Survival

We’ve reached one of many moments where the kids spazz in sync. Both kids seem to have a bit of a cold, and it’s making them inconsolable. The nights when the kids scream from 5 o’clock until bedtime wear Dave and I down like nothing else. I can’t quite explain it; it’s excruciating and frustrating and entertaining all at the same time. For example, tonight Tess burst into tears somewhere around 5 o’clock and continued to sob hysterically until eight, when we gave up and put her sleep. None of our usual tricks worked. We had her help stir dinner, watch mommy and daddy get dinner ready, gave her a new toy, and even gave her her first baseball hat. The hat worked the best; She at least temporarily delighted in putting it on Remy and daddy and herself.

A new sippy cup did not help matters. We are upgrading her since she now has so many teeth she can bite right through the soft baby sippy cups. Tess would have none of it. She shook her head emphatically side to side, threw the cup on the floor, refused to touch it and exploded in irritation. At one point, she hung onto the handle of the fridge looking at us beseechingly. We stayed strong. Not even chocolate in her milk would get her to take a sip.

By the end of this charade, she was starving of course, which did not help matters one bit. Remy, on the other hand, is finally learning to hold his bottle. This process is going much better than the sippy cup. However, when he loses control of his arms and the bottle slips, he is just as frustrated as his sister. This makes for a very rowdy kitchen in the evenings.

We do our best to be productive at work, to maximize our time with our little kids. Still, there are days like today, which grate on every fiber of our being. These evenings make us wonder how on earth we will survive the next few years. These evenings do not fly by like the rest of our time with our little ones; They feel like eternity and after hours and hours of screaming, we realize it’s only seven.

My mom mentioned the other day that I always look tired, and perhaps there’s something physically wrong with me. I hastened to assure her that what’s physically wrong with me comes from having two small children and a job. I am tired! I don’t just look tired – and I will be tired for years moving forward. We walked into this. Neither David nor I am surprised by the exhaustion and monumental piles of to-dos on the list. Still, tired is tired. Nights like tonight really bring that out.

Fortunately, we feel no shame whatsoever in falling upon our support system. Mom (Sassy) stops by all the time to help, and the kids clearly adore her. When we go to family dinner, Papa Mike is just as supportive. During the day, our babysitters rock our world! So we’re not alone on this crazy baby island – which consoles us as we stare at each other in desperation.

The upside? No matter how crazy it gets, Tess will always blow us kisses when she’s ready for bed. Remy will always snuggle into his swaddle and our arms in the dark after dinner, ready for a snooze. Those precious moments of cuddling and love erase every moment of rebellion and hysteria that go before (almost!). It’s like the gremlins turn back into sweet, snuggle bugs who couldn’t be cuter. This balancing act is parenting – the good and the bad. Now to survive parallel teething…