Attainable Goal: Spring clean Boy Love's clothing.
Grievance: Boy Love woke up rearin' to go at 5:15
Celebration: 8 hours of sleep and my fever is broken
One of the daily struggles of having 2 small boys is the process of getting into the car. First of all, if you are lucky enough to have gotten a shower, put on something other than sweats, and still had the energy to put your hair up in pins, you are still only at square one.
Next comes the task to getting ready actually cross the threshold of the house. Diaper bag needs to be packed with appropriate amount of diapers, wipes, milk, burp rags, extra clothes, pacifier, etc without the eldest of the two boys emptying it's contents and scattering them willy nilly about the floor. Boy Love's lunch pail needs to be packed with juice, snacks, diapers, and wipes with everything adequately marked with his name. If this can be accomplished without Boy Love eating the snacks packed, drinking the juice packed, and wearing the diaper on his head like super-absorbent leak-proof helmet, then comes the time to move on to the third phase of preparing for our mission.
When one has a brand new baby, it is imperative to make sure that said baby is adequately fed before leaving the house. This is to avoid having a screeching child in public (this takes a toll on the "cute factor") and greatly reduces the chance that you need to breastfeed/pump in public. (Note: I am of the opinion that if you get offended by a mother breastfeeding her child in public, then you need to seriously re-evaluate your priorities. However, I prefer to not have the world subjected to my breasts for aesthetic reasons, which is why I avoid public feedings. This whole discussion is for a different blog, though...) So this means spending 20+ minutes feeding or pumping. Or whatever makes it so baby is full and breasts are empty. By this time, toddler is jealous that baby gets "Milk Snack" and he gets diddly, so it is off to scavenge for yet some more food. Preferrably a snack that travels, but then that leaves the issue of getting out the door holding said snack and not spilling it/losing interest.
By this time, over 30 minutes have elapsed and we are still in the house. I need to get myself out the door, too, so I find the closest slip-on shoes that I see, whether they match or not. Then I need the ever-so-irreplaceable keys and phone (heavens forbid I need to bring anything else like mail or trash). When the three of us are finally packed and prepared, it is time to wedge Baby Love into his car seat, which inevitably wakes him from his slumber and reminds him that he needs to eat again. Perhaps the pacifier will suffice, so begins the rummage through his bag to find it. By the time my head has emerged from the recesses of his diaper bag (reminiscent of Mary Poppins and the carpet bag full of furniture), Boy Love has tried to take matters into his own hands. To stop the crying, he is covering Baby's face with smothering kisses and snuggles, and when that seems to make the situation worse, he tries shoving his fingers as far down his brother's throat as possible to provide him with something to suck. While he has the best of intentions, I have to scold him for taking away Baby's ability to breathe, and I quickly replace fingers with binky.
It is time to brave the front door. With Baby Love' car seat in one hand, diaper bag slung over shoulder, keys in other hand, I cautiously open the dreaded gateway to the great unknown. Not before, however, I have given Boy Love a pep talk in staying close to mother. Why I do these pep talks is beyond me, because as soon as the door opens, off he shoots like a circus cannon toward the busy apartment parking lot. I am fumbling with my keys to lock the front door, yelling at Boy to wait for mommy, and trying to replace the pacifier that has since been spit out, making for a very unhappy baby. If I am lucky enough to have Boy Love even give me a glance, I pounce on the opportunity to catch up to him. If he ignores me (which is most of the time), I find myself putting Baby on the ground by the front door and sprinting wildly after the bobbling head of blonde hair, only to catch him barely before he gets hit by a speeding car. Then comes the scolding, which obviously does no good whatsoever, and the exasperated attempt to get Boy in his own car seat. Through all of this, Baby is sitting in his seat, eyes being attacked by direct sunlight, and binky has once again escaped his suck. So I close Boy in car, run quickly back to Baby, and bring him to his car seat base. If I can successfully get him locked into his spot, binky replaced, and sun out of eyes, I move to the other side of the car where Boy Love has escaped from his chair and is playing in another area of the car. Then commences the all-too-familiar struggle to get Boy into his seat and buckled, which often can last up to 5 minutes of firm discussion and threats of a hand slap. Once both boys are in the car, I get into the drivers seat, turn on the AC, and heave a giant sigh of relief as the car cools down. About 45 minutes of our day have passed me by.
So I understand that 2 year olds are almost all this difficult, but I tend to get very nervous about mine in particular. He is dreadfully disobedient almost all of the time, and I fear that in situations like this, he is going to seriously hurt himself or someone else. I tire of having to apologize to cars in the parking lot after he has ran in front of them, and I tire of the emotional toll that this kind of reckless action takes on me. I also don't want to have to constantly worry about him hurting the baby in one of his well-intentioned attempts to help. So what do I do? I have tried being calm and firm, I have tried yelling at him, I have tried slapping his hand and putting him in time out. I have tried being totally casual about it to see if he is just trying to get a response out of me. And yet, with all these tactics, he still makes me nervous to the point of tears. What do I do? I hate being in constant fear for our safety. Am I destined to be confined to the house until he grows up?