Life With Nine Kids

Saturday, April 6, 2013

When Birthdays (and parenting) Are No Fun

  I'm wondering if there is a short version of telling about how my birthday was. I think I want to talk about it but I’m not entirely sure. I had zero expectations for my birthday. Last year was a super amazing birthday complete with a Levee High Caramel Pie ($40 worth of serious pie heaven), a dainty French oyster bar / cafe, doting husband, perfect kids, light gardening and a bunch of other fabulous-ness. This year I figured would be just a birthday; plain and sweet not too unlike other birthdays. There would be cake, ice cream, some family fun; nothing big but still special and happy in our own fun way. Ricky HAD to work this year, which is no biggie. I know he wanted to stay home and I never expect him to stay home even though he generally tries to take his birthday and my birthday off and usually he is able to.

 I decided since I’d been putting it off I should get my blood drawn first thing in the morning on my birthday. (routine thyroid check) It’s so not a big deal to me, needles don’t bother me in the least and it’s a quick stop at the lab down the road. Since I’d been putting it off I thought I should make myself DO IT because making time to take care of myself seemed to be a good and meaningful thing to do on my birthday. The other thing I had been putting off was a trip to the chiropractor so I did that too (and went last year on my b-day too). Penelope went with me and we had some fun one on one time and we stopped at the store. I found amazing deals on raspberries, red grapes, wisteria, hostas and some flower bulbs –all of which were starting to leaf out or sprout and looked really healthy with lots of promise for this year. I took it upon myself to treat myself to as many plants as we bought groceries. I felt entitled because it was my birthday LOL. Oh, and we had to get a second cart for little Penelope to push cause we found some roses bushes on sale too.  It was my birthday! I deserved it. Penelope thought it was a hoot that mom had gone a little insane. I’m glad we had fun because it was nearly the only fun thing that happened all day. 

 Later back at home we needed to get some beds made and the upstairs vacuumed for guests to spend the night. Sharon, Grandma, and Jason were getting back into town and got in late from the airport so they were crashing here in the middle of the night. I soon discovered the children who reside upstairs, who are supposed to take care of the upstairs, hadn’t really been.  I should have been checking up on them the past few weeks but I’m lazy about going up there (I hate stairs! It’s horrid how much I hate walking up the stairs LOL). Also, I’m picky so I feel like if I avoid the upstairs I won’t nag on their housekeeping skills. But atlas I went up and I nagged. I bitched. I complained. I was unhappy. I won’t go into detail here. It’s not like they were living in squalor, I know I’m picky they know I’m picky so that’s an issue I TRY to curb sometimes. However there were things I asked them to do, and that they are supposed to keep up on that they flat out didn’t do, and even some things they just said they did and they simply hadn’t. So I was stressed and upset, and the little kids were fighting and it just wasn’t fun at all. 
 At some point the little kids were bickering and making me nuts and then Sebastian (4) hurt Penelope (6) really bad.  Ultimately he dragged her by the hair and kicked her. She was hysterically choking and holding her throat and gasping for air over the whole ordeal and I flipped out. I quickly swatted him and then stopped myself. (I’m against spanking, it’s not up for debate, it’s simply wrong to hit people of any age but sometimes I slip and have to stop myself. Controlling or disciplining people/kids with force is a powerful reaction that many struggle with and I do too at times.)
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 Then I locked him in the basement-playroom area for his own safety because I could feel how angry and scared I was over him hurting her. Anger scares me. I often think 'how can some one be so angry that they hurt or kill a child', yet it happens ALL OF THE TIME. I'm not afraid I'm a monster like child abusers are, but anger still scares me -and when I get angry I struggle with regaining control and teaching my kids control through a good example. 

So he’s crying and I’m telling him through the door that I cannot let him out because I want to spank him and hitting is wrong and what he did was horrible and wrong and I don’t know what to say to him or do so he needs to stay in the basement/playroom and I'll talk to him in a minute. We have a basement door-lock chain so he’s talking/crying at me through the chain. Around now I helped Penelope and Everett get into a bath because they have chocolate and dirt all over them and they asked for a bath. Sebastian calmed down a little bit and I joined him in the basement and told him we can go upstairs together, I switched laundry I started to cry a little as I saw him walk up the basement steps. I wiped my tears and grabbed clean laundry to fold only to find at the top of the stairs Sebastian had locked me in the basement. I explained to him through the door chain that I need him to open the door... but he’s actually nowhere in sight, as far as I can tell anyway. I start sobbing that I’m just trying to take care of everyone and that he can’t lock me in the basement because I’m the one who has to do the laundry and cook and help everyone, and the kids are in the bathtub…and who else is going to take care of everyone…Even if he thinks I’m a mean mom I’m the only one that can help everyone and to please let me out…
 I’m crying because the overwhelming guilt, exhaustion and selflessness that comes with parenting complied with being angry at him for hurting his sister so bad... and he locked me down there because he’s copying what I did to him. Great role model mom. (Ricky reminded me later that he's actually locked the door on lots of people he's been mad at and it's not like I gave him the idea, but I digress.) I could not muster up even an ounce of anger over him locking me in the basement. All I had was remorse, remorse for I don’t know what –I wasn’t and am not sorry I locked him in "time-out"; he needed to be in a safe place and it was only for a couple minutes. I guess it was remorse for just the whole day falling apart before my eyes, how did it go so wrong? I used the other basement door that leads outside and tried the house doors, everything was locked. Everyone was upstairs or in the bathtub. I tried tapping on the bathroom window to get Penelope’s attention but the screen wouldn’t let me make contact with the glass. I tried throwing rocks at upstairs windows and no one could hear me. I started ringing the doorbell frantically. I had blood-red puffy eyes from crying and black mascara streaming down my face (the ugly cry!) and I realized Layla’s school bus might pull up any second to a crazed sobbing mom in the middle of the yard.  Finally Sage heard the door and let me in. I looked at the clock and was wrong about the bus; it wasn’t due for an hour. Sebastian hid under the dining room table and I ignored him. I didn’t want to talk to him and we both needed to mellow out. Eventually we talked and I told him he needed to stay in his bedroom to play until Daddy got home and he pretty much did.

 I got flowers delivered that my Uncle Neal had picked out for me and they ARE STUNNING! I love them and they brighten the whole house and made me happy. They were a refreshing and sweet distraction. 

At some other points throughout the day or afternoon:
  •  Everett dumped a half a bag of dog food all over the porch. Just for fun.
  • Everett threw a stack of playing cards in my face (I think it was slightly unintentional to hit me in the face..? Unsure.) 
  • I found that no one had watered the poor chickens.
  • I made the kids’ favorite dinner not mine. Everyone left the kitchen and no one helped clean up afterwards.
  • I had no time to make a cake.
  • Everett came inside and dumped dirt from the sandbox on the living room floor after I had just vacuumed the hard wood. So I cried again.
  • I had the little kids eat dinner outside so I wouldn’t have to clean up rice in the kitchen (kids and rice = such a pain!) and the result was even more disastrous. Drinks were spilling, rice was all over some kids, and Sebastian even had rice stuck to the bottom of his feet!?!
  • My husband literally came home to a sobbing mess!

 Ricky got home and started helping me clean up rice and I burst into tears which made him feel bad for me. He wanted to ground the older kids when he saw me doing the dinner dishes on my birthday while he picked up rice, but I told him not to because I had nagged at them about the upstairs and I felt bad for it. He said it was too bad -it was them who didn’t do the things they were supposed to do the last 3 weeks upstairs, but he let it go because I was upset and I said that since they help me so much USUALLY with the little kids they should get a pass. 

 Ricky had brought me some of my favorite food as a surprise but I couldn’t eat it, I was too upset (I enjoyed it later and was very thankful).  He told me he tried to bring me my favorite pie in the whole world but the bakery was closed by the time he got there, and he even left work a little early. It was so thoughtful of him! And you know what? I apologized 3x to him that the bakery was closed. Like what is that about? Like that’s my fault too? But I felt bad for him because he tried to do something nice for me that didn’t work out and I felt bad I was a blubbering pregnant overwhelmed mess when he got home. He tried to make me feel better but I just wasn’t up to it yet and so I started cleaning the bathroom so I could hide. When I got the shower sprayer down to rinse the tub out I lost my grip and accidentally sprayed myself in the face. My face and bangs were soaking wet. So I started to cry, again.
I started thinking it's my party and I'll cry if I want to...

 I had planned on having ice cream on cones when all other desserts fell flat but decided since the day went so horrendously that I didn’t want anything and nobody was getting anything either.  So we told everyone no birthday treats. (We actually had a fudge pop after lunch so that helped lesson the sting. If we hadn’t had that the little kids would have started a revolution, I’m pretty sure.)
 Ethan made me a birthday card that was the sweetest thing ever in the history of the world saying he was sorry my day didn’t go very well, or as planned at all, and that him and the other two older kids were working on getting the upstairs done correctly. In the picture he drew a pretty room with a table and pie and cake and rug, chair and lamp. He said he knows I like the house nice so here is a pretty & clean room he drew. I wanted to burst into tears but I held them back because I didn’t know if he’d understand. I wanted him to see me smile and love his card not sob at it. I love that kid.

 All of this stressful overwhelming stuff can happen any day for almost any reason, the stress just happened to come falling down on my birthday. I don’t think I was any more a basket case or upset because it was my birthday and I expected something different. It just happened --and it just happened to be on April 4th.

 Once we got everyone to bed only an hour later Everett woke up and cried and cried for a half hour because he had to go pee but was too tired and emotional to go. Finally we got him back to sleep and salvaged a few minutes to snuggle and kiss before I fell asleep exhausted. The new baby kicked me in my ribs all night and I enjoyed the reassurance of life growing inside me along with Ricky’s sleeping body wrapped around me and my round baby-belly.

The next morning the sun came up, the kids smiled, Ricky and I smiled at each other went on. Sebastian had an early AM dentist appointment to fix a tooth and it went great and easy. On our early dentist outing we got some alone time together and giggled and had fun together and of course talked about anger control. Back at home we all got to visit with Sharon and Grandma and they had brought Dunkin’ Donuts over. I very much enjoyed a sprinkle donut and coffee and all felt right again in my world. The day was warming up and the kids were all happy. The house was clean. As the sun warmed the ground I dug in the dirt, cleaned out flower garden beds, I pruned two peach trees and blackberry bushes. I felt whole and happy again. The little kids played and ran around me and after I gave them their lunch I went to check on them and found they had moved off the porch and they were instead huddled up on a play structure/slide picnicking together.
Happiness is sometimes only a day away. 


Anonymous said...

Oops what a day!(but you got throught it) So many happy birthday wishes to you. Keep up the good work :-)

Kimberly Jennery said...

Oh my goodness! I had a supremely crappy last birthday, too. Wonder if it's something going around ;) I'm so glad your next day was so much better - yay! ((hugs)) You are a GREAT mom in SO many wonderful ways! :)

tikizeekbaby said...

You are such a great mom, I'm sorry that sometimes kids are just... small humans that are still learning the ropes... to put it nicely. LOL I am glad that you have the wonderful husband that you so richly deserve and that the two of you are so good to each other. You truly are a beautiful couple and are raising wonderful children... even if they didn't really shine as they normally do on this day.