Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Temporary Insanity

I've thought now for about a year that I was done having kids. I have two boys that are 2 1/2 years apart. If I was going to have more, I would have planned on that over a year ago, so my third would be spaced the same. People tell me quite frequently that I "need" to try for a girl; that someone as "girlie" as me should have at least one girl. Other people remind me that "3 is the new 2"; it is becoming more common to have 3 kids instead of just 2. I usually blow these comments off because I've been pretty sure of my feelings towards having more kids - not going to happen. I was pretty sure until I had a moment that I questioned my stance.

I was helping out some friends today with getting their kids to and from camp and a birthday party. I had between one and two extra kids in the car throughout the day and I have to admit, I really liked it. I liked having all the chatter in the car and when I looked in the rear view mirror and saw extra faces, I wondered why not have more? Sure, today was a novelty, so there was no fighting or whining in the car; but I was still shocked with myself that I would even for a moment consider having more kids. I can't explain the feeling I had in a car filled with kids, but it was a good feeling. I guess I really like being a mom and I wanted more. Could Motherhood be addictive?

If it is, I have a few problems with supporting my addiction. For one, my husband has been very clear since our second son was born that he is DONE having kids. He has informed me numerous times that if I would like more, I will need to find someone else to father them. Kidding aside, we have had real discussions about having more kids and he would be open to considering the idea if it was what I really wanted. But, that's my second problem; I don't think I really ever want to be pregnant again. I do the whole pregnancy thing pretty well, a hidden talent, but I don't really enjoy it. The first time I was pregnant, I was excited. The second time, I just wanted to have the baby without having to grow it. But, that leads me to my last issue; I don't want to have a baby in my house again. I am so happy with the ages I have now. My car today was filled with those same ages and it was fun. We are done with cribs, high-chairs, and diapers; and I am very happy about this. I am just not a baby person. I can honestly say I have never thought, "I'd really like to have a little helpless crying person come live with us and keep me from sleeping for 3 months". That is something I am still sure will never enter my mind.

So where does that leave me? Perhaps adoption? I could fill my car, my house, and my life with children instead of infants. Its something to think about. But, so is just car-pooling more often. Today's moment may very well have been a moment of insanity instead of clarity. And, if I'm jonesing for more kids, I could maybe just get a quick fix by carpooling.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

My Guy

I am fully aware that I spend most of my time ranting on my blog, versus raving. My husband often questions that maybe I complain a little too much. But who really wants to read about how perfect my life is? That's not interesting. There's nothing to bond over that. I think my husband takes it personally if there is anything about my life to complain about. He does after all, get the brunt of my bad days, whether deserved or not. I try not to complain about him, but I can't help it if some of the things he says or does are just "blog worthy".

I like to tell the story about my Mother's Day gift last year - it was a Wii and a new flat screen TV only hooked up to the Wii. As in no cable hooked up and just a mere 20 feet away from another TV in our media room. A kind of Wii shrine. I was out with my older son for the day and when we returned there was the new TV fully installed on the wall in the playroom and all kinds of Wii paraphernalia. Surprise! Happy Mother's Day! The story is very funny at my husband's expense because the gift was so obviously not for me. When would I ever have time to play video games? And what makes it even funnier is how hurt he was when I suggested the gift was more for him and the boys. My five year old even said to me "silly Dad, he bought Wii for a girl". I agree. But, the part that I often leave out of the story is that I did also receive a Rolex from him the week before. So, I wasn't actually expecting a big Mother's Day gift that year. Yes, he's not such a bad guy after all.

And before you question whether I only like him for his gifts, let me set the record straight. Yes, yes, yes I get great gifts. But, he is also my best friend and biggest supporter. I have known my husband since he was 14 and could not have guessed then what kind of partner and father he would become. Luckily for me, he is deeply invested in both roles. Even on those bad days when he walks in from work to me blaming him for everything wrong with our kids, he will still tell me so sincerely that I am doing a great job as a mother. The gifts are just a perk.

So, although my husband will undoubtedly continue to inspire some of my writing as he is not perfect; he will never be on time to anything, he will never listen to me the first time, and will never kick his Blackberry addiction. He will also continue to inspire me as a person. No one person in my life has ever believed in me more. I'm glad he is my guy. Happy Anniversary and Happy Father's Day!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Invasion of Space

Let's get something straight. You may think your kids are the cutest creatures on the planet and I won't argue with you, but please don't assume that I share the same thoughts. Why do some parents think that everyone sees their kids through the same adoring eyes that they do? Lot's of people tell me that my kids are cute. Strangers give my kids compliments all the time, but I never assume that those people actually want to hang out with my kids. From a distance my kids are cute, but up close they are just gross little germ infested kids. I love them and I don't mind their sweat and snot, but I would never assume anyone else wants to be subjected to that. I've seen and recognized the horrified look in my child-less brother and his wife's eyes when my filthy children come racing towards them to give them a big sticky hug. I get it, but why do so many parents not get it?

A case in point: My husband, my 3 year old, and I were sitting by ourselves watching my 5 year old's t-ball game. A little boy we've never seen before toddled over to my 3 year old's chair and stood there staring at him. At first, we all said "Hi", trying to be polite, but my 3 year old was not interested in this kid being so close to him. The toddler crept into my 3 year old's personal space and started leaning on his chair. My 3 year old said "No" a few times and looked horrified. Then, I noticed the stream of snot rolling out of this kid's nose. A second later the coughing began. My husband and I looked around to see who this little monster belonged to and we located the dad sitting a short distance away watching with delight that his little boy was "making a friend". The snot kept rolling and the little boy started grabbing for my 3 year old's water bottle. By this point, my husband and I were staring down the dad hoping he took a hint that maybe we weren't enjoying his kid's company. When my 3 year old started crying because the snotty little boy wouldn't stop trying to take his water bottle, we finally had to take action. We had to ask the dad to please take his son back over to his area. We shouldn't have to ask, should we?

It seems to me there are certain "social rules" regarding how we interact in public and the general respect of personal space. As adults, if a stranger approached us and stood staring at us or grabbed for our food, this would not be okay. We would ask them to leave, walk away, or maybe even call security. So, why would we allow our children to bother strangers, even if they are other children? Sure, children don't know any better. They don't understand that the whole world isn't actually their playground and that not everyone is their friend. I'm not suggesting that we strip children of their innocence, but parents do need to set up some boundaries. Your children may be social invalids, but as parents (and adults) you should not be. If your child is obviously bothering someone, it is time to step in.

This past weekend my 3 year old was accosted again. Maybe he is just that cute? The four of us were sitting by the Art Museum steps listening to free live music and eating water ice when another little toddler came waddling up to us. The mother was following close behind, but made no attempt to steer him out of our direction. He went right for my 3 year old. The child's mother actually said, "Oh, you're making some new friends", as the toddler tried grabbing my 3 year old's water ice. Yuck! My 3 year old was visibly upset. The mother finally grabbed the toddler, but only after he tried for a second time to get his drool covered hands on the water ice. Did it really need to go that far? I do think that this should just be an understanding among parents. Am I wrong?

So, just to be clear, personal space surrounds all people, big and small. If I see your child and I invite them to come sit with us, or offer them some of our food, then we're cool. If your child toddles over to us and we say "Oh, its okay", then you can let your kid hang out with us. But really, unless there is an invitation, please reel your child back in. In return, I promise to continue to do the same. You will not be subjected to my kid's dirty hands, snot, or general invasion of space. I will continue to keep them on a short leash. Yes, there is a grace period because kids can be fast. But please know, that I never assume that you are as happy to see them as we are.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Hate the Playdate

I really don't like hosting play-dates. I dread them. I see other mothers picking up extra kids in car line all the time and I don't know how they do it. My two boys play great together at home. I can count on a good two hours every day of my kids playing quietly together using their imaginations to go on adventures around the house or build elaborate Lego structures. There is laughter and the occasional fight, but overall our house is pretty peaceful most afternoons. But, when we throw more kids into the mix all Hell breaks loose. And usually it is by no fault of the guest. Play-dates do something chemically to my kids to make them crazy. The minute our guest gets into our car or steps through our door, all rules known to my children are no longer recognized by them. And any control I had over them disappears. The word "chaos" comes to mind.

Play-dates also make the mean mommy in me come out. The cranky unhappy mommy. But really, when I arrange these play-dates I don't expect to find myself saying "don't put race cars in the fish bowl", or "no Purell on the cat". And, what is the right reaction when you find your kids and their friends trying to "wash" the dog in the upstairs hallway with a pan of water and the kitchen sponge? I can stay calm, but I'm not happy. I was really not happy when I came into the kitchen to find my son and his friend had climbed onto a shelf and ripped it, molly bolts and all, out of the wall. The sight of a hole in the wall and plaster all over the floor makes me very cranky.

I normally am very proud of my kids' judgment. They normally possess good common sense, or at least the sense of what would be allowed and what they should maybe ask to do first. Play-dates impair this judgment severely. I wish I knew what happens in their little brains to make them crazy when their friends are over. Their voices are louder and higher pitched, and they move ten times faster than they normally do. Maybe its just excitement, but I can't get through to them. My kids stop hearing me and I get a little dizzy with them running circles around me.

Hosting a play-date becomes a very time intensive afternoon for me. For damage control, there is an obvious need for me to be within earshot of them at all times. Often I stay close enough that I can glance at them if it suddenly seems a little too quiet. If I'm not watching them, I find myself watching the clock, counting down the minutes until the play-date and the alien invasion of my kids is over. That is no way to spend an afternoon.

So, I commend those moms who do frequent play-dates. Kudos to you. My limit is one a week. I will gladly meet for a play-date at the park, or lunch with the kids, but I know my limits. Maybe that makes me a selfish mommy to limit how many play-dates we host each week because it makes my life easier. But regardless, it makes me a much happier mommy. A happy mom makes for a happy family. There is a direct correlation there.