Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Send Reinforcements

Is it seriously only Wednesday? This has been a very long week.

We are entering a time of year that is particularly busy for Matt. He has not been home for dinner or bedtime since Saturday. And we're on our own for bedtime tomorrow as well. Dinner and bedtime (for the children) are two of my least favorite times of the day if I'm on my own. Tonight I was trying to put food on the table (literally) for Harper and I, the phone was ringing, the dog was barking, and Michael tried to reach over to his bowl - successfully flipping it up into the air and then onto the floor. It was full of banana pieces and an entire 2nd foods serving of squash. Miraculously, the bowl landed right-side up but there was squash everywhere. So the phone continued to ring, the dog continued to bark and Michael cried for his dinner while I wiped and mopped up the mess. Of course my food was stone cold by the time everything was resettled - cold green beans = disgusting.

Bedtime is a challenge because Michael is not quite old enough to sit and listen to stories with Harper and it is difficult to get either of them involved in an appropriate pre-bedtime activity while getting the other one settled. On days when Harper hasn't watched much television I might put a 1/2 hour show on for her while I deal with Michael. Unfortunately we are in a major standoff right now because Harper is having some toy putting away issues and there is no TV until she gets her act together. Harper LOVES television, and yet the standoff continues. Have I ever mentioned the fact that she's a tad stubborn?

If Harper is really cranky I will sometimes put her to bed first, but Michael is teething right now and setting him down to play on his own is like unleashing the wrath of a hundred starving lions. He's not a fan. Now I know babies will cry now and then, but I find it unbearable to listen to him howl for the 20 minutes it can take to get through Harper's bedtime routine.

I have said before that I cannot imagine how single parents do it, especially with more than one child. It is soooo much easier and more pleasant to divide and conquer.


Pam said...

I agree with this post 100%!!!! I can actually feel your stress at the dinner.
This morning at 7am, my 2 year old was wailing at his door, my infant was crying to be fed and I'm having a speed-shower with pains in my chest. If my cat or dog had barked it might just have made me go postal.
Having a partner to help out is so wonderful isn't it.

Laura said...

WOW! I could have easily written the exact post just about a year ago myself. My heart goes out to you Sister! I know just what you mean.

The worst part is, thinking back, I don't know what my solution was to get both kids to bed by myself when my husband was away (which is/was frequently). I guess that I don't have any advice at all to offer except that it will get easier. I remember feeling like I was slighting one kid to spend some quality "alone time" with the other and then it seemed like no one was ever happy in the end anyhow. AAccck!

And I totally feel you on the mealtime/ bedtime frustration. Just tonight, I was thinking how nice it would be to have someone just come in to feed my children and then I would take over once their bellies are full and healthy!

Well, I sure blew a lot of time here only to have not a thing to offer you but only to let you know that you're not alone! Sending good vibes your way... you'll get through it!

Laura said...

dang Girl... 2 comments at exactly the same time concurring the exact same thing....? eery! You're in good company here!

Liz said...

it is so nice to know that these things happen to other people too! :) i feel your pain and i understand the stress. i'm going through some scenarios that are quite similar with a newborn and a 3 year old. i just need to let it roll off my back - i hate being grumpy mom! :)

Erin said...

Hey! Sounds like my house EVERY NIGHT! Or, I guess 4 out of 5 nights. I hear you on dinnertime, especially. IT SUCKS.

Hang in there. You'll all be fine.

Chris said...

Tim started volleyball, so 2 nights of the week I have to do all 4 kids, and I know how you feel!! I've learned to start early, and just go with wherever it takes you that night.

We also have taught the kids that on nights when it is a solo act, the bedtime routine might be altered a bit. The girls are really good about that, and Aaron, being younger, is catching on.

Another thing (sorry for the long comment) -- I also do sandwich night (for when Tim has them by himself), which helps in the clear-up-the-kitchen phase...something I am sure you don't want to tackle after wrestling the kids to bed :)

Anonymous said...

Glad i'm not alone on hating dinner and bedtime. 4 - 5 nights a week i come home for work and dave leaves within 10 - 20 mins usually. So, not only do i have the boys right off the bat without a minute to recoup from the workday...i usually have to make dinner. Which i hate!
I've conquered bedtime so it's usually not so bad. We do bathtime around 7pm, go right into my room and i put on Sprout (TV) while i lotion them up, pj's on etc. then i take Ben in around 7:50 or so...I let Max lay in my bed and keep watching, but sometimes i turn the tv off if i know he's really tired. (but i have to make sure he's already brushed his teeth and gone potty.)otherwise i do that stuff when i'm done with Ben...then i get max in bed and i'm done for the night.
i will say i used to read to max before bed but the whole routine with both boys was getting way to long for me, so now i make sure to do a story time earlier in the day or night so that we're not skipping reading all together. That might help. Now we say our prayers, and talk about our day and then that's it.
I also try to remember what i read somewhere that no kids ever died from crying so it might be hard to hear, but they'll be ok in the long run.

super long post...sorry!

tracy of 101 said...

Hi Kels,
I am hesistant to make a suggestion because clearly I know nothing about this issue in particular -- but, since it's you (long live 101), I'll make it anyways, and you can just laugh it off if it is totally ridiculous. I wonder if there is some way to get Harper involved in helping put Michael to bed, so that you can accomplish getting him down while also helping Harper wind down a bit for the evening (before you go read her stories). Maybe that's totally ridiculous and would make getting to bed last forever?! But perhaps it could help Harper feel important (she's helping you with Michael) while you accomplish getting him to bed. Anyways, like I said, I know nothing, just thought I'd throw that out there.

I miss you loads! Life has been a little hectic these days, but I hope to one day return your call! Know that I am thinking of you always, and sending you some good vibes (especially in Matt's absence).

I love you!

bluedaisy said...

TOTALLY feel your pain on this one. Especially this week where I've been flying solo for dinner/bedtime as well and Michael has a stomach virus. This week has been rough! I hope you catch a break soon... I'll meet you for a beer tomorrow night (LOL).

Astarte said...

I think what makes these situations even worse is that the kids are expecting Daddy to be home, so not only do I have to do it all myself, but also their routine is upset, they want their Daddy, and they're mad at me, the only person they can think of to blame, for his being gone. Yuck.