Saturday, February 25, 2012

Surviving Boys

Every time I see a mom wrangling little kids in the store, on the sidewalk, at a restaurant or basically anywhere, I'm in awe. It's like I'm observing the ancient domestic rituals of an unknown people. A fascinating and enthralling spectacle in juggling. A high wire act. A performer on a flying trapeze...

You get the idea.

And while I marvel at her incredible two-handed feats, like simultaneously loading 10lbs of potatoes into a shopping cart while keeping a 3 year-old from climbing into the veggies to "take a shower" in the produce section, feeding an infant, talking on her cell phone and keeping the cart from rolling in the opposite direction with her foot, I'm one part amazed and one part, "Thank god I don't have to do that again."

They didn't have cell phones when my boys (who coincidentally are 18 months apart) were little.

Okay, maybe they did have them. But they certainly weren't as commonplace in 1998 as they are now and I think the only one that existed in our home belonged to my husband. It was for work. It was as large as a brick of good cheddar and had an antennae that could probably pick up signals from Mars. It was a beauty.

I can't imagine the kinds of accidents I would have had if I were trying to be that multitasking. And yet, here they are, modern mamas with all the distractions of today's technology, doing just fine.

I'd never survive if my kids were born today.

A friend of mine posted a picture on Facebook of what was left after her toddlers (boys, I might add...I completely understand the world she lives in right now but let me make this very clear, have no desire to trade places with her because oh, the work) decided to make waffles early one morning. Graham crackers, salt, pepper, powdered sugar, green food coloring and over $100 worth of vanilla beans (I would have sat down and wept myself into a puddle right there) covered a small area in her kitchen...

I wrote to her and told her about how we had to install a latch at the top of our kitchen door that led to our garage when our oldest was a toddler because he used to sleepwalk. I was petrified that he'd toddle his way out into the garage in the middle of the night and get hurt or worse...escape. Because isn't that what we with children of a certain age are really always afraid of, their escape?

Or was it poking their eyes out? I can't remember.

And then I said those words, "This too shall pass." And right then and there, I became my mother.

Not that that's a bad thing, because I think my mom is pretty cool, but no daughter wants to become her mother...ever. Not even when she's 85. Not that my mom is 85, she's really young. She's only...never mind.

Anyway, I said those words. I became my mother. I should probably avoid looking into any mirrors today because guess what I'll see? Yup. My mother. And if there's anything more annoying for a mom with toddler-aged kids to hear, it's those words. Because right there, in the moment, when your house is splattered with all kinds of goo and even though your sweet kiddos are safe and happy and perfectly unharmed all you can think of is, "When do I get a time-out?" At least that's what I used to think, when I'd sit at the table, observing their lunch of grapes cut in half (so they wouldn't choke), water (so they wouldn't get cavities) and sandwiches I'd made on bread that I baked (so they wouldn't eat chemicals and DIE!), and slugged caffeine like it was the last drop of sanity left on the planet before cleaning up the lunch mess, wiping their sticky faces and fingers and making a batch of homemade play-doh because who doesn't need one more project in their day?

You see, I do remember!

And yes, dear friend of mine with little ones, this too shall pass.

I promise.


Liz said...

My 2 youngest kids were born 3/29/00 and 2/15/01. read that right. Ten & 1/2 months (to the day!) apart. I didn't plan it that way. And honestly, I don't remember much of 2001. It's just one big blur.

When I came to, I remember wearing sweatpants & stretchy Tshirts & going to Walmart with my greasy hair in a ponytail & feeling like I looked "OK". I cringe now because it's kind of amazing I didn't end up on the people of walmart website. Truthfully, though, it was just because I was exhausted & trying to handle 3 young kids at one time while staying semi-sane. With one in a carseat, one on my hip & another one scurrying along behind me, it's amazing I ever got anything done. I used to joke that no one else could change the TP roll in the house because it was the ONE thing I could start & finish in one day!

Sigh....but you're right. This too will pass. And she'll look back & realize how sweet a time it was, no matter how insane & crazy!

Naptime Notes said...

Ok. First let me say that in the first three sentences I was jumping up and down in my head with hand raised yelling, "that's me, that's meeeee!!!!". Then I was thinking "YESYESYES, Boys are SO busy, and so much work, THANK YOU for validating that". Then I was thinking, "Aw Carrie, thank you for remembering, and recognizing HOW hard it is". And then I was giving myself a little pat on the back, because I was like, "yeah, it IS hard damn it, no matter how much it is my normal right now, It's still kind crazy".

Then I read that my crazy life was part of this post. Aw shoot. Then I about cried.

Let me tell you, friend. When I read those words, "this will pass" in reply to my chaotic picture of my reality, I was comforted. It is so good to hear that it won't carry on like this forever from someone who has been there. Of course I realize it won't get easier, the challenges will be different, but I have to believe that it's not quite the catastrophes later on.

Now this mommy is going to go try to put herself in a time out for sanity sake. :)

anotherjennifer said...

This post cracked me up. I have two boys - 3 and 6. I am that mom that is constantly multi-tasking and keeping the boys in check at the same time. I wonder what I look like sometimes in Target with them. I'm guessing it's entertaining.

Anyway, thanks for the words of encouragement. This too shall pass. Funny, I think I've said that to my friends with the one baby. Ugh.