling inside, we can always find joy in our children when we least expect it. Because I'm not working nowadays, I'm enjoying just hanging out with my 3 little ones (and other mum friends too) and going to these bright crazy places designed just for them. They'll only be this little for a very short time. It's taken me a long time to get to this place - houray I'm finally enjoying my kids! It's a miracle!