The milestones and the mess

Let’s hear the saga of Daniel’s new levels of destructiveness shall we? Here goes. 

I have been saying for a LONG time now that I was dreading the day Daniel started climbing out of his crib and also the day he learned to work doorknobs. LIVING IN FEAR even. Well friends, that day has come. 

A month ago, after a couple days of refusing to stay in his crib, we transitioned it to a toddler bed. And then took this picture. Actual bedtime was a disaster. 

Then, within a week, he learned to work doorknobs. So he started escaping his room and I primed some childproof door locks. We also had to: 

  1. Remove everything but beds from the boys’ room. 
  2. Put the dresser in the closet so he didn’t empty it every day.
  3. Order closet door locks. Obviously.
  4. Take Will’s mattress off his loft bed and put it on the floor, so that we could take the ladder off and keep Daniel from climbing up there.
  5. Insist that Will not keep anything paper in his room. 

So that’s been fun. Also, no crib has resulted in NO NAPS on non-school days and UGH. Daniel gets super cranky when he’s tired. It was bad enough when he didn’t nap on the 4 days a week he’s at school during nap time. 

But! There’s more! He also learned how to climb over the gate we had around the TV/DVD player area. And work the child locks on the cabinet holding the DVD player. AND! He got tall enough to reach the ledge that goes all around the basement. The ledge that I used to set anything I wanted to keep out of his reach. *cue me crazy laugh-crying*
Of course I have photographic evidence of the destruction. 


Emptied DVD cabinet. And took a whole bunch of DVDs out of cases. Also ruined the cases.


Ate some markers during “nap time” before we completely emptied the boys’ room.


Got into the laundry room and loaded the washer with toys and DVDs. You know, from the cabinet he emptied. Thankfully he didn’t turn the water on. 

It’s been quite an experience. 

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*sigh*

Life is…not great. I am not great. Things have been stressful and busy and the news is filled with terrible things. Multiple times a day I think, “This country elected a president who is willing to openly and unapologetically mock my son.” That’s not even close to the worst thing he’s done, but holy HELL that one hits me in the gut every time.

Part of me wants to write about everything I’m thinking, although I’m sure I couldn’t express any of it coherently. The other part of me wants to shut down completely, which tends to be my MO when I’m especially overwhelmed.

And I’m tired. So tired. On top of sick kids who don’t want to sleep I’m having stress dreams every night, so I never feel rested even when I DO get sleep. And then I think about how I am SO FAR from being the most affected by this election and I feel like a big whiny baby. Ugh. UGH.

Slogging through

Between Daniel learning all kinds of new escaping skills, and Lydia’s sleep going all to hell (AGAIN) I feel exhausted all the time. On top of that, life has been busier than usual, for…weeks. Too long. I need a break and I just don’t know when I can get one. 

The other day I heated leftover spaghetti for Lydia and Daniel to eat for lunch. And then getting it out of the microwave I dropped both plates of it. 

I sighed, and cleaned it up, because there’s no use crying over spilled spaghetti. Or something like that. Then I heated up some more noodles (without sauce because that was all on the floor) and sat the babies down to eat. Daniel took one bite and immediately threw the rest of his plate on the floor. 

That’s basically my life right now. Just go straight from one mess to the next. It’s not my favorite. 

(Maybe instead of NaBloPoMo I should have just titled this month: 30 days of complaining.)

My Real Life cleaning list

I decided I should write a more realist cleaning list after all those Pinterest list shenanigans. Here are some things my Real Life cleaning list would include: 

  • Use a long stick to scoop the stuff out from behind the headboard of the guest bed. (Our guest bed is in our basement/playroom. Daniel loves to drop stuff back there.)
  • Pick up hardened macaroni noodles off the stairs. Try not to think about how long it’s been since we had macaroni. 
  • Rewash the load of clothes in the washer. Hope I don’t forget about it a 2nd (uh, or 3rd) time.
  • Wipe toothpaste off various surfaces in the kids’ bathroom. This is beyond regular bathroom cleaning and includes places like the light switch, the step stool, the baseboards, and the inside or drawers. 
  • Pick up 800 pairs (ish) of shoes from the living room. Wonder how the kids can own SO many shoes but can’t ever find ANY OF THEM.
  • Put a pillowcase on Will’s pillow and/or a sheet on Daniel’s crib. Apparently these boys are anti-bed-linens. 
  • Put 1 million kids cups in the sink. The dishwasher is already running (OF COURSE) and these cups seem to spontaneously generate. 
  • Scrub doorknob/light switch/railing/table edge within reach of the babies high chairs. Consider using a screw driver to chisel that crap off.
  • Move all basement furniture to get to toys underneath. Wonder how the K from the foam alphabet can STILL BE MISSING.
  • Go room to room picking up and throwing away toys that are broken/missing pieces/have bites take out of them.
  • Clear papers off the bookshelves/mantle/windowsill. All stuff I put there to “deal with when I had more time”
  • Create at LEAST one load of laundry from clothing outside of bedrooms. (Forget laundry baskets. Those might as well not exist.)
  • Clear expired coupons out of the coupon drawer. Yay! Empty drawer! 
  • Pick up shreds of paper. It’s like magic indoor snow. Courtesy of Daniel. 

I’m sure there are more, but that’s all I’ve got for now. What’s on your list?

Unclean

If you know me at all you know I’m not a neat person. (If you know me well you’re probably snort-laughing and thinking, “THAT’S an understatement.”) So keeping our house clean is something that happens…pretty much never. It’s not that I LIKE the mess. Or that I don’t SEE the mess. I just can’t get it together enough to keep things clean. I wish I had my mom’s super-power of not sitting down until everything is done. (So, never.) ALAS, I do not. The couch calls to me. Anyway. I’ve tried various methods to do better with the upkeep, but so far nothing has worked. Or really helped even. But despite my MANY failures, I thought the other day that maybe I should get on pinterest and find a cleaning schedule that I could follow.

Y’all. What I found is INSANE. I’ve come to the conclusion that none of these people have children. Here’s some of the stuff I came across.

Wiping down all your baseboards as a weekly thing. (Do people DO that?!)

A schedule that included only 2 loads of laundry a week. We generate like 2 loads of laundry A DAY.

Basically every schedule suggests starting the dishwasher after dinner and unloading it in the morning. We run the dishwasher twice a day. AT LEAST. And you know what happens if I don’t? We have no clean dishes to eat off of.

Sweeping the kitchen floor as a weekly chore. We have 2 kids in high chairs. Sweeping in the kitchen is, AGAIN, something that gets done multiple times a day. (And okay, that isn’t the WHOLE kitchen, but STILL. If I only swept once a week there would be literal piles of food on the floor.)

One listed vacuum as a daily chore but then followed that with “as needed” in parentheses. Listen schedule writer. If I were on top of doing stuff “as needed” I WOULDN’T NEED A SCHEDULE.

Washing walls as a weekly chore. I…don’t understand. If something gets on a wall I wipe it off. Are other people wiping down entire random walls? Seems like you’d spend a LOT of time doing that.

One schedule included taking out the garbage “if it’s full.” I don’t need to be reminded of that. If it’s full I take it out. You might as well write “change toilet paper if the roll is empty.” I may be the ONLY person in the house who DOES, but I do.

Sometime it’s the amount of time that makes the schedule seem crazy. For instance: a “15-20 minutes of cleaning a day” includes “vacuum house” as an item. I…how big is your house? It takes me 15 minutes to vacuum our basement. Which is one of FOUR levels. (And our house is not huge!) Also, that doesn’t include time to pick up all the crap off the floor so I CAN ACTUALLY VACUUM.

Anyway. All this to say: cleaning schedules are crap and my house is probably always going to be a mess.

 

Poor 4th child

I’m sure we’ve all joked about how second children get the short end of the stick when it comes to memorabilia. Forget the fancy baby book. All the baby pictures are taken on a phone. Milestones come and go unrecorded. Well. I’ve tried SO HARD not to let that happen with my kids. And I’ve done pretty well, until Lydia.

Kalena, William, and Daniel each have a birth announcement stitchery that I started when I was pregnant with each of them. So far I haven’t even bought a kit to start one for Lydia. They all three have TONS of pictures of them as babies, taken on an actual camera. I go weeks without even knowing where my camera is these days. I blogged regularly when all three of them were babies, noting milestones and posting pictures. I’ve hardly blogged at all since Lydia was born. Even my thought a day journal, which I was loving at the beginning of the year is sitting unused on my dresser. I don’t know the last time I wrote in it. I have managed to keep up the same studio pictures schedule (1/3/6/9 months) but sending them out to family is another story. I wish I could say this was all because I’m just “enjoying her babyhood” instead of spending all my time documenting, but that’s not it. The truth is I feel like it’s FLYING by and because I’m not recording it I’m missing it. I’ve been trying harder lately, but ugh. I still feel like I’m failing.

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Maxed out

Jim Gaffigan does a hilarious bit about having 4 kids. (You can watch it here. It’s worth watching.) But my favorite part goes like this:

“You want to know what it’s like to have 4 kids? Just imagine you’re drowning. And then somebody hands you a baby.”

Oh, MAN has that been true for me. I feel like I’m busy all day every day but I don’t get anything done. I am managing, just barely and with much help from Brian, to keep us all in clean clothes and fed every day. (These kids and their incessant need to eat. Three meals a day they want! What’s with that?!) But my hobbies? My side projects? Haaaaaa. I wanted to get the kids’ baby books finished this summer (except Lydia’s, obviously.) I worked on them…not at all. I’ve written here before about the cross stitch birth announcements I do for each kid. Well. I’m STILL working on Daniel’s. And Brian and I had this conversation a few weeks ago:

Me (showing him a pattern I like): What do you think about this? For Lydia’s birth announcement stitchery?

Brian: (Long pause) It’s fine.

Me: Do you not like it? I could pick something else.

Brian: No, no, no, I do. It’s good. It’ll be a really nice gift for you to give her. (Pause) When she graduates from high school.

And at the rate I’m going that’s about right. When I do get a spare minute there are always dishes to be done, or stuff to be cleaned, or there’s something pressing I need to work on. I am forcing myself to carve out time for blogging, but there are just not enough hours in the day for all the things I’d like to be working on.

When I first wrote about the challenges of 4 kids this young (particularly Daniel & Lydia seeming so close in age) my sister informed me that it would suck. For 18 months at least. She’s knows what she’s talking about too- her 2nd and 3rd are only 13 months apart. And I fully expect that she’s right. I do see a light at the end of this tunnel, because next year not only does Will start kindergarten, Daniel will be in the district preschool program. (At age 3 kids leave Early Intervention and are eligible for services through the school district.) So in a year I’ll suddenly have 3 kids in school programs instead of 1. Lydia will be 18 months old.

But right now? Right now I’m maxed out.