I have an unhealthy fear of spiders. It's too much. I get that. I have a pretty good idea where it came from too....
My dad is a gentle and loving person. It's even possible that he is an accidental Buddhist. Because he cannot kill any of God's sacred creatures. Ask me how I know. How do I know? Oh, thanks for asking! I remember it like it was yesterday but it was 32-ish years ago. It might have been a dark and stormy night, but probably not. Whatever.
I screamed and screamed. "DAAAD- DAY!! HALP!!!" and I saw his shadowy man frame enter my room. He was going to save me. He was going to kill the fuck out of this spider! My hero!
Whoa, wait...what are you doing, daddy?
"I'll just let him go back to his home. He's lost"
And with that, my dad picked up the spider like it was no big thing (Like.It.Was.No.Big.Thing.) and gently placed him out of my bedroom window like it was a newborn baby. You know, under the screen that had been loose for years? The one that pops off when you look at it sideways? That one. That night I lay in bed waiting for that spider to exact its revenge on me whilst I slept. And I'm pretty sure this is when my fear was stapled into my brain. Stapled.
Thankfully my dad doesn't read this blog because I would hate for him to feel bad. He can't help his gentle ways. Honestly his gentle ways are what made him a great dad (with this one exception, of course). I mean, you know how they say that you marry your dad? It's crazy true. But I digress...
So I am horror movie a-scared of spiders. It hurts to even write the word but I need to explain why my boob is throbbing and bleeding right now. Oh yeah, dudes, I said bleeding. And it's because I am a terrible mother. Do you remember when I left my children to the mercy of that baby skunk? Not my finest moment.
Also not my finest moment? Seeing a spider in the bed while nursing Plum to sleep tonight. Plum, who is cutting molars and really into nursing right now. Plum who was trying to sleep like an angel. Plum who missed her nap and was so tired and needed the comfort of her mama to soothe her into a delicious teething pain-free sleep. Plum who tried desperately to hang on while her mother lost her sham-a-lama-ding-dong mind. Poor Plum.
She didn't deserve the screaming mom that jumped and ran from the room. She tried to hang on. She tried really freeg-balls hard. So hard that, well, I already told you in the post title. So that is why I am icing my nipple down as I type.
Boo to me, dudes.
Boo. To. Me. And my bullshit fear of spiders. Fa-gargle.
Do you have an irrational fear? Tell me about it and make me feel better!
I am a patient mother
. I really am. I don't get riled up when things aren't going my way. Ya know, like when my little angels take a day by the balls and tear the place apart? I can handle that. Usually. Or when I take extra time to make an elaborate (well, by my standards) meal and both kids end up with cereal after gagging at the taste of the slop I so lovingly prepared? Oh well. Or when the frustration of a particular event builds up inside them and they lash out and hit me? I return a calm voice to them "We don't hit in this house" Because they are very young and still learning how to self-regulate. Sometimes they don't know what to do with their feelings when those feelings get bigger than they are. Hell, sometimes I don't know what to do my feelings when they get bigger than me. But when you are three and almost two you don't yet have all the tools you need to work through and process the intensity that comes with being human. And it's that intensity that sometimes grabs a hold of all three of us at the same time and creates the powder keg. All three of us sitting on it. Waiting for it to blow the entire day straight to hell.I am a patient mother
. But I am also human. I am a gentle mother
. But that is tested sometimes. I have my hot buttons. One of which, when pushed, is my greatest test. I am an imperfect mother
. It doesn't get pushed very often but when it does, my anger comes fast and furious. My gentle parenting strategies become foggy. I see red. So it is my job then to have a plan for that button getting pushed. As the adult here, that's my job. The button is different for everyone. For me? It's biting.
We were in the shit. From dawn to dusk. I started considering an afternoon beer around 9 am. It was as though all three of us woke with an impossible itch to scratch. I had plans. They had plans. These plans were in direct defiance of the other. I was doing ok
managing the chaos. Pulling out my bag of tricks and trying to change up the routine to make our day exciting enough to calm the raging waters. They have cabin fever, I know it. My fear of Plum contracting the Flu has been playing into the plans we make. So I employed just about every tried and true technique I had to make them happy. But nothing was working. Pants was on fire and spraying it everywhere. Plum was out of sorts because Pants was out of sorts and he is her spirit guide. Mama (That's me!) started completely falling apart sometime around 3 pm after hours of constant conflict, destruction, hitting, crying and drama. I reached back into my patience reserves for any little bit of something, anything, to propel me through this day to bedtime. But they were empty. I am a patient mother.
And then it happened.
I felt myself flinch. I was at a breaking point. My button wasn't just pushed, my Achilles heel was slashed. He bit her. AGAIN. For the third time. Her tears immediate and plentiful. Her face, destroyed. Pain. He laughed at her tears. And I flinched. My hand rising up without a thought. My brain hadn't a clue what my hand was about to do. But it wasn't going to be good. My arm was angry and wanted to exact revenge on behalf of my crying Plum. I wanted to spank his bare butt. But in a moment of clarity, I looked through my eyes and saw his face. A sadness washed over me. This is not you. You are not this
. Don't make THIS one of his memories
. Put your hands in your pocket.
My arm came down to my side as tears came to my eyes. That was close. And I employed the plan. Walk away (I took Plum with me). Breathe. Re-think. Start again. Mama needed a time-out. We all did. Once I brought myself back to a good place, I employed step two.
Step two is designed to keep us from returning to that ugly and volatile place. Basically, step two is a resolve. A surrender to the needs of the whole family. Leaving my plan for another time and forming a new plan. On Wednesday, for me, it looked like this...You wanted to get the dishes done but today they need to just sit there and wait. You wanted to get the laundry folded, but its ok that it won't happen. You didn't get a shower. Oh well, you stink. You wanted to write a blog post because you had ideas swirling in your head that you have long forgotten inside of this crazy day. Don't worry about that. So because you didn't get the dishes done and now can't fathom trying to make dinner around the mess, order a pizza, heat up some broccoli, dump some applesauce into some bowls and call it a day. Now is the time to give 100% of you to being present with the kids. Everything else will wait. They will not. Be with them. Go all in. Not just because they need you. But because you need them, too. Erase it. Start again. Let go.
And that's what we did. One minute at a time until things began looking up.
So we went about repairing our bad, bad, awful and straight-up miserable day. And what better way to do that than with one-on-one attention, snuggles, eye-contact, sitting on the floor and playing for real, junk food, pizza and a dance party?
Well don't you know? That's the Pants Family recipe for turning that frown upside-down. Oh and Daddy coming home early from work. That helps too. How do you turn a bad day around?
My Darling Angel Babies,
So I need to tell you something. I think you are doing a really spectacular job being kids. Really, I do. But there are a few things we need to sort out. And I only bring this up because we are all adults here, right? We can have a constructive conversation about all this. Let's begin.
This last week wasn't our best. Many of my awesome plans for you were not met with the enthusiasm that I expected. In fact, you both took turns rejecting my ideas and excellent parenting skills. I'm not mad so don't worry about that. It's just that I hope to impart a few things to you so that in the future we might see eye to eye. Wouldn't that be nice? I think that would be nice.
About our Christmas pictures. Maybe you didn't realize that Mama really wanted a nice card to send out to our friends and family? Maybe you thought that I wanted to save some money? Were you body-snatched? I'm just wondering because the hell beasts that brought the Portrait Innovations studio employees to their knees on Sunday evening sure did resemble you two. Now I could be wrong. If I am wrong, of course I apologize.
And there was that one time when you both reacted viscerally to my dinner offerings. See, I was under the impression that you both enjoyed spaghetti. I am trying to remain calm because as you both know, your mama isn't the best cook. I've come to rely on your love of spaghetti, you guys. If you both now hate it, we run the risk of eating hot dogs and tater tots twice a week. You need to know this. So let's just all take a minute to re-think the throwing of spaghetti at each other when mama needs to use the bathroom real quick, ok? I want you to fully understand the ramifications of such behavior. Don't get me wrong, food fights are kind of awesome. I get that. But a spaghetti food fight is what some might call "going too far". Can we get on the same page with that?
So now I need you both to really listen up. The gagging game? It's disgusting. I mean for serious, dudes. It is foul. And Mr. Pants I am looking at you and giving you the mom eye for teaching this horrifying "game" to Plum. Let's keep in mind that your sister's gag reflex is quite powerful and so is your mama's. So when we are all hanging out and you guys start gagging yourself and thinking that you are hysterical until one of you (Plum) starts to barf? It makes mama want to die. I get that my less than calm reaction has egged you on. I know full well that getting a rise out of people is super fun. I've been there. But let's find a new way to get mama's blood flowing, ok? Because the gagging game is going down, my friends. If it's the last thing I do and as god is my witness and all that, I will end the gagging game. Mark my words.
Finally, I just want to remind you that I'm not mad about the tree. I mean, I know you are little people. I know it is a lot to ask of you to just leave the tree alone. I mean, it's beautiful and it sparkles and it has toys on it. And little silver strings that are delicious! I know this. But it shocks me a bit that the near-death experience you had with the tree yesterday didn't seem to deter you one bit. Do you even remember the fear in your hearts as you watched the tree come slamming down toward you? Perhaps it was the relief that washed over you as I flew across the room and put myself in between you and the tree that washed away that fear? Well dudes, I cannot promise that I will always be able to save you. So what is gonna happen each time you try and pull the lights off and the garland and the ornaments is that the tree is going to tip over on to you. You will not like this. In fact, you will hate it. And mama will feel like a failure and we will all cry. Let's skip that!
In conclusion, my darlings, don't worry too much. I've already decided on a Christmas card idea that is better than the first. Daddy is still a great cook and will make you dinners several times a week to balance out the tater tot overload and I will try and secure the tree better. But the gagging? I'm gonna need you to help me with that one. Because if I could change that I would. But it seems I don't have that kind of power. If I did, you wouldn't still be pooping in your pants. Which, by the way, I'm not mad about, either. Just to be clear.
I love you crazy people.
I'm not perfect. If you read my stories, you have read about my failures. You have also read our joys and triumphs.
But you will never see perfection. Because none of us are perfect. Least of all me.
I have made mistakes. Some huge. Some kind of funny. Some minor. Some maybe weren't mistakes at all once I looked at them after everyone stopped crying and all the poop was cleaned up.
At least once a day I stop and change coarse. Because I want to do better. I want to do right by my kids.
But I sometimes muddle through just keeping them alive. Like the last four days.
Thankfully they have already forgiven me. But I have to ask them for it. I have to apologize. They deserve that.
But I also deserve to forgive myself. So that starts now.
While there are days when I am on. Days when we are so in sync that I feel like freeging Wonder Woman. Or like I might win the mom Olympics. There are other days when it feels as though I can do nothing right. When all I want to do is hide. When the idea of pushing through another day tweaked on coffee catches up with me. Those are the days I write the least about. Because who wants to remember their shit days? Not me.
I have been a bit of a sad sack this week. In a funk, if you will. Daddy, the kidlets and I are all fine. In fact, we are kind of awesome. We are in a great place. But there is more life outside the walls of this house. And it's out there that has got me in it's clutches.
Dudes, I have been flat out moping along for almost a week now. Moping, shuffling, staring off and not present. And guess what happened?
My kids noticed. And they responded in kind the way that kids will do.
They lost their ever loving minds.
Sad Mama Pants was all, "Ahhh! Why are you two trying to kill each other? Stop ripping the art off the walls! OMG what???? Why are you grinding your cereal bar into the carpet? Did you for real just PEE into that picnic basket? CALGON TAKE ME AWAY!!!!"
And the kids were both all, "We have no idea why you are such a crazy person and it kind of scares us because you are not acting like our mama. So because we are confused and think you have been body snatched, we are going to lose our shit, woman! Bring our mama back or by george we will burn this house down. "
So, yeah, I have to do what mamas have been doing for eons before me. I have to buck the fuck up. Or at least fake it til I make it. Because well, there is not one clean dish in this house, the floors looks like my fridge threw up all over them and the living room is unpassable. But more importantly, my kids need to know that mama's ok. All little people need to know that from their parents. When I was training people in how to work with children I always started with a story about body language and how kids are experts in reading it. Experts. It was their first language. I would ask them to always be concious of the language they were speaking with their body.
It's time to take my own advice. Life gets messy sometimes. We have to allow ourselves to wither and let the snot drip. There is a time for that. Oh yes, there most certainly is. But there is also a time to get up off your butt and move your legs in a forward motion.
So, I'm forcing my chin up. Not just a little up. All the way up. I will hold it there with duct tape if I have to. Because I have dishes to do. And babes to kiss and hug and read books to.
Life does not stop. Love does not stop. But sadness and funks? They do.
Say hello to every dish in my house. I'm about to kick their ass.
Perhaps a better title would be...
Step Away from the Buttholes in the Comment Section of Divisive Parenting Articles.
Because you know what? People are assholes. And I say that with the knowledge that I have been one of those assholes and am reformed. I'm just so done with anyone judging my parenting and I have been working hard to be sure that I'm not judging theirs.
I admit. As a new mom I was fresh off a dose of hormones and emotions. There were times when I just couldn't imagine how any baby not born to me could ever be loved. Times when I cried about the idea of a baby sleeping in a crib. Or sat at my keyboard in horror reading about xyz thing that I didn't do. I was high on new mom love and post-surgical Vicodin. I have asked the parenting Universe for forgiveness and moved on. I know not who that woman is anymore. It wasn't me.
In the interest of full disclosure, I throw out my exceptions: Don't hurt your kids. Don't abuse them. Don't endanger them by driving drunk or making them go base jumping. Don't be a mean and unloving a-hole. If you can promise me that you can do those things, then I will promise you that I am in your corner.
All of those other things I used to think are gone. I'm not hating. I refuse. There are so many bull roaring arguments on the web about what is The Right Way to raise children. And tonight, my head nearly exploded as I read the most recent article on parenting
over at the Huff Post. The article is being passed around like herpes. More fuel for the mommy wars fire. You can see me shaking my head right now, right?
Being a liberal, the Huff Post is often my sanctuary. Not tonight. Tonight it was an all-out parent judge fest. On the site, Facebook and my Twitter feed. Sides were being taken. Name calling.
"AP parents coddle their kids and make them weak!" OR "... pushy attachment breastfeeders lol!! " OR "We are already seeing a generation of kids who can't get out of their own way because of helicopter parenting." OR... oh eff it. You get the point. Judgy pointy fingers are wagging.
I'm tired of all of this in fighting.
As a matter of fact, I'm just tired. I should be in bed, but my blood pressure spiked reading about how my kids are going to be wussy pants sissy crybabies from people who don't know me or my kids. I wanted to put on a pot of coffee and take to the comment section like crazed mama bear and intelligently brow beat the handful of asshats that got me so fired up. I was trying the pull Daddy Pants from his brand new video game to discuss it. He wasn't into it.
I wanted to start linking research to challenge and debunk the author's assertions that attachment parenting is detrimental to kids and marriages. I wanted to tell her that being an asshole to Mayim Bialik is rude. Yep! She took a stab at Blossom. I mean, Blossom
. She's just raising her kids. Just like me. Just like you. Probably while wearing an oversized hat and adorable flower print dress with high tops. I've got no time for Blossom hate.
I wanted to scream in ALL CAPS at the author, "Attachment Parenting does not equal helicopter parenting!" But even if it did, so effing what? Some people are more comfortable being helicopter parents. They aren't bad people. They aren't bad parents. Just like I am not a bad parent for being not close enough to my toddler to catch her as she fell from a climber this summer. I wasn't next her. She fell. I'm a good mom anyway.
Because the big reveal here is that none of us are going to raise perfect people. We just aren't. I mean we have to all know that on some level. We do the best we can and we try to teach our kids how to live in this world. But not a single one of us will do it perfectly.
Why are we competing like we can?
Ok, man. I'm going to bed. I'm going to snuggle my toddler who is also sleeping in my bed tonight. She is going to wake up about four more times because she is teething hard and I am going to nurse her. And I would challenge you to not care at all about that or assume things about me because of it. Because if you are going to bed tonight with your child in a crib in another room, then that is what you do. And I am not holding it against you.
Vaccinate/don't vaccinate, Breastfeed/Formula feed, Babywear/ or don't, co-sleep/crib sleep, stay at home moms/work outside the home moms, Single parents/dual parenting, religious parenting/atheist parenting, helicopter parents/free range kids. Whatever.
I'm holding up a sign right now in my living room that says, "GO YOU! LOVE YOUR KIDS!"
Come on over and drink this kool-aid with me. It feels good to stop being a judgmental douchecanoe.*
I parent my kids, you parent yours. Let's not be assholes.
*I've been waiting to say 'douchecanoe' for some time now. Finally found the perfect spot for it. But I cannot take credit for its brilliance.Thanks Jessica! Or HB! Or whoever said it first. I love you.
I'm going to rant now. I hope you will stay with me. But I might get preachy.
It's because I'm fired up. So if you opt out now I will understand.
Why do people feel so burdened by their kids? Better question: Why do people project adult size reason and cognition onto their kids? Is it so we can feel better for losing our cool with them? I know. I'm making no sense and you have no idea what I'm talking about. Let me back up.
I have been so surprised recently by what can only be described as an avalanche of mean shit all over the internet. And it's directed at kids. For being kids
. It bugs the ever loving shit out of me. Now, before you get worried that I'm pointing at you, let me admit first that I've done it. I've been guilty of being a douche at times. But not often, not about this (
on other topics and how much of a douche I am? It varies)
I strive to empathize. Because I believe that if we stopped our adult bullshit long enough to take a good look at how our kids are feeling and honor it, everyone wins. Your child is validated and made to feel safe and you reap the benefits of your kid learning how to empathize because they are watching you show them. Isn't that what we want?
So it shocks me when parents are more worried about being embarrassed by a tantruming child than they are about why the child is in distress. Parents taking the opportunity to accuse their kids of trying to ruin their day or make everything "so hard". Again, I am guilty of this sometimes but friends, this burns my ass. Literally, it holds a torch to my ass. I want to scream. And then it occurs to me that I write a blog and therefore I get to scream into the internet and maybe
someone will hear me.
We are talking about feelings.
They're tricky. They come and act all irrational when you least expect them too and compete with your brain and body for the floor. They are spontaneous and often self-centered. They are the pre-pubescent incarnation of everything
. At once. They know no restrictions and can't be ignored. And they are not an adult phenomenon. Your kids are having these feelings to. And they are just as powerful and just as earth shattering as yours.
But here's the thing... they are not a master plan to get you. They are not mapped out in your child's brain the night before in a plot to mess things up. They come and they over power our kids. And the difference between us and them? We've learned how to handle them. How to rationalize with ourselves to move through a tough time without kicking and screaming and crying. But let's not kid ourselves. That's what we want
to do. That's what our instinct is. To go off. To let fly. To let the feelings come.
Our kids haven't learned yet how to walk through difficult feelings. They are in the thick of it and they don't yet have the tools to manage such an onslaught. They cannot ignore the feelings and they don't have the coping skills yet to breathe them out without chaos. So they tantrum and they scream and cry and kick and cling to us. Their feelings rule them. It's real. It's not a manipulation. It is real
So I would throw out a challenge to you (and to me. Because I need reminded too).
Instead of becoming angry. Instead of jumping into a feelings avalanche with them. Why not look at the situation and understand where they are coming from. Ask yourself, what is causing this? Fear? Frustration? Exhaustion? Sadness?
Pinpoint it. And proceed with empathy. Not anger. Empathy
We try so hard to teach our kids how to be. We try too
hard I think. We go overboard. We venture into telling
them how to be instead of letting them decide who they are. And that serves to strip them of their self-esteem in the long run.
You want to curl their hair, but they don't want you too? Don't do it. Don't force it. The message you send when you force it is; The way you want to be is not good enough. You should be what I
want. And I'm bigger than you so I win.
That is a shit lesson.
Instead, attempt to understand them. Where they are. Not where you want them to be. But right there where they are. Even if that place is the Wal-Mart shampoo aisle. Because when we show our kids that we put value in their feelings and that we believe
they are having a hard time and we want
to help them process it, we teach them to show that to others. Including us. And that is a lesson that will serve them, you and the greater society well. Because it reinforces empathy instead of stripping it away. It builds self-esteem and creates trust.
our kids to trust us, right? Well, we have to earn that.
Last week I was blown away by Plum's demonstration of empathy
. Watching her care for her brother was probably my proudest moment as a mother. It was in watching her that I realized that she knows
empathy. She knows it in her bones. She doesn't need to learn it. She already has it. What she needs is for us not to strip it away from her. She needs that natural love and care to be reinforced. To be shown to her. To be cultivated through reciprocation.
That is what we strive for.
I hope that you will consider striving for it too. We can all be better for it. I'm not blowing smoke. Our kids are learning from the very begining. There is no magical start and stop time. Start now. And never end. Please.
Kids always want what you have. They want to eat from your plate and drink from your cup. Because even if they have the same thing on their own plate and in their cup, yours is magical. Yours tastes better because it is yours. Every parent knows this. It's Parenting 101. So it is with that knowledge that I attempted to trick Mr. Pants to drink prune juice to help him, um, uh.... get to moving after being on narcotics for several days. I poured the juice into my own cup and started to drink. "Mmmmmm", I said to myself. "Mama's special juice is sooo good!" I bragged, as I sipped from my cup from a swirly straw. "Oooh, Plum! Do you want some of Mama's special juice?" She did. She did want some of Mama's special juice. I think to myself how smart I am and I can see Mr. Pants watching the whole thing go down as Plum takes in some huge gulps of special juice. She loves it. She wants more. I can see him thinking, "Do I want some of Mama's special juice?" Plum goes completely bananas for "special juice". Ba-nan-as. I think to myself, "This is so in the bag. How can he possibly resist? I mean the only thing more appealing to a three year than their parent's stuff, is the stuff their sibling has right?
I ask him, "Hey dude, do you want some of mama's special juice?" "No thanks, mama" he politely declines as Plum is bum rushing the cup in my hands like a rabid puppy. I failed. I failed at my brilliant idea. So your Pearl today dear reader is that kids are not dummies. If there had been anything else in that cup, ANYTHING else, I believe he would have gone for it. But he's no dummy. He knew I was neck deep in trickery and he pulled out his manners to make me eat that trickery. I mean, No thanks, mama? In his sweet post surgery whisper. It's like listening to a kitten talk. It is the sweetest damn voice ever. Precious, really. "No thanks, Mama" he said. And that was it.
I have learned a valuable lesson here.
In related news, I would like to take this opportunity to apologize publically to Plum, the victim in this American tragedy, who willing gave herself over to my trickery because she trusts me. Poor thing. Well, I'm sure you can guess the price she paid. And as I scrub the carpet and do a hot wash of laundry, so have I, friends. So have I. We are both a little lighter on our feet this morning. Lesson learned.
[Image source: colon-cleanse-constipation.com] <= best name ever?
Ms. Plum is musically challenged. I started noticing this disturbing trend a few weeks ago while shopping with her. She began to slow jam to Aaron Neville
. At the time I was desperate to believe she was being ironic. But as time has passed, it is becoming clear that my perfect baby has no clear understanding of what good music is and isn't. A few days ago she was dropping it like it was hot to the worst cover in the history of music
. And then while eating at Wendy's she began to dance to Steve Winwood. Steve Friggin Winwood. This is paralyzing me. Paralyzing
me. This is obviously my fault. I blame the two years I stopped listening to Metallica and fell in love with The New Kids on the Block. Or maybe it's because of my dirty Spice Girls secret? She is clearly paying for my musical sins.
She is a delicate dancer. She twists her wrists when she is really into a song and kicks her feet. She even hums along and bobs her head. She only pulls out her moves for the worst of the worst. It's horrfying. But I must love her through this. Because I promised to love her for whoever she is and whoever she becomes. I guess I never realized that also meant if she had awful taste in music. But it does. I am not confident enough in my mothering skills to believe I will be successful in curing her of this. So I will try my hardest to expose her to more acceptable music while I come to terms with the fact that it may not work. And that I might be buying her tickets to see the future Debbie Gibson for her 6th birthday.
But for the love of Christmas, my darling girl, please please please come dance with me to the Pixies
PS: Mama will always love you anyway, Plum. Even if you love Steve Winwood. You couldn't stay perfect forever.
Blue Duck sings the blues
If you asked me if Mr. Pants had a favorite toy, I'd tell you that yes he does. His Matchbox cars or his dinos or his baby or his drums or guitar. Certainly these were his favorites. But I found out recently that I was wrong. Blue Duck is top dog. Sadly, Blue Duck is a lonely duck these days. And it's all my fault. This is what happened.
About a month ago, Mr. Pants spent a few hours with Grandma Pants. And Grandma Pants knows a thing or two about gifting things to kids. There was no way the kid was coming home empty handed. What I didn't expect though was to be given a box of plastic weighted ducks. Muticolored plastic ducks. I thought, "Really? Now what am I supposed to do with twelve colored ducks?". They stayed in the car in the box for a few days until on a trip to my brother's house, he spotted them. "DUCK!!" DUCK!!DUUUUUUCK!!!!!". "I will get the ducks when we get to Uncle Pant's house, buddy. Mama's driving", I tell him. That didn't seem to get through and for the next ten minutes I heard an angel's chorus of, "DUCK DUCK DUCK DUCK DUCK! DUUUUUUUCK!". Arriving at my brother's house, I get the box of ducks and hand them to Mr. Pants. Now, this day is a very windy one. Old man winter was trying to blow in and it was cold. Mr. Pants sets foot to the ground and decides that, right when I head over to get Ms. Plum out of the car, it is the perfect time to open the box of ducks. And ducks begin to fly. Pink ducks, red ducks, blue ducks. All scattered over the lawn and Mr. Pants is losing his mind. Frantically collecting the ducks only to drop a duck that he had in his hand and watching it blow further away. I have secured Ms. Plum and am attempting to gather the ducks into my purse so that they may make a safe journey into the warm house and we can get our butts inside. Sadly, Mr. Pants believes that instead, I am kidnapping his ducks and that I have mal intent. So naturally he begins to lose his shit. I did not have mal intent (that comes later) and try to convince him, "Mama help ducks. Ducks Inside! Let's show Uncle Pants your ducks!". Yeah that worked about as well as if I had tried to run the ducks over with our car. So I had to intervene. Plum and I were frozen and this was going nowhere fast. In fact it was already at nowhere and threatening to go beyond nowhere. So I scooped him up, took them inside, and went back out to save the ducks. Stumbling over the lawn, desperate to retrieve every one of them because the good Lord knows that Mr. Pants will know if one is missing. He's creepy observant like that. I finally get them all and head inside. Aaaand he never plays with them again the entire night. In fact, I tried to draw his attention to them several times and he could have cared less. Burn.
Upon leaving my brothers house, I made a concious decision to forget the ducks. Don't hate! I thought the novelty had worn off and that they would not be missed. And this made them perfect for leaving behind because my brothers and I love to leave surprises for eachother. So I grabbed a duck, a blue one, and left the rest. For weeks there was no problem. No worries at all and then one day Mr. Pants stumbled upon Blue Duck. They have been bros ever since that day. Mr. Pants scoured the house looking for Blue Ducks brothers and sisters only to find they were not to be found.
Blue Duck's long lost family
And I felt like a big giant butthole. Especially the day, he came sauntering out to the living room with the top of the box that once held all twelve ducks. A reminder that where there was once a loving family of ducks, now only Blue Duck remained. The look on his face says that he longs to understand why his ducks have left him. He wanders around the house with his picture of his lost duck family and totes Blue Duck along. It's depressing. And I am officially an asshat jerk mom.
So I did what any kind of good and remorseful (read: wrecked with guilt) mama would do. I tried to find the ducks at Uncle Pants' house. But my brother is a thrower outer of everything. EVERYTHING. He often does it without even thinking. He even throws away his own stuff in a cleaning frenzy without even realizing it. So the possability that I would find these ducks was pretty slim. They were nowhere to be found. Ready to face the music (admittedly my own music as Mr. Pants did not know my mission), I return home and resign myself to having been the cause of breaking up my son's duck family.
Then a few days ago when Mr. Pants is once again staring lovingly at his piece of the duck box, I am moments from sewing myself a scarlet D so I decide to clean up a bit to take my mind off of it. Searching for a box to fill up with stuff to purge and donate, I locate one. Opening the lid, there in front of me is Pink Duck. So excited, I run to Mr. Pants and say, "Look, Bud!". He takes a moment, tears the lid out of my hands and screams, "NOOOOO!", replaces the lid and takes the entire box back to exactly where I had found it. Not quite the reaction I was anticipating. So obviously, the questions that are now swirling are never ending. Are there ducks hiding all over our house? Strategically placed in boxes and tight spaces. Seperated on purpose and hidden? Is my two year old capable of constructing an eloborate revenge plan? How many ducks will I find today? Will Mr. Pants continue to carry his duck picture now that I know he is full of it? Will Blue Duck ever be reunited with his family? Will I be haunted by these ducks until the end of my days?
Only time will tell.
The plot thickens...
Mama dropped the ball.
When Mr. Pants got home from school today there was a note from his speech therapist. He failed his middle ear hearing test for the second time in a month. The note reccomended that I follow through on thorough hearing tests as soon as possible. I could kick my own ass right now because I was supposed to take him for these hearing tests back in August. They were ordered by the developmental pediatrician. But I got caught up in all the other testing and let it go. I forgot to take him and then forgot about it all together and never rescheduled. In July, they had sent a letter home that he had passed his hearing screen. I guess I ran with that. I decided that his hearing was fine. I mean, if he passed the screen it should mean that he can hear, right? But that's not how hearing works. It's not an all or nothing deal. But what I can not stop thinking about tonight is that it was my very first thought way way back when he was still an infant. I wondered so many times if he heard differently. The sounds he was making where all very nasally and coming from the back of his throat. He didn't have a variety of babbling sounds like I am now hearing from Ms. Plum. He screached. There was a look he would get that was pure panic. I used to tell Daddy that it seemed like he had no idea what was happening when he would get "the look". It was an absolutely heartbreaking face. Just thinking about that look makes me tear up. It was that bad. Eyes wide, searching for an answer to his fear. He still does it every once in awhile. Is it because he can't hear well enough and becomes afraid of something unknown?
Wouldn't that just be a kick in the pants if this was the issue all along?
If his hearing is impaired it would literally explain almost every single thing that is different about my boy. He didn't look when you called him. He never looks around him when running. He is an observer and doesn't engage the way other two year olds do. He cried when he heard music for the first time (vibrations?). He is methodical about how his body moves through space. His other senses would be affected so integrating them would be hard and he has had to find ways around the input (or lack thereof) that he is getting. And of coarse his speech is delayed. Kids with developmental delays often have hearing issues. Kids with OCD often have hearing issues. Kids with sensory processing disorders often have hearing issues. Kids with hearing issues often present as potentially on the autism spectrum and on and on and on. I want to kick my own ass for not rescheduling the tests. Even if his hearing is perfect. Even though I know I should be gentler with myself and cut myself some slack. It's hard to do. Because he is my baby and I missed the mark.
So tomorrow we go get some answers. I've got my Ergo
ready and Grandma Pants is coming to stay with Ms. Plum. Mr. Pants and I are going to the audiology department at Children's. And hopefully I will be able to let go of this mega shit ton of mama guilt that is sitting on my heart. Until tomorrow...