I learned a long time ago, if you cannot find a way to laugh and life you will never make it…or at least with your sanity semi in-tact.
Y’all, grab a drink and let me just share a little of our lives with you.
We moved to Charlotte 24 days ago now.
I’m not going to lie to you, it’s been rough.
I only did a semester of grad school in child psychology. I dropped out. It wasn’t my cup of tea. In fact, the one time I actually tried to work with children, I ended up having spinal fusion surgery. I’m just saying, I don’t know everything. Please revive yourselves from the shock and awe of that truth bomb.
Here’s what I didn’t know in this situation: I had no clue how hard moving would be on a two year old.
He’s two. He uses the potty in his diaper, 9 out of 10 times a day. He makes semi-coherent sentences, knows his alphabet, his months and can count to 20. By our standards, he is clearly a genius. His emotional maturity dealing with change wasn’t really in the forefront of my mind.
He says “I scared” and “HELP” all the ding, dang time now.
Not a fan, not one bit.
Yesterday we got to our new house, which while on the subject, let me say-is awesome!
My dream house. Literally.
But anyway, I carried him to the front door. Stood him up beside me while I struggled to unlock the door while carrying my work bag, his diaper bag, his paper ladybug art masterpiece from school, 387 pieces of mail of which 1 was actually addressed to us, and 2 coats.
As I turned the key he took off.
Down 5 concrete stairs to the sidewalk.
He looked at me.
I looked at him.
It was a stare down of the old wild west proportions.
And then he ran.
Yelling “that’s not my house.”
Because clearly that doesn’t give off the impression of a kidnap in progress.
I dropped all 1784 items in my hand and ran after him.
I’m 5’9″ he’s 3 feet tall. My legs are as long as his whole body. I may not be in sprinting shape, but I thought surely I’d catch him before he passed the neighbor’s house.
And then he made it the first block.
I’m coughing amuck as I’m sporting the upper respiratory infection that 96% of Americans have right now. And I’m a mother, so clearly I’m tinkling a little with each cough because that’s just what happens after giving birth.
Suddenly next to me I see a white light.
As I begin to pray the prayer of salvation again, just to be doubly sure of my final destination as I’m certain the white light is Saint Peter welcoming me to the pearly gates from my full sprint chasing a two year old, I realize it’s a man in a Spectrum truck.
He’s our neighbor, across the street.
He’s cheering for me. “You got this, we’ll catch him!”
I think ah, yes, of course, this must be exactly how Usain Bolt feels in his races with the fans cheering loudly for him.
And then our little boy turns the corner, for block #2.
Before some of you faint and fall out, he never left the sidewalk.
I increase my speed, the cheering from the Spectrum man motivated me, I was really catching my stride. And then, the shooting pain up my groin muscle.
I pulled up.
Feeling like I’m watching an NFL game when a player pulls his hamstring mid dash for the end zone.
The Spectrum man senses the immense pain radiating through my leg and yells, “Keep it moving, a little Icy Hot will fix you right up later.”
Yep, real life.
I can only assume the Holy Spirit moved in my son’s life at this point, because 1.5 blocks from our house, he stops, dead in his tracks, turns around, looks at me, puts his hands in the air and says, “Up please.”
That’s his catchphrase when he wants to be picked up and carried.
And carry him I did, 1.5 blocks back to our house, with a pulled groin muscle. Still coughing. Still tinkling. Still gasping for air. Still near tears.
As we walked into our house and he headed straight into his playroom like nothing in the world had just happened, I said under my breath, “thought this wasn’t your house.”
That pretty much explains how life has gone with a two year old dealing with change.
I’m reading every article that Today’s Parent has to offer on helping a toddler deal with change. I’m praying every prayer, Hail Mary, chant I can think of. I’m buying all the favorite snacks. I’m downloading all the episodes of “Blippi” on YouTube, who is quite possibly the most annoying entertainer on the face of the planet. I’m letting the child have way more screen time than I ever dreamed I’d allow. I’m cuddling. I’m carrying. I’m caving to all demands.
Go ahead, judge me all you want. Just remember Matthew 7:5, “Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote of they brother’s eye.”
“Make the child feel secure.”
That’s what every article says. That’s what the pediatrician said. That’s what my Mom says. That’s what my friends say.
So, when he wakes up in the middle of the night because one of the 2843 stuffed animals in his bed is not in the correct spot and spazzes out that “this not my room” every thing goes out the window. Yeah, I’m with you. I swore he’d never sleep in my bed. We are not co-sleepers. We are not “those” people.
Until we are “those people.”
Go ahead, Parent Police, sound the Paw Patrol sirens.
We co-slept last night.
We put his 40 pound little body in between us, we both held him in our arms, while holding each other’s hands. We shushed, we used my husband’s CPAP machine to blow air around him. We sang. We prayed. We shushed some more.
And he fell asleep.
It was glorious.
Until it wasn’t.
Now don’t get me wrong, he slept through the night, like a log.
A sideways log.
A log that was 94% on top of me, and 6% on the bed.
Y’all, I’ve got some really good news for our family.
It appears that our little man is Olympics bound in the arena of gymnastics.
I should have known he had a career in flips and turns after carrying him for 9 months with his lack of regard for my rib cage or internal organs.
Alas, he slept in our bed last night.
While I am completely on board that there are some dangers to co-sleeping when little ones are tiny babies. I assure you, our toddler was 110% safe.
I, however, was in imminent danger of being suffocated by the gymnastics routine he put on in his sleep that was almost entirely done on top of me as he slept sideways.
We “co-slept” or as I call it, “Juddy and Daddy slept and Mommy clung to the edge of the bed while reading all night” because our little man is dealing with some major anxiety around all the change of moving.
Here’s what I’ve learned about parenting:
You do you, boo boo!
Don’t let the “they” rule your life.
You know the “they.”
“They” said this, and “They” said that.
Guess what, “They” say a lot of things, “They” love to talk. But every single bit of that goes out the window when your 2 year old is shaking from fear, screaming “I scared” because it’s a new house, a new school, new friends, and new surroundings.
And “They” can keep on, keeping on.
And “WE” will keep doing what is right for our family and for our little boy.
Parenting is not for the faint of heart. Heck, being friends with parents is not for the faint of heart. We are struggle-fests. We are messes. We are one sprint away from losing our minds.
Parents are people who in the middle of the night, in their sleep, say to their wives, “I’m just so worried about the guest room.” Yes, that’s exactly what happened with my husband last week.
I was burning up. Our fancy new bedroom was three shades of Hades. I shook this man I am betrothed to and said “what on Earth did you adjust the air to? I can barely breathe.” He said “I’m so worried about the guest room.”
What the …
I mean, I was just as confused as you are reading currently.
As it turns out when he got his wits about him, he meant that he was trying to find a happy-medium in all the upstairs rooms as we have friends and family visiting soon.
But y’all, that’s just our lives right now…incoherent thoughts around the best of intentions.
And we laugh.
When this sweet man was so worried about the guest room, that was empty, I was so besides myself with laughter that I couldn’t catch my breath. And I had to change my undies, of course, you mommas understand.
Here’s what I can tell you that I know:
- I love my husband. I can’t do this life without him. He is the rock, though he hates having to decide what we are having for dinner. He so sweetly cherishes our little boy that I get weepy thinking about it. He sleeps in socks though and I have no doubt why our government shuts down, why the world seems like a mess, when people are sleeping in socks. It’s just beyond my comprehension.
- I’d go to Hell and back for this little boy. I’ll fight any monster in his way, real or proverbial. I’ll run the sidewalks to chase him down, pulled groin and all.
- Together our family can face any battle. A) Because we have our faith in Jesus, B) We have each other.
- Laughter. It can cover a multitude of sins and heartaches.