si·lence[sahy-luhns] noun, verb, -lenced,-lenc·ing, interjection
1. The complete lack of screaming, whining or crying for more than the thirty minutes one's brain needs to recover from chaos
2. The ability to hear oneself think, often followed by the sudden realization that one is capable of thinking of anything other than responding to the aforementioned screaming
I'm dropping the twins off today for their first day of school, having already dropped Blue Eyes off for his day, and all these moms are taking pictures and one is video taping their baby's first day of 2-day-2's. (I mean, at what age is considered the official "first day of school" anyway? To me, this is more like Mother's Day Out twice per week)
Meanwhile, I just stopped at the curb for quick in-and-out action. I didn't even bring a camera. It didn't cross my mind to cry. I'm a little ashamed.
What I did do was skip, hop and jump back to my empty car to wile away the next four hours with no entourage. I didn't do anything special. I went to the gym, I went school supply shopping (yeah, yeah, they're a little late), I dropped into another store to look around on a whim. And I enjoyed every minute of it. Because I was alone.
There was joy in pursuing the isles of Target taking all the time in the world that I wanted to compare blunt-tip child's scissors. I was able to meander down extra isles because I felt like it. My internal scream-o-meter was turned off. What is my scream-o-meter? It's like a countdown clock that runs on maternal instinct- an approximation of the amount of time I have to finish the current task before the terror twins start screaming and fighting and necessitate my leaving the store/ restaurant/ public place as quickly as possibly.
|When time runs out, all hell breaks loose|
I got to walk into the YMCA without worrying about my children running in front of cars in the parking lot, or spending an excessive amount of time trying to herd them to the childcare room as they dart all over the place. For once I got to skip the routine battle about how the lollipops were for when we're leaving, not now. There was also joy in the simple act of running on the treadmill without worrying whether the child development worker would be coming up the stairs looking for me before I've finished my workout. "Sorry to interrupt you, but Guns has stripped naked and we can't get him to put his clothes back on." (That happened a couple of weeks ago) Though, I'd be lying if I didn't admit that some
Then, the coup de grace, I got to take a shower without any toddlers climbing in.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not judging the mom with the video camera. First of all, I'm impressed with her ability to locate her camera and a tape, charge the camera and remember to get it out the door with her. That right there is a feat that I would not be able to accomplish without difficulty. In fact, I'm a little jealous. Maybe if I weren't so darn overwhelmed so often, I'd enjoy videotaping more or something. Maybe she has those mythical children I've heard of that are compliant little angels. The kind that started their life sleeping in their carrier no matter where they were and matured to the kind of three year old who enjoys doing what Mommy says, the first time she says it.
Or at least that's what I choose to believe to excuse my non-filmingness.
In my defense, as we near the terror twin's third birthday, I have to look back and acknowledge that it's been a rough three years. I got pregnant 9 days after Macho Man returned from a year long tour in Iraq. That was not exactly the plan. Don't get me wrong, we wanted more children, but Blue Eyes was only 18 months old, and we didn't even get to slide into new routine before the next big adventure was coming up. It was a rough pregnancy. I had early onset "pregnancy Induced hypertension" that evolved into pre-ecclampsia and pre-term labor. Let me tell you, hospital bed rest is not even a fraction as relaxing as it sounds. Not to mention I was miserably uncomfortable 24/7. Next comes the NICU for two weeks and pumping and making bottles in addition to spending weeks and months teaching the wee ones to nurse. They each woke up every three hours. Not three hours from the time they fell asleep, but three hours from the time they woke up last. By the time I tried to nurse, warmed and fed a bottle, burped, got them back to sleep and pumped I had about an hour to sleep if they were on the same schedule that night.
I continued to battle with severe feeding issues with Lil' Bit until she's about a year old. She turned out to have "hypotonia" from what is fortunately, in retrospect, a minor birth defect. You may have heard of it as "floppy baby". She couldn't hold her head up until she was five months old. Her suck was weak and ineffective for a long time. Frankly, the only thing between Lil' Bit and a feeding tube was her ex-pediatric dietitian mother's dogged determination. She also needed physical therapy until she finally walked at 19 months. What a beautiful day that was! Guns on the other hand was a great little eater, but had wretched colic. Just like his older brother. If you've had a child with colic, you know how awful that is- the incessant screaming with no relief. It's just soul-sucking. Gun's colic always peaked between 1-3 am.
Needless to say, there was not a lot of sleeping going on. There's a reason they use sleep-deprivation as a torture tactic. It is more debilitating than you can imagine, until you're chronically sleep deprived yourself. Let's not forget that I was dealing with my second go-round with post partum depression, and Macho Man was dealing with is own post-war issues.
Meanwhile, Blue Eye's first indications of his Austistic Spectrum Disorder began to rear it's head. It began with repetitive behavior. He preferred to flip his cars over and spin the wheels ad nauseum. He wasn't interacting with other children and would flip when he was required to transition activities before he was ready. Mommy and Me class was a nightmare. Heck, with the sensory issues that come with ASD, brushing his teeth was a nightmare.
Oh, and speaking of rough times, I'm not even going to go into our moves (yes, plural, like 4 in three years) and another 8 month separation forced by Macho Man's job.
I feel like things are finally starting to get easier. We've lived in the same place for over a year. We've made some good friends. We're getting Blue Eye's ASD thing under control, finally. Lil' Bit is about to outgrow therapy she's doing so well. It's not so hard to go places, the five of us. (Three on one is still a different deal...) It's even fun. Our problems are finally starting to be normal people problems, like how the terror twins fight all the time. Sucks, but it's typical. Typical is great.
|"Your twins are fighting like maniacs!"|
"I know, isn't it great?"
So, excuse me if I drop my kids off at school and do cartwheels to the car. It's not that I don't love my beautiful, sweet, adorable children. Their giggles and kisses are the highlight of my life. The last three years have been completely worth it. It's just that I've been looking forward to this moment since 2007, at four in the morning, promising myself that someday it will be easier. Chanting: "you can make it", "it will get better", "take it one day at a time and someday they'll be three and five". I knew that things could be worse; that things can always be tragic- but at the time, that was less consolation than it should have been.
I'll film their first day of Kindergarten. I promise. And you know, I'm not going to feel too bad about enjoying every moment I have of peaceful serenity this school year. I've earned them. And you know, three and five kinda rocks so far.