Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Down at the beach...and a meltdown

A few weeks ago we thought it was summer. Of course that was before all the cold and rain and parkas and boots. The weather is coming back around again though so the beach days should return.

This is a place that we can hang out together and enjoy quietness. We don't squabble or bicker, well not as much. I must remember to bring BOTH buckets next time.

It is also a place that I do a lot of thinking. It becomes my bath tub time and I am not confined to the tub!

So anyway, maybe it is time for me to do a little bearing. In the spirit of my beach mind or my tub time here is a glimps at some moments and thoughts and stuff going on.

Tonight. I'll start there. Ahhhh. (big sigh) Maybe I should back track, I'll fill you in on the day, what a day.
It started so well. We cleaned up a bit, ate breakfast, cleaned more, vacuumed, swept, and did other random house stuff and then a friend of my mom's stopped by with her extremely talented daughter to play our piano for a few minutes.
A diaper was changed. It was a big deal and a mini bath came with the package and then it was nap time for the little guy!
Then we went out on the front step for a while and released our butterflies that had hatched. That whole project is a story for another day and I need to edit the photo's still so.... after releasing butterflies the older two played in the sand box for a few minutes before coming in for lunch.
Now, playing in the sandbox is Ethan's favorite thing to do and he had missed it over the last week with the rain so he was especially excited to get dirty.

However of course that meant a little stress with sand on everything and a bath was then in order. Stress relieved, and this reminds me that his sandy wet clothes are still hanging on the front rail.

After lunch was quiet time so coloring and books were brought out. Hudson woke up after a bit so the playing started and I started to wish that I had had a nap too.
I was starting to fade a little but plugged on with a few chores, supper prep and finding Waldo.
After some peaceful Polly pocket play we came out to the living room, put on some music, danced and sang praises to God and then I sat down, whew.
Then for some reason the fighting broke out. It started as hugging Hudson since he was awake and it turned into hugging everyone and then knocking Hudson onto his bum by tickling and poking his belly. I ended that quick but then K and E thought it would be fun to spin around and around and of course this means they knock into each other and then there is crying so that had to stop. Then leap frog ensued and that lasted until they started falling all over each other and then argued over who hurt who and there were tears. Time for a break so they were sent in opposite directions for a few minutes to cool down. Ah....

The next couple hours were fine, I think, I cannot remember now so I am guessing they were fine. Hudson had his lunch and I hung out on the phone a bit. That never goes well. It seems that if the phone rings then I am needed immediately. Drinks are fetched and snacks made, the dishes are piling up and supper needs to get started.

Hudson is ready for nap number two and I am so ready to join him. I put on a DVD of Bible stories and break out the watermelon. Hudson goes down and I get to lay there for a few moments listening to the other two with their video before getting up to make supper.
The movie ends, play continues I get supper in the oven and sit to read an inspirational chapter in my Tea leaves book about having a sweet spirit and letting the love of God shine in every situation, I am then stirred emotionally and feel guilty for raising my voice. I spend a few moments in prayer before Hudson wakes up and we eat.
Well most of us eat. Ethan has had issues with supper lately and even though I try to make it look like something he should like and has liked he thinks it is "ewwwwy." So he played with his drink, put sauce on his food, pushed it around and then was done.

After supper Hudson had a good bath, and of course Ethan wanted one too so he jumped in the baby tub for his turn. He lasted 3 minutes and got out while I went to put Hudson in bed. Chasing and screaming erupted a few minutes later so getting the little man to sleep was abandoned to put out the fire which happened to be a fight over a toy toothbrush. Ethan reminded me that he wasn't dried off and I explained that he only got half wet and had air dried.
Back to getting ready for bed and Ethan runs to the washroom to do his business while I get Kaitlyn's nighty on.
Then everything goes way down hill. He does his business and I ask him if he would like to dump it in the toilet. He says no so I do and apparently I shouldn't have. Oh the crying!
I try to console and comfort but there is no use. I then leave the room to grab Hudson and when I come back he has his little potty and is digging his business out of the toilet so he can dump it back in him self. What the heck?! I am freaking out inside, we had just talked about him getting to do it the next time and once business is in the toilet that is it, flush already and be gone!
Finally he moves on but only to go back to screaming about still needing to get dried off from his bath. I once again reminded him that he got out over 20 minutes ago now and air dried while running around.
I was crying inside and my tears started to flow as I crumpled to the floor in his room and tried again to explain that he was already dry.

He still screamed to get dried off and I didn't want to cave in and fake dry him off, I felt as though I was already on the end of a loosing battle with what had gone down with him fishing for his business in the toilet after I had already told him not too. What to do when he is so hysterical?! Do I just cave so he quiets down?
I still had the chapter that I had read about sweetness ringing in my head as I reviewed how I reacted and I started to sob. I failed. I had yelled and pointed when I sent him to his room from the washroom and I felt miserable for it. I had let my frustration with the situation and my inability to control it overwhelm me.
I sat with Ethan and apologized to him for raising my voice and talked to him about his behavior and my reaction. As we talked Kaitlyn brought in Kleenex and dabbed my tears, hugged me and patted my hair while Hudson crawled up and rested his head on my bulging belly.
Ethan got really quiet, listened, crawled over and onto my lap and hugged me and said he was sorry too.
And then Dave walked through the door.

I had planned on being cheerful and sexy and sweet when he came home and he found me on the floor with raccoon eyes, three children on my lap surrounded by wadded up kleenex.


Things went back to normal after that. Dave took Hudson to bed while I helped K and E brush teeth and climb into Kaitlyn's bed for story time. She had brought this big book on stars, galaxies and astronomers and told me that she would need to borrow it when she is a scientist so she can teach me about stars. She went on to explain that when she is a scientist (she decided that she wanted to be a scientist a few weeks ago so everything seem to evolve around science lately) she also plans to study dinosaurs and will need to do some digging. Ethan then chirps in that he need equipment too because he is going to be a fire fighter. I asked if he needed a hat and he said no, just a big fire truck.
And the sweetness and cuddles and giggles over moon dust melted my heart. We settled in one big snuggle to read a few chapters before discussing how our hearts are like flower gardens and we need to fill them with sweet and nice flowers like obedience and pull the weeds like disobedience and lying. Then it was prayers, kisses and lights out.
As I stood and gazed at their little sleeping face I was filled with awe and gratitude and huge sense of responsibility. I want to make every moment count, make every moment that I can teachable. I want to be able to maneuver creatively through hard situations and not be broken down on the floor wondering what to do. I don't know if this is all normal or if I am screwing up somehow, I don't know if Ethan's behavior was normal or if he does have a form of Autism spectrum disorder as one doctor suggested could be the case.

I wonder some days how it is in other homes. I have days that are awesome, like the days we go to the beach with a big basket of goodies. But then I have days that I just need more sleep to tackle and coffee just doesn't go that far. I know I am way more emotional and tired when I am pregnant too but is that an excuse? Oh that elusive balance I am always seeking.

So that is just one day, not including the fact that we might be moving into a camper in a month or that there is a lot going on with me spiritually and of course there is always room for improvement in our marriage, painting orders to complete and weeds to pull. Why or why do we need sleep?


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a typical day for a stay at home mom! A good majority of us don't currently have the excuse of extra pregnental hormons!!
Just enjoy the good when it's good and try to be posative in the tougher times. Tears release needed hormons too, so a regular cry-fest is no big deal. You are a wonderfully great and blessed mom!
End supportive and encourageing to the rest of moms too, Thanks! Brandie

Sombra said...

Sounds like many a day in my house. And I did wonder as I read if Ethan was like my Myles with a learning difference. Here's a little hug for the future my Myles is amazing, no drugs for his ADHD. Learn and read about the autism, and then raise your boy with knowledge and prayer and rejoice in the difference with which God made him. He's not broken. He's unique.

Angela Fehr said...

Parenting is wonderful...with moments of sheer horror. That's crazy mommy life for you!
Reading the post, I didn't think "autism" with Ethan, just "over-tired" - that's a hard time of day in our house.

Kori said...

We all have days like that, I promise, and I wish I could tell you that it would get better but it's just like anything else-sometimes it is great and sometimes it sucks and it's all just part of the deal, you know? I send you hugs today, though, and prayers.

bethany actually said...

Oh, Anna. I would hug you if I could, it sounds like you need a hug and a pat on the back and to hear that you're a good mom who loves her kids, doing the best she can at a hormonal, stressful time! :-)

Reading about Ethan's breakdown, I was totally thinking, "Sounds like a TIRED kid and a TIRED, distracted mom." Sometimes kids as young as Ethan need something but they don't have the emotional/verbal knowledge to tell us what, especially when they're tired, so they just freak out and scream and cry. I've been there before, and I know how frustrating that is! Only when I've been there, I only had one kid to deal with, and you had three! I think you handled it exactly right. You apologized for the yelling that you were feeling bad about, and you talked calmly to Ethan why you were upset and why his behavior was wrong.

You know, it actually HELPS kids when adults admit their mistakes and apologize for them, because that way they are learning that even grown-ups make mistakes, and that it's okay to admit you're wrong and apologize. Some kids never see adults do that and they grow up with a warped idea of how to behave towards others, you know?

I don't know enough about Ethan to say yes or no to the Autism spectrum thing, but I do know enough about Autism (I have a nephew who is on the severe end of the spectrum, and a friend whose little boy is on the mild end) to know that it is NOT the end of the world. It's just a label to help you understand your child and know how to raise him better.

I'll be praying for you today, my dear! Love to you.

Jen Wilson said...

Oh sweet Anna! You are such an amazing mother!! You may stress about some things, but you are heart-training your children and that is more important than ANYTHING!

I would love to see you before we take off to Saskatoon. Will text you this week. :)


Kim said...

Hi there! Long time no talk!
Just wanted you to know that I have those days too... and so do my kids - it is normal!!!! You are normal and so are they! Yesterday the drama that I overreacted to was a screw-type crayon that Camden wouldn't put back together. I have learned in some intense counseling this past year about how all the surfacey issues we face come from the deepest hurts in our hearts (and some hormones preggo!). For example... one of my deepest hurts from youth is 'not being heard - being ignored - not being valued'. So now when Camden doesn't listen to me, those feelings ALL come up again - b/c he's not "hearing" me. Learning to identify my deepest hurts and how they come up again now as an adult has healed me of SO much! You are being TOO hard on yourself!!! I've also learned this past year so much about GRACE!!! Give it to others AND yourself! True, unconditional grace is NOT something I learned growing up. But God is teaching me about it now in big ways... it's ok to mess up, it's gonna happen and it's OK! The desire to not mess up can lead us to perfectionism - something I REALLY struggle with! It puts too high expectations on ourselves and everyone around us. God brings to my mind all the grace He's poured on me, when I really think about it, it's A LOT! So I can POUR that on myself and others too. Those are my good days - when I can lavish God's grace on myself and everyone around me. But TRUST ME - I have HORRIBLE DAYS TOO!!!! I hate those days - but have to give myself God's grace for even those. I love you and pray for you and think about you all the time - wish we were closer and could hang out!!! Love,
Your Cousin Kim