Thursday, April 12, 2012

Learning To Ride

Sometimes I have a hard time explaining myself without people taking it the wrong way. But I'll try.

Sometimes I feel like motherhood is like learning how to ride a bike... except that my bike didn't come with pedals or handlebars and I have a broken foot. Or perhaps small pedals and crooked handlebars with a sprained ankle. Other mothers may hop on their bikes and have perfect conditions for bike riding without any injuries and it might come easier to them. Maybe their seat is comfortable, tires wide, and handlebars straight. Or maybe their bike isn't perfect and they do have injuries but they've learned how to ride with them. They might look back at me (who is trying so desperately hard) and wonder why it is so hard for me. Their advice: just get on your bike and ride it!

They make it around the block and lap me because I'm still trying to figure how to steer my bike straight. Some of them lap me 5 and 6 times and wonder why I struggle.

Occasionally I stop, sit down, and read a "how to ride a bike" book or make phone calls to the manufacturer, but I still can't figure it out.

At the rate I'm walking my bike, I might get around the block once.


If there is just one lesson I've learned as a mother, it's not to judge. (But I've learned countless others...)

I would just like to get a few frustrations out because I feel like it always helps.

I LOOOVVVVEEE my bike (Everett) so much that it hurts. I would never, ever trade him in for a different model or wish that I hadn't 'purchased' a bike in the first place. I am NOT saying that he is incomplete, damaged, or that there is anything wrong with him. But I do feel like he presents me with challenges that make it very hard for me to feel successful as a mother (a.k.a. crooked handlebars).

The Challenges.

#1 His diet. Or lack thereof

A mother of a non-picky-eater might wonder why I can't get Everett to eat anything. Even my Dr. told me that I should put food on his plate and if he doesn't eat it, then he can just go hungry. Well, it's not that easy. Everett is pretty skinny already, add in that he's been sick way too many times this winter, plus that fact that he gets HANGRY (angry because he's hungry) and you might understand why I don't want to send him to bed hungry. And worse of all, he won't even eat foods that he used to eat. We're going backwards.

I can't stick food in this mouth and then make him chew and swallow it. It just doesn't work. I'm trying so hard to get food into his body that sometimes I feel like anything is better than nothing.

It's so frustrating.

*But we did send him to bed hungry tonight after multiple attempts to get him to eat his dinner. We'll see how well it works out.

#2 His words. Or lack thereof

I feel like all of my problems would go away if he would just start talking and tell me what he wanted. I feel like I could curse a thousand curse words because of how frustrating it is but it wouldn't do me any good.

I KNOW that he knows and understands 95% of what I say. I also know that he knows what he wants. I have no idea why he won't talk or at least try. He just squeals, squeaks, grunts, points, cries. I feel like his language hasn't progressed at all. It's digressed actually... holy moly it is so exhausting. He won't even use his sign language anymore. I swear he's either being stubborn or their is a real, more serious problem.

#3 Or should I say two?

Like most toddlers his age, he's developed quite the attitude, glare, fit, pout, scream... and he'll use these (or any combo) to his advantage at any moment to get his way or to let me know that he didn't get what he wanted. If I pull out of our driveway and I don't turn towards Grandma's house, he'll cry. If I turn off of the road that leads to the park, he'll scream. If we pass somewhere where he wanted to stop... oh boy, you're in for it.

When he was feverishly sick on Saturday and wouldn't eat or drink anything, Jake and I took him to get a smoothie, which is right next to the gym. Then on Monday when I went to the gym and dropped him off at the childcare, he cried. Actually, he never stopped and they had to get me out of class. He cried and screamed and threw a giant fit so I took him out to the car to go home. Have you ever tried to buckle a bull in a car seat? Try Everett... it's pretty much the same thing. I had no idea why he was having such a meltdown. I went through the whole run through. Does he have an ear ache? A new tooth? Headache?...

Then I drove past Emerald City Smoothie and he fell apart.

Got it.

So just to make sure this was really why he pulled me away from my workout class, I took him there. We got some smoothies. He was happier than happy. I, however, was almost angry that I reinforced his horrible behavior (but happy nothing serious was wrong with him). Then when he had had enough of his smoothie he wanted mine. I let him have a taste and then I was a goner all over again. Cried, screamed, threw a fit very loudly for everyone to see because now he wanted mine and not his.

Oh man. And I hear two has nothing on three. Can't wait.

#4 Me

Why do I question everything that I do? I need to stop.

I'm constantly wondering if the things that I am doing are the right things and are if I'm good enough. And then sometimes I'm like, "DANG right I'm good enough!" I feel like I bend over backwards for that kid and we're making zero progress.

But one of these days he's going to surprise me and then all of my hard work won't be in vain. At least I hope.

Sometimes when I stop to think about it, I just want him to grow up happy, healthy, and loved and to develop into a good, wholesome, happy, law abiding, successful man. When I think of raising him that way these small things that I get frustrated with now are minute compared to what we will face in the years to come.

It's a little overwhelming but I do have confidence in myself and I do know that I am a good mother. Sometimes I wonder why Everett throws me so many curve balls but then I remember that I am strong enough, good enough, and tough enough, and that I can handle this.... it's just necessary (sometimes) to get my frustrations down on paper. Someday I will look back and remember how hard it was but then laugh because this was only the beginning and that I had no idea what I was talking about.


  1. Motherhood= most exhausting job but most rewarding. Ur doing great

  2. I have those same thoughts on a regular basis :-) Boys are hard. That's my excuse. Yesterday Brice and I left a restaurant with every one looking our way because Cameron was screaming like we were torturing him because when he wouldn't hold my hand Brice picked him up. And apparently he thought that was some form of abuse and let everyone know. So you're not alone, if that makes you feel any better. I think you're a great mom and that Everett is such a cutie (the stinkers always are)! That's why I pretty much stalk your blog all the time :-)

  3. I understand how you feel. And if it makes you feel any better some children are harder than others. Or maybe it's their personality clashing with ours. Either way it's hard. And maybe three won't be so hard with Everett. Heavenly Father gave him gifts (strong will, determination etc) that he will need one day. It will help him be a wonderful man. I just hope they aren't the death of you. :)
    PS If you want some tips about picky eaters I have some that may or may not work depending on the day!

  4. But he IS cute ;) I know what you mean being worried about eating. I heard the same thing "they won't starve themselves" but it sure worries you when they don't want to eat at all. We had that happen recently and I think he just stopped growing like a weed so he isn't eating like he used to, but it freaked me out when he eats one bite and throws it. I think everyone has *similar* but different degrees of the same types of problems but we all turned out OK after growing up. I mean you don't hear of kids starving themselves to death, or never talking, but you hear the same issues commonly with different people. Sometimes it doesn't make you a bad mom to admit defeat and give them what they want just to catch a break. I think we are all guilty of giving them that extra treat (smoothie) or stopping at the park just to avoid a tantrum and keep our sanity. Everyone wonders why I don't want a girl but all I hear is they are worse in the drama department and that is way harder to deal with than a "muddy, rowdy boy". I guess all anyone can do is keep riding the bike the best we can, maintain it, and hope the "issues" slowly fix themselves over time.

  5. Hang in there. I've got 4 bikes and I feel like I'm still using my training wheels... I think every (good) mom feels what you are feeling at some point or another. Don't beat yourself up. And if you need a place to chat, swing by my way sometime after the gym. =)

  6. You are awesome! And Everett is SO smart. I don't think either of my kids know where they are while we are driving. He is paying attention! :)

    I identify with you and I'm dealing with Isaac on #1 and #3 as well! (#2 - Isaac's definitely behind other kids his age and most his words sound the same with slight variations that I only I can understand but most the time it's still a guessing game as to what he wants. For months my dad would ask Isaac, "when are you going to start talking?" It's hard when you, as their mom, KNOW how brilliant they are but they can't show the world. :)

    So many times I'll be going through something with one of my kids and feel like a total failure and then we get through it and I wonder why I was so stressed. It's hard to see the happy ending that is coming when you are in the middle. (It seriously took me over a year and a half potty train Anna Kate and I thought I was going to die. I was so tired of cleaning up pee. And they say boys are tougher! ugh!)

    Hang in there!

  7. I think you are doing a great job! You are definitely not alone...with the addition of my second "bike", I feel like we are just rolling backwards! Parenting is so hard and I have had to remind myself one million times not to compare myself with others (like my friend who just had her second baby and says all the time how easy it is...!) You are doing wonderful and seriously, little Everett is such a cutie! Keep your head up!