Vacation from my Vacation

With my new job, I now get to enjoy extra days off. It’s a beautiful little concept called Exchange Holidays! That gives me 3 extra holidays a year! Boo-yah! My first official exchange holiday was last Friday (Good Friday) so I am coming off of a 3 day weekend.

And now I need a few days to recover from it.

CJ and I basically saw this weekend as a chance to hammer out more work on the house. Isabella saw it as a chance to put mom to the test. The combination resulted in aching muscles, tired eyes and frazzled nerves.

Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

CJ and I are dividing the house work up based on ability. He has the knowledge and skills to do lots of construction type work, having been in the biz for 30+ years, and I am really good at bossing him around.   This weekend, he was focusing on getting our bedroom/bathroom finished up, along with various other things (including an unexpected plumbing project). I was going to be the one in charge of Munchkin so that he could work. I was really looking forward to spending the extra time with Isabella. Boy did I get a taste for what being a stay-at-home parent is like!

Friday was good. We played, we had snacks, and we ran to the store for some miscellaneous stuff. After she awoke from her nap, we went outside as it was a nice afternoon. She tried to help me pick up Samson’s dog poop using her bare hands. Luckily I caught her before she touched anything! I must have looked like a freak to my neighbors as I frantically waved my arms in the air and yelled NO!NO!NO!NO! 

I can hear then now, “Gee Bill, I wonder what kind of interpretive dance Sarah is doing over there? Huh. Oh, maybe she got stung by a bee…”

I decided to take Munchkin to the park since it was so nice and neither of us wanted to go in. After playing for a few minutes, she decided it would be super fun to push the stroller so I let her push it all the way back home (about 2 blocks)!

Saturday is when the trouble started. I think Isabella has a little cold, or else she’s getting some teeth, and she was really crabby. 

The morning was fine and she had an epic 2.5 hour nap after lunch. When she woke up we went back outside to play. It was a colder day though so we couldn’t stay out as long. She wanted to pick up flags.  A few weeks ago CJ staked little flags out in our yard to mark the sprinkler heads so that the aerator guys wouldn’t run over them. Then he had Isabella go out and help him pick them up. Child labor is a beautiful thing. She remembered that and wanted to do it again, only there weren’t any to pick up! Well, ok, there was one. So I let her go out front and get that one but I wouldn’t let her run around with it for fear she’d fall and jab herself in the eye. Then I’d have to rush her to the hospital and she’d end up wearing an eye patch. I was not about to have her become a pirate and go blind on my watch!

She got very angry that she had to a) give the flag up and b) go inside. The cry-fest lasted for about an hour, off and on. I had to make a storage run and I asked begged CJ to come with. I was running on fumes and needed the extra help. I figured we could all go together, then stop and grab some chinese on the way back (food, not people). Crab Rangoon make everything better.

She whined/cried for most of the trip, partway during dinner and through her bath (which she normally loves). It took 30 minutes to get her to bed too. By the time all that was done, I was drained. 

Easter Sunday started out great. We got up, had breakfast, did an egg hunt and Isabella got her Easter basket. It was getting to be about 10:30am and she was very tired. She started acting up. She wanted to be held and then she yanked on my hair. When I reprimanded her for it, she started crying.

That was all it took to break the dam loose.

She cried and cried and cried. For a solid hour. I tried everything and eventually just figured there was nothing I could do. I changed her in to her Easter dress (which I never got a picture of because of all the meltdown) and got her ready to go. Magically, a cure for her distress was found – hangers. Yes, that’s right, clothes hangers. In her teary-eyed daze, she wandered over to her closet and pulled out 2 hangers that were on the floor. She clutched those in her little hands and wouldn’t let go. She even took them with her to grandma’s house. Hey, fine with me. If I had known that, I would have given her that for Easter!

The rest of the day was basically more of the same. She had a few good hours here or there and then would break out in tears. We managed to get her through the egg hunt before laying her down for her nap. She was so beyond tired at that point that she refused to sleep. My mom had to use her super grandma powers to rock Munchkin to sleep. When she was finally down, a moratorium was put on the house that no one was to make a sound for fear she’d wake up. All the guys took that as their cue to nap too. Us women spent the time gossiping over cheese and crackers while the kids played outside. When Munckhin awoke, she went out and joined them.

Once we got home, she broke out in more fits and it again took about 30 minutes to get her to sleep.

By the end of the day, I was actually looking forward to going to work, just to get a break from the tantrums.

I tell ya what, I have renewed respect for my amazing husband who stays at home with Isabella every day. From the outside looking in, I get jealous that he gets all this time with our little darling while I’m at work dealing with deadlines and things. While he is lucky to spend so much time with her, and be a part of things I can’t, it’s not all fun and games and can be very exhausting. I definitely got a taste of that this weekend.

If only Arbor Day was an Exchange Holiday. I could really use another day off.

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Shell Shocked

As I write this, I feel like what I imagine people go through after they’ve experienced some catastrophe. Only, on a much smaller scale.

No, our house didn’t burn down and don’t worry, Isabella is safe and sound. CJ is fully in tact and nothing has happened to me either. I can hear Samson outside jumping up and down so he’s a-ok as well. Nothing crazy or cosmic happened here tonight. It was just a series of small events that added together created this snowball of chaos.

It started just after bath time.

I had finished drying off Isabella and putting her in her pajamas. I set her down and off to go play. She immediately ran out to CJ who was in the living room watching TV. As I cleaned up in her room, I heard him say something to her about the remote control and good job changing the channels. After a minute or so he took the remote away from her and she burst in to tears. And screams. And more tears.

I came out then and was able to distract her with a “purse” that she has. I put a few toys in it and she came over to see what I was doing. She started playing with it too only it wasn’t zipped up and when she grabbed it the toys fell out. Like a good girl, she picked them up and put them back in. I was showing her how to zip it up and you’d have thought I was showing her how to murder the little stuffed turtle because she started screaming again.

This time I was able to distract her with some blocks that stack on to little pillars. She was playing with them and telling us the shapes and colors. Only she said “octagon” instead of “pentagon” for the red one (I know, right?) so CJ was tickling her and saying “P-p-p-PENT-a-gon!” which she thought was hysterical.

That started the tickle wars which was a lot of fun until she lost her balance and fell backward. Right on to the wooden pillar thing.

Cue the tears.

At first we thought she was just crying from shock or fear until we saw the blood running out of her mouth. I carried her in to the kitchen so that we could see better. Her mouth was full of blood. She wouldn’t open wide enough for us to see inside though so all I could do was blot it up from her lips and chin. I gave her some water to drink, which she did. That seemed to stop the bleeding but she was still crying hard.

In the middle of all that, Samson saw someone outside walking by and thought it was important to alert us of this and let out a huge “RUFF!!”

We all jumped. Isabella cried harder.

CJ escorted Samson to his kennel for a time out.

We finally got Munchkin calmed down and fixed up. We sat on the living room floor to read some books and get ready for bed. She usually wants to sit in my lap and have me read to her (because CJ reads to her all day). Not tonight. She only wanted daddy. I was slightly hurt but reminded myself that she’s a toddler and fickle sometimes. CJ kept trying to include me by handing over the book or saying, “Let’s have mommy read!” Only to have Isabella grab the book back and give it to CJ. After doing this a couple times, she’d had enough and, you guessed it, more tears.

OK, bed time! We brushed her teeth, got her hooked up with woobies and off to bed she went.

And scene.

I am still on edge. I think I’ll have flashbacks the next few times she cries. It’s PTSD that only parents can understand.  


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The Meltdown

Let me just start off by saying that I am still shell-shocked from last night. Isabella had a meltdown like you wouldn’t believe. Both CJ and my nerves were shot by the time it was over. Here’s the background.

Isabella is apparently a child who needs routine. I suppose all kids are that way  but we definitely learned that if her routine gets thrown off too much, we will all suffer. Our holiday weekend was a busy one. We spent both Saturday/Sunday over at my sister’s house having some quality family time. Both days, we had a pretty normal morning and she got her naps and meals in as usual. But then we’d head to my sister’s house in the afternoon. Munchkin had lots of fun playing with her cousins and all the toys they have. So much fun, that she refused her afternoon naps. Saturday we tried 3 different times. I even had my mom try to work her grandma magic but to no avail. Also, we were eating holiday type food (chips, dip, chili, cheese/crackers, cookies, candy, etc.) with very little fruit and veggies. So her diet was thrown off too. By last night and bedtime, she was very crabby and out of whack.

When we got home, Munchkin played with some toys and watched a little bit of The Wiggles. Then it was time to change her diaper and put on her pajamas. That’s when all hell broke loose. As soon as I laid her down on the changing table, she started screaming and crying. She wriggled and tried to get away but I was able to keep her in one spot long enough to do what I needed to do (I’ve discovered that as parents, we come up with all kinds of creative ways to change a diaper when the kid is being less than cooperative). I figured she’d calm down once I picked her up again, because that’s what usually happens.

Um, no.

I picked her up and she kept on wailing. I tried to give her some juice/water/milk and she would have none of it. I offered her a bedtime snack of crackers and she refused. I gave her a woobie and she batted it away. There was no consoling her at this point so I thought, all right, she just needs to go to bed. We went through our usual routine and as I bent over to turn on her CD player, she grabbed my hair and yanked. Hard. I pulled her hand away and firmly said, “No!” She kicked and thrashed. I tried the CD again and she grabbed my hair for a second time. And yanked hard. I was fed up at that point so down in her crib she went. I figured she would carry on for a little longer than tire out and go to sleep.

I figured wrong.

She kept going. And going. After 5 minutes I went back in, with some juice,  and tried to offer it to her again. She pushed it away. I offered a woobie. She threw it at me. Then, she reached out wanting me to pick her up, so I did. She pointed to the hallway and I thought, hey, maybe she’s hungry for something other than crackers. So we headed out to the kitchen and she stopped crying. Oh thank God. I tried applesauce but she didn’t want it. Offered cereal and she refused. When I handed her the juice cup again, she took it but wouldn’t drink. Just  held on to it. CJ came in and we started discussing other options. Then the crying started again. And got louder and louder. I tried to take the juice away and she wouldn’t let go, yet she still wouldn’t drink it. I finally yanked it from her little hands and she freaked. She threw herself back and out came a wail like I have never heard before. I seriously thought she was possessed. I stared waiting for her head to spin around. When it didn’t, I took her to her room, made the sign of the cross over her and left the room. She continued with her meltdown.

That’s when I did the only rational thing any adult woman would do – I called my mommy. I needed more brainpower for this one – and apparently I needed God on my side. Since mon was a nun way back when, I figured she could help on both accounts. She suggested just letting her cry it out. Go in after 5 min to reassure her and then leave. Wait 10 min and go back in. Rinse and repeat until the demonwas exorcised Isabella was asleep. So, after a bit, I went back in. She was still standing up and crying. I told her it was ok and that she needed to lay down and sleep. She kept pointing to the hallway and I had no idea what she wanted. I asked but didn’t get much of an answer other than, “Muahhhuffffsnifffmuuuooooh.” Since I didn’t have my Toddler Speak dictionary on me, I couldn’t translate. I picked her up and felt her tummy, not really sure what I was feeling for but a nurse told me to do that one time so I did. Her tummy was a little distended and hard which I think means constipation. I had no idea how to fix that at 8:00 at night other than to stick my finger up her butt (a guy at work told me to try that). I didn’t find that option at all appealing so I put her back to bed and offered a woobie, figuring the crying was better than poop splatter. She batted away the woobie so I left her alone.

And she screamed.

It was at this point that I raised the white flag and told CJ to take care of it. After waiting for the right amount of time, he went in there. When he came out, all was quiet. I had to clap by my ears a few times to make sure I hadn’t just gone deaf or something. I don’t know what magic/exorcism/ritual he did in there but by golly it worked. He said he just rocked her and gave her a woobie. Gee, why didn’t I think of that.

Apparently, she just wanted some daddy time since they hadn’t had as much time together due to his surgery on Wednesday.

We tiptoed around the house for the rest of the night, deathly afraid to wake the beast. But she was out cold and slept great all night. By the time it was all said and done, she had screamed for about an hour. That’s an hour I don’t ever want to repeat.

I’ve learned a couple of lessons from this:

  1. Isabella needs a set schedule. Missing 2 days of afternoon naps really threw her off and made her super crabby.
  2. A regular diet is important too. She missed out on her normal amounts of fruits and veggies which contributed to the constipation.
  3. You’re never too old to need your mommy.
  4. You find religion real quick when the devil possesses your child.
  5. From now on, CJ is putting her to bed.

I hope and pray that getting back to her normal schedule today will help and bedtime will be much easier tonight. If not, you will find me curled up in a ball under the stairs, rocking back and forth reciting The Lord’s Prayer.

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