Monday, August 9, 2010

Mean Mommy

I don't get it. Yesterday wasn't a bad day. In fact, it was a pretty darn good weekend. Yet, when I went to bed last night I was pretty darn unhappy. I think it's a result of a couple things, namely our dilemma of wanting to have another baby and not knowing where to find an extra $12,000 for daycare, and the fact that Jacob was just brutal yesterday. And I suppose I was no better.

Make no mistake, Jacob is a masterful button-pusher. As I've mentioned before, no matter how you tell him no or try to dissuade him, he will continue on in whatever he's doing with a smile on his face. I'm sure the look is more, "Aren't I cute?" than, "Haha, I'm so evil!", at least from his perspective, but it drives me nuts. He's definitely a kid with his own agenda, but when his doesn't match mine, it's a showdown. And ultimately, we probably both lose. He doesn't get his way, but I'm miserable from fighting him. Still, unless it makes sense in the grand scheme of things, I'm not about to back down and let him think he runs the show. I won't get into details, but suffice it to say that I did a lot of yelling and was close enough to a meltdown myself that I had to pass him off more than once. He played with his food, screamed loudly in church and in a bathroom at the zoo (appropriate place or not, it hurts my ears and grates on my nerves), he ran away more times than I can count, didn't want to sit in his stroller, asked the same question 300 times, etc. Singly they probably wouldn't be a problem. It's what two year olds do. But all together in one day, it made me nuts. Whether or not he deserved it, I felt like a mean Mommy by the end of the day. I don't know if it was a coincidence or not, but he wanted Craig to read him his stories last night. I was beat, so it was just as well. But I felt like crap anyway. I just keep hoping that one of these days it will click with him that he doesn't have to try to press our buttons all the time, that things tend to work out better for everyone if he follows directions reasonably well. I know he's two and won't be perfect for a long time (if ever), but it doesn't seem like too much to ask to have him cooperate more often than not.

It is days like that that make me doubt that we should even have unaffordable kid #2, no matter how much we don't want Jacob to be an only child. How could I deal with both if one is making me that nuts? Maybe Jacob would be better by the time #2 would arrive. But what if he's not? It's hard enough going out with just one sometimes. What would it be like with two? Especially early on when #2 is higher maintenance and I can't just drop one kid to tend to another? How would I ever leave the house alone again? If I'm tired and overwhelmed now, what would I do with all of Jacob's needs AND an infant's, considering either one is enough on its own? I keep telling myself that it's a short term sacrifice for long term gain, but I also keep wondering if the short term sacrifice would send me into the looney bin (or some less dramatic but equally frustrating equivalent) or put a strain on our marriage when Craig's working crazy hours, I'm working full time and being a mom every other moment, and there still isn't enough money or time to go around. I'd hope it wouldn't come to that, but I'm sure there are thousands of other couples out there that never thought it would happen to them, either. It's scary. I'm starting to hear of another round of pregnancies among my friends and blogs I read, and we ran into an old co-worker yesterday that reiterated how nice a three-year age difference is (each of her three boys are three years apart). Right now sort of reminds me of how I felt last year when we were trying to get pregnant, except this one is a different form of torture. Last time we were in this crazy limbo because we didn't know if or when I'd get pregnant because my body wasn't cooperating. This time we're in limbo because we don't know when we should even start trying. We want to, but fear and a serious reality check are totally taking over. I asked Craig last night what our backup plan is...meaning, if nothing changes in the next year and we still can't afford it, do we just bite the bullet and go for it before any of the three of us is too old? He couldn't really give me an answer. I guess I'm not sure either. But if we would just do it then, should we just do it now when we originally wanted to and just hope we figure it out? I'm all sorts of conflicted right now and it's bumming me out.

Regardless, we had a nice weekend aside from Jacob's "moments". Friday night we had Jacob's daycare carnival. It was a pretty low key event, with some carnival food, a few low-budget games, a bounce house and pony rides. We decided to eat right when we got there. Here's Jacob in his two most common positions during that meal--drinking out of the water bottle, and with his trusty companion, the bag of popcorn. He ate so much popcorn that the giant poop he had the next morning was filled with the shells from the kernels. Gross.

After we ate, we tried out a couple games. One involved picking up a duck out of a kiddie pool. That was it. In the real world the dot on the bottom of the duck would have determined your prize, but not here--you could pick anything from the prize bin. Perhaps the prize was for not falling in the pool in the process. Another game was a ball toss at pyramids of three cans. Jacob kept stealing the balls and running away with them. Ugh. Just as we finished the games and were heading off to the pony ride, they were packing up. So no first pony ride for Jacob :( He had gotten to do the bounce house earlier in the day and I figured it wasn't ideal for him to go in, first because he had just eaten a bag of popcorn, half a hotdog and half a bottle of water, and second because there were bigger kids in there and we didn't need any injuries. We opted instead to go to the playground. I had never been back there before, and I was impressed with all they had. It was a Little Tikes haven--cars, lawn mowers, houses of all shapes and sizes, and a huge Little Tikes playground with multiple slides and a couple climbing areas. Very cool. They also had an area for bigger kids, which was still way safer than the playground Jacob fell off of a couple weeks ago. Here he is in a tunnel with Craig sending in the octopi (his hand) to get Jacob (the octopi thing is a running joke with us).

As we were getting ready to leave, there was a deer snacking in the field next to and behind the field we were in. Jacob decided he wanted to pet the deer and ran off after it. Surprisingly (and frighteningly), the deer didn't run away. The closer Jacob got, the more worried I got that the deer was going to run at him and kick him. So I finally sped up and caught him, but managed to snap a couple pictures in the process. It was a scary moment, but interesting in its own way...

The next day, my parents came into town to go to the Park Ave. Festival, a great two-day festival here in Rochester. It's got a nice, slightly eclectic mix of vendors. The crafters tend to be a bit more on the artistic side than your usual craft show--less country stuff and more modern things--glass, big wall art, etc. There were a lot of people selling food products, so we were sampling up a storm, almost to the point we didn't need lunch. There were lots of freebies, too! It's just a neat festival in a part of town with lots of big old houses and a big post-college population. People tend to have big house parties along the route because they can't really leave their homes for a couple days. It's great for people watching and the pleasant mix of crafts, product promotion and food is nice. It was a perfect day for it and the shade along the long route was lovely. We were there for four hours. It was me, Jacob, my parents, and their friends who live in town here as well. Craig stayed home to rest his leg...he never would have survived! Anyway, we had a great time! I only snapped one picture of Jacob--he was playing in the water fountains that were up for sale!

Jacob slept for about 45 minutes to an hour while we walked and that was it for the day, shockingly. We did dinner out at Bill Gray's (mmm...World's Greatest Cheeseburgers!) and finished with some Abbott's custard. My parents took off from there and Jacob fell asleep on our drive home around 7:30 and that was it for the night. He did wake up a few times--once around 11:30 and again at 4:30 and 5:30--but was reasonably good about getting back to sleep. He asked me at 4:30 if we could go to the arena--meaning for an Amerks or Knighthawks game--which was one version of the same basic question he asked me about 300 times this weekend. Brutal.
Despite getting a decent amount of sleep, the wake-ups must have impacted its quality because, as I mentioned, Jacob was pretty difficult yesterday. He did take a decent nap after church (he yelled again in church but was much better once we went into the family room), and in the afternoon we decided to take a trip to the zoo. It ended up raining on us but it wasn't too bad despite that. The animals were fairly active and we had fun aside from Jacob being difficult. Here's a picture that epitomizes it all--the cool ceiling feature in the sea lion/polar bear exhibit with Jacob struggling to get off Craig's shoulders and run.

We also got another silly picture of the stuffed polar bears. This time it involves Craig's hat and a big hug from Jacob. Cute stuff. The otter was sleeping and the rhinos were parked deeply in mud, but the polar bears were active, the monkeys were fun, and I got a great shot of the meerkats--finally one I may submit to their photo contest next year if it qualifies. We also got to see the tortoises and sturgeon eat. We skipped the elephants and baboons to give Craig's leg a break, and headed out just short of closing time. At least dinner was a success--homemade pizza usually is--and Craig managed to keep Jacob occupied while I fought sleep before it was even Jacob's bedtime. Ugh. Perhaps the exhaustion setting in didn't help my mood. But I swear, it was a pretty good weekend!

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