PPMS

So at the end of last week, afterI shared my previously written post, I thought things were actually on the ups. I mean, come the weekend, I survived our first Saturday Soccer Morning Shenanigans (we are coaching two kids on one team while a third kiddo is on a different team and naturally everything happened at the exact same time on far opposite sides of the field space for round one) AND Easter festivities on Sunday and was actually feeling OK. Not quite so much face-on-concrete, which is nice, you know? I was all Heck yeah, this B6 is working! 

But then the week came and I have been huffing and puffing my way through the nausea and back to waking up for hours on end during the mid-to-early-morning part of night and just Blergh. I’m not doing so great. Like any other human, I get cranky when I’m behind on sleep. When you add in the “nothing sounds good to eat and that I’m having a hard time swallowing water much less my little vitamin that’s supposed to keep me from urping” factor, I am not a terribly pleasant person these days. I never am in the first (and last, and maybe middle) part of pregnancy, and darn it – my oldest two are definitely old enough this time around for Pissy Pregnant Mommy* Syndrome to stick in their little memories.  *Note the use of my non-preferred mom name there, although I get called a little bit of everything by my children, including “ma’am” which is pretty funny. I’m using it here because I’d like to think this is my evil twin mom persona and therefore should not contain the actual word “mama” in it. Have I mentioned that pregnancy makes me both cranky and crazy?

So anyway. Interesting week around here. Back to more of the face-across-concrete to get through the daily routine, not to mention the finishing of a semester in adjunct world and the maintaining of a new business and a house and yeah. Don’t get me wrong. These are all wonderful blessings. Even the extreme exhaustion and 24/7 icks in my tummy are good because I know every single day brings me closer to not only 14 Weeks when I’ll start to feel human again, but also to meeting this newest sweet peanut and while I obviously would give back the tireds and the tummy troubles, I wouldn’t actually trade this opportunity for anything in the world.

And, to be fair, not all has been lost this week. In fact, today, Lincoln and I had the sweetest darn moment when he was helping me clean the house (because I had to, people, NOT because this was anywhere on my actual list of wants or even priorities) and I thanked him, mid-load of carrying crap from one room to another, and he responded, “We’re a great team, Mommy!!!!” (see, he’s one who “mommy”s me a lot and therefore I don’t hate it, but you know a name’s a name, and I just like “mama” better), which melted my cranky heart right to puddles (and even, almost, made up for the massive fit he threw later in the day when we had to return an overdue library book that he very much wanted to keep forever and ever and always, apparently).

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Zero bits to do with the post, except that it’s a great shot of Lincoln showing off the bird feeder he made this week at preschool. Again, heart melted. 

So it will probably go for the next 5-30 weeks. We’ll have our moments of crankiness and we’ll have our moments of sweetness, and somehow we’ll get from one chore to the next and one week to the next and not all will be lost. Not even when I’m at my crankiest and my craziest, because we are in fact all a very good team.

Fourth Kid: A Short Essay on How I Do It

Just kidding. There is no way I am about to get all pontificat-y on parenting. If anything, you know that when people ask me how (or praise me for doing) what I do as a mom, I have a hard time not laughing and saying, “I have no idea how I do it either!”

But really, there is some truth in that. Much of my mom life is completely winging it, just like everyone else, because – as we all know full well – there is no one right thing that works for every kid and every parent. That’s life.

While I will stick to my long-ago claim of it doesn’t matter how many kids you have, raising tiny humans is hard, I will admit that some things have changed about me as a parent since I wrote that post. For one, I’ve let down some of my standards.

Before you think I’ve lost it, let me clarify: I have learned to let some of the minor shit go so it doesn’t become major, and that too is a personal and unique journey for each of us as parents (or as individuals). In my parental life, the best (albeit maybe silly) example I can give you is this: I no longer force the children to stay at the table when they eat (snacks, that is).

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Yes, I legit took a picture of floor sweepings. Yes, I had just swept this flour in the last 36 hours. 

Ground breaking, eh? But it’s actually an interesting progression of control and what it means to relinquish some of that in the name of embracing the mess. No, really, because this slippery slope has led to waaaay more mess in my house and it’s the really annoying kind where you step on pretzels and Cherrios all the time, but honestly, I just don’t have the fight in me to make them stay put anymore while they snack.

For one, I don’t want to be at the table for 80% of my day, and as my friend Megan’s blog name will attest – being a Keeper of the Snacks is a legit part of motherhood as far as any of us can tell.

For 1.A, I have other shit to do. Most of it involves picking up after my little crumb spillers and mess makers, so you know, Catch 22, but seriously. When it comes to battling over keeping them in their seats versus following them through the house with a broom, well, fine. At least I’m up and moving.

But what this phenomenon is really all about is The Tunnel and the fact that I know have one, almost two!, kids out of it. And this is why it doesn’t matter so much how many children you have, but how far apart they are in age. Because once your littler one(s) see your bigger one(s) doing something, by goodness, they are going to want to do it, which should mean that my older children have been setting wonderful snack consumption manners examples for my youngers (because the Bigs actually did have these rules enforced), there’s just a bit too much coming and going and here and there to worry about where so-and-so is when they eat an animal cracker. Or a graham cracker. Or a WheatThin. Or Ritz. Goodness. Why do we eat so many crackers in this house?

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This guy is Culprit No.1, followed by LT at a close second. 

And so. Along with the mountains of laundry, I sweep the floor umpteen times a day. My couch cushions are at times crunchy feeling, and Lord in Heaven, I once found the 7yo eating a graham cracker in my bed (that was NOT okay, btw!). In other words, motherhood is messy. Literally and figuratively. And what I’ve learned from/by the fourth kid is that that is perfectly acceptable.

 

Someone Loves Scissors (and other random Tuesdayness)

Oh my word. I guess the full moon before Christmas is always an interesting one, but my children have been in FINE form today. I give you a semi-chronological list of evidence:

  1. The Bigs emptied every blessed book from our shelves this morning into two huge piles on our couches in a counting contest to see who could get more in their pile. I’ve never thought there was such a thing as too many books until today. Bright side – the shelves now look impeccable because I sorted them as I made the kids bring them back to me after breakfast? img_4482
  2. Lincoln, the child I can never for the ever loving life of me get dressed in anything img_4478other than pajamas, flat out refused to wear PAJAMAS for PAJAMA DAY at preschool. Last night? Totally stoked. Going to wear footies. Today? Not having it. Not one bit.
  3. While waiting in between drop off times for preschool, Raegan was like a loud pinball in the hallway – literally bouncing off the walls and chairs and floor while she played with the baby and some other friends that play the same waiting game we do every T/Th. Seriously. Who caffeinated my children this morning?!
  4. Truman has become the Mad Thrasher any time I go to pick him up for a diaper change. He wants so badly to do his own thing that clearly my desire to keep him dry and smelling so fresh and so clean, clean is totally insulting. Also, he wants to walk. And he gets mad when things or his feet or poor balance get in the way. Also, he is fighting a cold. And he gets mad when I try to wipe his face. Basically, he’s just having A (MAD) WEEK.
  5. The Middles tend to get into a lot of shenanigans while I nurse the baby for his afternoon nap, but today each one had their own infraction. Lincoln, I discovered after coming back downstairs, had taken his glass glass from lunch and chucked it on the floor, which resulted thankfully not in it breaking, but in orange juice (also fighting a cold) being all over the floor. Perhaps this explains why I did not notice RL’s issue until I went to wash my hands in the bathroom and discovered hair in the sink. img_4481
  6. Yep, the girl who loves love loves to color and then cut paper, finally took the scissors to her hair. It doesn’t help that two boys have haircuts today and she doesn’t, but thankfully I can’t even see where she took the chunk out of her hair, so I guess all is well still for her preschool program at the end of the week and we don’t have to add a third cut to the hair dresser docket.

And you guys, this was all before 1:00 p.m.! These children, I tell ya!

But in some not-exasperating-at-all news, I picked up a post at Her View From Home this week and it is live on their site today. It’s about telehealth which I totally didn’t even really know what a legit thing until we tried it over the weekend. Have you ever used it? Fascinating stuff!

So – the rest of Tuesday….well, TBD, I guess. Here’s hoping the shenanigans are out of the way!

Game OVER

In what appears to be an alarming trend this month, we – the Welschies – find ourselves in the midst of another long and rocky week. Like FULL to the max with commitments for the grownups and still not done as tomorrow is a 12+ hour-long day for Ben because of PTCs.

Apparently the Little Welschies wanted to add to the fun and hilarity of our schedule because they started their Wednesday at 5:30 a.m. – except neither Ben nor I realized that because the little buggers SNUCK DOWNSTAIRS AT 5:30 IN THE MORNING AND TURNED ON THE WII AND PLAYED MARIO KART UNTIL WE GOT UP AND FOUND THEM AT 6:45.

WTFAYFKM – all rolled into one – is how one might describe the looks on our faces when we realized just how early they had gotten up and just how they had been spending their time.

A little backstory: weekend before last, we attended a fundraiser for Food4Thought, one of our local faves when it comes to mission, donating, and events. They do amazing work in the community and are excellent at engaging kiddos in their cause. They have this not-so-little fall shindig with a Mario Brother’s obstacle course that our crew adores, and this year the event also included a projector hooked up to a Wii with Mario Kart on tap. img_4517

Now, Mario Kart is not entirely foreign in our house. I am positive my kids have seen Ben play it before (but not nearly as obsessively as he did in college, tyvm) and have maybe even tried it themselves, but not extensively, by any means. But they got a chance to try it at the fundraiser and liked it (even though, really, a 3yo? Not exactly the best racer skills…), so we’ve played a few family rounds with our own copy of the game since then.

OK. Fine. No harm done.

Until this morning when one of them got a freaking wild hair to wake up his (I’m guessing here) siblings and entice them to go downstairs where they raced for an hour and fifteen minutes unawares to their parental units.

Actually – that’s not entirely true.

I was totally woken up by thumping above my head, but since I don’t (can’t) sleep near a clock, I have no idea what time that was and, at the time, I just assumed it was bathroom breaks (except then no one came down to tell me good morning and after a bunch of tossing and turning I fell back asleep only to be woken up later in the middle of a really weird dream to the news that my children were downstairs helping themselves to video games before the crack of dawn. Awesomeness).

As you can imagine, their behavior and awake factor was wonderful the rest of the day.

Actually, I could already see the ill effects of that much screen time that early in the day before anyone left/went to school, and I honestly considered sending apology notes to their teachers but that would have involved explaining the apparent free-for-all nature of our house and that just didn’t seem like a good idea.

Somehow everyone got through the day without falling asleep (except for the sweet babe who still naps), but the end of the day was not without tears and extra long stalling, because that is what overtired children do best. They also excel at getting up really early instead of sleeping in to recover, so you can bet we are unplugging and hiding the Wii to avoid future such adventures.

For Pete’s sake. Or eff’s. Take your pick.

 

3yo Body Snatchers

You know all those posts out there about how three-year-olds are a**holes? And all those memes that echo the same sentiment? And you know how they are all funny because they are rooted in deep, dark truth?

Well, let’s see if we can find some humor here, because, holy mother of Threenagers, something ate my kid and I’d really like him back. Now.

Case in point? The kid who doesn’t want to wear long sleeves or long pants, much less a coat, has no morphed into the kid who doesn’t want to go to preschool. Ever. Silver lining side note: I should probably pause for a second to give thanks for the fact that I am getting him to wear long sleeves and long pants, that is, 3/7 days of the week (the two he has preschool and the one we have church), so technically this is a win, and I think that any and all wins should be celebrated with 3yos, so yay me for successfully wrestling my kid into actual clothes a little less than half of the days a week in Nebraska in November. My awesomeness can’t be stopped.

But, as it goes, the second you get over one hurdle, another one appears and it often seems not only taller but also louder than the last. Mixed metaphor you say? I invite you to my house any morning between the hours of 7-8:30 a.m. on Lincoln’s preschool days because his displeasure at the prospect of going to school (and not just dropping RL off, which is what he does – in pajamas – the other three days of the week) is NOT quiet. Nor does it ever seem to end, so I think mixing metaphors is only expected at this point, don’t you?

This concern of his started with swimming lesson days which happen just twice a month, but when you only go to preschool two days a week, I guess that actually seems like a lot of swimming days, but then suddenly, this week, his “I don’t WANT TO GO TO SCHOOLs” have seeped over into the nonswimming days too. And this from the kid who spent ALL OF LAST YEAR wishing to go to school like his Bigs, every blessed day. AYFKM? How is this even happening?

Body Snatchers are the only possible answer I can find. Do you have anything else to propose?

Because ultimately, once I get him to preschool and he goes in his classroom (which thankfully is without tears or tantrum), he is fine. His teacher and I talked about the situation this morning and sure enough, when I came to get him at the end of the morning, she reported that he was totally good the whole time. And when I asked him if he had fun, he said yes! And when I asked him if he was excited to back to school next Tuesday, he said NO!

Crap.

And so we here we are: at the place where I am so glad that the next four mornings I get to tell him, “Nope – no school for you today!” when he inevitably asks first thing in the morning but will most likely still be faced with the stressful why-are-on-earth-are-we-paying-for-preschool-for-this-kid-if-it-is-just-torturing-all-of-us dilemma next Tuesday.

The growing number of gray hairs on my head is not shocking. Their source, not hard to identify. But are they funny? Well, maybe someday. img_4079

Here I Am, Stuck in the Middle with You (and You)

When I found out on RL’s first birthday that I was pregnant with Baby #3, I was surprised to say the least. When LT came out exactly 8 months later (they are 20 months – to the day – apart), I probably should have figured right then and there that these two close babes would be, well, close. And now that we have sweet Truman in the mix? It’s official – our Middles are quite the pair.

As a product of a two-kiddo family, I don’t actually get the whole Middle Child thing. I mean, I know enough from pop culture to get the gist, but when I refer to Raegan and Lincoln as our Middles, I don’t know if I am fitting or fighting the MC stereotypes. What I mean, simply, is that they are without comparison, except for maybe each other.

They are partners in crime, best friends, at each other’s throats, and all the other cliches in a matter of minutes, all day long.

Lately they have been giving me fits in the (ha – shocking) middle of the day when I am trying to nurse TJ and get him down for his afternoon nap. In order to do that, I have to leave the Middles to play on their own for an extended bit of time, which on Tuesday resulted in me coming down to find them with Amazon packages that they had COLLECTED THEMSELVES FROM THE FED-EX GUY (OR WAS IT UPS? I WOULDN’T KNOW! I WASN’T THERE!) AT THE FRONT DOOR AFTER UNLOCKING IT AND OPENING IT WHEN HE RANG THE DOORBELL.

Can you sense my frustration here?

For the love of all things holy, how many times have I told them not to go outside without me?!

Their defense? We didn’t go outside, Mama. We just opened the door. 

And they also managed to disable my iPhone to the extent that it locked itself down for so many minutes before I could access it again.

Insert Face Palm here. Doh. And WTAF?!

So, after a lovely conversation about how opening the door to people when Mama is not around could result in someone coming in our house or someone TAKING THEM, I made them swear and promise and pledge and all the other things that they would not do this again. And don’t touch Mama’s phone!

Then, a day later, because I have learned a thing or two in life as a parent of wee ones, I told them what I wanted them to do should the doorbell ever ring when I am with the baby instead of focusing on what not to do. Come get me, I said. Come tell me that someone is at the door and we will deal with it together.  Because I would much rather interrupt nursing and nap (seriously) than have this crap continue.

Sure enough, yesterday they came scurrying to find me, to tell me that the doorbell had rung (no, we don’t have an Amazon problem, tyvm), and I was so proud of them. They listened! Yay, Middles!!

Flash forward to today. No doorbells. No deliveries. No interruptions. I put on some music and they were still playing when I came back down after putting Trumy down, but right away I noticed no music. And there was Linky telling me, “Raegan touched your phone.” and Raegge telling me, “NO I didn’t!” but it took all of one glance at said phone to see pictures of Lincoln that I did not take to see that yes, yes she did, but oh wait, there was also a missed call from my MIL, so I called her back.

And you know what we discovered? She was calling me back but I never called her, so really neither one of us really meant to call the other, which is to say that the Middles totally caused these shenanigans when they clearly were not touching my phone.

DOH. Again.

Oh, well. At least this time they didn’t leave the house or open the door to a stranger or disable/break anything. And actually, they gave us a pretty good laugh when we realized what was going on and that no one needed anything frantic or urgent in the middle of this TGIF day.

Oh, RL and LT. You are so many things.Entertaining is certainly right up there toward the top of the list.

Photography by Raegan:

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Zip It, Lock It (send Mama in a rocket?)

Truth be told, the Welschies are doing well. We are handling the plate spinning and baton passing and are still smiling.

Perhaps the tone of the blog as of late doesn’t quite reflect that, but you know me – never one to shy away from reality, so in that spirit (and not one of flat-out complaining or hair pulling (no wait, the baby did pull out a fist full of my hair this morning! OUCH)), I present to you my two Littlest Men: The Somehow Suddenly has ALL the Clothes Issues Possible in a Toddler/Preschooler, and The Getter-Intoer of All Things Quick Guy.

First: The Won’t Zip It (because he won’t put it on) Dude.

Oh my word. You know about the pants debacles. Right? PANTS. Today it was also a long-sleeved shirt disaster. I remember these days from Harrison’s toddlerhood, so I know this too shall pass, but I need to find a way to make this go better without 1) wrestling him into the clothes and/or 2)S.O.S. texts to my bestie before 8 in the morning. Thankfully, the shirt thing was over soon (and all I did was ignore him long enough for him to finally stop pulling on the sleeves and put on his socks. Winning) and I was able to snap this happy pic of him: img_3963

But the shirt was actually a secondary issue this morning for LT. The REAL concern came from his swimming trunks as today is his first time for preschool swim lessons and Little Dude did NOT want to put on his trunks.

Now, Lincoln is my water guy. He LOVES the pool when we set it up in the backyard. But when we tried this summer to get him to stop wearing swim diapers, he flipped out, and so this morning’s reaction to our request of Here, put your trunks on so you can swim at school was not exactly a shocker. What was surprising was that I “lost.”

Yep. Even though we had the *#$# trunks on him twice before 8 a.m., they did not stay on, and I ended up taking him to preschool in his shorts (duh) with his trunks and towel in his backpack. Even with two hesitant swimmers in the past, this has never happened before, and I felt a little bit ashamed and embarrassed when I had to tell his teacher what the deal was. Side note: he was totally fine – thrilled, even – to be carrying his extra bag with all of his swim stuff in it. Thankfully, she was super gracious and said she would work on it with him and they would just see how things went. I wish her all the luck in the world and I will continue to shout it from the rooftops that we love our preschool so much, exactly for reasons like this. I am beyond curious to hear how it went when we go pick him up in an hour.

Second: The Door Opener Extraordinaire!

Oh, Trumy. Why? WHY must you be hell bent on all things not meant for you? img_3551This includes shoes, grass, rocks, small things, stairs, and yes, doors. Any door will do, but his favorites are of course the gate to the front door, the low cupboards in the kitchen, the pantry cupboard doors, and yes, the SHOWER.

How the eff does an almost 13 month-old open a shower he can’t possible even reach the handle of you, you might ask? With his perfectly sized to fit in the crack fingers where he can then pull and pop it open in two seconds flat. And naturally, to open the door is not enough. One must also venture through the door into the shower which is always wet in the morning and never a place I actually want him playing.

img_3964So yesterday, in a moment of brilliance and desperation, I went searching for a child-lock that I bought years ago for our fridge (I have forgotten which sibling was the culprit) but never used, and was able to find it (small miracles, my friends). And by another small miracle (and a lot of careful positioning because it had to be just right), I got it attached so that you can now in fact lock our shower from the outside. And it is actually even Truman proof! Winning again!

Oh, these children. Bless their hearts for keeping me on my toes always. And bless this space for being a safe zone for recording all of their shenanigans. Otherwise I really might be in a rocket to the moon by now. 😉