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When You Realize That You Haven’t Listened To Music While Out And About For FOUR Years

 

You’re witnessing the exact moment, on Mother’s Day 2013, when I realized that I hadn’t put headphones on, just for the sake of adding a soundtrack to my day, for FOUR years.  Probably a bit over, if we’re really being honest here.  Sure I’ve listened to music while working out or put one earbud in to listen to a movie on a plane (where you put the earbud in the opposite ear of where your kid is and try to pretend that you’re childless and that watching the movie is actually an option, do you know what I’m talking about?).

On Mama’s Day, the baby’s Daddy gave me the day/what, in reality, turned out to be 4 hours, to galavant about Hong Kong BY MYSELF.  And so, for four hours, I walked and got lost and listened to music and stopped wherever I damn well pleased.  It was glorious.  I thought that perhaps it would make me regret the fact that this was indeed, NOT my reality, but truth be told, galavanting about with two toddlers is just as great.  Different, yes, but still great.

I realized something else while I was alone.  There are many things that one doesn’t, or isn’t able to notice, when exploring with kids.  Likely, I would have never noticed this muralists’ color palette painted on the wall if I would have been pushing a stroller/had a sweaty monkey on my back.  HOWEVER, there are an equal number of things that one doesn’t notice, for lack of a child-like perspective, when exploring WITHOUT kids.  Such as, the snail making its way across the road or how easy it is to make friends.

At the end of the day, while I do dream of a time when the kids are grown and I can ride off into the night footloose and fancy free, they add a texture to travel experiences that I would have never known existed.  And for that, I am a grateful mama.

 

 

That One Time I Did Two Hundred Laps Around The Apartment

Once upon a time, at 3:30 in the afternoon (quite beyond a reasonable nap hour), there lived a mother who had been cooped up inside her apartment with two crabby children for at least 3 hours.  One of the two aforementioned children was accustomed to sleep being given to him on a platter (grapes, cheese, palm fronds and all), in the form of a nipple in his mouth. When those privileges were finally revoked, the platter came in the form of a moving stroller ride.  As it turned out, the mother and her two children (along with their father) had recently landed themselves in the middle of a sub-tropical rainy season, in which stroller rides can become quite difficult (and the reason for which this had not yet been done, at such an ungodly napping hour).  After battling the rain for a matter of minutes (at least 6 of them), with the constant whining of children in the background, the mother became desperate.  In she went back into the apartment building, with the least knowledge of how to proceed; what she did know was that said crabby, spoiled, 2 year old HAD to nap.  A few laps around their 13th floor were done before the children began to wonder why they had passed by their neighbors door four times; questions became too infuriating and into the apartment they headed.  It was then that the strangest thing happened.  As they entered the apartment and the stroller stopped rolling, neither of the children tried to escape (though they were both very much still awake).  Upon realizing this, the mother decided that she had no choice but to go back and forth and back and forth, around the apartment, until the cheeky little monsters found their peace.  And so, for what must have been at least 33 minutes and 221 laps, the mother paced, until BOTH (which is an altogether uncommon occurrence) children fell fast asleep.

I won’t say that they lived happily ever after, but I will say that 94 minutes of solitude were very much enjoyed by the mother.

The End.

 

Psychological Terror and the Dreadful Thought of Parenting Advice

I was recently confronted with what I perceived as judgement of my parenting.  To which I responded:  Don’t mess with me, YOU HAVE NO IDEA.  And then, I reflected on my defensive reaction.  Why is it that parents are less than open to what is most likely meant as constructive criticism?  After this experience, I thought about this question; why was I so quick to jump on the defense? And then I came to my answer:  BECAUSE BEING A PARENT IS HARD, and the last thing you want is someone diagnosing yours.  Sure, there are times when my mind is checked out and I don’t constructively redirect my 2 year old (rather, I say NO or DON’T DO THAT or throw my arms up in defeat) BUT FOR F$&%’S SAKE (and as studies can back up),  I HAVE A FINITE AMOUNT OF “COPING” ENERGY GIVEN TO ME PER DAY, AND GOD HELP ME, YOU BOY (said 2 year old), JUST CROSSED THAT THRESHOLD.  We all have a different threshold and while I’d like to believe that mine is particularly resilient, well, if you saw me by 7pm, I’m afraid the jury would be in that I was full of shit.  I’M TERRIBLY IMPATIENT.  There, I said it.  My buttons are pushed to their limit nearly every day.  Did I mention the phrase Psychological Terror?  I’m fairly certain that it justifies the impatience.  Most of the time.

In discussing the situation with my husband, he so eloquently gave me the term “psychological terror”.  Cause that’s what it feels like sometimes.  Right?  The screeching on top of the whining on top of the needing on top of the bickering, multiplied by what’s going on years, and some days, I feel like the victim of torture.  AS IN when the headstrong 2 year old, fresh off a night of whimpering for the boob multiple times (AFTER HE HASN’T BREASTFED DURING THE NIGHT FOR 6 MONTHS), wakes up at the crack of dawn and drags you out of bed screeching, just so he can whine at you about the birthday balloon that has somehow managed to stay perky for what feels like a century.  AND BY 6:45 AM, YOU’VE ALREADY BEEN PSYCHOLOGICALLY TERRORIZED.  6:45.  And then you hope that, by the grace of the universe, today is the day you’ll be allowed to call UNCLE, and go back to bed in peace.  Though to be quite honest, as of late, this is usually my better half who has to endure the morning torture, because that’s just how wonderful he is.  But you get the picture.

This leads to one of those days where you desperately need a RESET button.  Or, a recalibration to CRAZY, where your new zero is ten (zero as in cool, calm, and collected.. ten as in heading-for-the-hills).  Because if you’re at least recalibrated, balance can be restored and sanity can be attained.  Seriously though, do you not wish you could press a magical button that would RESET your psyche for the day?  One where you could forget the frustration derived from your toddler nursing for 20 minutes until he was dead asleep, only to wake up hollering when you pull the nipple out of his mangy little mouth (YES, I have a two year old that still nurses down for his nap, don’t judge me)- thus totally screwing over what chance you had to naturally decompress?  SERENITY NOW, I say, RESET.  I want to be patient and loving and compassionate, BUT MY THRESHOLD HAS BEEN CROSSED, what power have I over the situation?  RESET.

And when it is finally accepted that no magical RESET button actually exists and patience is not restored, the GUILT kicks in.  Why can’t I be more patient?  Why do I need a reset button?  Is my child’s tantrum a result of said impatience?  Am I emotionally damaging them for life?  Which I guess they had coming, I AM berated with psychological terror on a daily basis.  Tit for tat?  After the barrage of negative self-affirmations has passed and my daily bottom has been reached, what usually happens is that I get an unprovoked kiss (preferably without a tongue) from one of the littles, perspective is found, and I let go of the guilt and remember to just let things be.  IT’S ALL GOING TO BE ALRIGHT, the kiss told me so.  The kids’ll be fine, I’ll (most likely) come out of their childhood sane, and we’ll go off into the night hand in hand.

IN CONCLUSION, do I deserve the much dreaded parenting advice?  Perhaps some days I do.  BUT, I think I have it taken care of, really, I’M FULLY AWARE OF THE TIMES WHEN I SUCK.  YOU’RE NOT TELLING ME ANYTHING THAT I DON’T ALREADY KNOW.  Throw me a bone, yea?  Aren’t I allowed to fall apart sometimes too?