Friday, May 23, 2014

Freak Out Zone

Hey boo,

How's it going?  Ugh, I am so frustrated and crabby...

So, every day with the kids is hard.  There is no denying that.  But some days are much, MUCH harder.  Like, the days where it's just me and the kids.  Duh... Obviously that makes sense, because I have no one to help.  (Although there some of the days where I do have help are really, REALLY hard too).

I know these days are going to be difficult to get through, so I always do my best to make it manageable.

Like, when the girls were still getting bottles, I made sure to feed them every 3 hours, whether they acted hungry or not, because I didn't want them to get the "freak out zone" when it was just me with them.

Where as you would wait until they were crying because they were hungry... Resulting in "freak out zone," which is where they were screaming their heads off while you got the bottle ready, and they were so worked up by the time you could give them bottle that they could hardly eat.  Oh, how that got on my nerves...  But I would take that (and any of the other stuff that annoyed me) all day every day, just to have you back again...

Anyways, so what I'm trying to say is, I do my best to prevent "freak out zone" when I'm with the kids.

And I don't know if it's a toddler thing, a twin thing, or if my patience has gone out the window, but there are just some days where no matter what I do, they are in "freak out zone" all day...

Isn't it weird how a toddler screaming and crying can just wear on you so much?  Even if I'm just ignoring it, trying to tune it out, while I change someone else's diaper, or get lunch ready... It still just exhausts me and turns me into an even crazier person that I already am!

Today has been one of those days.  I'm trying to so hard to be a "good mom" or a "cool mom" or at least, what I feel like a good mom might be like.  I think everyone has a different interpretation of it.  Actually, it's not even trying to be a "good mom."  It's that I am trying to be the mom I always envisioned myself being.  The mom I WANT to be.

So, we wake up and go downstairs.  Before we can eat, we have to change diapers.  I don't try to rush them in this at all (I've learned my lesson on rushing through this.  If we don't need to rush, then we are less likely to hit "freak out zone" if I don't push them.)  So, la-de-dah, I ask each of the girls "do you want your diaper changed on the ground or on the table?" (By table, I mean the changing table.)  They both usually choose the ground.  Sometimes they say, "no" that they don't want their diaper changed.  Well, since there are 3 kids here, I usually move on to the next one.  If they are still refusing, I sit on the ground and wait for them to come over.  They are usually playing with toys in the living room, so eventually, they make their way over to me.  They know the routine.  But sometimes, they start to whine says "I wanna eat snack" (every time they eat is called snack to them).  So, I tell them I need to change your diaper before we can eat.  And that is typically when they finally mosey on over for a diaper change.  We made it through this portion of our day relatively easy, maybe a few little whines on who is going to sit by Momma or in Momma's lap.  But for the most part, we avoided freak out zone.

But then as soon as we walk in to the kitchen to get breakfast ready, all hell breaks loose!

"I want my milk!"
"No, I want my milk!"
Pushing and shoving to get into the fridge.
Brother tries to get in on the action too, even though I don't think he's really trying to get his milk.  He just wanted to do what his sisters are doing... :-P

I finally get through the commotion, and let each of them grab their milks out of the fridge.
"Violet, do you want pancakes or waffles for breakfast."
"Charlotte, do you want pancakes or waffles for breakfast"
Ok, that's fine, I can deal with making them their own thing.  They are just freezer items that pop into the toaster.

Unfortunately, as I'm trying to "cook" their breakfast, they are all under my feet, arguing with each other about who knows what.  Brother wants me to pick him up, so he is literally hanging on to my leg as a shuffle around the kitchen to get plates and forks and microwave up some sausage too.  Yeah, I'm a super good cook!

"Who wants to sit in this chair?" (the girls used to have specific chairs they always sat in.  Then one day my mom moved their both of their chairs onto one side of the table, and they sat in each others seat, so now it's always a toss up of where they are going to sit...)
"I sit in THIS one!"
"No, I sit in THIS one!"
Commence crying and pushing.

"Violet is going to sit in this one because she was here first.  So, it's her turn.  Charlotte, you can sit in it at lunch time."
Charlotte crying.  She fights as I put her in the "other" chair that is apparently not as cool, even though it is 1 inch from the other chair.  Sometimes the chairs are touching they sit so close...
Crying crying crying as I get brother into his chair, and put their plates and sippy cups in front of them.

"I want pancakes too!"
"Violet, you said you wanted waffles, so I made you waffles."
"I want paaaannnnncaaaaakessss!!!!"
Crying crying crying...

Charlotte: "I wanna sit in Momma's lap."
"You can't sit in Momma's lap because I'm not even sitting. I'm still cutting up brother's food."
"I wanna sit in Momma's laaaaaaap!!!!"
Crying crying crying...

Violet: "I want more milk!"
"You still have some milk in your cup.  Finish that and then I'll get you some more."
Chugs milk.
"I want more milk!"
"What do you say?"

Now brother is signing "more", so I'm filling Violet's milk and getting brother more pancakes.  All the while, they are all whining and crying about who knows what.  I have yet to sit down between running all over the kitchen trying to get what everyone needs.

So yeah, breakfast  was definitely "freak out zone."  What the heck am I doing wrong?  I try giving them "options" so they feel like they are in control,  yet they are still just spazztastic!

As they seem to wrapping up... "Do you want me to wipe your hands and face, or are you still eating?"
Ok, maybe that was a tough question to answer and I should rephrase it somehow... "Are you still eating?"
"Are you all done?"
"Are you going to take a big bite or a little bite?"
"Big bite!!!" Takes a giant bite.
Ok, so you're still eating...

Finally everyone is done.  Now comes another tricky part.  I want them to play independently so I can clean up the kitchen while I inhale my waffle and Diet Coke.

Some days, this works.  Others, not so much.

Today it worked for about 3 minutes before the arguing over some toy or whatever began...

From the kitchen I say "Violet, you have to ask her nicely if you can have it.  Say 'Charlotte, can I play with that please?"
Violet: "Please?"
Charlotte: "No!"
"That was a good job saying 'please' Violet, but Charlotte is still playing with it. You have to wait your turn."
Crying crying crying...

I don't want to always have to break up fights between them, they need to learn to deal with it on their own, but I know if I let this little argument escalate, someone is going to get bit, pushed, or pinched.

So, I skip sweeping the floor and go in to play with them.  Maybe they just need me to spend time with them.  That's why they are crabby.

"What do you guys want to do?"
"Uppie!" (someone wants me to pick them up)
"I want uppie too!"
"Mommy can't uppie both of you.  How about I sit on the ground so you can both sit in my lap?"
Crying crying crying...

"Do you guys want to play library?"
"Do you want to play follow the leader?"
"Do you want to play adventure?"
"Do you want to snuggle and watch TV?"
"I want to snuggle!"
"Ok, what do you want to watch?"
"Tinkerbell!"  "Busytown!"
"We're going to watch Tinkerbell because we watched what you picked out yesterday."
Crying crying crying...

I sit on the ground, and they all fight over my lap.  All 3 of them.  I sit with my legs in a straddle so that each girl can sit on a leg, and Will can sit in the middle.  This is a perfect arrangement, except none of them are happy with it!  Everyone wants to sit in the middle... Hey, guess what?  Momma can't do the splits anymore, so I can't fit all 3 of you in there...
Crying crying pushing pushing...
Momma going crazy because I just need everyone to get out of my face!

"Charlotte, do you want to make me so 'nogurt'" (That's what they call yogurt.)
"Yeah!"  Runs and gets the toy pot and a toy spoon, and "makes" me some nogurt at the play kitchen and comes to feed it to me.
Meanwhile, Will has finally ventured away and is playing with some toy.  Violet is still snuggling on my lap, which she now has to herself, so she moves to the middle.
"Can you make me some coffee too?"
"Yeah!"  Feeds me the same stuff.
"Can you put my coffee in a cup?"
"Yeah!" Searches for the toy cup...

Yay for a time when everything is going mostly OK...

"Do you guys want to go outside?  Momma got you guys a bird feeder that we can hang on the tree so we can watch the birds through the window!"
"Alright, we gotta put shoes on first!"

A little bit of a scuffle determining who's shoe is whose (I have no idea about the who vs whose thing, grammer police).  But we make it through.

Walk out into the garage.  HUGE spider hanging from the ceiling...
"Alright guys, we gotta go back inside a minute, Momma's gotta take care of something."
Get them all back in the kitchen, grab the bug spray and walk out... Deal with the spider, which was a very stressful situation.  Sprayed and a smooshed with one of your shoes (sorry!) just to confirm that it was dead.

We go outside and hang the bird feeder.  I try to take their picture in front of one of our trees that is flowering super pretty right now.  Nobody is having any of that.  Someone sees a bug.  We go back inside.

"I want my milk!"
"No Violet, you can't have milk right now, but you can have water."
Crying crying crying...

More craziness taking shoes off because they want to leave them on.  We finally get shoes off.

"What should we play now?"
"Do you want to play library?"

So we play library, which is them grabbing books, putting them in a bag and bringing it to me.  We learned this game from your  mom actually.  Sometimes they have a library card.  I was too lazy to find one today.

We read books, again arguing over who gets to sit where, over what book we read, over who gets to hold what book, over the fact that they want to see that page again, over the fact that brother is trying to take the book we are reading... blah blah blah...

"Mommy has to go potty, can you guys be good for a minute?"

Obviously not, because I'm going and then someone is crying.  Who knows what happened, but someone got bit while I was in the bathroom...

I get them ice and give hugs.  She settles down.

"Do you guys want to make handprints?"

I saw this cute handprint on Pinterest to make an American flag, kinda... So, I wanted to try that since it is Memorial Day weekend...

I make each of their handprints (which is a fiasco in itself), and then I let them just free finger paint.  Lots of mess, but whatever, it wipes up.
Some crying because someone took somebodies paper.  Crying because someone wants their hands wiped. Crying because they want to wipe in themselves (which I let them).  Crying because they want a new wipey.  Crying because now they want to color.  Crying because they wanted markers instead of crayons...

While they are doing their "arts and crafts,"  I'm trying to get lunch together.  Which is just re-heated leftovers from last night, and some blackberries.  This should take 5 minutes, but I keep getting interrupted by spazzing about all that stuff...

Finally, everything is ready.  I quick wipe their hands and the table.  I put the plate in front of them.  The girls instantly cry.  "I don't like it!"  Ugh...

Brother is just chowing down...

They finally eat their blackberries. "More blackberries please!"
"Good job saying please, but the blackberries are all gone."
"I wanna see all gone." They like me to prove that the the stuff is really gone for some reason, so I show them the empty container.
They see that brother still has blackberries on his plate though.
"I want brother's blackberries."
"No, those are brothers, he just hasn't eaten them yet."
Crying crying crying...

And I don't know if it was just because I'm exhausted or who knows what.  But at this point, I just lose it.
"Fine, are you all done then?  Do you just want to go in your crib and go to nappy right now?!?"
Crying crying crying...
I pick Charlotte up, bring her upstairs, change her diaper and put her in her crib.
"Lay down on the ground!"
"No, I'm not laying on the ground, I have 2 other kids to take care of!"  (like she even understands that... but at this point, I'm a crazy person.)
Crying crying crying...

I go back downstairs and do the same for Violet.
She's in her crib, crying crying crying...

I go back downstairs and brother is still just chowing down, un-phased by his sister's antics.

I sit with him and try to cool down and feel guilty about my crazy person reaction to the girls.  They are crying, and finally yelling for me to "snuggle me in!" So, I go upstairs and snuggle them in (which is our way of saying 'tuck me in.')  I walk out and they cry cry cry...

I go back downstairs to brother, and I end up giving him some of his sisters food that they didn't eat...

The girls settle down and stop crying after a few minutes...

Now brother is all done, so I clean him up, change his diaper, and I bring him upstairs.  We do his normal routine of reading a book, rocking for a few minutes, and then I put him down to go to nappy.

And then I came downstairs, cleaned up a little, and started writing this email...

That was the first 5ish hours of my day...

Is it chaotic?  It feels chaotic to me.

Am I just overreacting?  Am I doing something wrong?

It feels like the kids spent most of the morning in"freak out zone."  And then I finally got to my own "freak out zone" too...

What makes this different than most other mom's?  The fact that you won't be coming home in a few hours to provide "back up" or for me to even vent to about all of this.  The fact that there is never any balance to these hard times.  It's ALWAYS hard, even when the kids are sleeping, because I'm always missing you.

I'm trying so hard. I try to do these fun things with the kids.  I try to give them space.  I try to give them down time.  But it just feels like they still end up freaking out.  And the more they freak out, the closer it brings me to freaking out, until I just snap.

How do other mom's do it?  I'm so confused.  What am I supposed to be doing?

Ugh... Well, I spent the entire nap time writing this email because I can hear Violet starting to wake up.


Here we go again...


P.S. I didn't proof-read this.  But you were never the best at proof-reading anyways, I'm sure you wouldn't even notice!

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