Friday, September 20, 2013

Mommy Holds It All Together (Barely)

I try to not write negative posts because really, who wants to read it? But then, I occasionally think, well, maybe people would like to hear the honest-to-goodness not-so-great stuff and not just the "highlight reel" that I typically broadcast. So, let's be honest here. This week has been loooooooooong and difficult.

Being a mom is really hard. Moms hold the entire family together. When I say "family" I mean the schedules for all children and pets PLUS household (and sometimes yard) maintenance. Of course, the mom also has to keep track of Daddy's schedule (and while this mommy thankfully does NOT need to do all the scheduling for her husband, I do at least need to know his meetings and appointments and have them noted on the master "MOM" calendar), in order to keep the family machine well-oiled and in working order. That is not counting anything that moms need (or want!) to do for themselves. Obviously this is a tall order, and even those of us who have you all relatively fooled by our exterior presentation don't really have it all together.

While I have tried to put a positive spin on some of the more challenging curve balls that life has catapulted my way, there are not too many silver linings that I can find at the end of this crazy week.

Let's start with my refrigerator, which had some crazy electrical or mechanical or whatever mishap that caused the light bulbs to remain on. All. The. Time. At first, this was just annoying. What's with the burning smell in the 'fridge? Then, when the cover actually melted and fell off, it became more obvious what caused the burning smell. However, we decided to just live with it. Who cares if there is no cover over the light bulbs, right? 

Wrong! Whatever underlying problem that caused the melting/burning/cover destruction continued until the point at which the refrigerator overheated and it actually cooked all the food! Yes, I spent Monday afternoon tossing out the contents of the refrigerator: milk, eggs, butter, cheese, yogurt -- all very questionable. Meat? Obviously not a good idea to keep. Condiments? Who knew if they were even safe. I erred on the side of caution and pitched it all.

Now, the silver lining here was that my refrigerator was very empty, which was convenient for giving it a thorough cleaning, likely the best cleaning it has ever seen since I became a mom. And, at least it happened on the day before trash day.

The bad news was all of the phone calls that I have had to make to try to get the darn thing fixed. I won't bore you with the details, but I had to make multiple calls to both the manufacturer and the repair company because ... honestly, I don't know why. These people must not have mothers manning the phones! If they did, questions would get answered accurately and promptly, and repeat phone calls would not be needed.

Tuesday was not too terrible by comparison. Mia was stressed out over school picture day, mainly because she did not want her photo to be taken by a "stranger." I didn't really know how to fix this one other than helping her get her hair right. A stranger? Maybe that was why she had such a weird look on her face for her kindergarten picture? It should be interesting to see how this year's school portrait turns out.

The following morning got off to a frustrating start. Things did not go as planned when Logan and I went in to help out at the elementary school. (Well, I went to help. He went with matchbox cars, crayons, and a coloring book.) Essentially, someone had finished a task that was meant to be done as a group, presumably because she thought that this was helpful. For some of us (okay, just for me, the one who showed up to help with the Little Man in tow -- after I had checked and received confirmation that this would be okay) this was not particularly helpful as he was ready to "play at the school" while Mommy worked. In four-year-old world, this meant a meltdown had to occur in the hallway, while classes were in session. Ugh! Plus, I had to come up with a plan B that was satisfactory him. This mainly included the playground (which we could not stay at for long, because like I said, classes were in session) and a consolation prize: a Dum Dum sucker. (Good thing I usually carry those!)

Thursday was quite educational. I would like to thank my husband for being the person to successfully collect the dog's urine sample, which was needed for her vet appointment. As you may have guessed, this was not a routine visit; it was a special appointment that I'd scheduled since she was urinating in the house. It turned out the be a urinary tract infection, which I was not even aware that dogs could get. Our previous dog, a cocker spaniel, never had any UTIs, but now I have learned that they are fairly common in bichon frises.

So, the good news, is that this is easy to take care of -- just assuming I can get her to swallow the antibiotics. I haven't found any partially chews tablets since yesterday morning, so I think we are okay, but have you ever tried to get a dog to take pills? I swear they have some sort of spring in the back of the throat to eject whatever is not immediately recognized as "food."

And the bad news? Well, naturally I feel guilty. (This had to come up at some point in this long venting post, right?) Yep. Guilty. She was peeing all over the place, little amounts, big amounts, all times of day and night, no rhyme or reason really, for about 3 months. And I was completely clueless that she was in pain. I actually thought she was mad at us for switching her food as we were trying out different grain free formulas to try to help her with her skin allergies (another breed tendency that I was aware of). Poor baby. I had even begun to wonder if she and Logan were conspiring against me. (That's a whole different story, but let's just say that potty training is VERY challenging with this child!)

Of course, that was not the end of the big to-dos. We also had to get through soccer photos. (This meant more irrational worrying about photos being taken by a stranger... and more anxiety about getting her hair just so!) Meanwhile, Mia has been complaining of pain in her legs for the past few days, so she was not all the happy to have to go to soccer practice in the first place. We have determined that this must be "growing pains" since she can't pinpoint a particular area and it seems to be pretty constant. Fortunately, she seemed more comfortable after a dose of pink children's ibuprofen.

We got through the photos, and the soccer practice, despite everyone being T-I-R-E-D. After practice, Logan's coach asked me if I could bring the snack for the game on Saturday morning. I wish she had asked sooner because I had already went to Kroger and Walmart this week and I don't really want one more thing on my plate! So, of course, I said I would. (Mom guilt. It'll get ya every time.) I turned to Brett and asked him to remind me to pick up a snack in the morning. In typical fashion he immediately replied, "Don't forget to buy a snack tomorrow."

Um, thanks, not what I had in mind. Then I told him, "Thanks for being the glue that holds this family together." The coach laughed, and said, "Ahhhh, sarcasm. I know it well." I told her, "I learned from the best!" So, truly, he shouldn't be surprised when I throw it back at him.

So, this morning we made the all-important trip to Walmart to buy soccer snacks. (And furnace filters, except they didn't have the size we needed. At least I don't think they did. That aisle was a bigger disaster than my life at present so who can tell?) In going from the furnace filter aisle to the snacks, I had to cross the desert of clearance clothing, and obviously I had to stop and look for things for the kids.

This is where things started to go downhill fast. Logan saw a shirt that he liked. It was several sizes too large for him and he had a hard time understanding why I wouldn't buy it for him. He tried to convince me, saying, "We can put in in my grow-into bin!" "Yes, we can," I agreed, "but it doesn't make sense to buy a size 8." So, we went around to the other side to look at the smaller clothes, which is about when he decided that it was okay to climb out of the cart. I didn't want him to, and a big hissy fit ensued. After some struggle, I got him back in the cart (not before being embarrassed in front of the other mom whose kid was not having a tantrum) and we made our way over to the grocery section to buy animal crackers.

Logan had another fit in the cracker aisle, and I don't even remember what this one was about. He wanted something and I wouldn't buy it for him, no doubt. I was very glad to leave Walmart.

Now, this is the point when I clearly lost my mind. Against my better judgment, I decided we should stop at the new resale shop in town to look for pants and sweatshirts for Logan. I knew he really needed fall/winter wardrobe items and I had not been able to find them at garage sales or consignment shops because boys wear their clothes! Amazingly, we found several sweatshirts that would work, and I had him help me narrow it down to one pull-over fleece, one hoodie, and a regular sweatshirt. He was even helpful enough to try on most of the jeans I found for him. They were all much too big in the waist, which is the ongoing problem we have, so I just got him the sweatshirts, but as I was ready to pay, he was not about to leave without the wooden excavator toy that he had found.

I tried everything in my repertoire:

  • "Say bye-bye to the toy, and we'll come see it another time." (Heck yeah, I found clothes that fit him! We would definitely be back.)
  • "Why don't we start a Christmas list when we get home? I'm sure Santa will be happy to know that you like that toy." (Yes, Santa is always happy to have ideas in plenty of time to find good deals.)
  • "I don't have enough money to buy the toy. Sorry." (I'm kind of worried about everything else that is costing me money this week, especially the 'fridge and the dog's vet bill.)
  • "When you put the toy down and we're out of the store, then you can have a Dum Dum sucker!" (What do you mean you don't want a sucker?! That usually works.)
  • "You don't have enough money for this either, but why don't we save up and come back when you have enough?" (Please, please....)
  • "Do you want me to call Daddy?" (I was running out of rational thoughts, and really, there is no rationalizing with a four-year-old. He might be able to help!)
  • "Okay, you can offer her your dollar and see what she says." (Not surprisingly, this didn't work.)
  • "Well, you've left me no choice. I have to yank it out of your hand and run!" (I know the owner understands what I am going through, but still, this is so embarrassing! And, of course, another customer would show up while I am in the midst of this...)

I managed to get out of that shop with only the items I had paid for, but not without several minutes of power-struggle. In fact, he was hitting me as we were heading out the door, so the other ladies may have heard me saying those age-old words, "No. We don't hit. Hitting hurts, and we don't hit..." By the time we got back to the van, Logan was so upset that I couldn't get him buckled into his car seat. We sat for a few minutes while he calmed down, but then I realized that he had taken off his shorts and underwear. Well, this was a first! 

On the way home, I had to pull over because he had managed to pull the box of animal crackers out of my shopping bag using his feet! (That's pretty clever, I've got to hand it to him!) Then, he had gotten a package out of the box and was trying to figure out how to open it when I noticed this in the mirror. Wow!

Despite it all, the tears, the yelling, the utter weirdness -- (Really? He took his underwear off to show me just how angry he was?) -- I am holding the family together this week. While I came close to losing it, I have managed not to let them "see me sweat,". (I finally get that expression now, because believe me, I was sweating after the resale shop incident.) Yes, this mama is the glue that holds her family together --
with a mixture of bubble gum flavored ibuprofen, hair elastics, and Dum Dum suckers --the tools of the trade, apparently.

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