My Glorious Life as a Young Mother
I survived the years of diaper changing and wearing poop as if it were a part of my ensemble; and cleaning up vomit, which no longer makes me gag. I managed to get through croup; tonsillitis; snotty noses and chicken pox times three.
I kept calm when occasionally I had to rush one of the little angels to the emergency room to have a Morning Glory seed removed from his ear canal; or the headlight of a small toy car pulled from his nose.
I should have been awarded an honorary nursing degree for all the scrapped knees; banged heads and foreign objects embedded in a foot or hand that I took care of and bandaged over the years.
It was almost surreal when I was able to go to the bathroom alone for the first time in years. No toddler sitting by my feet at the base of the toilet; wanting to push the handle down after I finished, took getting used to. Then a month later, I learned I was pregnant again…oh joy!
My sons were sixteen months apart and just as I got one to sleep after an hour of rocking; the other woke up screaming. Now I had one in each arm in the rocking chair; and I fell asleep sucking on a pacifier one of them had popped in my mouth.
Just as I fell on my knees and thanked the powers that be for helping me to not kill my first off spring during his “terrible two” stage; the second child entered into HIS terrible twos. I would find myself sitting in a corner of the room making incoherent sounds as he threw a tantrum on the floor beside me; the older child looking at both of us with a quizzical expression on his face.
Potty training was a fun experience. No one ever told me it takes nearly three years before boys learn to pee in the pot instead of sitting there for thirty minutes doing absolutely nothing, and then peeing on the floor when they stood up. No one told their daddy not to try and teach them on a regular size toilet either. He learned that after the lid fell on the little man part of my youngest son, and I was forced to apply an ice pack to a screaming child who didn’t want an ice pack on his “thingie.”
As they grew, I thought perhaps I would get a full night’s sleep for a change and looked forward to them being a bit more independent. The sleep came, much to my relief; but they learned to climb in a chair and then up on the counter tops to get their favorite treats. I would find one dangling precariously from the handle of the cupboard screaming bloody murder. His brother had grabbed the treats and took off leaving the younger one to fall to his death; or at the very least to break a leg. Independence isn’t what it’s cracked up to be when it comes to small boys.
I was hanging onto sanity by a thread; breaking up fights as they got bigger and more competitive for my attention. I often thought if I heard the word, “Mommy” one more time I would buy a ticket on the next bus out of town. Then, yep…you guessed it. I was pregnant again!
This time I had my little girl. Of course gender didn’t really make a difference when it came to getting up in the middle of the night for feedings and wearing poop once more on my clothes. The endless diaper changes and the projectile vomiting as we adjusted her formula from one to another, was just one more thing to deal with in my already chaotic life.
Dressing her was fun though. Little pink dresses and frilly lace undies made her look like a little doll; at least until she threw up all down the front of that little pink dress.
Once she became a toddler I really noticed the difference between having a girl versus boys. She seemed so much calmer. She was not nearly as adventurous as her brothers were. She was perfectly content to sit alone on the floor and play with her toys; not once attempting to climb on the counter tops. Thank God I didn’t have her first; I would have had a dozen more kids thinking they’d be like her.
Not to say she didn’t present a whole new set of issues for me to deal with. Once she began talking; she repeated everything she heard. That trait was particularly annoying once when my sister-in-law came for a visit and my little darling blurted out, “My daddy called you a bad name.”
Frozen and red faced I was too afraid to ask her what bad name Daddy could have called my sister-in-law. Needless to say I tried to brush it off, but my brother and his wife left abruptly. I later learned that my husband had said something about her being a “dingbat”, which wasn’t nice; but far from what I feared he might have called her in front of our daughter.
My brother and his wife had a beautiful home in a gated community and when they invited us (a year or more after what we refer to as the Incident) to their home for Christmas Eve; I cringed. She had just put in new carpeting and was very fussy about all her nice furnishings. I feared the boys would spill something or break something…my imagination ran rampant. But, we agreed to come and it seemed as if the boys were being on their best behavior. Of course there was an hour lecture before we left home and threats of great bodily harm if theyweren’t good.
I warned all three that Auntie’s furniture wasn’t vinyl; and her carpeting didn’t come from Wal-Mart like ours did. Don’t touch the walls; anything sitting on side tables; and for goodness sake don’t touch the Christmas tree. The ornaments on Auntie’s tree are handed down for generations; unlike our homemade decorations.My last advice to them was; "If you use the toilet, remember to flush!"
They behaved so well I began to think we had the wrong kids. Saying please and thank you to their Auntie and being so…so..NOT my kids. I was so proud I had to loosen a button on my blouse.
Then as fate would have it; my oldest son partook of the shrimp dip she had set out with a bowl of chips. Without any warning what so ever, he bent over her brand new carpet and puked his guts out! I was mortified. All I could do was offer to clean it up as best I could. Bright pink shrimp dip I learned, tends to adhere to carpeting and leaves a nasty stain.
We left soon after that Incident; vowing not to ever visit again until my kids reached the age of consent. Of course I had no need to worry; we were never invited to her home again for Christmas Eve or any other event until my children had grown up and left home. I think maybe her rule was two Incidents and you are officially off the guest list and possibly no longer a family member.
At one point I decided I needed a "date" night out with my husband; a chance to eat without a child in my lap squishing my mashed potatoes with his little hands. We got a sitter who was a woman of about thirty and off we went. I actually got to have an adult conversation without interuption.I felt giddy in my new found freedom, however short it might be. We enjoyed our meal and took in a movie afterwards. It was devine to have that night; but all good things must end, so we headed home after the movie.
Arriving home I was greeted at the door by our sitter. She looked years older than I remembered her just a few hours prior, and she had a twitch thing going on in her left eye; similar to to one I get.
"If you'll just pay me, I'll be going...and ma'am; don't ever ask me to babysit again." She said, as her twitch seemed to be worsening.
I don't know what the three of them did to that poor woman; I don't think I wanted to know. I checked in on them and my little daughter was sound asleep in her bed; the two boys were sitting on the floor of their bedroomlooking like little Indians; war painted faces looking up at me as innocent as could be. Jars of finger paints were scattered about and spilled all over their Walmart rug.
Unfortunately, that was the first and last date night my husband and I had for a very long time. Seems like word got around town about my basbysitter's misfortune and no one would risk ending up with a twitch.
Ah kids, ya gotta love ‘em. I do love mine; even though many of the gray hairs in my head today are a direct result of having them. I wouldn’t trade being a mother for all the gold in the world; I even find myself from time to time wishing they were little tots again. Whenever I have those thoughts my nervous tick acts up and I realize grandkids are the way to go.
For all you mothers of young children out there, I encourage you to hang in there, and take those moments that present themselves, to sit in a corner and babble incoherently until the insanity passes. You’ll be amazed at how much it helps…really. You will find when they are grown; these really are your glory years.