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7.24.2011

Battles

We just got back from vacation, and our vacation was awesome.  But reality is hitting me hard, and I already feel like I need a break from it... specifically from my kids.  Because every day we have the same three battles, and it's driving me crazy.  I love my son more than I can express, but he is the driving force behind all three of these battles (Izzy only really participates in one).

It starts at breakfast- as I am preparing their breakfast he asks me, ever day, inexhaustibly, "can I have a snack?"  To which I answer "you can have breakfast."  Oliver: "I don't want breakfast, I want a snack."  I hold my ground, he cries, etc.  Every day.  I never back down or give in, as I myself am inexhaustible in my stubbornness (so I wonder where he gets it?).  But we still go through this every day.  For over a year.

The rest of the day we spend doing our thing, with the only minor battle being a continuation of the first one: "can I have a snack?" all. day. long.  Sometimes, obviously, the answer is yes.  But when it's no, he just keeps asking, and whining, and making me crazy.

Then he takes a nap.  No battle there usually (thank the lord).  But then he wakes up, always right when I need to be starting dinner, and needs me to hold him (when I say need, I realize the difference between need and want.  he needs) for at least half an hour.  Then he has a snack and I start dinner.  Then while I'm finishing dinner the real battle starts: "I'm so hungry, I want a snack, is dinner ready yet?"  Then he whines and cries some more, I yell because by this point my patience is exhausted, he cries some more... it's not pretty.  This particular battle I feel like I've been fighting for four years, because before Oliver Izzy did the exact same thing.  Except that she didn't want a snack, she just wanted to be held and would cry for hours unless I did so (and sometimes even when I did).  But when I'm cooking, I just want to cook.  Sometimes I would be on top of things and have something in the crock pot or oven by the time they woke up, but more often, not.  This particular battle is making me particularly crazy, because it seems like it will never end.  And I have no ideas for how to end it.  The only thing keeping me sane is the fact that Izzy eventually stopped, so Oliver probably will too.

And then the last battle of the day, the one fought in all homes with children around the world- clean up time.  "Time to clean up" followed by whines and wails and "I don't want to!"  Not only because cleaning up isn't fun, but because cleaning up means it's almost bed time.  I've tried many things to help make this process smoother- cleaning up before dinner (but we've already seen how awful this particular time of day is), using a timer, all sorts of incentives and punishments, taking toys away... they care, but it's still not enough to make them willing participants in the process.  And Oliver is notorious for messing around while Izzy cleans, which makes her mad.

Between these three battles that repeat every single day I feel like my life as a mother is spent fighting with and not enjoying my children.  There is no way I'm going to back down on any of these issues- this is a temporary solution that will only make me crazier in the long run.  And I keep thinking that they are going to get the idea someday that they have to clean up, so why fight it, and that their crying and whining will get them no where on any of the issues.  But man, my kids are stubborn.

And people wonder why I don't want any more kids...

5 comments:

Nadia said...

I'm so sorry to say this, it probably isn't what you want to hear, but your post made me smile. I get your frustration... my sons make me crazy and it's mostly around food also. The kids whine/cry at breakfast. The little one especially. He's hungry but won't allow me to cook food, unless he's in my arms... I've gotten really good at cooking with only one arm free. I never have my sling around (or am too lazy to go get it). Same thing happens at suppertime. Oh, and I totally gave up on making anything for lunch... raw veggies and cheese and/or hummus is all I have the energy to give them!

That's just some of our issues... so, just to say that you're not alone in your frustration. This too shall pass!

I usually resort to a glass of wine while they whine ;)

Brandislee said...

Actually, I love to hear when my frustration makes people smile, especially in the context that you speak of. The whole reason I put my struggles out there is so that other people can relate and know they are not alone. And by you telling me that you have the same struggles I know that I am not alone. We both win!

I use a sling when it helps, but sometimes it doesn't, and Oliver is getting so big a sling isn't as comfortable as it used to be. And I'm a little ashamed to say that I use the "pack" (ie the Ergo) as a threat sometimes- as in "If you want me to hold you, I'm gonna put you in the pack." Which he doesn't like unless he's sleepy.

And I love the idea of wine while they wine. I've been trying to collect local wines (from my locale and my childhood locale), but, ahem, I can't seem to keep the bottles around long enough to call it a collection:)

Candace said...

Maybe if you have more kids, Isabella and Oliver will be old enough to help with the little ones ; ) Just a thought - hehehe...

Cat J B said...

Your post made me smile too, what parent would not understand what you're going through?

My eldest is a bit finnicky about food, I've now told him I don't take requests at breakfast, I make....they eat. Which also means I don't answer the 'what's for breakfast?' q, 'cos that gives him time to make a fuss about it. But he's 6, so he's learnt to deal with that. Usually.
My youngest one, 3 yrs old, fusses about clothes, and shoes. Every day. He doesn't want to wear them. At all. Not appropriate for the school run or for bike riding. Well, barefoot is usually ok, but clothes are generally a must. Oy, so between breakfast fusses and clothes struggles, we were racing to get to school on time most days. Still are sometimes, the clothing thing is still an issue.

Hehe, my youngest sis has 2 kids and says if she has any more, she'd be in a psych unit.

Just a quick thing again on breakfast. For a while, and now doing it again, I would pack a small snack and put it next to my kids beds. When they wake, they eat that before they come out of their room. It keeps my eldest one from being completely feral before breakfast and now my youngest wants to be in on it too, so I do it for them both. A couple of dried apricots or some homemade fruit leather or something similar. Nothing messy, nothing that needs refrigeration and nothing that will make them not hungry for their actual breakfast.


Man, parenting is hard work!

Brandislee said...

OMG not only is that snack by the bed thing a good idea, but I love the way you describe them as feral before they eat- that is so it! I'm the worst mom about mornings, though. I am always the LAST one up... well, recently Izzy's been sleeping later than me, but they used to have to drag me out of bed to feed them. So they got into the habit of raiding the snack cupboard or the fruit bowl instead of waking me up. Which is probably part of the problem.

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