Saturday, May 30, 2009

Nothing to Get Hung About?

This is the second Saturday in a month where I have attempted to do something fun with my kids and had it not go great. You know, I am feeling totally inadequate. I seriously get nervous as I put them all the minivan. In fact, today, I prayed. I said, "Please God. Don't let anyone get sick on the way there or throw up or scream or die or generally embarrass me. Please let us get through this unscathed."

I am scathed.

Can I never leave without some incident? Without regretting that I didn't just put on Wonder Pets and play with the twins?

Two Saturdays ago. We went to a park that was on a trail in Claremont. Cutest park EVER. I see it on runs for EB and I always think "GEE WIZ, that park would rock Lulo's world."
Yeah, RIGHT. We got there and all he said was "I want to go home, I want to go home." He chanted it. Jojo's nose began running like a faucet. Juju ate dirt when I was distracted cleaning Jojo's nose and telling Lulo to knock the WHINING OFF. We went home.

Today, I took them all to a strawberry field so we could get out, get some fresh air, pick strawberries. Go home, eat strawberries. Woohoo. Sounds harmless. Right? OK. It was going SOOOO WELL!! Lulo participated. Not a PEEP from the twins. They were mesmerized. Lulo picked a ton of strawberries. Spotted them. Pulled on them. Smooshed a few. But mostly fun times!!

Yeah, two BOXES of strawberries picked. Happy, dirty Lulo with a box of strawberries on his lap clutching each side of the box with his pink tinted hands from the strawberries that didn't make the cut (literally). Happy twins. Nanny and I give each other a look and a sigh...thinking...ok, that went good.

"Living is easy with eyes closed..."

So, I go to pay. We need to weigh the strawberries because just because you pick them yourself doesn't mean they are free. It is $2.99/lb. I take the box from Lulo.


He chants (at HIGH VOLUME):
"I want the strawberries.
Give me the strawberries."

Shrieking, whining, screaming in the middle of the Farm Store.

I give them back to him and the nice lady gives us a bag to put the box in so we don't have strawberries everywhere. Makes sense. OH NO. God FORBID we put the box in a bag. Strawberries fly everywhere. He screams and cries - his face turns pink with strawberry juice and tears. Nanny picks up strawberries, I quickly pay, we scurry them out. Get them all in car seats. Clean hands. Confiscate strawberries (again) because all we need is strawberry juice staining the inside of our leased minivan. Lulo cries the entire drive home. Throws a FIT when we get home. J give him strawberries. I try to get him to the table for dinner luring him with clean and CUT strawberries. COMPLETE AND TOTAL MELTDOWN. He wanted me to FIX the strawberries. Really? I have to fix them. Why didn't your father have to fix the ones HE cut for you?

Why can't this be easier?

I can't just stay indoors at all times just to avoid these situations. But, the only reward I get from going outside is screaming, tears...fighting with J, frustration with Lulo, frustration with myself. Guilt about losing my temper with Lulo after his FIT. After all - he is JUST a kid. He is just having difficult EXPRESSING HIMSELF. How will I do this again? and again? Times 3. Two at the same time. Oh my God. There isn't enough wine to get me through it.

Oh, and meanwhile, I read this post the other day by this Mom who has triplets. It is written by a blogger that I don't know at all but I always like reading her blog. I like her writing style and the way she weaves her Faith in God with the raising of her children. Anyhow, she talks about how when her triplets were born she was certain she wouldn't go anywhere alone with them but by four months she was taking them on walks alone. She also says the following as she ponders the advice she'd give to a soon-to-be Mom of triplets:

"I wish she understood how confidence building it would be for her as a mother to realize that she could care for them alone. I am sure it would shock her to know how quickly she would learn to do things like manage the grocery store with three infants or take them all for vaccinations...."
Um, I can't do that. I won't EVER do that. The thought of taking all three of my kids to the grocery store makes me anxious. I BARELY manage vaccinations with my MIL or nanny with me. What is WRONG with me?

There I was, driving home, nanny, twins, Lulo en tow. Aforementioned post repeating itself in my head. And, I was thinking I have ZERO confidence as a mother. I cannot care for them alone. I cannot even care for them WITH HELP! Lulo confuses me, pushes my buttons, frustrates me. I love him so much and yet I almost don't want to do anything with him for the fear of complete MELTDOWN over strawberries not being on his lap! I mean, how do you predict that?

Saturdays suck. They just make me feel like Monday can't come fast enough. Because on Monday, I have more control. I am confident. I can manage that kind of chaos. I can manage opposing counsel. I can manage clients. I can return e-mails. I can make rain. I can do that all.

But, I can't take my kids to the damn park. I can't fix strawberries.

The only good part of today was seeing his smile, on the strawberry field, his big brown eyes looking at me, proud of his accomplishment - "Another one Mama," while enthusiastically putting the large red strawberry he just picked in our box. Eagerly moving forward looking for his next prize.

Strawberry Fields Forever.


  1. I'm going to risk telling you something you already know... Sometimes setting expectations in advance goes a really long way.
    *We're going to this place and we're going to use this and that and this is what's going to happen.
    *When we get to the end of this row we get to put the box onto a big scale and see how much we got! Do you want to put your own box on the scale for the lady?
    Blah blah blah... I find that when I get the most resistance it's when I didn't take a minute just to set expectations. They're just along for the ride and it gets pretty frustrating sometimes.

  2. Tina! We need to talk, been there, done that, now I'm done. Call me!

  3. I agree with The Little One. I have learned to try not to have big expectations when we go out and do fun things. I have also learned to try and not let some of the stuff that goes wrong ruin the entire day. The reality is there is probably going to be one or two moments that are not going to be great, especially if you are out with THREE kids under the age of 3. I think overall your trip was a great success. I am not surprised in the least that he didn't want to give up his prize box of strawberries :) Brianna would have done EXACTLY the same thing. The more you take him out and he realizes that you have to pay for it and he will get it back it will get better. Hang in there, you are doing a great job and you just have to do these things more often. I used to be so uninclined to take Brianna with me to do errands and then once James was traveling more I had no choice. Now she is such an easy kid to take places (for the most part!). Love ya Tina!!!

  4. That's just it, at that age they have all these needs and wants and crazy things swirling around inside their heads, half of which they don't understand, nevermind this pesky thing called vocabulary that gets in the way of communicating all that is in their little craniums.

    If every half hour or so, you tell them what we're doing and what's coming next, you would be surprised at the magic that happens. Plus, you have to feed them before they're hungry and nap them before they're tired. The cooperation that ensues is bewildering.

    It's tiring, and it's not easy to remember, but it's worth it.

  5. oh I SOOOO get you about the confidence at work. In fact, I need to blog about it right now. But I would NEVER go out with more than one baby on my own. Never. I line up help for everything. The nanny has to come with me for vaccinations; D and I go together when we're on the weekend and we want to take the kids somewhere. There is no way I'm going to have screaming kids in public :)