Finding joy in an out-of-sorts week

You know how some weeks you just sort of batten down the hatches and do whatever it takes to survive?  OK, this is most weeks for most moms with littles (and probably bigger kids, too!), I know, but there are some weeks that just take more survival skills than usual.  This is one of those weeks for me.

I told you on Tuesday about my son switching up his nap schedule.  To say it has thrown a wrench into our week would be an understatement.  When my daughter shifted nap schedules she would be cranky for about the first week.  The same is holding true for my son.  He’s in this no-man’s land in the middle of one and two naps so he’s just tired.  He won’t take two naps, but one nap isn’t quite enough.  Thus I have a cranky toddler.  This switch also leads to unpredictability.  Tuesday, he was up at 9:30 a.m. (after waking at 6:30 for a diaper change) and napped at 2 p.m.  Yesterday he was up at 7:15 a.m. and napped at 12:30 p.m.

This week my daughter’s schedule is off as well.  Monday and Wednesday she had to be at preschool by 8:20 a.m., which means she had to get up at 7:15.  Monday, she was up at 7:15, Tuesday she was up at 9:30 and Wednesday she was up at 5:15.  She’s had naps this week, too, and she never naps.

My son proudly standing on the end table, munching crackers and playing with our lamp. This boy!

Along with our out-of-sorts schedule this week, my son has also decided he needs to start climbing more.  Unlike his overly cautious, not-much-desire-to-climb-on-everything big sister, our son at 15-1/2 months is fearless and sees no boundaries.  He’s also persistent until he figures out how to do what he wants.  This week he has learned how to climb up onto our couch in the dining room without any assistance or step up.  In the living room, he uses a kids’ armchair to step up on to propel him onto the couch in there.  But, the dining room couch unassisted is new.  And as a result on Tuesday I was rifling through my kitchen cabinet for less than 30 seconds looking for a box of Jiffy cornbread mix to make corndog muffins for a lunch playdate when I turned around to find my son proudly standing on the end table, munching his crackers and playing with the top of the lamp.  Two minutes later, he climbed back up on the couch and into a laundry basket of clothes that was sitting up there.  This boy!  He keeps me on my toes.  He keeps me ever busy.

Aside from all of the climbing, this week I’ve also caught him pulling open the drawer under the oven and then later trying to pull open the oven itself, playing in the dog’s food dish, snagging items out of the trash and running off with them, trying desperately to get utensils (especially sharp knives) out of the dishwasher, chewing on his sister’s new flip flop, working hard to get at my husband’s nail clippers and ear phones and having a blast spinning the knobs on the receiver in our entertainment center.

And let’s not forget the trip to the shoe store where he got new tennis shoes along with a helium balloon.  He loves balloons.  Like is infatuated with them.  I am completely freaked out by them.  As you might guess, this is a great combination.  Ever since I was a child, I’ve been wary of balloons and scared of them popping.  Now as a mother I’m also sure that any time my toddler gets a balloon he’s going to pop it, inhale a piece of it, choke and die.  I literally think that every time I see him with a balloon.  So after we got his shoes, we were preparing to leave the store.  His sister was on board and had her balloon tied around her wrist.  My son took off carrying his balloon string and then tripped.  I was helping him up; he was grabbing the balloon.  I tried to get the balloon so I could carry it out for and with him so it wouldn’t blow away.  He thought I was taking his precious toy forever.  He gripped that thing like there was no tomorrow and fell prostrate on the ground of the shoe store protesting.  I was sure it would pop, which would lead to his death.  I might have been a little over anxious as a result.  I was also sure the shoe store clerks, who had previously thought I had pretty good children, were standing around pointing at me in horror.  I somehow managed to scoop him and the balloon up.  No one died.  We got to the car.  I wrangled and wriggled and did everything in my power to get the balloon from my son.  I didn’t want him to have it in the car in the backseat where I was sure on the two-minute drive to our house he would pop the balloon, inhale the pieces, choke and die.  That dude has the strongest grip on the planet.  He also has the loudest wail.  I eventually got said balloon, tied it up in the front seat and buckled him in the back while he continued to wail in protest.  This encounter is sort of the epitome of my week.

We’re just all sorts of out of sort this week.  The dog, my husband and I have all had our moments as well.  My to-do list is sort of sitting there not getting much checked off of it.  Today my kids may have some time with my parents.  If they do, I can’t even begin to tell you how many items are on my to-do list from paying bills (crap, the gas bill is due tomorrow!) to doing laundry to organizing their clothes drawers (which have gotten out of hand) to putting away some of the thousands of toys on the floor since I last picked up toys a day ago to making a meal plan and grocery list and grocery shopping (ack! We’re in charge of preschool snack tomorrow and I have nothing!) and the list goes on.  And if they don’t go hang out with my parents a bit, then I’ll still be working on some of these items.  I know some of it will get pushed to next week because there just isn’t enough time in the day and I just don’t have enough energy.

But, here’s the other thing.  I will keep soldiering on because this is the life I’ve chosen.  These are the babies I prayed so hard for and am so incredibly blessed to have.  Some weeks are harder than others.  That’s true even without children in the mix.  But we keep going.  And I’d be remiss to not include some high points from this week.  While I may be leading you to believe otherwise, I think there have been at least as many good times as rocky ones this week.  There is joy to be found.

My kiddos snuggle together at least once a day. It's quite sweet!

I’ve watched my children play together, both giggling as they chase each other around the house.  I’ve felt my heart melt when my daughter sat on the floor and my son backed into her lap so they could snuggle.  I’ve smiled every time my daughter insists on hugging and kissing her brother before he goes down for every single naps he’s taken.  I’ve snuggled with both of them and kissed their heads.  I’ve cuddled with both of them and read books.  I’ve grinned as I watch them erupt into giggles while playing with their dad.  I’ve beamed with pride when the toddler pet the dog gently and the preschooler gave him a treat.  My heart has swelled as I listened to my daughter tell me all about the Bible stories we were reading for the upteenth time.  I have happily shared a bowl of animal crackers as an afternoon snack with both kids.

These are the things I’m surrounded by.  These are the things I work hard to remember when I’m engaging in a battle of toddler wills or stopping him from playing with the knobs on the entertainment center for the 93rd time in one day.  These are the things I cling to when my preschooler is telling me how to do things and I get annoyed (we’re working on trading in bossiness for learning to be a good leader who knows when to keep quiet!).  Every single day seems to include the full gamut of emotions and events right now from good times to bad times to sad times to angry times.  Every day we have laughter and tears, battles and snuggles.  I’m thankful for all of it, I suppose.  I feel like I could do without some of it, but the journey is still a good one.  And I’m going to keep on going and remind myself to be thankful for all of joy we have even in the midst of an out-of-sorts week.

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