Sunday, June 28, 2009

Tough

If I've learned anything about parenting, it's that there are always new joys and challenges around every corner, and that whatever stage you are in will pass with time. And some stages are more difficult overall than others.

I have to be honest, I'm having a bit of a hard time right now.

I think the hardest part about this is that on paper, I think that things should be easier right now. Shortly after David was born, I remember thinking, "Sure, having a 2 year old and a newborn is tough. But just think - this time next year - I'll have a 3 year old and a toddler. That will be so much easier." But I must be doing something wrong, because I am still struggling.

Of course, it is easier in some ways. I'm no longer nursing, and I'm getting more sleep (although still not enough). But gosh, it's still hard, and I'm hoping maybe I'll feel a little better if I can just list it out here.

First of all, on the good side, David is at one of my favorite stages of development. He is so stinking cute, running around with that cute little toddle, using his "words" to make requests, and constantly surprising us with the things he understands. I could do another post on how sweet and interesting he is right now. And I love that he wants to be with me all that time, that's what makes him sweet. But the hard part is that he insists on being held for a majority of the day. So I am cooking, cleaning, helping Katy on the potty, dressing, going to the bathroom, helping Katy on her bike, playing games, watering flowers (that one's for you, Mom), all with a toddler on my hip. I have to be honest. It's super sweet, but it's exhausting.

But my even bigger challenge right now is of the 3 year year old variety. Again, a positive note is that since we started the new sleep rules, it took a few days and she is now staying in her room at night. So that's progress. And of course, my daughter is an absolute sweetheart and I love her with all my heart. But she is driving me crazy right now. She is whiny, demanding, argumentative, bossy, and just plain rude some of the time. I feel like everything I ask her to do is answered with "But, but, but..." or "Well, well, well..." I feel embarrassed of her behavior when I am around others, thinking that they must be making judgements of my parenting. We've also started another big potty push this week, which has had big challenges. For the first 24 hours it was a literal battle to get her to even SIT on the potty. As of today, I'm happy with our progress, but she is still refusing to attempt to poop. This is extra frustrating because she was doing this just fine during our last training attempt. I know she CAN do it, she just WON'T. Ugh.

Her eating is terrible, and I almost laughed when the doctor asked me if she was eating "a variety of foods from all 4 groups?" HA! Good one. Meals feel like battles, too.

On top of these struggles, both of my kids have had fevers for over a week. Today is day 10 for Katy and day 7 for David. We've already been the doctor twice, but I think if they still have them tomorrow, I will have to take them again. Ten days of fever isn't just a virus - do you think? Another trip to the doctor seems daunting.

I'm looking at our calendar for July, and it's jam packed, starting with 2 weeks of swim lessons tomorrow. When I look at it, there are all of these fun activities planned, but things just seem so crazy, I feel like my head is spinning and the day to day is hard. We had to take the van in for some maintenance this week and we've had 4 electronic devices break since we moved. (two of them we cashed in the "2 year replacement plan")

I think another thing that is contributing to this is that with all of the recent busyness, I've been eating terribly and haven't exercised in...oh gosh...I can't put it in writing it's been so long. And even though I think pulling that aspect of my life together would help, I can't for the life of me figure out how to do it - I'm just getting by as it is.

So I hope that doesn't seem too whiny. I look at my husband and my kids and wonder how I can complain - they are so great and I am so blessed. But sometimes the day to day is tough. I know it will pass. Sitting down to write it out has helped. Thanks for listening.

11 comments:

Giselle said...

Ugh...that's all I can say...ugh. I definitely have periods of blah and blech like this...just have to power through to the next wonderful stage. ;) They usually bounce between unbearable and wonderful, thank heavens.

Also? Potty training=power struggle you cannot win. You cannot force her to go on the potty...and she knows that. Let it go...pretend you don't care at all...and see if she starts doing it all on her own. She may just be testing you.

Also? If you figure out the eating thing, I'd really like your solution. Lily must be getting nutrition from the air we breathe...because she eats NOTHING.

Hang in there...

Weed said...

I wish I had answers to help you, but all I can do is commiserate with you. I've been feeling a lot of the same things, and I only have the three year old piece of it going on!! I can only imagine what it must be like to have another whole set of one year old struggles too. (I haven't blogged lately because I've been experiencing A LOT of the same stuff you're talking about with Katy with Rachel.) All I can say is hang in there. The day to day IS hard, and it's okay to feel frustrated by it. Even though, as you said, you know you "should" feel blessed and thankful...you can feel both blessed and frustrated at the same time. It's okay! I'll be praying that this difficult season starts to look up for you. And remember that it's just a season.

Adrienne said...

But, but, but... sometimes I think i still hear myself say them. emily, my prayers are with you, and please know if you would like a break, a little company, I would love to help. i can just stop over and watch the kids for awhile, or let David latch to my hip. wish I could offer some advice, my only "kid" is a 2.5 year old hamster. ;) (hug)

Oma Froehle said...

The best parenting advice anyone ever gave me was to ignore what other people think about my parenting decisions. You are the best judge of what your children need. You are doing the very best job you can every single day. You are a good mother. The most important thing you can do is love your child. That is what they will know and carry with them to adulthood. I believe in you.

Anonymous said...

From old-neighbor Steph -
Your post made me laugh BECAUSE I am thinking the EXACT same things, almost to the word. My main thought lately has been, "Stop this train, I want to get OFF!" We'll talk soon, but I hope you see this. We are in the same boat.

Pam said...

Once again you hit it right on the button. I am going through the same thing with Jack. He's stopped listening, started arguing with me and I've been embarressed on several occasions this weekend with his behaviour. So my friend - it is NORMAL toddler behaviour. You are a fab mom, very loving and doing your best. They are the luckiest kids on the block!

Alicia said...

Emily,
I can give you a fast forward (from my personal perspective) for what your life will be like one year from now:
Your four year old's favorite words will still be "but" and "why." She WILL be potty trained, don't worry. She may still be eating small amounts, but it's just because she's not growing, not because she wants to purposefully disobey you. She will also be more independent and it will amaze you what she will be able to do and will want to do by herself.
Your two year old will NOT be on your hip. He will be doing anything and everything he can to keep up with his sister. He will be verbalizing splendidly and you will be tickled pink each day by what he says, just as you're cracking up now at what he's trying to say.
Oh, and another thing, there will still be horribly frustrating days, just like now. But there will be great days too. There will be days that your kids want to play in their rooms together all morning and not even pay attention to you (yes, I'm serious!). There will be days when it's easier to have both kids than just to have one (yes, I said EASIER!).
So what I'm trying to say is, just like every frustrating phase you've been in before, this too shall pass. Hang in there and never doubt in your ability as a mom.
Alicia

Robin said...

yikes! And here I was thinking about maybe getting into baby #2 realm...
So, my Eric is David's age and the whole toilet training thing is giving me an idea. I started Eric getting used to the toilet when he was about 10 months old. I didn't expect him to be leading me in there when he was ready or anything, just to get used to the idea. I mean, he was learning about the high chair, spoons, sleeping, some rules, etc., why not just try it? Well, he doesn't usually let me know when he has to go (although once in a while he does) but he definitely knows to "let go" and tinkle when I put him on. (He has pooped there, too, but only twice.)
What I was thinking was, maybe you could have Katy "help you" to teach David to use the toilet? He would get a good start on learning what the whole toilet dealy is, and she might be more serious about it if she sees it from the point of view of the big sister teaching her little brother!
Of course, I could be soooo wrong, but it seems like a possibility. ?
Anyway, good luck and hang in there!!

bluedaisy said...

I feel your pain girlfriend! I am glad to know that I am not the only one who goes through these times of just feeling like it is all too much. I get some of the but,but,but response as well...BUT mostly they both just ignore me altogether..nice, right? I wish you much patience and perseverance during this especially trying time. And I agree with the "pretend you don't care" idea regarding the potty...also like the "teach little brother" theory. I totally lucked out on potty training with Michael so I can't claim any authority or provide any solid ideas of my own. I am sure Liam will give us a run for our money to make up for that. Hang in there--I have learned that you are an awesome mommy..it won't all work out overnight but you will get there!!

Allecia said...

TOTALLY understand where you're coming from! I've realeased myself from doing many of the "fun" things this summer, and just hanging on (sometimes for dear life)and trying to enjoy the day to day. I figure, if "fun" things are too much work, they won't really be fun, right? I also try to remember what moms of older children keep telling me, "It goes by too quickly", so I try (and I did say try) to find something positive to enjoy about the here and now each day. I don't want a whiny preschooler, but I also don't think I'd trade it for a defiant teenager!
Praying for yoU!

Kelsey said...

Ah! I'm sorry I missed commenting here in a more timely manner.

I have those times, too, I think we all do. BUT that doesn't make them any less difficult.

Harper was an absolute nightmare from ages 2.5 to 3.5. Not that she's always a picnic now, but something has definitely shifted in a good way. It was a little less than a year ago that I constantly found myself wondering if we should take her for a psych evaluation she was so trying! (I'm not joking!)

Hang in there and call any time you want - the two little kid thing can be brutal.