March 02, 2005

Mean mom vents

That's me lately. I'm the mean mom. This morning, S (12) snapped at me, "I thought mothers cared about their kids. About what they have to say." I said, "Yep, I do. Unless you're complaining to me about how much you hate the consequences of your own inactions and irresponsibility." It's the same old story. They don't have any clothes to wear. They can't find this. They can't find that. I won't sign their assignment notebook. (I can't sign it unless you show it to me. I'm not signing anything when you're walking out the door) My teacher is going to be so mad at me, because I have late work again. I need money. I need a lunch. (Richard told them to make it after dinner) Every morning it's the same chaos, and every night at bedtime. This morning I about came undone. I'm losing my patience, and I admit, I'm starting to yell. I hate yelling.

Last night, as I tried to check a few emails after dinner, I realized it was a lost cause. A moment of respite is not to be for me, not even at bedtime. I think they must have a bet to see who can be the loudest and stay up the longest. Mooch (11) is bent on driving me nuts by doing everything she can to make Lil' J scream, howl, or laugh constantly. Or cry. Ah, the sound of crying. I thought with kids the ages of 14, 12, 11, and 4, I might have my crying days behind me. Nope. J (14) has to cry (and he cries like he laughs, which is like a girl) because, *gasp* I asked him to do the dishes. It's an argument every single time. That boy is like his father, truth be told, they'd probably rather eat off the floor then wash a dish.

I'm convinced S cries to hear the sound of her own voice. Either that or she has to sing and hum constantly. Since she has TS, I never know what is a tic, or an attempt to see how close my last nerve is to unraveling.

I used to wonder why my grandma Bonnie had such problems with her nerves and couldn't really handle having kids around her. It would frustrate me because she was my Christian grandma, and that meant she was 'supposed' to be able to handle life better, or so I accused. How could she not want her great-grandchildren around. I never brought the kids out to stay with her since she seemed as fragile as a bowl of glass teetering on the edge of a tree branch whenever kids or too many people were around. You could almost see fear in her eyes, her expression stressed, body tense. If she was like that even with mild mannered kids, mind would have sent her into cardiac arrest for sure. All I know is that I was so proud of her when we went out there for Christmas the first year we moved here, she survived about 2 hrs with my family. For her, that was monumental. (J was 7, S was 5, and M was 4. (J has ADD & S has ADHD & TS)

It was nerve racking even for me, to see how bugged out my grandma was getting while my kids were at her house. I'll admit I viewed her as weak and uncaring at times. Of course, her tiny house was filled with lots of other people, but it was the presence of 3 small children that had her acting like a neurosis patient.

Now, I think I might be getting it. Not her neurosis. Yet. Give me a few more years. I'm talking about why she had so little tolerance. The woman had 8 kids! Yes, I know children are a gift of God, and so precious. What an honor it is to be a mother. However, my mom admits they terrorized. They must have drove her insane at times. A matter of fact, her nervous breakdown is what led her to seek counseling in 1966, which is where she heard the gospel and got saved. She was way past frazzled at that point. My mom says they were terrible kids. Loud, rowdy, obnoxious, and totally inconsiderate. Hmm, sounds familiar.

My kids are a case in point. Maybe I should nickname them, hurricane, tidal wave, earthquake, and tornado. That's about close. You don't even see them coming, yet in 3.5 seconds they can leave a wake of destruction and chaos in your mist. Loud. Rowdy. Hyper. Obnoxious. Inconsiderate. Yup. Those are some adjectives to describe my children. Yes, there are wonderful things to say about them. Just let me vent though, OK?

Loud- All of them talk as if they were speaking to a room of geriatrics. I need ear plugs soon or I might begin to lose my hearing by the time I'm 40.

Rowdy-They are very physical kids. Even my girls are wrestling, grabbing, hitting. Most of the time in fun, until someone gets hurt. And someone always gets hurt. Then there's crying, requests for my referee services, (which were declined just minutes before) and bickering.

Hyper-If ever there were children that have the 'H' in ADHD, their mine. They lay in bed for hours until they can fall asleep. If you want your couch or bed to vibrate, then sit with my kids. Between all of them shaking their feet, and tapping their hands, you'll feel like you put a quarter into a slot. Any of my breakables that S hasn't broken yet, are packed away. I don't even walk up the stairs behind her anymore. She can't go up without kicking out her legs like she's a horse. It hurts getting kicked in the nose, trust me.

Obnoxious-Yes, they can be obnoxious. I can admit it. Some people like to use nicer words like, precocious. Somehow its supposed to conjure up a certain 'cuteness'. I've also heard, gregarious. Come now, I'm not fooling anybody. It's OK, you can say it. Obnoxious. I will say though, at least they're funny. Think John Ritter, Jim Carrey, and Robin Williams all wrapped up into one. Laughter keeps me off Prozac. That and a lot of prayer. I cling to the promise that, this too shall pass.

Inconsiderateness. That is what sets me off. It's not just the usual everyday stuff, where you're telling them the same things over and over. (Empty food containers back in the fridge or cupboards, pick up after yourself) I'm talking about wet good-nites on the floor for days. (I'm buying stock in Febreeze) Soiled underwear on the floor. If I ask why it's on the floor, instead of putting it into the laundry, I find it stuffed into her filing box. (Yup, the 12 y/o is still wetting) Why in the world she'd think to put it into her filing case is beyond me. Trash on the floor, or stuffed into pockets, bags, and drawers. Huh? Why would one want to put trash anywhere other then the trashcan? Oh, and the only time they do put anything in the trash, the can is without a liner. Dirty underwear on the floor, icky side up. Leaving pantie liners in the underwear, which end up in the wash. Yeah, that's what the white lint all over the clothes was. Ew. Running water while one is in the shower. Unflushed toilets. Empty TP spindles. Taking things without asking. Piling wet clothes into a ball in the basement and leaving it there. Or, my favorite was the time J stuffed his wet clothes into his drawers. Mmm, love the smell of mold. Barging through doors without knocking. Leaving the door wide open in -20 weather. Contaminating the air. (Think bad smells while trapped in the car, or while trying to eat at the table) Actually unlocking my my bedroom door! (Apparently the concept of a lock escapes a 12 y.o) Cd's and DVD's face down where ever they so choose to leave them. Fingernails in the carpet. Boogers on the wall. Crayons, markers, and pencil marks on the wall. Then when writing on the wall gets boring, they decorate the tables and dressers. (You're probably thinking the 4 y/o but not usually) Coughing in your face. Sneezing in your face. Drinking out of the juice carton. Dirty hands in the cracker box. Oh, I can go on, but I'm starting to get mad just thinking about it.

I have not only taught them by words, but by example. A good one. Why are my kids like this? Ugh.

They come home, and I immediately thank God that I had a few hours of quiet time from the hours of 8:30-11:30a. Without that, I'd be really buggered. Then I'm thankful they are alive and well. Aw, I love my kids. Hug. Kiss. Then, come 45 minutes later and I'm wondering, how did I give birth to such children? Why did God pick me to be married to a man with ADHD, and have two children with it? Is this a test? (Oh pity me) Then Mooch, aka drama queen starts in with her performance of the evening. There's always an encore. How generous of her. She's also snappy, snippy, and sassy. Thankfully Lil' J is quite usually the poster 'perfect' child. Until he's light sabering me for not giving him donuts for dinner. S couldn't be quiet if her life depended on it, literally. I think I should have named her I don't know forgot W****. J is rather entertaining, for about 5 minutes until it just becomes so yesterday.

How does my afternoon unfold? About as crazy as most families I am sure. Except on days like Friday the 11th. Thankfully that's not the norm, I think that day was to make sure my reflexes are still sharp. I never know if J will decide to come home close to the proximity of dismissal time. He gets out of school at 2:25. If he comes straggling in by 3:20 I'm usually so shocked I'm wondering if something bad happened. Or maybe he just missed me so much he had to rush home. Yeah, that's it.

In the mean time, Lil' J has waited and waited since 11:45p for his 'best brother' to come home. (Don't ask me where his not best brother is, I have no idea. I'm not taking my chances that there's a sibling nicknamed avalanche somewhere). He's not only waited and waited, he's asked me every 5 minutes until J comes home.

Then it's backpack on the floor. Shoes on the floor. Coat on the floor. Snow melting on the floor. Mud from melting snow on the floor. Jelly stains on the floor. Food wrappers left on the counter. Bowls sitting on the table. Then Squeals and taunts from Lil' J. Words spoken at 120 mph. I have no idea what about. Then silence. Phew. Hmm, where are the boys? Oh, that's right. They are playing xbox while I watch melting snow produce mud all over my floor. My kitchen floor was once white. Once a upon a time....long ago. I'm waiting and watching for the magic cleaning faeries my children think exist to come fluttering through. I'm going to capture them, and make some money. Oh, wait, that's right. That magic cleaning fairy is ME.

After prying two boys off of the mind entrancing xbox, I began going over the list. It's the same one from the day before. I have it pretty well rehearsed. You'd think they'd get the clue by now, but nope. My kids must need about 20 years of review apparently before they can get with the program. I go into drill Sergeant mode: Backpack! Shoes! Coat! Snow! Mud! Jelly!!!!?!!! Look at the floor! Look at the counters! Get the cat off my table and out of that bowl! How many times have I....???? Yeah, there's no point in saying that, I know.

It's like every time they get up and come home from school, it's the first time they have ever done it.

4:00pm and S is home. Then the whole backpack/shoes/jacket/mud scenario is repeated by S. Only by this time, unfortunately for her, I'm throwing things all over the house, and she's ducking.

Me: Put this away! Move it! Your father doesn't deserve to work his butt off all day to come home to this!!! Oh, hi, S. How was your day? "It was..." I didn't clean up all day for it to look like a tornado came through here!!! Is that jelly on the cats paw? Is he tracking jelly on my carpet!!!?

Yes, I'm probably being a spazz but with four kids with nicknames such as hurricane, tidal wave, earthquake, and tornado I have to act fast and ferocious to minimize the carnage. How dramatic that must sound, trust me, I'm so not exaggerating. By the time Mooch comes in at 4:30 I'm literally standing at the door, shoving her into the coat closet. I can only speak words with one syllable at that point. I point, bag, shoes, coat!!! NOW!!!!!! Poor thing, aren't moms suppose to greet their kids with smiles, open arms, and a plate of cookies? She's the last one home, so I'm already way past pleasantries.

In my peripheral vision I see Lil' J swinging his light saber at S, he's a Jedi bounty hunter. S is some crazy alien creature on the loose (I always knew it), and he's gonna get her. One of my usual lines is inspired from the movie, The Christmas Story. "You're gonna poke your eye out with that thing." They never listen. There comes the crying. Either S is crying because she's been stabbed or Lil' J is crying because S won't let him whack her with the saber, or the Hulk fists.

All this is going on while I'm listening to Mooch talk at 125mph. Don't any of them speak slower? In between eye glances at the plastic saber whirling through the air, I pick up a few words of what she's saying. David...blah blah blah...hate...blah blah blah...making me so mad....blah blah blah.. It's all in slow motion at this point. I'm looking around, scanning my escape route, er I mean the room.

Momentarily I can't hear them, only my own thoughts.

I need chocolate. A vacation. If I drank wine, I'd take a class. No, maybe a bottle. Serenity now?!! OK, I'll even take the super nanny at this point.

J and S are coming up with new ways to insult each other. The two of them both have to have the last word. What's that sound? Smell? Depending on how much the two of them hype Lil' J up, he's literally bouncing off the couch, running around the table, or in a full fledged coughing fit.

I'm scrambling around, trying my best to micro manage, and refrain from yelling. I'm in survival mode at this point, how much longer until Richard comes up? I think I know why some parents put their kids into so many afterschool activities. I go into same mantra, "move it, chop chop. Get to work. Clean up you're stuff. Get your homework out." That reminds them. They've got latework. They have a project due tomorrow. When they start with their whining, crying, and excuses as to why they have late work I usually handle it with great maturity and grace.

It goes something like this, "Nanny, nanny, boo-boo, I can't hear you!! Nope, zip. Shush." My hand is motioning, they are all trying their best, all at once, to intercede with yesterdays drivel. "But mommmmmm" "Zip it. Not-uh-uh. Shush, I don't want to hear it."

Kids: You're soooooo mean. You don't care about me. Why won't you listen to us like good moms do?

Me: Stop being such whiners. Don't come crying to me because you're not doing what you're supposed to in school, which you're quite capable of doing, mind you! Be quiet and get moving before your father gets home.

In Richard walks, and asks me, "what's for dinner?" Oh, that's right. Dinner.

I'm comtemplating whether or not I should go on the street corner with a sign that says, "Please take me with you."