Trying not to admit defeat

AT times I feel defeated. Yesterday was one of those days. I always wonder if the weather has anything to do with my attitude, I'm sure it plays a part. it was rainy and cloudy yesterday. A good day to stay in bed, but those opportunities are few and far between anymore. Tim and I had just had a conversation about a friend whose daughter has been and is the source of turmoil for him (the dad). He has given up and doesn't really want anything to do with her anymore. We discussed how this isn't right no matter what the circumstances and everyone needs to be given love. Maybe not necessarily lots of second chances, but from a parent, love. I mentioned that I understood his frustration, as she just keeps taking and taking and is never really appreciative. I'm sure it goes both ways.

Yesterday I really felt like I understood him even better. It seems that we have the same issues in our house every morning, and more times than not, they can be attributed to or at least have something to do with Jakob. He is me through and through and maybe that's why we butt heads so very much. I'm not sure if his nature is exactly mine at that age, but his strong will certainly is. He is the last to rise, the first to complain, the first to start bossing someone else, the last to get his own chores done. He is the king of excuse-makers, and always seems to be able to justify it in his head. He is also a story-changer. He will start with and excuse, for instance, why he didn't get his homework done and then by the end, he will be trying to convince us that either his homework wasn't really assigned or that he didn't know about it because it wasn't well explained by his teacher. He is also very quick to place blame for ANYHING on someone else, and even those excuses can be very weak! He often speaks like a toddler to his siblings in play and when trying to tell a story about his day or about a book, he speaks as if he has some sort of language delay or something. This drives me crazy, because from a VERY early age, he has had a big vocabulary and has been very capable of being articulate.

Each morning in our house, it seems that everyone, not just Jakob needs to be cued excessively to put one foot in front of the other. Their daily tasks consist of getting up, getting dressed in the uniforms they were to have laid out the previous night, comb their hair, eat breakfast, brush their teeth and do their assigned chore. The chores are one of the following for each child: collect the garbage from each room (there are only seven actual garbage pails); empty/fill the dishwasher and put dishes away; clean two bathrooms (which usually means wipe down the toilet and sink, but sometimes means pick up the clothes from the floor, shut the shower curtain and sweep the floor. Until yesterday, the two that weren't on DW duty were to also feed the animals which basically consists of giving the horse hay, sweet mix and water and giving the chickens grain and water and checking the eggs...should be a five minute job, especially between two of them. I made this job mine (and Tim's) because I'm tired of the excuses and the animals not being properly fed. There are always 100 excuses why they're not and ALWAYS fighting between the two that go out, especially if one of them is Jakob. The boys are up at 6:30 each morning to accompish these things by 7:40. The issues that arrise are: "I can't find any pants. I can't find any socks. I don't know where my shoes are." Or, they just simply don't physically move, OR wander aimlessly through the house like they're lost and are trying to figure out where they are, OR, the worst one, they are consumed by making sure someone else is doing their assigned job instead of doing their own. The result? I end up yelling at them for at least 45 minutes of the morning to MOVE! Or yelling at them about how if they would have simply listened and put their shoes away, laid their clothes out, put their dirty clothes in the laundry for the entire past week, put their clothes away, set a better example for the little ones so that THEY (the little kids) wouldn't throw trash all over the house, put their homework in their backpacks upon completion, etc, etc, etc, that they wouldn't be in this predicament!

Yesterday, Jakob, instead of taking out the trash, lingered in the house to make sure Mattie (whom I was helping with her hair), made it out the door. Not his job. He was yelling (hmm...wonder where he gets that from) at her to hurry up, "we're going to be late...get out to the pickup, dad's waiting, get your coat on, get your backpack, hurry up!". All the while he was standing their in the kitchen beside a big bag of trash without his coat or backpack on. I laid into him, told him to shut his mouth and mind his own business, take care of himself and not worry about anyone else. At that moment, my thoughts were that I am tired of his attitude. I was tired of dealing with him and why bother?

My day didn't get any better from there. Benjamin refused to put clothes on again until I finally physically dragged him to his room and made him put them on. The dog kept running away instead of coming to me so I could take him outside. We finally left the house, only 5 minutes late and went to pick up milk. I explained to Benjamin what the rest of our morning would entail and the behavior I expected from him. We would be going to the doctor's office after getting milk and then to have breakfast with one of our godteens. He was not to jump or run around the doctor's office. He was to only sit on a chair and could read a book. No playing in the water, the curtains, the drawers, the trash. No climbing on the furniture and no trying to run away. If he would follow the rules, he would be rewarded with being able to pick out what he wanted to eat at breakfast. I needed his help to set a good example for Joe. Needless to say, this did not entirely happen. The waiting room was full with one family...a mom and her four kids under the age of 5. I've been there. However, she was reading a magazine while yelling at each of them to "knock it off" and "sit down" while not ever moving or lifting her head. This only accentuated my sensitivity to my own children's behavior. Ben tried to test me a little by slinking over to the water cooler and demanding to sit where I couldn't see him. Joe was restless and suddenly filled with vinegar. He wanted to take all of the books from the shelf and throw them to the floor, open the door and stand on the chairs. When I wouldn't let him do this, he proceeded to scream. We finally followed the other family back to the exam rooms. They went into the ultrasound room and the look on the sonographer's face was one of anxiety. Our nurse asked my kids if they could hear the other children in the office that day. (They were on the other side of the wall from us, and it sounded as if they were repelling from the furniture and fighting with each other while mom was yelling at them to stop). We don't have the best track record for well-behaved children there, so I just really wanted Ben and Joe to be quiet and still. They sat on my lap or beside me most of the time, but not without getting excited about it, which on any other day wouldn't have even been recognized, but today it seemed out of control. When the doctor came in, Joe wanted to play in everything, so again the result was me holding a screming, squriming child while trying to have a conversation with the doctor, all the while Benjamin was playing with the light on the side of the treatment table, and had to be asked repetitively to stop. The doctor's only comment when he came in was that he thought some of those unruly children were mine, but I assured him, I only had two with me today. (That comment didn't exactly help me)

On the way out, I explained to Ben that I would need to make another appointment and that I wanted him to either stand beside me or sit on a chair and wait for me. Joe was still screaming. (Like something had bitten him!) The receptionist was on the phone and the other family was now back in the waiting room, still rambunctious as before. I tried to calm Joe, but my efforts were fruitless. I took him in the hall and tried again. Still no luck, so I returned to the waiting room, motioned to Ben that we were leaving and got on the elevator. I had to call to make my next appointment, and was at this point on the verge of tears wondering why I can't take my children in public and what I'm doing wrong to raise disobedient, disrepectful children who unless threatened within an inch of their lives will not stop even for a second!

We proceeded to Panera to meet Sam and waited 15 minutes before finally ordering and sitting down. Ben did not get to pick what he wanted because he wouldn't stop playing with the light. This bothered him momentarily, but really, this is Benjamin, lover of food, so he didn't seem to dwell on it, but did tell me he was sorry. Upon sitting down, I got a text message that Sam wouldn't be able to make it. I was disappointed, and then just frustrated, because I just spent $15 on a "treat" that probably seemed like a reward for bad behavior because they didn't understand the circumstances. We didn't stay long, because Joe wouldn't stay seated and kept spilling his food.

The behavior didn't improve once we got home, so I ultimately laid Joe down for a nap and sat with Ben to read until we were both ready for a nap too.

When a day begins like this, it doesn't seem to matter if the next situation is as minor as someone asking for a second snack at home...they might as well have said "This food sucks mom, you're the worst mom ever!" because that is about how I interpret it! It's like I can't just allow my kids to say something without treating them like they're an adult and should know better that to say such stupid things.

Oh how easily I've forgotten my heart-warming stories to Tim of how Mattie was so thankful for the opportunity to have a "girl's day" last week when Ben and Joe were at Grandma A's and the boys were at school. She told me repetitively and genuinely how glad she was that we got to spend the day together. We went grocery shopping, returned home and made coffee, sewed, went to the fabric store, and watched TV together. Or the story of how Joe melts my heart at night when I rock him and read to him and he has his routine of getting his blanket, his book, telling me to turn his music on and sit and rock him. We read a couple of books (the same two every night), say prayers and I tell him I love him to which he replies, "I wuv woo Mum." I then rock him some more and tell him I'm going to lay him down. He says "OK" and then "goo night mum." and then lays down and snuggles under his blanket.

I realize it is stories like this...the first part...that give anyone the chance to say, "Why would you keep having kids?" I don't NOT want any of them, I just wish they would listen and follow the SIMPLE instructions like hanging up their coats, putting their shoes away, laying their clothes out, putting their clothes in their drawers instead of depositing them behind other furniture that isn't even close to their room!

After having a converstation with a friend, I also realize I feel the most judged by others when I am judging myself...so apparently there are days that I truly do feel like I can't handle this or rather that I'm just not doing a good job handling it. I don't like feeling like that, and I'm probably blaming my kids instead of myself for having these feelings.

I know I am blessed. I know God is waiting for me to make good on my promise to pray more diligently. I sometimes think that he is just waiting for me to make a good decision, waiting for me to ask him for help instead of trying to do it myself, to "reward" me with my children's good behavior. I know that it is possible, it just seems that there are days that it is anything but...Even the dog yesterday ran through the house with muddy paws...not just down the hall, but in a circle through the living room and THEN down the hall. I hate carpet, but that's a whole new blog.

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