once upon a time there was a little girl who grew up loving all god’s creatures. she became a teenager who argued with kids at school who killed an insect in the classroom rather than releasing it outside. She went to college and cried hysterically when a maintenance worker killed a mouse she found in her dorm room. As an adult she threatened to divorce her husband for attending a hunting trip with his friends and yelled at her step kids for going fishing. she cherished her two golden retrievers and one day decided she absolutely MUST have a great dane as well. so she cried in bed for three days until her husband relented. her dogs were the loves of her life. riding in the car with her wherever she went, they often went to work with her because she felt terribly guilty leaving them home alone for more than two hours. she got a job managing an animal hospital because she treasured animals so much. she had her own dogs groomed and massaged almost weekly. her husband often threatened to leave her if she didn’t stop letting the great dane have his side of the bed every night. her dogs ate only the best dog foods money could buy and she never walked past them without petting and kissing them.
and then the woman had babies. and now the dogs irritate the fucking shit out of her.
from the moment i brought the twins home from the hospital i completely turned on my dogs. i didn’t see it coming, i don’t know what flipped in my brain but i went into full PISS OFF PETS mode. each day that has passed their very presence frustrates me further. the chorus of barks i used to find so entertaining when they would interrupt my husband while he was on business calls now ends the babies’ nap time which unleashes the beast within me.
their jovial frolicking in the pond behind our house that used to warm my heart now sends me into battle with a 145 lb dinosaur, i mean, dog, as i attempt to drag his soaked, filthy, dead fish stanking body off of the rug my children are playing on.
when i used to see them lying in the middle of the floor with their bellies exposed i couldn’t help but run to rub their tummies and massage their ears. now as i dart across the house in the race against time to make bottles for screaming babies i nearly trip over my furry former friends causing me to scream out:
“WHY DO YOU ALWAYS HAVE TO BE UNDER MY GODDAMN FEET?!”
my intolerance for animals has grown so severe that even feeding them becomes a major inconvenience. i consider the end of each day to be 6pm. bath time hell has ended and the boys are cozy in their cribs for their four hour nap before the night shift starts when the cute cuddly baby bears morph into some sort of screaming, demanding, wide awake creatures from hell sent here only to terrorize me into insanity.
at 6:01 it takes every ounce of my energy to crawl to the couch and pull my legs up to rest my feet. i shut my eyes and try not to think about how i could be so exhausted when i did nothing but feed babies, change diapers, apply orajel, and clean an endless amount of bottles.
i try not to think. period.
then without fail:
a vocabulary of curse words race through my mind.
Eyes snap open and glare angrily at the three neglected faces in front of me begging to be fed. i am too annoyed to notice the sad, lonely, heartbroken look in their eyes. i don’t want to notice it because i don’t want to feel that stomach churning guilt that i do before i go to bed every night for completely replacing them. i don’t want to notice that they have sat quietly every day for months on end living for the slightest bit of eye contact or a tender pat from me. i don’t want to notice that although they must be experiencing a jealously i can’t imagine they are so much more amazing than humans because rather than react aggressively towards the babies and i, they sleep outside their nursery door and they wag their tails with excitement every time i come home.
our great dane, who my husband was terrified would accidentally hurt the boys because of his size and rambunctious nature, has been the most gentle and cautious of all. he barks in the faces of anyone visiting the babies warning them they better be good to his puppies.
one of our goldens did bite jett a few weeks ago while he was petting her. i’m very surprised i didn’t kill her and even more surprised she still lives with us. she since has not been allowed near the babies, but seems to be trying to make up for her behavior by coming to get me every time she hears them crying.
i don’t want to notice all of this but i do. instead of the guilt making me more compassionate, however, it makes me furious.
“CANT YOU SEE I AM OFF DUTY RIGHT NOW?! PISS OFF!!”
it angers me that they need to be fed and fed NOW! angers me they need to be exercised. angers me they need to be let outside. angers me they need to be loved. angers me they NEED!
i have realized my limitations and i am not proud of them. i am at my maximum capacity to be needed. an ounce more and i become resentful. it used to feel so good to be needed. but that was many moons ago when i had holidays and vacation time off.
the all consuming love i feel for my children and the responsibility i have to make sure all of their needs are met is to say the least, overwhelming. is it that not only can nothing else compare to the love i feel for them but is nothing else as deserving of it either?
in my defense 5 children require a tremendous amount of love. especially when one is a teenager since it takes less effort to love a serial killer than it does one of those. anything else needing food and love from me right now, be it dogs or husband, are unfortunately subject to my wrath and left to starve.
maybe finding a better home is the right thing to do…… for my husband.
i’d never get rid of my dogs!
the only thing more draining than living with five kids is that three of them play sports.
every other hour there is a soccer practice or a lacrosse game or a tournament for months on end. now look, i love my skids and am very proud of their talents and accomplishments. I really, truly want to support and encourage them in all they do. INside.
hockey? wrestling? skeeball? i’m your girl. i’ll be in the front row with pompoms, but a soccer field in the middle of a florida afternoon? kill me.
soon after having the twins i began to realize they were a built-in excuse to stay in air conditioning. i couldn’t go to most of their athletic events anymore and no one could get mad at me. they were my get- out- of- jail- free card.
each sunny afternoon i would have to say, “Oh no, boys are down for their nap, I can’t go” frown.
“Crap, boys can’t be around large groups of kids till they’re vaccinated” sad face.
“Babies can’t wear sunscreen until they’re six months old. It’s too dangerous for them to be in the sun” tear.
now that they are eight months old the entire family’s pretty much caught on to me and i’m out of excuses. so there i drove sunday afternoon, babies in tow, to my stepson’s lacrosse game somewhere between purgatory and hell.
it was 846,000 degrees that afternoon. if you flapped your arms quickly enough to air out your armpits you might possibly have felt some hint of a breeze.
i layered the babies in sunscreen before leaving the house and continued to add a layer every 20-30 minutes while outside (yes, i’m one of THOSE moms). i brought our dome-shaped tent with us where they played, laughed, and pulled at each others bonnet-like hats i insisted they wear.
after the fourth or fifth time of knocking the tent over with their super human baby strength, i got tired of fixing it and took them out of the tent. i passed one off to daddy who was very engrossed in the game and i kept the other. my husband immediately put his on the grass in front of him which worried me . what no-nos would he find on the ground to put in his mouth?
i kept reminding my husband to make sure he was watching what baby Jett was doing while i was busy entertaining Colt (yes I’m aware of the irony of having kids with football teams for names).
“All okay on your end honey?”
“Yup” he said without ever removing his eyes from the game.
“You’re sure he’s not putting anything in his mouth?”
“He’s good.” (barely a glance down at the baby) “SCORE!!! YEEEEEES!!!”
as soon as the cheering parents quieted down i heard it. Jett gagged, then coughed, and a mother seated on the other side of my husband looked at me and yelled:
“You’re baby! He’s coughing up leaves!”
she might as well have said he was sitting on a land mine. my sweaty crotch leapt off the lawn chair, plopped Colt in the tent, and ran to
beat my husband in the face with a hammer my son. it took me about a moment and a half to get to Jett and in that moment i visualized every unimaginable horror from having his stomach pumped to his funeral. (i call terrifying thoughts such as these ‘mama traumas’ and they pop into my head multiple times a day ever since i had the boys. i’ve tried everything short of a lobotomy to stop them and i’m pretty sure the condition is incurable).
when i reached Jett he had pulled a tiny brown drool covered leaf from his mouth and was clenching it in his fist, smiling up at me with pride. i searched his mouth. clear. searched around him, no leaves. had he swallowed some? or could it be that the woman’s panic and baby’s gag had been from this one tiny leaf? if he had swallowed any he certainly didn’t seem to mind. and for the record, my babies gag on EVERYTHING. even when there’s nothing in their mouth. they just gag.
even though Jett was as fine as could be and the mother seemingly overreacted, i still went looking for a hammer. not only could our child be at risk for……for…….some sort of toxic leaf syndrome, but more importantly, my husband made me look like a BAD MOTHER in front of another mother! are there greater grounds for divorce?
that woman whom i will likely never see again is walking around the planet considering me someone who neglects her baby and lets him choke on things.
and why is it that mothers blame the mothers? why not blame the fathers whose fault it usually is?
she was sitting right next to him. she MUST have known he was the one in charge of Jett. she had to have heard me continuously caution him to pay attention and still she yelled, accusingly, at ME.
unless……….mayyyybe she yelled to me because she saw his dad was too involved in the game and knew she’d have as good of luck as i did getting his attention?
maybe she wasn’t passing blame or judgement but only looking out for our baby? perhaps she understood my frustration because her husband can’t parent and watch sports at the same time either?
i realized i was the one accusing, blaming, and judging me for being a bad mother because i felt like one. no matter who i put in charge of my babies they will always be my responsibility. i will always ultimately blame myself for every leaf they eat no matter who feeds it to them.
and who am i kidding? other mothers probably will too.
hmmmm…. i wonder if the threat of dangerous leaves at the field will excuse a few of my absences in the future?
if another mom tells me how fast the first year flies by ONE MORE time i’m gonna… I’M GONNA…. i’m gonna smile sweetly as i always do and lie right back:
“I know! It seems like only yesterday they had that crusty thing attached to their belly buttons!”