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"Mommy" holidays

I woke up this morning after a long night with baby #4. Everyone seems to think he's teething, but I am not sure. I don't know why baby #4 is off, teething or a cold.

So after that night I came out this morning to a kitchen laden with dishes. That isn't an exaggeration. I have dishes on my stove top, piled in the sink, sitting in front of the microwave. Last night we made cookies. And dinner. And applesauce. Dinner required every bowl and blade of our food processor, which is still on the counter. Our kitchen is a mess.

Our children aren't eating. I make them food and they don't eat it. After making room in our kitchen to make breakfast, only one of them ate. I gave them whole grain bread with cinnamon and raisins, toasted with lots of butter on top. Eggs made to order. Yogurt with strawberries and a banana to boot. Water, as requested. Our oldest, of course, ate all his food, but left his dishes on the table. One of our toddlers ate his yogurt and played with his egg for a bit while shredding his bread. Our other toddler rearranged his plate and spilled his yogurt all over the table. Most mornings I just give them a banana and then an hour later they are complaining about being hungry. I was hoping to avoid that this morning by feeding them foods they like, except all they ate out of a plate of "toddler food" was their banana. {Read: "Why do I feed our toddlers?"}

All through breakfast they argued over who's "team" they are on. Boy 1 and Boy 2 are on the same team, but Boy 3 can't be on their team. Boy 3 wants to be on their team. They argued over it. Boy 1 and Boy 2 tried sword fighting with yogurt spoons all through the meal. Boy 3 wanted to put all the food he didn't want to eat-- which was all of it-- on the table instead of on his plate. Boy 2 sneezed and covered himself with bubbling sticky snot. While covered in snot standing by the kitchen trash with Kleenex, he started unloading our trash can of things I "accidentally" threw away. Of course said items were covered in egg shells and coffee grounds, so I had quite the time cleaning up the snot covered/trash covered toddler. The cat discovered a strong love of yogurt and spent her time jumping up and swatting at the children while trying to eat their yogurt.

I have some Christmas shopping to finish up. I haven't wrapped hardly any of our Christmas gifts. I'm trying not to stress out over the Christmas items that we ordered weeks ago from Zulily that promised a Christmas delivery {where are they???}. I have a kitchen to clean. A house to clean. Fights to break up between our children. A fussy baby. I forgot to do advent calendars with the kids this year-- totally forgot. I gave myself a hair cut last night because it has been so long since I last had my hair cut and I have no idea when I'll ever find the time to get back in to the salon. 2 of our 4 children are congested; 1 more seems to be coming down with it.

Sometimes I feel like I have expectations in my mind of what family life is all about. I get this vision of our children in footie pajamas sitting under the tree watching the Christmas train and flipping through Christmas books while my husband and I snuggle on the couch watching stop motion films. I can feel a little overwhelmed when one boy is beating his brother with a Ravensburger puzzle and another is playing Minecraft on our tablet. This holiday season flew by. Where did all the time go? There are so many things I wanted to do. We still haven't ridden a Christmas train {don't they keep running until New Years?}. We went caroling once and couldn't go to the next one due to an ill-timed doctor's appointment. I can't help but feel that we must soak in this year because next year my husband will be back on a submarine and-- where? Out to sea? On shiftwork? Working? I don't know. I had the same feelings at Halloween {Read, "Mommy courage"}. As I write this blog post one of our toddlers is following our other toddler around the house taking his toys and generally picking fights. Seriously, all they have done since they got down from breakfast is fight. "That my toy! He's touching me! He's sitting next to me! He's looking at me! He's taking my toy!" Can't we just enjoy Christmas? Can't we just sing and snuggle and drink hot chocolate without counting who had how many cookies and who is touching your napkin or who is drinking too loud/fast/not enough/spilling/making a mess?

Wrapping everything they can get their hands on and putting it under our tree :)

I suppose this is family life. I know that when I go out with my girlfriends for dinner and hear about the shenanigans that went down while I was gone I laugh. I probably laugh until I cry at least once a day; our children seriously crack me up. There are moments where I want to pull my hair out. {I don't actually have to pull my hair out-- it is doing quite well falling out on it's own. As a defense mechanism or maybe advanced evolution, some strands are turning gray and hanging on for dear life.} I can't imagine being anywhere else or doing anything else. I am going to miss this even next year when perhaps our 3-year olds don't wrap everything in sight, including my Target receipts and their bedtime stories, placing their "presents" under the tree. I'm going to miss our 6-year old being so excited about a simple download, purchasing Minecraft for our tablet. I'm going to miss baby #4 being almost 6 months old. He is so sweet with his smiles and hands grabbing my face to pull it in and look at me closer. I don't think I will miss the incessant 3-year old whining {times two}, but maybe I will; maybe I will laugh at how ridiculous and over the top and constant it was for that brief period in time.

As a little girl, all I wanted was to grow up, marry a prince, have babies, wear ball gowns, read books, and write novels. I've since discovered that even when you marry your prince, it isn't all happily ever after. You have fights and miscarriages and arguments over finances and silent seething anger over the laundry. Your babies demand every minute and hour of your day while pulling your hair and destroying your house. You pour and pour and pour yourself into every minute of every day and wonder if anyone notices half of what you do. Your ball gowns don't fit one year to the next. You start 3 or 4 books and finish 2. You work and work on the Next Great American Novel and seem to get nowhere, not that you would ever find the courage to publish it.

There is an element of disenchantment to adulthood that I never anticipated. My mother is the most beautiful woman I have ever met and I just wanted to be her when I grew up and now I see that there is more to being a woman than what I thought as a child. She is all of the things I thought she was when I was a little girl, but more. She is far more patient than I ever thought. She gives far more than I ever thought. Her beauty and strength are much deeper and more powerful than I ever knew. I remember sitting by her vanity and watching her get ready as a girl. The smell of her powder, the hair spray still hanging in the air, her perfume. I was drawn to her. Drawn to finding my Mr. Darcy. Drawn to the freedom of adulthood, attending holiday balls and fantastic Christmas parties where I could have my first sip of champagne. Perhaps I need to be a little more patient and the Austrian nun will swoop in our house and suddenly our children will don matching outfits made from gorgeous curtains {not that we even have curtains hanging in our house} and sing in harmony. But life is messy. We are far more like the March family than the von Trapps, and that is okay. I'm far more like my mother than I ever thought. There was a short period of time when I felt I didn't want to grow up to be exactly like my mother; now I can't imagine being anything else.

My prince is a submarine officer. My house full of children is all boys that can't find matching socks or clean shirts to save their lives. And our Christmases have their own twist of merry and bright.

Happy holidays from my family to yours!


Anonymous said…
Hi kimber! I feel your pain. Man it was so real as I read it!! I'm in bed with my lost voice having revealed itself as coughing and hacking leading to a headache. Guess I actually was sick! Daniel is here with me watching Thomas the train. Five others are downstairs hopefully not trashing t. Babh is napping and about to get up to eat again. Here's a link to my blog last year about holiday expectations you might like :) I haven't blogged in a year, and maybe some day I will tell you why, but for now it's too painful. I can't even read my blog from the past because it makes me feel like my life was full of foolishness even though it wasn't. Like the past year has made me feel like everything I did was worthless so everything I blogged was useless. Anyway I hope you like reading it -
Anonymous said…
Forgot the link...

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