Posted by: angelnorman | August 2, 2007

Gone to the mattresses. Leave a message.

“Raising a kid is part joy and part guerilla warfare.”
– Ed Asner

Today, I was at war. My opponents: two toddlers with equal ambition to destroy my house and my sanity. That’s right, I said it. I’m fighting for control against toddlers. Silly? Perhaps, but I can’t help it. Every good parenting book and/or article recommends that you pick your battles, right? Well I decided to go to the mattresses on this one for sure. No one was going to easily run over me today, no sir. I was much too tired from this whirlwind week to allow that to happen to me.

I kept my friend’s kid overnight for her last night, our first overnight visit! Everything started out very smoothly this morning. Calmly and sanely, I fed them breakfast, still totally in control of the situation. Then, suddenly and without warning, my living room was destroyed in a matter of three minutes and they were hitting each other, whining, and/or throwing small decor objects (my poor willow tree figurines!) I had said, “Corner. NOW!” at least a dozen times to them and all before 10 am!

So that’s when it hit me. I HAD to go to war with these kids. I had to show them who was the boss in this situation.

My first major battle was taking out a little bit of insurance so to speak that would result in NAPTIME. Oh, make no mistake. Naps are vital at this age. I need my daily nap time. It’s like my drug of choice. I could live without diet coke and coffee. I could even starve all day if need be. Food schmood. However, I cannot function on all cylinders so to speak without a couple hours of quiet time. Yesterday Jenson was visiting us, and neither toddler took much of a nap. My toddler had no nap actually, whereas I believe Jenson at least nodded off. No nap translates immediately for this family as “time-outs all around”. So to avoid over time-outing them, I had to ensure that they sleep and get their rest so that I could in turn, get mine.

My first plan of attack was quite simple, really. I wanted to wear them out physically. I wanted them to be so tired come naptime that they beg me to let them rest. “Please, mommy. I need a nap!” I could hear Nick say. (How awesome, would that be?) I started out with the intent to let them ride trikes up and down the driveway in the nice humid weather, hoping the warmth would make ’em tired. Then my next plan was to put them in the pool and make them swim it out. You know how swimming really wears children out. Then I was hoping they would fill their bellies at lunch and be ready to snuggle up and drift off to dreamland shortly thereafter.

We went outside and sure enough rode trikes, but the time-outs just kept comin’. Nicholas would back up and Jenson would yell at him to stop (nevermind that they were still three feet apart and in no danger of running into each other). Then they fought over flowers, and who could put their hands in my tabletop fountain, and then Jenson got so angry at Nick that he almost destroyed a pot of lavender. Nicholas refused to listen to me… and all in all, it was just not fun. To top it off, I was sweaty and gross. One part of my plan of attack that I had not thoroughly planned was how uncomfortable the heat would make me…. and how quick to anger I could become as a result. The change of scenery, from indoors to out, was not doing what I had hoped. I made them both sit on the porch steps a couple of times as punishment for the incessant whining and bad behavior, and then I had them pull weeds from my flowerbed. I’m not kidding. They were picking leaves out of anger anyways, as if to hurt me in some way, so why not let them continue?

So after a few minutes of that, I was still hot and blegh and I decided it was for sure time for the pool. That is when my phone rang.

What happened next, while not originally part of my plan, was even better at calming my charges down than the pool could have ever been. My friend who runs in-home childcare decided she was going to come and keep me company. She brought 2 of her kids and her three childcare children over, as well as pizza for lunch for all these children. And yes, this makes the children total 7 (all in an 1000 sq ft home, my friend Ashlee pointed out). And 5 of these children were under 3! I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking I was certainly off my rocker to be hosting such a playdate. However, the sneak attack of an additional adult plus five children to share with really threw the kids in my care for a major loop. Both Nicholas and Jenson were clinging to me like velcro, and when they weren’t doing that, they were quietly playing, trying to claim toys and protect their turf.

And it wore them out for sure. They didn’t beg for naptime, but Nicholas didn’t argue when I put him to bed. Jenson on the other hand wanted to play a little longer, so while I was on the phone with his dad, he was running around the house with a blanket over his head. After I got off the phone I heard.. *thud*… “WAAAAAH!” He had run into my table and was now laying on the floor, blanket still over his head, crying and grabbing at his leg. I picked him up, kissed his hurt leg (which I also thoroughly inspected), rocked him back and forth and he, once he stopped crying, placed his little hand upon my chest and drifted off to sleep.

One opponent down.

And to think I was at war with that… pfft.

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