Thursday, January 30, 2014

Unexpected encouragement

Leading his brothers in a morning exercise.

This might very well be my most random post, but it comes from a very honest place. Lately I've felt tired. I mean it-- straight up, worn out, used up, nothing left, another day?, tired. I've felt that the boys go day after day fighting the same fights, getting in the same trouble, picking on each other in the same ways, keeping me going and going and going without rest day after day after day. And those minutes I steal for myself-- taking a shower, sipping my coffee-- are interrupted by screaming and fighting and rule breaking.

I want to tell the toddler who comes in my bathroom when I'm trying to put a little make up on my face, "You wouldn't have a fat lip if you weren't jumping on the couch in the first place!"

I want to tell our 5-year old, "Your brothers wouldn't be screaming if you didn't bring that toy in here in the first place! You know that toy isn't supposed to be left down."

And why does the dog always have to go to the bathroom the minute the boys are napping, our 5-year old is watching a movie, and I've just settled on to the couch?

I feel people are overwhelmed when we show up, that my boys aren't listening. I feel they wiggle and fight and run and touch. They won't stand next to me, they won't use inside voices. I feel they are constantly wrestling, constantly wanting up and down and up and down, constantly screeching and fighting with each other.

I want to explain that we do have house rules. And that maybe it isn't always like this. But lately it does feel that it is always like this.

This afternoon I turned on the television and there was a show on TLC called "Quints by Surprise." I thought the babies would entertain the boys and so I turned it on. I was right, the 5 little toddlers did entertain the boys.

However, the show taught me a bigger lesson. The parents were doing all the same things that I do... and the toddlers were acting the same way our toddlers act. Yet when I watched the mom on television, I felt she was doing it all right and that her kids were well-behaved! Why am I doubting myself so much? I saw situation after situation play out with this bustling family-- from loading the toddlers up in the stroller, measuring them on a growth chart, spending the weekend at home-- and the toddlers were acting the same as my toddlers.

It sounds silly, I know, but watching this family made me feel that this is just life with toddlers. You do it all right, you talk to them right, you listen to them, you help them, and they will still throw temper tantrums. You help them take turns and they still fight with each other. You give the older sibling and job and they take it very seriously, upsetting younger siblings in the process... and it is all right. This is just life.

This family was like an extreme of our life. We have an older sibling and multiples-- just twins not quints. And sometimes life is crazy busy and sometimes you wait and wait for that moment where it is all easy and it all falls into place. The toddlers on television were adorable, seriously, all of them trying to help their daddy as they one after another accidentally spilled their own cup of milk on the carpet. I've been in those situations. You have one toddler trying to help, but really making it worse, and then the other jumps in and makes it an even bigger mess! Yet the dad on television was laughing at it all.

I Googled the family to see if they had a blog and they do, JonesLife. The first post on the page, "These Days," had this excerpt:
To answer the question we get quite often – no, these days are not any easier than the days that have gone before…though we’re hoping that the 5′s 5th year of life will bring some relief to our weary souls!  I’ll repeat:  no, it hasn’t gotten any easier; rather, the challenges have changed.  Gone are the sleepless nights, hello mega-attitude and meltdowns from 5 hyper-sensitive little beings trying to find their place in the world.  Gone is the endless parade of dirty diapers, hello pee accidents by the handful and the joys of taking 5 tots to the bathroom 5 times when we dare venture out of the house.  Gone are the days of bottle feeding and burping, hello knocked over milk cups, protests over what has been provided for a meal, food thrown across the table, and ginormous messes left at the dinner table…and the dinner floor…and the dinner clothes…and the dinner hands and faces…and so on and so forth.  No, things are definitely not easier by any barometer we can measure by…just different.
 Sometimes it such a relief to know that you are not the only one.


MandyE (Twin Trials and Triumphs) said...

I've seen that show. They seems like such a sweet (and real!) family.

I feel like I have a better reference point of how the average kiddo behaves, but my husband definitely does not. Our girls can frustrate him sometimes...but I really think their behavior is typical (actually, pretty good, most of the time!) for their age.

Glad you got some unexpected perspective! Hang in there, Mama! Rest when you can! :) :)

Kimber said...

They do seem very sweet and real. I've liked looking through their blog! Isn't it nice to get some much-needed perspective as a momma? :)