Things That Make Me Happy

I have several inchoate posts in the queue and I just can’t seem to sit still long enough to write something coherent and meaningful. (Truthfully, I can’t stay away from the interwebs because, hey! Email! Quizzes! Wikipedia! Facebook! Random articles! Apparently, they are all more interesting than writing a blog post.) So, instead, I’m going to just list a bunch of things that have made me happy lately.

So, here they are in no particular order:

1) I love watching my older two kids interact. They are such good buddies and even their arguments are hilarious. Some examples:

a) Inevitably, the first words out of whoever wakes up second are, “Where’s Gamera/Cookie Monster?” 

b) G: “Top [Stop], Cookie Monster! You listen to me! You have to listen to me!”
CM: “No, thank you! I don’t have to listen to you!”
G: “Top [Stop], Cookie Monster! LISTEN TO ME!”

Mostly, I find this amusing because they sound exactly like me yelling at them to listen to me.

c) CM: “Come play with me, Gamera!”
G: “Okay!” or, “NO!”

Gamera never asks to play with Cookie Monster. She just follows him everywhere and does whatever he does. It’s super cute.

d) Every time we drop Cookie Monster off at preschool, Gamera is sad and begs to join her older brother. She asks every time if she can go to school with him and I have to break her heart every time. She gets super happy when it’s time to pick him up.

e) Gamera plays with trains, reads, and does everything EXACTLY like Cookie Monster. Clearly, I’m not teaching her anything. They even talk and tell stories exactly the same. It’s clear from syntax alone that they’re related.

2) Even in sleep, they are close. Their interactions are particularly amusing since one or both of them are asleep.

a) I often find them snuggled together in bed, or alternatively, squashing the other. I have watched Gamera sleep crawl over Cookie Monster’s face and settle on top of his head with her stomach. I have even found them holding hands.

b) When Cookie Monster sleep talks, he usually says, “More!” or “Cookie!” When Gamera sleep talks, she yells, “MINE!” or “No, Cookie Monster!”

c) One time, Gamera rolled over and found herself pushed up against Cookie Monster’s feet. In her sleep, she started yelling, “Top [Stop] kicking me, Cookie Monster! Top!” All the while, hitting Cookie Monster in the face. He was so confused, even in a dead sleep. I couldn’t stop laughing but eventually, separated poor Cookie Monster from his unreasonable sister.

3) Since my college friend, DS, has been visiting this past week, I’ve had the opportunity to catch up with an old friend who’s life is completely different than mine. It’s been awesome to get to know him a little better, as well as have deep conversations (like the kind we used to have in college – even if he did go to USC). My kids are going to be SO SAD when he’s gone.

4) Glow Worm’s random noises crack me up. He’s taken to growling after nursing. Clearly, he takes after his big sister.

5) I caught up on all my TV shows.

6) I made some progress on my 2014 Goals. Incremental steps, but hey, progress nonetheless!

7) Hapa Papa is back from his business trips and as a result, I have ceded all parental duties to him. This past weekend, he took the older kids to two parks each day. That’s three more parks than I took the kids to all week. (Hmmm… wait… that’s FOUR more parks than I took the kids to all week.)

8) Cookie Monster recently told me he loves the song, Counting Stars, by OneRepublic. Hearing him sing along to the song on the radio (and mangling most of the lyrics and surprisingly getting a decent amount of them correct), seeing him glow as he grins and sings enthusiastically, watching him dance along to the music, it is so precious.

9) Glow Worm attacks all the activity stations on his exersaucer. He gets even more excited when he sees his big brother and sister. He wants so badly to be big.

10) Cookie Monster has been really good about speaking more in Chinese after a few months of speaking more English. I’ve been making more of an effort to force him to speak Chinese and pretending not to understand him if he speaks to me in English.

11) Because of my pretending not to understand English and forcing the kids to speak Chinese, Gamera has made up a language. She knows she can’t speak English, but for some reason (either because she’s not sure how to say it in Chinese, or she’s just stubborn), Gamera now either mimes what she wants, or she speaks gibberish such as, “Hee hee ha ha hoo?”

12) I haven’t yelled much at the kids ever since I started trying the techniques in Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood (affiliate link). Although very cheesy and seemingly stupid, the techniques have been working really well for me. I especially love giving my kids choices for incredibly stupid things, as well as having set things to say when I’m frustrated or mad so that I repeat those phrases like a mantra and refrain from screaming at my children.

13) My food restrictions have eased up a bit (due to Glow Worm’s allergy doctor saying I can have some egg and dairy in baked goods even though Glow Worm is allergic to dairy and eggs). So, every now and then, I sneak a food item that makes me feel normal again. Today, I had 2.5 chocolate chip cookies. They were AMAZING.

14) My acupuncturist says I only have to go to a few more sessions. Then it will be mostly on an as-needed vs weekly basis. My Saturdays are going to be free again! (Currently, I drive three hours round trip for the sessions every Saturday.)

15) My mother is finally not sick and healthy again (after being sick for at least a month). So that means my kids can finally hang out with her (and I can have a small break when she comes over). YAY!

16) Hapa Papa. Sometimes, I get a little entitled and become a bit resentful, but when I remember all the things he does for us (especially the kids), I am so grateful. He is a fantastic and involved father and my kids are so entirely spoiled by him. Plus, he really does go out of his way to make sure I am taken care of and happy.

I want to make sure Hapa Papa knows that if I went back in time to tell my college aged self what to do differently, I would ALSO be very upset and sad if the altered past erased HIM from my timeline. He came home Friday night and grumbled, “I noticed that you only mentioned you’d be upset if you erased the babies, but made no mention of me. I noticed because you only included the ENTIRE FAMILY EXCEPT ME. I’m not upset, you know, but it did come to my attention…” Oh, Hapa Papa. You are adorable.

Even coming up with this list made me smile. What is making you happy this week?

My Children Keep Me On My Toes

When Gamera was almost two weeks old, Cookie Monster locked himself in the nursery. Since it was the kind of lock that requires a key, he was in there, with a dirty diaper (of course) for over 30 minutes. (This was the 2nd time he’d done this, by the way. The first time, he managed to unlock the door – also with a dirty diaper. Cookie Monster liked to run away from the changing table and go into his old room). Poor boy was screaming and weeping the whole time. It was unawesome.

Cookie Monster banged on the door, tried to claw his way out of the room, and kept trying the door latch. It was very traumatic. I was totally trying not to sob!! I did start crying a little bit, but I didn’t want to freak Cookie Monster out so I tried to stay as calm as possible. Plus, it’s hard to pick a lock when you’re weeping hysterically. Finally, the last 5 minutes or so, I just stuck my hand under the door and told him to hold my fingers. It was so sad. Thank God the locksmith came in 20 minutes and charged us $100 for it!! He broke the lock (even he couldn’t pick the lock) and got Cookie Monster out.

I eventually changed out most of the locks to ones that he could easily unlock. I was not about to go through that again!

Of course, my favorite was when the locksmith asked, “Why didn’t you just ask him to unlock the door?”

I looked at him and said, “He’s under two. Don’t you think if I could’ve gotten him to do that for the last 30 minutes YOU WOULDN’T BE HERE RIGHT NOW???”

Cookie Monster recovered quite quickly though. After all, nothing a lot of ice cream, milk shakes and fries didn’t immediately cure. He had nothing of nutritional value that night for dinner.

Fast forward to this afternoon where I am nursing Glow Worm in the nursery and the older kids are playing in the guest bathroom. Next thing I know, Cookie Monster comes to me and says Gamera won’t open the door. I hear her trying the handle repeatedly but to no avail.

I think to myself, “Wait! Didn’t I change all the door handles last time?” A quick check on both the doors of the guest bathroom suggests that I did not. I keep trying to get Gamera to unlock the door. After all, she is a lot older than Cookie Monster was when he locked himself in the nursery.

She is not having it and begins to cry. As I am trying to pick the lock (with Cookie Monster running around, getting in the way and Glow Worm wiggling on the hall floor, I try to comfort Gamera as best as I can. I completely fail at describing how to unlock the door.

My friend, DS, who is staying with us for a few days tries to help me remove the lock. Unfortunately, the screws to remove the handle are on the other side of the door. That seems ass-backwards to me.

Gamera is still crying. Cookie Monster leans his head against the door and asks her repeatedly if she wants to build a snowman.

The locksmith tells me it will be twenty minutes and $120 (inflation much?). Thankfully, Gamera finally figures out how to unlock the door (after my friend and I have completely mangled one of the locks). The locksmith arrives minutes after she self-liberates so I still have to pay him $50. *sigh* At least she’s out.

Tomorrow (or maybe Friday), I will have to switch out the remaining four door handles for the ones with a push button lock so small children can open the door easily. I can’t believe I didn’t learn my lesson the first time. I’m sure when Glow Worm is older and I have Baby 4Glow Worm will manage to lock himself in somehow with a lock I thought I switched out. That would just be my luck.

On a different note, this morning, Cookie Monster’s preschool teacher told me that yesterday, some twins were visiting class to check it out. When she told the class the twins were in their mommy’s tummy at the same time, Cookie Monster jumped in to tell everyone that he came out of my tummy (I had a C-section with him) and that his Gamera came out of my “gagina.” (She and Glow Worm were VBACs). His teacher was just relieved no one had follow up questions.

How I Know I’m a Parent Even When I’m Alone

As a SAHM, it is very rare for me to be without one or all of my children. So, when I am out by myself, it’s really weird. Of course, I revel in how simple and quick it is to do ANYTHING. And then, I run into the problem of not knowing what to do with myself.

Anyhow, here are some signs that remind me I’m a parent even when my kids aren’t around:

1) I have the urge to point out every single firetruck, police car, garbage truck, BART train, turkey, cow, horse, WHATEVER that would interest Cookie Monster or Gamera.

2) I don’t have any chapstick, hand lotion, wipes, snacks, water, or anything useful on hand because I was so excited to use a tiny purse that I barely remembered to pack my wallet and phone.

3) Instead of buying what I need for myself, I wander toy aisles, buy their favorite snacks and drinks, and look out for snacks and stickers and candy I can score for free. For the kids, of course.

4) The doctor’s office know me by sight and by my children’s names, but not by MY name so when I go for myself, they are somewhat flustered and have to ask me for all my insurance information and have me sign all these forms because I haven’t been in to see them for myself in over a year.

5) When I go to the grocery story I go straight to the bakery for our free cookies until I realize I am an adult all alone so I can’t get one.

6) Every task and errand is light years faster and I find that I have allotted myself way too much time. I find myself wandering the aisles just to bask in all my free time.

7) I am constantly checking my phone for updates about the children from Hapa Papa.

ETA: 8) Swaying and rocking the following (but not limited to): nothing, books, groceries, my purse, food, a tasty beverage. While waiting in line. While standing. While breathing. With no baby.

What about you?

Can You Get PTSD from Taking Your Kid to the Dentist?

You stand there, feet rooted to the tiles of the lobby floor. Your eyes are watching events unfold in all their insane glory. Time slows down and the whole while, your brain is stunned and stuttering, “What. The. Fuck. No. Wow. OMG. Is this happening? OMG. It is happening. It is happening to ME! Fuck!”

Ladies and gentlemen, this was all before 9:45am this morning.

So six months ago, I thought it would be so efficient and awesome if I scheduled both Cookie Monster and Gamera’s dental appointments at the same time because hey! Who doesn’t love efficiency? Turns out, Cookie Monster doesn’t love efficiency!

Erroneously, I thought that since it would be Gamera’s first time at the dentist, she would benefit from watching Cookie Monster go first. Clearly, I have no memory because WHY WOULD I THINK THAT? There has been no evidence during our previous two visits for Cookie Monster that this would be: A) a good idea and B) ever going to happen. I blame it all on a completely unrealistic hopeful optimism that has resulted in three children.

Fast forward to this morning. We start off pretty good. That is, until Cookie Monster gets wind that we are going somewhere after breakfast. He comes upstairs asking me where we are going. Because I have a stupid policy of never lying to my children (sometimes, I really hate this policy), I tell him we are going to the dentist. He is not happy. I make a classic parenting mistake. I tell him if he doesn’t go, then his teeth will rot and the dentist will have to pull out his teeth. (WHY WHY WHY DID I FUCK MYSELF IN SUCH A ROOKIE AND STUPID STUPID MANNER? I DESERVE ALL THE BAD THINGS!!)

As you can imagine, that went over well. Instead, I should’ve just said, “I love you too much to argue.” (I’m trying out a new parenting method and the hardest part is for me just to STFU. Clearly.)

Cookie Monster starts to whine and cry and hides himself behind the rocking chair. I wrangle him downstairs while he kicks and screams, all the while saying, “I love you too much to argue.” Hapa Papa somehow forces Cookie Monster into the car seat. (This is a Herculean task. First, Cookie Monster is very strong for a four year old. Second, when he’s pissed, he’s even stronger. Third, have you ever tried to force a small child into a car seat? How can they simultaneously be so rigid you are afraid you will snap them in two while being so limp that you cannot get a decent hold on them to smoosh them into the car seat? I just. Fail.)

The whole car ride there, Cookie Monster begs, weeps, and screams, “Let me out!! I want to go home! Get me out!” We arrive at the parking lot and Gamera is very excited and comes out of the van like a normal child. Somehow, I remove Cookie Monster from his car seat and continue my tenuous hold on his writhing body and exit the car very carefully. The Asian dude in the car next to mine just stares as this drama unfolds. (Incidentally, I hate the random side hand holds by the door on my minivan. What is the point of them except to provide easy handholds for my hysterical child to grab and prevent me from walking away from the vehicle?)

I stumble the hundred feet from the lot, through the lobby, and into the office. Cookie Monster sees Tangled on the TV and calms down somewhat. Gamera is busy playing Legos in the corner with another little boy. Every few moments, Cookie Monster whimpers and cries and demands to go home. The receptionist asks me to fill out paperwork as she watches me try to get a handle on my son. I resist the urge to smack her in the face because OMG DOES SHE NOT HAVE EYES?

Somehow, we make it to the moment where the dental assistant asks us to go in. This does not go well. I carry Cookie Monster who is of course, screaming and kicking and weeping, and Gamera, who is two compared to her brother’s four, walks in calmly of her own recognizance. The next thirty minutes are a blur of Cookie Monster throwing a tantrum, begging to leave, screaming, “I want to go out! Take me home! Take me home!” He asks for water. He drinks water. He says his tummy hurts. He trembles and shakes. He storms into the reception area. He storms back. I have to juggle holding him and answering inane questions from the dental assistant.

I put Cookie Monster down because I have to hold Gamera as the dentist looks at her teeth. She cries a bit, but overall, lets the dentist (who is AWESOME) do what needs to be done. She is calm and mostly, Gamera just wants to watch Tangled and have a lollipop and take home a purple balloon. Her teeth are fine. She is a fucking baller.

Finally, the dentist looks at Cookie Monster’s teeth and I use all my strength to hold him down and she tries her best not to get bitten by my rabid four year old. His teeth are fine. All she does is look at his teeth and gives him a goody bag and a balloon. I don’t know why he is ballistic.

We leave and I apologize profusely to all the staff and traumatized parents in the waiting room. We are now in the lobby and I am trying to tie down his balloon when Cookie Monster stands stock still and starts to vomit yellow acid all over his pajamas. (Did I mention he was still in his PJs and pullup and also, BAREFOOT because Mom of the Year here couldn’t get him to change or put on shoes?)

It just doesn’t stop.

He just stands there, mouth open, an arc of bile continuously spewing out of his mouth. (An ACTUAL ARC. Like a FOUNTAIN.) It spatters yellow and bubbly all over the nice tile floor, creating a slick puddle all around Cookie Monster’s bare feet. He vomits straight down his nice, white, bulldog pajamas. And he just stands there.

Thank God he didn’t eat breakfast and just had water at the dentist.

Gamera doesn’t move and stares, stunned. 

I freeze. I don’t know what to do. I run to the bathroom and grab paper towels. I throw them on the rapidly widening pool of gastric acid. I do this repeatedly. Cookie Monster takes off his shirt and uses it to wipe his feet, the floor, and steps on it. I valiantly refrain from yelling at him and tell him to stop that. I put his shirt in my purse. He walks to the door and lays down on the ground.

I go back to the dentist office and ask them to call a custodian because my kid has just vomited all over the lobby. A few minutes later, two nice dental assistants in their pink scrubs and face masks come out to clean the floor.

They tell me to go home and assure me that this happens all the time. (Somehow, I highly doubt that but I desperately want it to be true.) One of them gamely says, “At least there are no chunks!” Bless her heart.

I immediately drive to McDonald’s and binge on orange juice and hash browns.

It occurs to me that I forgot to make our next appointments. I think I’ll wait a few weeks for them to forget us and become anonymous once more.

Happiness is a Choice

Short of chemical and hormonal imbalances, I personally believe that happiness (like joy, hope, and most things) is a choice.

I’ve been a little too doom and gloom lately and it just doesn’t sit well with me. So I am going to make an effort to focus on the things in my life that make me happy. After all, just like being a SAHM isn’t always pretty, neither is it always alcoholism inducing.

So we take a little break from “telling it like it is” when things are the shits and bring you “telling it like it is” when your heart melts and feels two sizes too small because there is no way it can possibly contain your happiness.

In the interest of saving time, I will now present you with a list of stuff that is making me happy that is in all ways haphazard. (I need to go to sleep, people. I am old and sad that way, but it helps with the yelling. YOU DON’T WANT ME TO YELL AT MY CHILDREN DO YOU?)

1) Glow Worm’s skin is much improved (pretty much all better) and the intense care and doctor visits is slowing down. I know what to do if his skin flares up again. I am awaiting blood test results for Glow Worm’s possible food allergies/sensitivities, and I am finding more snacks I can consume so I don’t always feel on the brink of starvation.

2) When Hapa Papa travels, the older kids sleep with me and they are adorable and sweet and cozy and snuggly and I LOVE IT when they are sleeping with me. That is, until I wake up at the very edge of my king sized bed because one or both of them have rolled into me and used me as a wall and have pushed me to the last foot of my bed before I will fall off. Totally worth it.

3) Gamera gives the best hugs. She totally melts her body into you and curls her arms around your neck and sinks her head into the crook of your neck/shoulder and plasters herself into your chest and it is so perfect.

4) Cookie Monster is hilarious and goofy and I am so glad he is ridiculously good-looking because my goodness he is going to be such a dork and it’s hard to be JUST a dork but I am glad he is adorkable because then his undeniable attractiveness will be tempered and humanized so that instead of being one of those intimidatingly cool and attractive kids he will be a silly, approachable kid who is also incredibly beautiful on the outside. Wow. That was one huge, run-on sentence.

5) I love how after Glow Worm nurses, he has to chat. He has to chat and stare at me with his bright black eyes and chubby face and tell me all about his day and his insights into the human condition and how he has discovered the secret to cold fusion and by the way, he has also figured out world peace.

6) I am glad Hapa Papa interacts with the kids so differently from how I do. When he takes them to parks, zoos, museums, play areas, activities, whatever, the kids always have more fun with him. They run, jump, find sticks, eat snacks, walk, sit on his shoulders, look at lizards, jump, take pictures, run amok and free and wild and the pictures make me feel as if I’m a downer (I know I am) but also make me smile because I know my kids are so incredibly loved and adored by Hapa Papa and are having the time of their lives. Watching Hapa Papa love and care for our children makes me love him all the more.

7) When Gamera has a stuffy nose and says “My nose not working!”

8) How Cookie Monster always bursts through the door after preschool and runs to hug me with a huge smile.

9) Hapa Papa being a dork and dancing goofily around the house. Sometimes just to make me laugh.

10) This face:

Such a happy boy!

Such a happy boy!

11) And this face:

IMG_1958

How can we deny her anything?

12) And this face:

IMG_1974

What a goofball!

Amidst the frustration and yelling of parenting, I have many more moments of incredible joy. I just need to remind myself and choose to think exclusively of those every once and awhile. I feel much better today.

Sometimes, Parenting is a Slog

I came to an unexpected realization tonight. I don’t think I’ve been happy lately. A lot of it is due to me feeling overwhelmed about Glow Worm and then my two older kids on top of that. Then, I feel stupid for feeling so overwhelmed because let’s be honest. Glow Worm’s skin issues aren’t life threatening. (The infections may have come to that had I allowed them to rage on, but I didn’t and he’s much better now.)

After going to Stanford pediatric dermatology, they gave me some skin regimens that though labor intensive and a pain in the ass, are quite doable and are working. My main gripe with them is they care more about treatment versus prevention. They seemed skeptical about what I think is the root cause of Glow Worm’s eczema (protein sensitivities from food). So, short of repeated treatment (granted, effective treatment), they aren’t really helpful in terms of preventing this from occurring in the future.

I find this both disappointing and infuriating. It’s not like I suggested Glow Worm’s eczema was caused by aliens doing scientific experiments on him. FFS, be useful! It is NOT a fait accompli! Blergh.

So, hopefully, this is just a phase that I’m going through. Sorry my blog is nonstop complainy lately. Please don’t think I am not grateful for my life and my kids. It’s just a tough (for me, anyway) time at the moment.

What I am SUPER grateful, other than my family, are my awesome friends who go out of their way to babysit my older kids so I can take Glow Worm to doctor appointments without also having to deal with two small children, as well as offer to pick up and drop off Cookie Monster from school. It so strange how it was initially very difficult for me to accept this type of help. Now, I’m all for it.

Truly, I don’t know how people do it without any help from friends or family. I would just curl up and cry (more).

I am so tired that my house is a mess (I haven’t really cleaned it in at least a month – which in the grand scheme of things, is not a big deal, but the part of me that likes to get things clean and done cringes), my kids are barely fed and clothed, and I just pretty much let Cookie Monster and Gamera fend for themselves. In fact, this morning, I realized that not only do I have no idea how to play with Gamera when Cookie Monster is at school, I have no desire to.

I am not sure whether or not that is a good, bad, or neutral thing.

Part of me thinks that one of the perks of bearing multiple children super close in age is me no longer needing to entertain small children. The other part of me thinks that I am a lazy, half-assing parent. (Perhaps both opinions can be simultaneously true.)

I know several of my friends have suggested that I hire a baby sitter to come and watch the children while I decompress. While I appreciate that suggestion, the thought of doing so just causes me more stress. My kids have only been watched by family or close friends. Hiring a babysitter to watch all THREE of my kids (that is THREE kids four and under) is costly (around $25/hr or maybe more) and likely, traumatic for my incredibly clingy children. In fact, I think Glow Worm would be the most accepting of a baby sitter. Also, I find it really wasteful since the whole point of me being a SAHM is to STAY AT HOME. This is my JOB.

Keep in mind, I also do have a reasonable amount of alone time when Hapa Papa is at home or my mom comes over. I do leave the house sans children. Of course, when I come back, I usually have to be OK with the house looking as if a tornado swept through it and my kids in various states of disarray. (Not that this is not the situation when I watch my kids by myself, but it is even MORE overwhelming when I have just been all peaceful and happy and then walk home into what seems like a Disaster Zone and have to switch back into parenting mode. Then I find that all that Zen-ness immediately leaks away and my shoulders tense right back up.)

Anyhow, I find myself constantly tired and annoyed – even with going to sleep when the kids sleep (around 9pm). Granted, my sleep is constantly broken, but I AM sleeping. I finally got around to watching some TV the other day (I haven’t made a dent in my DVR in at least a month) and my reading seems to have picked up again. But mostly, I feel as if I’m treading water and anything I do to decompress just piles up the To Do list higher and higher.

Compounding this is Hapa Papa traveling a lot as well as my mom being gone for about two weeks with her own travels. Yes, yes. Cry me a river. I realize that so many people out there are single parents and have to deal with this AS WELL AS work full time. I get it. I am not special or unique in my travails. I’m not trying to start a “Who has it harder” pissing contest. I am just telling it like it is for me right now.

No doubt, I just have to chug through this and in a few weeks, Glow Worm will be markedly healed, I will get more sleep, my kids will miraculously listen instead of looking at me like I’m making suggestions until I yell at them and even then, they move SO FUCKING SLOWLY – oh right, I was in the middle of telling myself that it will all be better soon.

I know I would seriously feel less stressed if I did the following:

1) Sleep more.

2) Build in more time to account for the unaccountable SLOWNESS of my older children doing ANYTHING that requires haste.

3) Stop caring HOW my kids do things as long as they do it. However slowly.

4) Eat more fruits and vegetables. (Oh, let’s just be honest. Eat fruits and vegetables. That would instantly make it more.)

5) Stop worrying about if my children injure themselves. I can warn them all I want but if my kids seem to have an utter inability to sit in the center of the fucking chair, then they deserve to fall off. Every day. I just. Gah. I suppose that’s why we have health insurance. *sigh*

6) Choose to focus on the good moments.

7) Choose to let go of the bad moments.

8) Drink more peach bellinis. Mmmmm… I need to learn how to make me some of those. I have a VitaMix. And Google. It can be done. (Sigh. Now I’ve become a stereotypical SAHM who drinks. I don’t even drink! But I can start!)

Alright, who wants to have an afternoon (Oh, why lie? Morning sounds fine, too.) play date where we make and consume peach bellinis?

I am a Monster

Yesterday morning, I yelled at Cookie Monster and Gamera so much Cookie Monster asked me why I was screaming at him. I told him if he didn’t want to listen he could live with someone else. Then Gamera told me, “Stop talking. Stop saying that. It’s not nice.”

Schooled and shamed by a two year old.

I sat down and cried.

I have been feeling a bit overwhelmed.

In the past month, I have been to the regular doctor at least 4-5 times. I’m heading their again today after just going yesterday. For the same kid. Poor Glow Worm. I’ve driven 3 hours round trip for the Chinese doctor at least twice a week for the last four weeks.

Glow Worm’s eczema is better but now that that’s taken care of, he has yeast infections in all his moist fatty folds (armpit, neck, genitals, knees, ankles) that because I thought was eczema, I put the steroid ointment on it which apparently suppresses his immune response so it got worse and now, there is a bacterial infection on top of that. Baby Boy didn’t cry when he was itchy and scratching his head into a bloody mess, but now he is weeping when I even gently touch his under parts. This morning, there was blood all over his scrotum because the open wounds stuck to his diaper and when I opened it to change him, it ripped off his skin.

We both cried.

After coming home, I noticed both his eyes were rimmed red and starting to have production. I think he has pink eye. On top of that, an angry rash has developed over his torso and scalp. It doesn’t look like the eczema he had before and his skin was just getting better. Hence the return trip.

(ETA: He has impetigo. The rash is a bacterial infection. So are his eyes. He’s starting oral antibiotics and eye drops and eye ointments. The doctor also wants me to go to Stanford pediatric dermatology to see what’s going on.)

Although Glow Worm used to sleep twelve hours in a row at night, he now wakes up every 3-5 hours (for awhile, it was every two). Throw in my other two kids who occasionally wake up crying for me – even if they fall back asleep almost immediately, I AM STILL UP.

Hapa Papa has been in NYC for work vacation and though my mom has come a few times to help and my friends have been awesome, they still can’t parent for me. (Too bad!)

These are not excuses. Just context. Every parent goes through this crap (and many of you have gone through more on a regular basis). I know I am not special. I know I shouldn’t yell or scream or nag or be petty and mean, but sometimes, (OK, a LOT of times), I am.

I tell myself after each bout of being a jerk that I won’t yell anymore and be like that person who wrote an article about how she stopped yelling for a year. I hate her.

That resolve lasts about five seconds or until one of my kids spills some milk. Whichever comes first.

I tell myself that I shouldn’t nag and the main reason I yell is because they don’t listen to me (possibly because of my nonstop nagging and yelling).

I feed my children and cajole and bribe and beg and threaten and scream because WHY AM I DOING THIS WHEN THEY HAVE PERFECTLY FUNCTIONING HANDS? But they are slow or picky or whatever so I feed them even though I know I am just perpetuating this cycle of bad habits and if I would just let them be hungry already then they (especially Cookie Monster who FFS is Four Fucking Years Old) would eat everything and all of it quickly and independently.

Even though I know better, I threaten my kids with, “I’m getting mad!” They now freak out and worry (especially Gamera, poor darling) and when they notice I am starting to lose it or my tone changes, they immediately ask, “You mad, Mama? You mad? You happy?”

It’s gotten so bad, sometimes I say, “Do you want Mommy to get mad? Do you want to be in trouble?” Then Gamera will cry and say, “I don’t wanna be in trouble! I don’t want you get mad!”

I don’t want my kids to constantly fear me getting angry or want to please me so badly they will suppress themselves to do what I want. (Although it sounds awesome when I am so pissed they are throwing a tantrum because I won’t let them play with a purple loofah because it’s pretty.) I don’t want them to worry constantly about making me or anyone other than themselves happy. I don’t want them to be “good” because they don’t want to be in trouble. Apparently that means I am grooming them for sexual abuse. I DON’T WANT TO GROOM MY KIDS FOR SEXUAL ABUSE!

I want to tell myself to cut myself some slack, that tomorrow is another day (or when I am really ambitious, right “now” because at any moment, we can start a new day). But the problem is, day after day, I HAVEN’T CHANGED.

I feel as if I am an alcoholic.

I pray and beg God to change my character faults or to protect my kids from myself and have them grow up mostly ok and less fucked up than I did (but really, sometimes it seems to be a huge crapshoot). Then I feel like I’m copping out by not doing the work myself and only hoping that some god or mythical creature is going to wave their magic wand and poof! I am all better and no longer a complete asshat.

Nope. Still a giant asshat.

Unfortunately, it’s one of those situations where fighting against my natural tendencies seems to be the only way to change. Seems like a pretty stupid way to go about it if you ask me.

Seriously. Before I got married and had kids, I thought I was awesome. Oh, sure, I knew I had “character flaws” but I wasn’t really confronted with them day in and day out. (Mostly because my friends and coworkers were perhaps too kind to me and nice to my face.) Now, I’m not exactly off my “I am Awesome” train, but it certainly is tempered with the Reality of my temper and selfishness.

The worst part is, I can see how my worst traits are getting passed onto my children. When they are frustrated, my kids scream and yell and want to throw or hit things. You could say that it is because they are young and small and don’t quite yet know how to cope with frustration and anger. Fine. But then, what’s MY excuse?

I used to pray all the time for God to change my circumstances or bail me out of a situation. Now, I am constantly praying for God to change my character (or at least, to help me change and choose better for myself). I suppose that is also a sign of growth and change. I just wish I weren’t constantly being humbled and having my ego handed to me on a platter.

Perhaps this is also one interpretation of daily “dying to my self.” Well, I tell myself that I would gladly die for my children. Here is now a constant opportunity to do so.