Monday, July 28, 2008

The Gaping Black Hole of Need...

...a/k/a my children.

The best thing about our vacation was that the boys followed their cousins around and were kept busy pretending to be 8-year-olds. They were introduced to the Disney channel and now know the Jonas Brothers and Hannah Montana. I barely saw them. It was awesome.

Within half an hour of their cousin's departure, they were at each other's necks again and it was impossible to ignore them. Lacking the cousins to occupy them, they had to turn to each other, and that rarely ends well. They were wrestling, Ben was squealing in that ear-piercing way of his and G and I instantly had high blood pressure again. It sucked.

I'm finding it very depressing to be off vacation. I hate being annoyed by my children, but since we've been back it seems that I'm always inwardly sneering at them. I know it's me, not them, and yet I can't seem to turn it off. Sometimes I seriously want to pinch them or slap them, just because they're getting so on my nerves. It scares me. I'm able to control myself physically, but my words and my intonations are getting away from me.

I'm surprised and horrified by the bitchiness coming out of my mouth. This morning we made bathtub fingerpaints with dish soap, cornstarch and food coloring. Despite my warnings that this soap was different than the soap they were used to and would sting their eyes if it got near them, A. put the bubbles all over his face and in his hair, and of course, in his eyes. He was screaming as I quickly rinsed him off, tried to get him to stop rubbing his eyes with his soapy hands ("You're making it worse!" I yelled), and, as is so often the case lately, I was irrationally furious.

I had to rinse A. off with the shower, which made the bubbles in the tub multiply, and so then Ben started screaming, "Aaaaaugh! Too many bubbles! Mama! Too many bubbles! Make it stop!" like the Bubble Monster was coming to get him. I told Ben to chill out (which as you know always works immediately). I lifted A. out and then rinsed Ben off and wrapped both up in a towel, and then I said to A., "Well. I guess next time I tell you to keep the soap out of your eyes, you'll LISTEN to me, huh?"

Actually, I didn't say that, I sneered it. Although those were the words that came out of my mouth, what it sounded like was, "You stupid kid. It's all your fault and I am so disgusted with you."

Then I thought, "Jesus Christ. Chill out. He's 5 years old. You give him so many directions he can't remember them all, and he's not going to be able to stop himself from rubbing his eyes. He can't think that through. He feels bad enough as it is."

Actually, I didn't think that, I thought, "Jesus Christ. Listen to what a bitch you're being. Chill the fuck out."

It seems like I've been like that alot lately. It's awful and it needs to stop before my children start to hate me. Or worse, fear me. Right now they just kind of look at me like, Whatever. My tone of voice doesn't seem to phase them, but consequences do, which I KNOW because I'm a freakin' "Parenting Expert" and I say that with full-on air quotes....but I also know that over time, tone of voice comes right back to bite you in the ass, either in the form of kid's bad attitudes or the kid's low self-esteem. Sounding like you're always so irritated and frustrated with your child isn't good for them. Duh.

I've always sort of laughed at the gaping black hole of need they sometimes are because, Jesus, kids ARE awfully needy, aren't they? But it's threatening to overwhelm me right now and I need to get a handle on this quickly.

Maybe this is God's way of telling me to absolutely forget the idea of having a third?


KD @ A Bit Squirrelly said...

Can I just tell you how much I am in the same boat with you. My M is 5 (almost 6) and B is 2 (almost 3) and I am so irrationaly frustrated with them at time that I wonder what the hell kind of mother I am and how I forgot the kind of mother I wanted to be. Thank you for this honest post and reminding me that they are needy, becuase they are childrne and it is my job to love, care for and meet their needs.

Carrie said...

I definitely don't think you are alone in your feelings. I was thinking I should forward this on to my sister who has a 5 1/2 year old and almost 3 year old. They're generally good kids but yeah, I know she feels the same way. One day while I was on the phone with her, she yelled at the oldest to go away for just one dang minute so she could be on the phone (um, yeah, I hung up about 2 seconds later). She said she apologized later to my niece by she still felt like a total heel. I think it's summer--the kids are around ALL THE TIME and even with the other distractions, you're still the main distraction for them. Heck, I spent two days with my niece and nephew both of whom I really enjoy and I couldn't get away fast enough when their dad got home. I can't imagine 24/7.

Anonymous said...

Thank you lovely ladies for sharing a boat with me.

heyitsbeej said...

Scoot over and make some room on the ChillTheFuckOut bench, will ya?

I too am taken aback by my tone once in a while. When I've heard "MomMomMomMomMomMomMom" ad nauseum, sometimes my response becomes,"WHAAAAAAATTTTTT!!!!" And then Kev looks at me like "Dude WTF is your problem."

See, the good thing is that you recognize it and will work on changing it (though y'know, a nice strong beer now and then might be helpful :g:) - which makes you the super-awesome mama that you are.

Beastarzmom said...

Funny - your niece was having just that kind of evening herself tonight.

Yeah - common ailment called parenting. The good news is most of us survive it.

our kids do too.

Lunasea said...

Yeah, Beastie, but this is a little different. This isn't the occasional spaz-out you lay on your kids after a hard day.

I'm talking about feeling really nasty towards your kids for a prolonged period of time, and having a lot of trouble chilling out so they can be kids.

Anonymous said...

Until you posted this I had forgotten that feeling. Truthfully my kids were the best toy I ever had....but...
There was a time when they were little that I started to scream my head off and I wasn't sure I liked being a Mom. When I lost it and screamed it scared me because my dear ones started to shake. How could I be so awful to scare them so? I spoke to their Dr. about it and he said I wouldn't kill them by yelling. I wasn't so scared them and me. He said that I must find a trusted sitter and go away with my husband for the weekend, and to do it every now and then.
Well the good Dr. was right. I needed reconnection time with my hubby. I needed time without kids and they benefited from time without me. While it only took one weekend we kept a date night and it was a sanity saver.
Knot Mom

Deirdre said...

I've been there too often, for prolonged periods, than I even want to admit.

Little Warrior's Mom said...

Oh, Man, I totally could have written this post.

FWIW, I actually find four easier than two was.

My mother-in-law says that no matter how many kids you have, there will always be one sitting in the ornery chair.

Lizard Eater said...

Just read something and thought of you. Kate Braestrup is a UU minister, who wrote a FABULOUS book called, "Here if you need me." Anyway, here's something she said in O magazine. First, she talked about her son Peter and how when he was little, he thought that Nazi's were "Not-Sees."

"Mine is a simple spirituality: I am called to love my neighbor. Sometimes ... I fail to do this very simple thing ... I might just lose my temper and scream at my beloved son ... Why? Well, sometimes because, let's face it, the kid was bad. But mostly it was because I was tired, or afraid, or pissed off at the world or at myself. I am not so melodramatic as to compare myself with Hitler when remembering these failures (though Peter, now a teen, might do so), but I wince. So it becomes part of my spiritual practice to confess it: Forgive me, God, for I have at times been the Not-See, squinting, blinkered, foolishly resisting the light of love as it stubbornly, by grace, keeps shining."

Lizard Eater/Little Warrior's Mom

Lunasea said...

That's wonderful, LE - I could also imagine substituting my kid's names in there - as they continue to love me despite my not-loving attitude toward them.

Sarah O. said...

OK, I've been ignoring the internet lately (hoping to find a real life - it's not working yet) and I just noticed that you're back to your old banner.

Please, please tell me you just changed it so I don't feel so unobservant/negligent.

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