I am so sorry; I have toddlers

I am so sorry. I have this tendency to over apologize. As if the words convey the same amount of sincerity each time they are senselessly uttered like a montage of movie clips. Don’t be sorry. Be quiet. Sorry! (Spaceballs). When I get angry, I want to yell out that I am just so sorry. Sorry for all the things I cannot control and all the things that the rest of the world (or my anxiety) perceive as wrong. I’M SORRY, ASSHOLE! (Uncle Buck). These days, most of my apologies are toddler related. The things they do that are beyond my control.  I want to apologize. I’m not even confident on which end that came out of.” (Bridesmaids)

To the world; the unapproving stranger’s glance when I pull an Ipad out of my purse for my toddler and the looming Target meltdown. To the sock police, whose eyes the site of toddler feet in public have bludgeoned. To cashiers, servers, and customer service representatives who had to pretend their screaming voices are cute. To the person waiting for my parking spot as I buckle them in and dismantle a stroller. (or frustratingly say screw it and throw the entire unfolded beast in the back of my SUV) To the driver I flicked off in a fit of toddler style road rage, because driving is frustrating enough but then you add the stereo echo of crying and I am a kettle of boiling blood. To the three employees of Sears who collectively tried to stop my running son as he weaved in and out of washing machines and I trotted behind trying not to drop my crying daughter:

 

 

 

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Uncomfortable

Cassidy.Marie.Rose
June 7, 2017

I lay in my hospital bed shortly after giving birth for the fourth time. A spot I knew too well. I struggle to find the right position that doesn’t rupture my still aching lower body, and upper body and tired brain. “Are you comfortable?” a nurse asks, after taking my temperature for the millionth time. “I think so.” I lie.

 I am in Cece’s bed. Again. She never wants to sleep all night, alone, or with her brother. I am too tired to train her, so it goes like this: she cries. I wake up. I glance at Josh’s loud snores, and I go to her room trying not to wake Jackson up as I crawl out of bed. He has been barreling out of his room lately just as we are about to go to bed. I spin another round of wondering if we will ever be the kind of family with normal sleeping arrangements, again. I cuddle next to Cece, calming her crying. She looks at me, “where Papa go?” she asks, drifting back to sleep. I kiss her squishy soft little cheek and try my best to ease my body into the mattress, between pillows and blankets. I pull a block from under my leg and set it under the bed. So often we end up scattered, like our various throw pillows, with at least one toddler awkwardly lying near my feet wondering what is going on beyond our closed eyes to get us here. Somehow, I am perfectly aligned with the direction of the bed and Cece curled right under my chin and we are breathing in sync. The air outside is unsettled as thunder rumbles a soft roar in the distance and the rain taps melodically against the window. I pull her even closer in a soft embrace, imagining the rain is feeding her growth like the outdoor garden we just planted. If I can just hold her long enough, I can stop it, or slow it down, or just enjoy it. My back is always sore from the many nights of sleeping where ever would calm a crying toddler. But yet, in this moment, the soft tap of rain is echoing her breathing. Her hair tickles my nose as it gently sways from the ceiling fan and her little golden curls move in a slow bounce, a contrast to the way they bounce about due to her awake constant motion. In this passing moment of a thunderstorm causing us to sleep too late, I am the most comfortable that I have been in a while.

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Motherly Advice

Cassidy.Marie.Rose
May 26, 2017

I hold on to Jackson’s arm as he flings him self around me on a set of bleachers. It is Layla’s eighth grade graduation and I was trying to hold onto some sort of emotion long enough to be nostalgic. It is really hard when my head turns like a wind up toy every time Jackson breathes funny. Josh had already taken Cece out to the hallway but I was stubbornly holding on to the notion that I would see them announce her name. I craved hearing the words they used to describe her, creative and poetic. I fought the urge to raise my hand and list off additional synonyms for Layla Taylor: artistic, unique, passionate, genuine, old soul, good friend. I can go on and on and on – and not just because I am her mother. “Are we bringing them to the ceremony?” she asked, in the snarky teenage tone that suddenly worked its way into her inflection range. “They can’t stay home alone.” I said, in my new defensive tone – a mom/teenage hybrid. This is common now. Teenagers and toddlers are the epitome of the self-centered years, the time in your life where being an asshole can be explained simply by referencing age and everyone nods in agreement. Trying to explain to Layla that Jackson’s behaviors are mostly because toddlers lack impulse control is like explaining to Jackson that Layla is hormonal.* Back in the gym, as I am just as focused onto Jackson and I am swallowing my tears as a beautiful girl stands on the podium, with a soft pink dress that contrasted her bright green hair, and she is giving a speech about how much middle school made her grow. I envied her, almost as much as I envied Layla, at the very beginning of adult hood with so much ahead. Like a Hallmark greeting card, I mouthed the words along knowing the theme and how graduations go. I look at Jackson; he is sitting on the step smiling at me. That smile, the way he twists his lips into a perfect little grin, he looks angelic – and completely full of mischief. I see the spark and he ignites, across the gym floor. I am spry and suddenly thankful for all the running I do as I dart across he gym after him. I could hear the entire gym laughing. My mouth can’t figure out whether to laugh or cry and my lips start shaking at the confusion. I realize half my bra may be hanging out, but I am moving too fast for anyone else to notice. “Good catch” someone comments as I scoop him up and drag him into the hallway.

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The Fourth One

Cassidy.Marie.Rose
April 10, 2017

Most days I wonder if I have completely abandoned all those parenting books after I had my fourth kid and went on with making my own up as I go. 

I crawl into bed, my body is exhausted and I am hoping to convince my brain to do the same. It is considerably early for me (midnight) but since the world isn’t designed for people like me, I vow every night to go to bed early and set an alarm for 7 A.M. I press my eyes closed in hopes of not starting my week off with the disappointment that sleeping in has given me lately. The word lazy floats around in my head as give myself a mental pep talk on the pro list of getting up early. (Number one- toddlers are still asleep. And I forget the rest). Cece is sleeping in the middle of our bed. Her forehead is matted with wet curls. Why do babies sweat so much in their sleep? Layla would wake up drenched in sweat and I would worry, the way mothers do with their first-born. I move a piece of hair that is stuck to her cheek in a combination of drool and sweat and kiss her squishy skin, not minding the sweat/drool puddle that leaked onto the top of my lip. She reacts by burrowing into me, my security blanket. There is always a little part of me that is happy she is there- until I wake up at 4 am with a foot resting on my nose as she unknowingly flops her way along the middle of the bed leaving Josh and I to rest uneasily on the far edges of our queen size bed. I think about all the articles and books I read when the girls were little. Don’t let them sleep with you. The words taunt me as I make a case for my side of the argument, the one that goes just like this: I have four kids. Oh, and her bed is still in the garage waiting a mattress purchase and another room reorganization and the assembly process. So she sleeps with us some nights and with Jackson on the other nights as we reinvent the idea of what it is to be normal.

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Four Against Mom

Cassidy.Marie.Rose
March 24, 2017

It was that day. The day I managed to piss off all four kids. It started with Layla’s snarky slamming of the front door in a huff on her way to school and it ended with Liv’s matched slamming of the bedroom door on her way to bed. It was one of those days, the one I realized that I had two full-blown toddlers, and two full-blown teenagers on my hand, and the one where I ended up inadvertently turning on my windshield wipers hoping to clear my face from the sobbing tears that occur when I am  just past my threshold.

It started with Layla slamming the door and my internal questioning gears spinning. Don’t be mad! I yell out to the empty doorway. When do I trust her to start making her own decisions, or would it be better if I just made them all for her? I asked the living room air, still lingering from her departure. I could blame it on the morning or her pending high school application essay that we (of course) waited until the last-minute to fill out. Her phone isn’t charged and her day’s fate a mystery, and I am too tired to care right now. It is early and I need coffee.

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