Tuesday, February 12, 2013

I know it's a season, but I'm struggling

We are in the hardest season of parenting we've had yet. The wonderful thing about seasons is that they come and go. As hard as I was a teenager and as difficult as it must have been for my parents to put up with me, that season didn't last forever ("Thank Goodness!" I am sure my mom would say).

Aiden spends most of the day crying...or throwing temper tantrums...or crying. It is hard. As in, we're taking it moment by moment. He is such an inquisitive, smart boy when he is on, but those same traits are what gets him into trouble. He wants what he wants and hates to be told no. Isn't it funny how we want our kids to be independent and persistent and strong-willed when they're adults, but those same characteristics in a 2-year-old drive us bonkers?!
Isabella and Aiden are typical twins. They love each other and hold hands and feed each other one second and then smack each other on the head the next second. If they aren't fighting over the exact same toy, they're trying to push each other and if they're not doing that, chances are one of them is making the other one cry in a myriad of other ways. I know these are completely typical twin problems (I see questions about it on our facebook Mothers of Multiples group every week!), but man it is exhausting. Just when I think I might explode, one of them rubs the other's back and whispers in their ear and I think, "Oh goodness, I am so lucky to have twins?!?" Ha!
 It is always an adventure. I joke with my friends, "someone is always injured, crying, or in time out at my house at any given moment" but the reality is that these days, it isn't that far from the truth. And while the two others might be laughing and enjoying themselves, it's exhausting to have one who is unhappy.
 We spend our days trying to avoid fights, avoid temper tantrums, and avoid head bonking.
Connor has been going through his own changes. I know that he has been put through so much over the past month and it must be hard on his little brain to understand. He is challenging me, arguing, testing boundaries, and taking it to new levels with each passing day. And when I say new levels, I mean "what-on-earth-do-I-do-about-THAT?!?" types of levels. Whew!

My heart breaks for him. Even though I know why he is acting out, I do not know what do about it, except to be consistent, to catch him being good and to remind him how he should behave. I find myself counting to ten about 4,000 times a day.

One of the newest fights, I'm sure you other moms of more than one child can relate to, has been over my lap. Aiden wants to sit in it, which prompts Izzy to want it, which usually results in one of the two of them being pushed off. Then Connor, seeing that the babies are in my lap, usually gets the urge at that exact moment to desperately want nothing more than to cuddle with his mama. Who knew laps were prime real estate?
And then just as quickly as the fighing over my lap began, they'll do something sweet like feed the other one a pretzel. See photographic evidence below (mainly just to remind myself that occasionally these moments do happen!). 
 The couple of minutes I get to hold a baby with a bottle are some of the most calm - as long as one of them doesn't see the other one with me and a bottle and then all hell breaks loose all over again.
Moms, I am struggling. In the throw of a tantrum, it can seem like I'm all alone. It is easy to go to the place where I feel like I'm doing everything wrong because obviously people who are good parents don't have kids who behave the way my kids do. It is easy to lose my cool and feel like I'm creating the problems.

My parents do not remember us acting like this and being this persistent and I only have one friend I see regularly who has a child who is a little older than Connor, so I don't know. I know as bloggers we don't want to get on the computer and write out all the ridiculous things our chilren are doing because then people send us emails saying we're not grateful and boy, that couldn't be further from the truth. I am so grateful and so blessed. So I just continue to feel alone.

What do you do that works? What kinds of parenting strategies do you love? I think I need to re-read Parenting with Love and Logic (but it's packed up - so it'll be a few months before I'll be able to get it).


Hannah @Supermommy!...Or Not. said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

You're doing a great job and you are a wonderful mom! My 2 older kids (ages 5 and 2) are just coming out of an incredibly difficult stage fraught with tantrums, whining, screaming, and constant timeouts. The thing that gets me through each day is constantly reminding myself, just like you do, that this is only a phase and it will pass. Until then, just stay consistent with discipline, give each one special attention whenever possible, and hang in there!

Tickled Pink Mandy said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Girl, We are going through the same thing with Reagan. His tantrums are terrible. It's embarrassing and I don't really have any advice. But know that you aren't alone. *I think* this is typical- I hope!

Tesha said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I know about these seasons and times. With the spacing of our kids I've had a toddler for fourteen years. We all (mommies) go through these difficult times and they can seem endless and exasperating. I have to say one of the most helpful things for me is to read a bit of a parenting book everyday. It keeps me encouraged that I am not alone and inspired that I can do it. A great one for your age kids is Loving the little years. Don't worry you are a wonderful THANKFUL mommy your loving spirit shines:) Oh by the way I swear my fifteen year old was just in this stage and now he is taking drivers Ed, It really dose go fast.

Tiffany H. said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Hi ! I found your blog through the GFC collective. Wow, Your life sounds busy but your babies are beautiful. i am a mom of one who wants more babies so i love reading blogs of experienced moms. Can't wait to read more,


Leslie Germain said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Hello. Found you through the linky party. Read the story about your beautiful angel Cole. It brought tears to my eyes. As hard as it may be to share that story, thank you from one mom to another. Would love for you to stop by my blog.

Ceri G said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Im ur new follower from the blog hop :)

Angela @LivingstonsHouseFullOfBoys said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

New follower-via the GFC.. Can't wait to read more about your beautiful family. Hope you'll follow back. :)

The Amazing Trips said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

When my triplets were two-years-old, I had a singleton. So with four children under the age of three - I can clearly remember those moments where it felt like I just had to survive.

My "Go-To" strategies surrounded our schedule - schedule - schedule. We'd be up, eat, nap and go to sleep at almost the same time every day. It helped me know what was coming, and gave me something to look forward to so I could plan my day.

We also would get out of the house every day. We'd go for walks - all the time. I'd either load them in their stroller or take them to a fenced in park - or some similar safe place that was outside our house and gave them a new environment to explore. Or, I'd take them to the grocery store - load them all in the cart - and hand them healthy treats for 30 minutes. Whatever it takes. One minute at a time. Now that my children are 8 and 5.5, I'm amazed at how fast those minutes really do go. (What's the saying, "The days are long - but the years are short?")

While it was a bit messy - it saved my sanity for an hour or more - to spray shaving cream on a sliding glass door and let them have at it (preferably the outside so you can just hose it off when they're done!) I'd also put them in the bathtub. Water + Fussy Babies = PEACE.

Last but not least (and possibly most important) meeting with other moms with similarly aged children. We'd get together once a week and it was salve for our souls. The children would play together - offering a new dynamic for us and them - and it was a blessed two hour reprieve.

Good luck - - when all else fails, scoop them up and hug them tightly and kiss their little bellies. It's really magic.

Courtney said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I somehow missed this one! I hear ya. I am not one of those crazies who says, I so know what it is like with twins, mine are 15 months apart ;), BUT...twins or not, I sooo know what it is like with 3 close in age. At 7, 8 and 11 now, there is always someone crying, screaming, or in time out here. =) I always say (and feel bad about it) that is so much easier when 1 isnt around. It doesnt even matter which one. The dynamic just shifts. M and C are such good buds (they hold hands, they push, they fight, they defend, etc...they should have been twins! lol)but when they get their time away from each other, it is just different. I coulda told you the lap is prime real estate. When they get older it is the spot next to you on the couch, or your shoulder. They then battle with the husband who wants that spot or that shoulder too. In the time I have typed this, there have been screams over legos, a crying Connor in here trying to get me to intervene about which lego really belongs to which kid and then a megan scream and a connor saying "you deserved it". =) You are an amazing and patient and kind mom. Your kids are sweet, they laugh, they smile, they feel, they love..you are doing everything the right way. Keep taking pictures of the happy things to get you through this tough part and as hard as it is, this too will be over before you know it and they are all grown and out of the house. Then put them in a safe place, and go scream into a pillow in the closet! =) xoxoxoxo.

gayle t. said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

New follower for you, from the GFC collective! Love your blog. :) If you feel like stopping by my blog, I'd love it. Be sure to put your info on the map and sign up for some G-Mail. :)

Have an awesome day!

Gayle | Grace for Gayle

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