a new, but not so improved me

The way I see myself and the way I actually am has shifted over the years. I believe myself to be punctual, ordered – in home and body, and be somewhat calm. And I might sometimes slip up and say that I am some or all of these things. But since the mobility of Oliver, who I am has become plain to me. I am constantly late, I cannot keep thoughts in my head for more than a second, I feel chaos in everything I do, and I repeatedly lose my temper. Now I find myself making excuses to Elliott’s preschool about dirty diapers, clock not set right, and so forth to cover my inconsistencies. I find I forgot a thought while walking into another room. I yell over the smallest of issues. What had me thinking about this was a 45 minute visit to the pediatrician this morning:

After waiting a few minutes in the waiting room, Oliver needed to be undressed for the scale. While Elliott danced around with his magna doodle, I heaped our coats, Oliver’s clothing, and my bag on the chair. When it was time to migrate to the exam room, I was juggling Oliver, the heap of clothing and herding Elliott while he repeatedly blocked the nurse (who thankfully took our coats while she carried a laptop). After Oliver unpacked my bag, fell a few times and Elliott knocked him over to protect his magna doodle, we saw the doctor, got the lead test and shots we came for and repacked everything we brought. And there was some crying. After assigning Elliott the job of carrying his toy and my papers, and loading my arms with a toddler and our gear, we headed for check out. This is where it really got chaotic.

Apparently one nurse thought our insurance would allow for a certain pricing on shots, but the checkout nurse disagreed. I was asked to wait a few moments. I heaped our stuff up, Elliott sat in a chair, and Oliver toddled away, quite quickly, down the hall and into waiting rooms. He was lured back, only wanting to run again. Then he had to give their decorative snowman a few whacks. Next, Elliott declared he was hungry. Trying to be discreet, I pulled out pretzels for the boys. Oliver ate one and fussed to get down, while Elliott dug into the bag for a fistful. Then Oliver sneezed, blasting snot and pretzel all over his face and my white sweater (yeah, stupid choice). While I was getting him cleaned up, Elliott dug around in my purse for toys. Oliver toddled off yet again. While I was fetching Oliver, Elliott managed to spread out four or five items on the chairs and floor, some more embarrassing than others. And during all of this, I occasionally had to answer a question or two at the desk.

Finally, we haggled a bit more and they gave me the reduced fees. We gathered our stuff, lured Oliver to the elevator and trudged out. In one short hour, I was wiped out. I felt as if I had no control and I could not think straight. When an adult asked me a question, my mind was swimming with all my children’s issues. After that, I decided I wanted coffee and a cookie so off we went. I felt I needed that to continue the day.

I used to see parents juggling stuff and feel a bit of pity but also a bit of arrogance. Surely, that would not be me. I would have it all together. Today I felt I was the one being pitied by the other parents who watched this all unfold. And I really see now that until my children move out, I will not be as punctual, ordered or calm as I once was. Is this just one part of the price of raising children? I guess the positive of a morning like this – it could have been worse, much worse. No dirty diapers, no throwing up, no hurt children, no tantrums. Oh the list goes on of things I am thankful we did not have happen this morning!

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4 Comments

  1. Michelle said,

    November 30, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    Oh Diana. I know it shouldn’t have, but this story made me laugh. You poor thing. Sounds like a rough day. And you’re going to have those. But it’ll get easier, right? Elliott will grow older and be a good helper. And he’ll help Oliver learn to listen and stay put while Mommy does adult things. You are a great mom and I know you’re struggling. But give yourself a break, take a deep breath, count to 10 and reboot. You’re doing well.

  2. amanda said,

    November 30, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    Ohhh diana i can relate to every word of this. i feel just as you described 98% of the time. i feel the pitiful glances often as i am sure it is obvious to anyone watching that i am worn out, in need of coffee and sleep, and failing miserably at keeping happy and calm children 🙂 but we must push on right? someday we will miss all of this… or at least thats what i keep trying to tell myself! you are a great mom and i have always admired how you keep your cool so well. Dont get down on yourself. ❤

  3. montessorimama said,

    November 30, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    It is just so funny because at the start of the day I feel I can conqure all problems and that not sending Elliott to CSC is a good decision… by 3:30, I am so happy to have had the break. 🙂 I have to decide for next spring and it is hard to know what is right. I just cannot wait to be past the curious toddler phase, but I know I will miss that sweet pudgy fellow.
    And Michelle, I did laugh at myself! Even in the midst of it, I had to laugh at it all… as I stuffed my personals away.
    Thank you Amanda… I see you as far calmer than me. But I am sure we all do well in public 😉

  4. Suzanne said,

    December 1, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    Yup, sounds typical to me. I used to always be punctual as well – not anymore!


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