So, forgive my long absence. I have been juggling 3 toddlers and it is not as easy as you might think. And forgive that the first post back is yet another venting/ therapeutic post. Feel free to stop reading now.
We were invited to a birthday party today for a sweet girl from Casey and Connor's class. It was the second friend birthday they have ever been invited to and I was really looking forward to watching them interact with other kids in a different setting.
Let me start off by saying that I often get told that I am "super mom" or "really have a lot of patience" but neither of these things hold any water. I am a mom like every other mom in that I have good days, I have bad days and there are days I feel like I might have this zoo of mine under control and days where it's like a war zone and the only object is to just survive until bedtime. Can you guess what today was?
Casey and Connor are good kids. That said, they are definitely 3, they are very busy and curious little boys and they are certainly headstrong. These are all pretty typical traits for this age group. The difference with C&C is that they have a cognitive delay that is getting less pronounced but is still obviously present. Today was a perfect example of that delay.
The birthday party was both in and outdoors. The other kids played together and rode bikes and C&C played together and explored on their own. Unfortunately, that exploring led them to the neighbor's yard (nice landscaping, Nancy!!) and toward the street too many times to make this mommy feel very comfortable. I try to explain to them that they must stay in the yard but it gets lost somewhere in the jumble of toddler thoughts that revolve around cars, blocks and the pursuit of fun and in the end I found myself running all over the place like a crazed shopper on Black Friday the entire time we were at the party. Many thoughts and feelings went through my head. First, I am embarrassed that I can not control my kids. I am embarrassed that a person who told me they think of me as a super mom is witnessing the reality of my life and how utterly NOT super I am. I am a walking parent fail. I have no control. My beautiful little miracle men don't listen or don't understand or just forget or a combination of all of the above but the bottom line is- I am not fun to have at a party. I also totally understand why some parents use those leashes that pretend to be backpacks. I am seriously considering making those my very next purchase.
I know that we get a bit of a "pass" because people know C&C have Down syndrome. But I don't want a pass. I want to raise my boys to be responsible men. I want them to behave in public and I want them to be safe. Right now they are neither well behaved or safe. More than being embarrassed at my parenting failures I was scared for them. I was terrified that I would be distracted for a moment and then hear the screech of tires and a the thud of a 30 pound child being thrown on the hood of a car that never saw him coming. There is so much fear involved in my daily life sometimes but it is much more pronounced when we are in public and not in the safety of our very baby-proofed house.
Also, I think it should be noted I am NEVER EVER embarrassed by my kids. NEVER. EVER. I am only concerned for their safety and well being. I am a firm believer that a child's behavior reflects directly on the parents and as such I think I must seem like a train wreck of a mom. I will never be embarrassed by my kids. (well until they say something truly horrendous in public like every child inevitably does and I will then be embarrassed by the incident not the child.)
I finally had to throw the towel in before cake and presents because I was just too tired of running after my little wild men. I was also perilously close to tears and didn't want anyone to witness that. I managed a quick goodbye and many thank yous and got the guys loaded up and as soon as the doors closed and the van was moving they fell asleep and there was nothing I could do to stop the flow of tears. I just let them come. And then felt like a jerk for crying and cried more because I felt like a jerk.
I cried for the fact that I can't get them to understand the danger they put themselves in and I cried for the fear I felt and the loneliness I feel sometimes, today even, despite being around many kind and wonderful people. I cried because I went so far as to join a Mom's club in May to make some friends and never took the boys to a play date because I know that they don't listen and I am afraid of how the other moms would feel. I am attempting a mom's night out with the club next week and I am looking forward to socializing but feel guilty for doing this for myself and not allowing C&C a chance to enjoy the company of other kids. I am all for inclusion and yet I am EXCLUDING my boys. I. Am. An. Asshole. And a hypocrite. And... afraid.
I also cried because I have to wonder how many invitations will come for the guys if people think they are wild and don't listen. I want them to learn good behavior so that they keep getting invited. I have met people who have children that out of control and I don't find myself calling them too often because it is exhausting watching them run about like maniacs on speed. Now, I am *that* mom with *those* kids. Awesome.
I need a book or instructions or just a break in the fog that is preventing me from seeing the solution that has got to be in front of me. How do you get toddlers to behave like people and not like rabid squirrels who got into a case of 5 hour energy shots? There has got to be a way. Right? Please tell me there is something I can do to make this happen.
I think this is why we don't go out. We stay home. We don't really go to restaurants unless they feature a giant singing mouse named Chuck. We go to the grocery store. We go to speech. We go to school. It's a life of predictability and safety.
I feel badly complaining. I feel like a jerk for even being frustrated with this behavior. The boys are making huge leaps in so many areas so I KNOW that this will come, too. I know it, just as I KNOW it will happen before my eyes and I will be relieved and proud. I just had a bad day. So, in addition to a birthday party, I got to attend this kick ass pity party for one. I don't throw them often but I can tell you all, I do feel somewhat ashamed when I do. I have no reason to complain. My kids are healthy and are learning and growing. My life is good. Great even. But, I am human and there are days that some things just feel so heavy and I just need to unload. And once I get all the "yuck" out of my head, I am more able to clearly see the beauty and magic of my life. That's why I write. I need this outlet. I write for purely selfish reasons. I just need to step back and see my life more clearly. This allows me to do that. It also gives me a way to show that I am not a "super mom" and to prove I am not patient. I do not deserve any of the awesome words people use to describe me. I just muddle along and hope I don't screw my kids up too badly.
I also PROMISE that tomorrow I will give you all a proper update. There are so many things to share and I PROMISE it will be a positive post full of pictures. Until tomorrow, know that this post made me feel like a sane person again. Today, that was more than I could have asked for!