Saturday, January 25, 2014

I'm Finally Ready for a Weekend

It's Friday night and I've wrapped up another day, another week, with the girls with the same mix of elation, exhaustion and frustration that I feel I end almost every day.

I did manage to put a balanced meal on the table. Of course, that doesn't mean they ate it, but at least I tried. I can prove that by the piles of dirty pots and plates, the macaroni dropped on the stove top and squished into the edges of the high chair. That I'm hungry three hours later is as much a testament to the fact I can't even focus on a meal when I prepare one as it is to trying to fix what they will eat instead of what I might want.

In fact, the kitchen isn't the only disaster area. The playroom is wall to wall toys; the living room has caught the overflow, much of it towed by the baby as she wandered back and forth and shifted gears from one room to the next -- a slobbery Duplo block, an escapee from the Little People zoo, a bit of macaroni that was stuck to her pants; the new work table (handily crafted in Pinterest style from the old crib) has already been decorated with crayons and two kinds of glue.

The day has passed like most others. I spent the morning grooming and bathing dogs -- no walks today due to the weather -- writing my blog and trying in vain to find a web hosting site that works well so that I can create my own domain for it. That's followed by the girls' arrival and a brief flurry of early activity punctuated by lunch and on milder days some outdoor play. In the afternoon we have naps that may be ushered in quietly or by threats of bodily harm for E2 and the baby and on some days E1 as well. While they rest, I do kennel duty again, with E1's help on days she doesn't sleep. Sometime along the way I grab a necessary cup of coffee or two, then Papi's home, naps are over and it's time to fix dinner.

Three nights we leave before dinner for activities -- mine or the girls -- but the night's we're home we've started doing crafts after dinner. That's another challenge for me (coming up with something, I really enjoy the process) but a quiet activity that lets the working man of the house retire since his 10-hour workdays start early.

Regardless of the day, or the week, we never get done what I hope we'll get done. I'm always undone by the diverse needs of three very different little girls at very different points in their development. Whatever achievements I manage with one, I usually feel I've neglected the other two and just trying to keep all three safe, fed and suitably rested on some days is a balancing act I feel lucky to manage.

I'm frustrated not only by my inability to do what I would like to with them, but my inability to successfully meet their expectations. E1 tends to have high expectations of miracles from Ma -- and my successes, which this week included a weighted blanket that seems to help her sleep, are often dimmed by my shortcomings as she cannot understand why it takes more than one day to make the crocheted turtle pillow we've agreed on. I'm frustrated because even though we are learning tools to help E1 handle her SPD, I have trouble remembering to do them, or finding time, or convincing her to participate, and I don't feel like I know enough to be a real help sometimes. I'm frustrated by not being able to be perfect and create memories that are flawless in my mind, because I know that the moments and even life are so ephemeral.

I'm elated when I do manage to accomplish anything -- the blanket for example -- and that we did, in fact, construct a pompom caterpillar on Monday night and tonight we did cutouts of their hands with a heart in the center. They were quite nice when decorated with glitter glue. Then E2, practicing with scissors (another mess entirely) cut off one of her fingers -- not her own, but the construction paper hand. I'm elated that I fixed a meal and that E3, at least, was willing to try everything on her tray and ate well, a true accomplishment since at 11 months she refuses to eat from a spoon so only finger foods work for her, although her definition of a finger food is broader than most. I'm elated when I make it anywhere on time, most notably to my exercise class, Awana, and their gymnastics. I'm elated when we have a positive night at gymnastics, because sometimes dealing with a handful of little people through nearly two hours of classes stretches my last nerve.

I'm exhausted, not just by the energy demands of three little girls, but by tending to my kennel, which even when slow as it tends to be this time of year requires time and care to operate smoothly and when busy, well, that's another big demand entirely. I'm exhausted by the fact that sleep seldom comes before 11 p.m. and sometimes midnight and I'm awake and heating coffee before 7 a.m., although lately I've managed to not be up before 6 o'clock. I'm exhausted by the emotional toil the last month has taken on me and my family and my relationships and inner peace. Some days, I'm even exhausted by this blog, although most of the time I find it therapeutic to unload whatever is on my mind.

So it's Friday night and the house is quiet. My Lab is barking and howling at some sound apparently only he can hear in the front yard, but only the clicking of the keyboard breaks the silence inside. It's time to turn out the lights and turn down my brain, but I'm not yet ready to relinquish my hold on the day.

Instead, the musings of a former coworker and friend who blogs about her own small child, (Anarchy in the Sandbox) have reignited the pain I feel for a lost little boy, and her dreams for her daughter made me revisit the dreams I once had for him. Instead I sit at my computer, a mental picture of him hovering behind my eyes and tears on my cheeks, as thoughts of what I lost do battle with fresher memories of slender wrists and toothy grins, tearful entreaties and gleeful celebrations, and "Ma! I love you" shouted and whispered at random times through another simultaneously tiring and priceless day.

It's Friday, and for most of two days I'll be Angela or Sweetheart, friend or lover, dog sitter or classmate. But behind all of those identities, I'll still be Momma to my daughter and my lost boy and Ma to three little miracles, even if like a super hero, I'm not always dressed in my special snot and sticky-hand covered wardrobe.

Now enough of this. For the first time in four weeks I don't dread the weekend and the lack of distractions it brings. I've got a turtle to crochet and a house to clean before Monday arrives. I need to get some rest.

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