Friday, August 23, 2013

We Make This Look Bad (and not in a good way)

I'm in a challenging spot right now, and I know it: with three under three, all at varying levels of dependence but none completely capable of doing pretty much anything on their own, I rarely catch a break. This is what I try to remind myself on the very worst of days, when my main goals are to maintain a state of semi-consciousness through the morning, keep the kids alive, and get through the day.

I generally have no extra energy for planned activities, special outings, games, projects, or lessons. I am the opposite of a Pinterest mom (heck, I've never even been on Pinterest), and though I hope to do better someday, I've given up on expecting that day will come anytime soon.

I do, however, have moments; rare bursts of inspiration. All too often they are born of desperation (please, please make the whining stop!), but they're fabulous when they come. Almost every time, however, they fail to have the intended fabulous result.

Take, for example, the first time I brought home special markers and paper for Abby to color on. They kept her fascinated for a time, but then Michael woke up from his nap ready to eat the markers and rip the paper. Ditto for any combination of crayons, markers, chalk, and paper I've ever offered. Michael and/or Abby end up using them inappropriately, and more-fantastical-than-ever tantrums ensue when I a) have to set the special items aside to move on to something else, like lunch or b) have to reclaim the items to prevent further damage.

Today's bright idea was to create a fort. Easy, right? I grabbed a sheet, spread it across a couple of desks and a chair, and secured it the best I could. The kids were thrilled. I had to show them that the whole point of the thing was to hide out under the sheet, but once they saw how cool it looked, they simply had to try it out, too.

As I watched them giggle and squeal with delight, I spent about a minute feeling proud and accomplished. That was all the time I got  before Abby started drumming on the top of the sheet, and had to be redirected. However, while I got to her in time to prevent her pulling the whole thing down, Michael had learned by example and repeated her behavior with enough enthusiasm to wreck the tent in just one hit. Then, he declared his triumph by sitting down on the sheet.

Abby was incensed. I tried to fix the sheet, only to find that Michael had made an instant game of wrenching down the sides that I had just propped, and I soon realized that I was fighting a losing battle. I rolled up the sheet and threw it down the hall to the laundry room, feeling defeated.

Though Michael shook it off and moved on, Abby's tears of frustration continued on. They were doubly hard to take, considering that I knew exactly where she was coming from, and I didn't think it was fair, either.

We worked it out in the end: she found some other book or toy to interest her, and I plopped gloomily back into my seat, out of fresh ideas for the day.

I guess it's just a sign that I'm not quite ready for Supermom duty. Not yet, anyway.