Monday, January 23, 2012

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Tonight was pure chaos, from the time I walked in the door, to the time all three kids were blissfully in bed (not asleep, but in bed).  I feel like I'm brand new at juggling work with kids and dinner and homework and playing and baths and baby.  I know I used to do it before and they say it's like riding a bike...but I don't remember riding a bike to require so much patience.

I stopped at the grocery store on the way home and had a dinner planned of Garlic Herb Tortellini with chicken, spinach and tomatoes.  I bought beautiful, doughy rolls that I couldn't wait to put yummy melted butter on (diet and workout be damned...I needed carbs).  I came home, sent Gracie home for the day and the fun began.

Evan didn't want to be put down.   He doesn't usually act that way, but I attribute it to being away from him for an entire day while I was at work.  I strapped him into the Baby Bjorn and away we went to working on dinner.  Making dinner with a baby strapped to your chest is a lesson in balance and delicacy.  First, because he wants to grab onto everything. Second, because there are flames flowing out from the stovetop.  And third, because he would like his hands to rest in the oven.   But I was feeling confident in my abilities, gliding from the refrigerator, to the stove, to the oven while singing songs from "Grease".   I hadn't heard from Brian but was certain he would be flying in the door at any minute, ready to help with the three kids and enjoy a meal together.

Evan started getting fussy, so into the high chair he went.  The boys started getting crazy and next thing I knew, a tennis ball was being thrown around the main floor while they sprinted to outrun it.  My oven timer is beeping and I can smell my rolls burning (please don't ruin the carbs) and my dinner is starting to boil, rather than enjoy a low simmer.  And it escalates.  Evan is now screaming and wants to eat dinner ten minutes ago.  The boys are crazier and squealing every time the ball is thrown.  Smoke is coming from the oven and I've made a mess all over the stovetop.  Get out Evan's dinner food, feed him dinner, he doesn't' like it, blows raspberries all over my sweater with his mouth full of sweet potatoes.  Wondering where the hell Brian is.  Send the boys downstairs while we have an argument that "coloring" is not a physical activity.  Throw rolls in the garbage - totally black.  Dinner is also scorching; my beautiful tortellinis are now stuck together.  Evan hates everything I give him until I whip out green beans.  Start to question if he is really my baby.  Brian finally calls - at this point, I don't care where he is or what he has been doing, I just need another adult in this house.  A stranger off the street would suffice at this point.

So, by the time my dear husband walks in the door, dinner is ruined, have lost total control of Gavin and Cohen, and I'm too tired to care...or pour myself wine.  We sit through a quiet dinner together when the boys get their second wind and decide to entertain Evan.  Cohen gets up and puts Evan's high chair in the "recline" position.  Evan doesn't like this and cries out in fear.  I don't like it either and cry out in anger, "Cohen!  You need to be careful with Evan.  He doesn't understand what you're doing."  Cohen is very upset and runs to hide under the dining room table.  Brian looks at me with disappointed eyes that glare, "Now, look at what you've done."  I hold my head high and march upstairs to put Evan in the bathtub.  I know I probably shouldn't have yelled at Cohen, but why do I have to remind him that Evan is a baby and we need to be thoughtful and gentle with him.  As I am thinking about my triumphant "rightness", I stick Evan in his seat in his bathtub.  But something isn't quite right.... Hmm.  This is how Evan should look in his seat:

Happy, relaxed.  Little yellow, purple and gray things in the front.  And what I have going on is mad, squished and little yellow, purple and gray things in the back.  In my haste, I put Evan in his seat backwards.  And now he's stuck.  I can't get him out.  I am pulling and grabbing and slipping and sliding and he isn't budging.  Gavin is watching me and saying, "E, I'm scared.  What if he never gets out?"  I yell to Brian to please come upstairs so I can show him how I have trapped our baby in his bath seat and begin to worry too, that he will never get out.  How am I going to get a sleeper over this thing?  Brian begins to twist and turn Evan, while I hold onto the seat.  Then Brian soaps up his legs, like we might be able to shimmy him out.  We lift Evan out of the water, while still in his seat and try to twist him around.  Gavin has tears in his eyes while he imagines a life with a brother who will forever be teased because he has a bath seat around him like a hula hoop.  And then I see it.  The big blue eyes out of the corner of the bathroom.  Cohen, triumphantly looking at me.  Condescendingly.  Now, he doesn't know it's condescending.  But he is looking at me saying, "E.  Evan is just a baby.  You need to be gentle and careful with him.  Good moms don't stick babies into their bath seats backwards.  Look at what you've done."  It is then I realize that I don't know what I'm doing.  I'm still trying to get the hang of being a mommy and being an adult.

Evan eventually comes out of his seat, though I don't know how.  I let him suck the washcloth extra long tonight because I felt bad (dirty bath water forgives all and it makes him happy).  I also apologized to Cohen for what I said earlier and said, "We all make mistakes with the baby."  So, do as I say and not as I do.  Because, clearly, I can talk the talk..but haven't quite mastered walking the walk.

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