Jackson had all of Thanksgiving week off as break. Some moms and I were talking on the Thursday before the break. They were all looking forward to it. I believe the word “Woo hoo!” was used by all.
I said, “Am I the only one dreading this break?”
Apparently, I was. One mom even said, “I feel so sad for you that you feel that way.”
Why do I dread breaks?
I love my children, I do. Especially individually. Together, however, they drive me insane.
There is a psychological reason for this. According to the Myers Briggs personality index, I’m an introvert. Introverts find it draining, mentally exhausting, to be around people. Despite their short statures, my children do qualify as people.
But then, I don’t think I need one concrete reason. Let me show you the first morning of Thanksgiving break…
Max woke up with the baby, as he always does. I woke up at about 7:45. Cassie was already done eating her breakfast. Jackson was awake and playing with one of his rabbits. Cassie screamed for me as soon as she saw me coming down the stairs. Jackson decided he wanted breakfast too, so I started getting him some breakfast while I was making my tea.
Cassie was toddling around the kitchen/dining room, opening everything she could open, grabbing everything she could reach. Despite the fact that she’s been mobile since June 2012, my kitchen was not baby-proofed until yesterday. There was a lot of “Cassie, no!” in between pouring cereal and making sure that the hot tea was far enough back on the counter that she couldn’t pull it down. All the while, Jackson was making noise. He must make noise at all times. He can’t seem to stop.
Max said something like, “It looks like I should stay home until you’re done eating breakfast.”
I said, “Why? She does this every morning. Go to work!”
Jackson got counted to three for playing with his rabbit too roughly, yelling at his sister for looking at his rabbits, and jumping around the kitchen babbling nonsense. I sent him to his room. He cried.
This was 8:45.
Cassie needed a diaper change. I told her as much. She ran away from me. I caught her. She scratched my face and drew blood. (She always pulls my hair, scratches, kicks, hits, and/or bites to avoid diaper changes. That’s another post.)
Cassie had a time out for scratching me. Jackson was in his room yelling Christmas carols at the top of his lungs.
Jackson had an orthodontist appointment at 9:30. I told him to get dressed and ready to go. I got the baby changed and dressed, between kicks. I went into Jackson’s room. He was wearing short sleeves and shoes without socks. I know we live in California, but short sleeves are not appropriate at this time of year. I have also told him on several occasions that he must wear socks from November through March, maybe even April. He’s also not allowed to leave the house without a belt, as his pants naturally sag. His waist is a size 5/6, but his height is a 7. So, I had to put his belt on for him, as he decided he didn’t know how to put a belt on that morning.
Meanwhile, Cassie kept trying to get Jackson’s gum out of his nightstand drawer, pulled a bunch of toys out of the cabinet, and generally made a mess.
We finally got downstairs… and Cassie stunk. She needed a diaper change. Once again, up the stairs, kicking and screaming we went.
I got to spend 1-1/2 hours in an orthodontist’s office with a baby who wanted nothing more than to go back and see what everyone was doing in the big dentist chairs. The orthodontist doesn’t have any kind of separator between front and back, so I had Cassie on her cow leash (whom she named Moo Moo). Cassie threw a kicking and crying tantrum on the waiting room floor. Nothing would distract her from her goal – going where she was not allowed to go.
When both kids are home, they do nothing but fight. Cassie wants whatever Jackson has. Jackson wants whatever Cassie has. Even if the toy is meant for an infant, Jackson must have it. He behaves much like a 2-year old. He spends a significant amount of time in his room. When he’s not behaving like a 2-year old, he is Attitude Boy.
Cassie, for her part, is really putting the “terrible” in “terrible two.” She will find the least appropriate thing with which to play. The other night, I just had to go to the bathroom. Jackson was showing Cassie something on his iPod. I went to the bathroom. I came out a few minutes later. Cassie had found the letter opener and was trying to slice open a can of nuts I had bought for my dad’s birthday. Jackson was sitting on the rabbit’s table with her cage open, apparently trying to teach her to play Minecraft. When I told him no, he proceeded to run from one end of the house to the other, bounce off the front door, and run into the kitchen, all while “singing” “Jingle Bells.”
He got sent to his room.
Cassie threw a tantrum because I wouldn’t let her use the letter opener and eat the nuts, so I put her in her booster seat – more kicking and screaming because she didn’t want to sit down.
Cassie’s behavior is age-appropriate, and I can totally tell how she napped that day by her level of mischief. I have no idea how to improve Jackson’s behavior, aside from sending him to military school.
When both kids are home, I can’t get anything done. I can’t use my computer, because it’s also the television. I can’t clean up, because Cassie will come right along behind me and “help” by putting things back where they were in the first place. I can’t do laundry, because Cassie loves to go in there and try to eat the Oxiclean. I can’t do dishes, because of the aforementioned baby-proofing problems, and Cassie likes to turn on the dishwasher. Oh, and did I mention that she can climb out of baby jail now? I can’t do anything where I leave the two children together alone, because they will come to blows. Cassie shrieks. Jackson yells. It’s very, very loud here.
On break days, I don’t even get nap time. When Jackson’s in school, if I’ve stayed up late the night before, getting stuff done (dishes, writing, paying bills, etc.) then I can nap while Cassie naps. When Jackson’s not in school, I can’t nap. So I can’t even get stuff done at night, because then I’m very, very grumpy the next day. And I can’t use nap time to accomplish anything at all, either, because Jackson wants lunch and attention.
My house was not cleaned all summer long. When Jackson went back to school, I celebrated by washing the floors.
I hate break. My house descends into chaos. My children hate me, because I’m not giving either of them all of the attention they want. I thought, having two children so far apart in age, it would lessen the sibling rivalry.
I was wrong.