"Raising a kid is part joy and part guerrilla warfare."
~Ed Asner

Monday, September 27, 2010

"I don't know!"

Do you ever have one of those weeks where you feel like you've been cast in a pit with a pack of wolves?  You do everything you can to survive which sometimes means clinging to the side of the pit for dear life just out of reach of a wild animal that can't wait to make you it's late night snack.  You're exhausted and beat up.  You can't breathe and you feel like you've run out of options.  Just when you're ready to give up, a rope is tossed down the pit and it's just within your reach.  You grab onto it and gruelingly pull yourself up.  It takes the last ounce of energy you have left but once you finally reach the top you see that it's....MONDAY!  Holla!

But what if Monday doesn't save you?  What if it's just another day; another day that means nothing when you're stuck in the bottom of a pit where it's dark and damp and days just blend together?  What if there is no rope, but there is definitely still a pack of wolves who are relentless in their mission to devour you...or maybe they just want to lick you, but really...It's hard to tell.  From your vantage point they look delirious and in a frenzy.  So what now?  Do you dig yourself into the side of the pit and continue to hang on?  Do you let go and fall into the chaos of fur and teeth and hungry snarls?...Oh, and snot, lots of snot.  I'm just keeping it real people.   

How do you keep on surviving?  Well, personally, I laugh.  It's either that or scream and pull my hair out and I like my hair.  Plus, I've had my hair pulled...many times and it hurts.  I'm already in enough pain, why inflict more?  Most of the time I don't have to try that hard to laugh.  Noah makes it easy.  For instance, last week after we had thoroughly made our presence known in Meijer with screaming and shouting for a reason that is still unclear to me, Noah felt that wasn't enough.  When we were in the checkout he started shouting at the cashier.  Now, if you know Noah, he's usually quite friendly.  Even if he's angry or feeling blue, he'll stop long enough to say "HI!" over and over again until that person says hi back.  But this time, Noah wasn't changing characters for a second.  The cashier asked how we were doing, standard protocol, and Noah shouted an exuberant, "NO!"  He ranted and vociferated in between snot bubbles and angry glares.  The cashier didn't really seemed fazed by it but of course, I felt bad that my son was unloading his feelings onto an innocent cashier who was just trying to do her job.  And she probably could have used one of Noah's friendly, contagious smiles.  I tried to calm Noah down and said, "He's having a bad day.  You know...everyone has bad days, even little people."  She didn't say anything.  We paid for our groceries and left. 

We got to the truck and as Noah decided he wanted to sit in between the car seats instead of his actual car seat.  Izzie tried to explain to him that there was no buckle and he needed to be safe, blah, blah, blah.  Oh, yah, did I mention Izzie was us.  She was still nursing her face wound from running into a wall at Meijer.  She didn't act annoyed or bothered by Noah's...Uh, behavior.  I think she's used to it because her response to his temper and outbursts are always, "Oh, Noah."  She still gets concerned and tries to comfort him but she knows when it's a losing battle.  At this point I had to man handle the beast and strap him into his seat.  He was screaming and shouting and fighting me the whole way.  This is the point at which...I started laughing.  I mean really?  I love my son but he sounded completely nonsensical.  Did he even know why he was he upset anymore?  I don't even know why he was upset in the first place.  Whatever the reason, Noah had passed the point of no return.  He couldn't calm himself down.  Thankfully, we live about five minutes from the store and Noah could unleash his beastliness inside the confines of his own home. 

Noah ran into the living room and started flinging his cars and body around.  I prepared myself for a showdown.  I got Izzie ready for bed first, hoping Noah would tire himself out.  That didn't happen.  He was going ballistic.  I managed to clean his face and brush his teeth.  I wrangled on a clean diaper and his pajamas and wrapped him up in his blanket.  I actually swaddled him; my two year old son.  Izzie and Noah both like to rock with me now before bed.  They each get half of me and curl up while I pray and sing to them.  At this point Noah's exhaustion took over his body and he layed his head on my shoulder waiting for sleep to take over.  Thank you baby Jesus.   

Whatever our day has been like, whether we've been running around town or staying at home, that day at Meijer pretty much sums up every day last week...and the week before.  Noah spends almost every waking minute riled up at something or someone.  He's a triple threat right now as well.  He's teething (vampire tooth and molars).  His allergies are tormenting him.  He has a general beastly disposition.  Oh, he has his cuddly, cute moments, but they are sparse.  I did have a reprieve yesterday afternoon for a few hours.  I've been fighting a losing battle with my asthma and my in-laws offered to take the babies off my hands so I could get some rest.  They had fun and my mother-in-law bought Noah the cutest plaid zip up.  He looks so adorable and cool with it on.  Maybe it will help his temperate; probably not, but at least he'll be a beast in style.

So what do I do to survive?  I laugh. I cry.  I pray for strength and grace.  I memorize Noah's cute face and hold onto those moments when he's being sweet and lovey.  Sometimes I shut myself in my room, put a pillow over my mouth and scream.  What?  It helps, (although right now, I don't even have enough air in my lungs to blow on my kid's hot macaroni and cheese.)  I remind myself that Noah is two and doesn't know how to control his emotions and feelings yet?  That doesn't mean I let him rule the house, even though I suppose it sounds like it sometimes.  It's my job to teach him and show him how to behave.  If I started screaming at him and threw my pots and pans around, that wouldn't exactly be a model example.  I also remind myself that even though he's two, he still a small person who has bad days just like everyone else.  Maybe he's sick.  Maybe he's teething (okay, adults don't teeth).  Maybe he's tired.  Maybe...he's just having a grouchy day.  

No matter what kind of day it is we love each other.  We give hugs and kisses.  We high-five and fist bump.  We play wrestle mania.  We build Lego trains and then crash the trains into piles of Lego's and other toys (making loud crashing sounds as the trains break apart).  We play catch.  Are you picturing Noah sitting on one side of the room, me sitting on the other as we engage in a light game of tossing the ball back and forth?  Yah, not how we play catch.  Noah and Izzie each have a ball.  They sit almost right in front of me.  I start singing, "Catch, here we go, here we go, here we go, Catch..." at a fast tempo.  They throw their balls to me and I have enough time to catch one, toss it back, catch the other, toss it back.  It's quick and good for eye coordination...or something like that.  It's how Noah likes to play.  He'll sit there throwing his ball back and forth and then he'll start shaking his head back and forth like a rabid squirrel, squealing and laughing with delight.  Those are the moments I cherish.      

Here is a sweet moment we had today.  It started with him sobbing, "Mamie!" as he clambered up my legs.  He sat on my lap for a minute.  I pulled out my phone and snapped a picture.  (You can tell he's thinking though.  He's always thinking about what mischief he can get into and how he can cause destruction and mayhem.)  Right after I took the picture he climbed down and played on his Sit 'n Spin for about ten seconds before he stood up, hoisted the Sit 'n Spin above his head and threw it to the floor.  Theeeen he started screaming and shouting "NO!".  After about five minutes of being unsuccessful in consoling him I said, "Noah, why are you shouting NO?"  He shouted and sobbed back, "I DON'T KNOW!"

Word of the Day 
Vociferate:  to utter loudly-shout, bawl, holler, roar, thunder, yell 
Example:  He seems incapable of using his indoor voice.  He has to vociferate everything.

Noah shouts a lot.  I feel like every other thing I say is something like, "Noah, please stop shouting."; "Noah, why are you shouting?"; "Noah, you shout a lot."; "Yes, I know my son is shouting.  Shouting is sort of his thing."  You get the point.  So from now on, I'm going to use the word vociferate.  It reminds me of velociraptor which reminds me of Noah.  I like it.


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