Friday, May 15, 2015

Indescribable Fondness!

Andy's preschool graduation is on Wednesday.  The director sent an email today stating that, as parents, we will look back on these preschool years with an "indescribable fondness."  I'm sure that's putting it lightly.  I can't believe Andy is almost in kindergarten, that he's flown through these first stages so quickly.  Baby, toddler, preschooler.  And now he's going to walk across that stage and leave it all behind.  I can already see his smile.  I know how proud he will be, and I know that he will wave to me in that uninhibited way of his. That's Andy, the only boy I ever hear at the park to shout his love for his mother across six yards of mulch.  That will end at some point soon, I'm sure.  And it's a good thing I can picture his smile and walk across that preschool stage in my mind, because I might miss the actual event due to the blur of tears in my eyes.  Or because I'm in labor (fingers crossed that I don't go into labor anytime before the exact moment that I'm personally ready, just like nature intended.).

Andy at preschool.
Of parenting, it's said that the days are long but the years are short.  I get that, I deeply get that. To further expound on that, I feel like lately I have been a less than ideal parent, shuffling these kids through the motions until we reach the ultimate goal of bedtime.  I just try to survive each eternal day, my patience for two perfectly normally behaved children worn so thin that I can feel myself shaking as I try not to snap.  There are all of the excuses, of course.  The move.  The pregnancy.  I'm tired, hormonal, and my body hurts.  I'm still overwhelmed with the feeling that I live in someone else's house, still panicky about aspects of the move even though it's somehow all over, somehow all over for almost two months now.  I can't move as fast.  I'm having contractions more frequently than I ever did with the boys.  I'm up to my neck in worries over adding a third kid to the mix.  And I fear that I may need a root canal.  So those are my excuses for struggling to get through the days.  But these days are stacking up like cards in a deck, and now my oldest child is leaving behind such a young, sweet part of his life, and my heart feels like it's just going to explode.

Alex, I'm not forgetting you; you will cross that stage, too, on Wednesday.  But your progression is easier to deny.  The kindergarten thing looms huge with Andy, especially since it's full day. Especially since he's taken there on a bus.  Especially since he'll be five- FIVE- and out there in an atmosphere that I have so little control over.  No more making friends with moms standing outside the preschool room and arranging play dates with people that seem normal.  No, now it's up to Andy to choose his own friends.  And something tells me, based on what I've seen, that many of his choices will be... abnormal.  I've seen the kids he's drawn to at the playground.  What an unsightly group of weirdos.

Andy, I'm not really okay with this graduating preschool thing.  I'm less than thrilled.  But I have no choice but to embrace it, to celebrate with you and to enthusiastically shepherd you forward into your bright little future, even if a small part of me has to fake it.  I want you to know how extremely proud I am of you, my first little baby who once fit so perfectly into the crook of my arm.  The good news is that you still fit pretty perfectly into my arms, even if there's so much more of you now.  The good news is that as much as you've grown, you are, for now, still mostly mine.  And as hard as some of the individual days might be, I want you to know that these have been the best years of my life.  So forgive me for the following things.  Being short of patience lately.  Needing to nap more.  Needing to pace around the house alternating between baby worries and house issues (most of which involve poor spackling jobs or trying to calculate the decibels of floor squeaks).  Rushing you through tasks. Not giving you my full attention all of the times you deserve it.  I hope I can get my act together after this baby gets here, but, man.  I'm going to really have to work on it.  I promise I will try my best. Really.

Your preschool career has been extraordinary, if I may use that word.  Your teachers love you and have nothing but good things to say about you.  In the past year, you have done extremely well.  Your teacher told me that everyday, an extra good listener gets to sit on the special purple X during circle time.  Guess who sits there the most?  Guess who deserves to sit there EVERYDAY according to your teacher?  YOU!  It's just a small thing, this purple X.  But it's indicative of so much more.  And it's one more reminder of what a great kid I have.  Andy, I will be so happy to see you cross that stage on Wednesday.  Even if I'm also sad.  And even if I'm standing in a puddle of my own amniotic fluid because the emotional intensity of the whole thing has sent me into labor.

I'll bring a couple towels.  I love you boys, Andy and Alex.  Congratulations.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Do The Neighbors Get Cable?!

Today I threatened to send Alex to live with the neighbors if he goes into the baby's room again.  I have told these two boys countless times to leave that damn room alone- that room that is reserved for the baby but is in such an embarrassing state of disarray that one would assume I have three months of pregnancy left instead of closer to three weeks.  (I am technically four weeks away from 40 weeks, but I have started practicing in front of the mirror the many, tearful ways in which I will beg for my third elective induction on the very first day of week 39.  Unless I go before then, which at times seems like a distinct possibility and other times seems completely outside the realm of reality.  Go into labor at home?  Do people actually do that?)

How do you solve a problem like Alex?
The bedroom contains 84 pieces of crib that need to be somehow assembled without the aid of any sort of instruction manual.  Today, I found Alex sitting in a pile of loose screws and bolts, haphazardly tossing them around like he was making it rain dollar bills, yo.  I have found him and Andy in the room before doing horrible things- wedging their oversized preschool asses into the delicate little baby swing, yanking on the window blind cord so roughly that it somehow bent and almost broke the adjacent curtain rod, rolling around in miscellaneous baby items with little thought to the care and loving attention that one must provide to such items when they leave them on the floor in pieces, and throwing all of the unsorted baby clothes into whole new sets of unsortedness.  Get out of this room, Andy and Alex.  How many times do we have to have this conversation?  You are not allowed in this room, and that statement stands until your sister is able to verbally welcome you in.  So, like, two years or so.  And even then, maybe just leave her stuff alone.

Alex didn't like being told that he might be sent to the neighbor's house if he continues to disobey me. I was really playing on his biggest fears here, and while it was kind of a jerk move, I could only hope that it worked.  A mother's love is forever, but she may kick you to the curb if she has to tell you one more time to stop messing around.  And so that is me at my most effective but also most insensitive. I am starting to understand that our move and this impending baby are affecting Alex much more than I thought they were.  I just assumed all of these major life changes would have zero effect on him.  I don't know why I thought zero; perhaps I'm more clueless than some of you originally thought.  Or perhaps it was just easier not to really think things through from a young child's perspective with all of the stress in my own, slightly older life.  I finally kind of get it though.  Because if you're two, and your HOUSE can change, the one and only place you've ever known as HOME, then what ELSE can change?  Especially if there's a new baby on the way that you keep hearing about?  Holy hell, maybe getting shuttled over to a random neighbor's house to live out the rest of childhood really is a distinct possibility!  There's no way any sane person can actually raise three children, at least not well.

I got Alex out of the room while yelling at Chris that he needs to attend to the crib at some point soon since we're clearly only losing pieces.  (Also, the car seat, what are the odds of getting that thing wedged into my car next to two boosters?  I have a sick feeling we'll be car shopping two days after the baby's birth, signing papers for a minivan while I'm sitting on an ice pack at the dealership.  Of course, we can't afford to do that, so maybe I'll just let Andy sit on my lap while I drive.  Click!  I'll be your safety belt!  Now signal left so I can grab a sip of coffee.)  And then I reminded myself of how I vowed to be more patient and loving towards little Alex.  He's been so clingy and emotional lately, falling apart over minor inconveniences, insisting that I stay by his side, and losing it when I have to drop him off at preschool or when the baby-sitter comes before I leave for work.  The usual bribes have ceased to work.  Fruit snacks and cookies are apparently no substitution for the assurance that previously assumed constants (such as the very home you used to live in and the fact that you will always be your mother's baby) aren't going to be obliterated with some strange hammer of injustice.

Later, I assured Alex that he would NEVER go live with the neighbors.  Mommy would never do that!  But seriously, you have to stop going into the baby's room.  Of course, I could have just handled the situation the way Chris did, which was to simply lock her door.  Men.  Always so practical and slow to leap to heartless threats.  But seriously.  Let's work on getting the crib set up and maybe do a test drive with all three kid seats installed so that I know exactly how unmanageable this is all going to be.

Alex, you stay here.  I'm just going to go curl up on the neighbor's couch for a few days.