My kids are some pretty awesome little people. They can have regular conversations with me, which is such a breath of fresh air after spending my days debating life with Dally. They’re witty, and sometimes even hilarious. Sometimes they even tell me they like my food, or that they love me, followed by a giant, squeezy hug. I’m starting to think I could really enjoy hanging out with these people for the next few years, and maybe even just for fun after that.

But I have decided that before 8:00 AM on weekday mornings, my children are incapable of being decent human beings.

I’ll start by taking partial responsibility for this. I am no kind of morning person, and I’ll heartily admit it. But as such, I sleep until the very last second, then move it into high gear to get ready quickly and efficiently so I can be out the door to wherever I’m supposed to go. My kids… not so much.

Per that whole efficiency thing, my alarm goes off at 7:00 on school days. I head to the boys’ room first, where I attempt to wake them up, lay all their clothes out for them, and guide large animals out of their room. All they have to do is pee, get dressed, and meet me in the kitchen for breakfast.

In the meantime, I head to Lilah’s room. I wake her by picking her up and carrying her to the toilet. Usually by the time she’s done peeing, she’s alert and having in-depth conversations with me about whatever she dreamed about or what is for breakfast. I help her get dressed, in the name of speed, and then head to the kitchen, where my boys are NEVER dressed and waiting.

This is because it is at this point that they have finally gotten their wits about them, and have all kinds of ideas about what kind of weird games they could be playing that are both loud, and counter-productive to the idea of getting dressed.

The number of times I have to walk back to their room to shush them and remind them what they are supposed to be doing while I attempt to make lunches and breakfast is embarrassing. They can usually stretch it to at least 15 minutes, which just boggles my mind. Sloths move faster.

Breakfast usually requires me to remind some children to “take another bite” for every single bite they take, or “you should be chewing”, because somehow, they are okay with taking the bite and just letting it sit there in their mouths.

There is poking, prodding, antagonizing, and even more procrastination.

The final steps of teeth brushing and hair fixing are my least favorite. This positively cannot happen without some sort of eruption of yelling and/or crying. There is pushing, arguing, and fighting over toothpaste. Sometimes they use the toothpaste as a weapon, or do unspeakable things with each other’s toothbrushes. Their imagination in this area is limitless.

Somehow, after months of training, the boys are still not clear on how exactly hair pomade works. The same goes for the comb. It seems to look more like a weapon than an instrument for grooming, and so that is how it is most often used.

Sometimes, miracles happen, and we find ourselves all standing dressed, groomed, and fed, with backpacks stuffed with nutritious lunches, ready for school before their ride shows up at 7:30. And it is in these moments my tolerance for pain is truly tested.

In a matter of two or three minutes, my children can get stuck in decorative spider webs on the house, climb trees, get their shoes muddy, knock over landscaping bricks, climb different trees, jump all over the stonework around our house and scrape a knee or two, rile our dogs up, encourage kittens to escape, and I swear, wake up neighbors who are blocks away. It seriously looks like monkeys in the zoo. For a bunch of people who couldn’t seem to pull pants on in under fifteen minutes, they can really move at this stage of the morning.

I have begged. I have pleaded. I have disciplined. I have bribed. Occasionally, the stars align, and we are blessed with a peaceful morning, and I honestly can’t pinpoint anything I have done differently that could be used to my advantage on the other days.

As Scott says, it can take awhile to get back to a happy place after being dragged to the extremes of frustration mere moments after waking up. Thank goodness for my magic beans. (I’m talking about coffee, not Xanax.)

By the time they pile into the car at 3:45, all is long forgotten and forgiven, and they are back to being the adorable little humans that I love so much. And, in other great news, I have calculated that I only have 2, 340 more school days to go until Dally is graduating high school!

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Waaaay back in 2012 or 2013, at the encouragement of a friend, I wrote my first blog. I still remember the way it began: “I am a Christian, wife, and mother, in that order”. What kind of self-righteous, gloaty bitch wrote that? It has seriously haunted me for years.

The truth is, I am all those things; but as much as I wish they were in that order, they most certainly are not. And I’m not even always good at any or all of those roles.

I try really hard never to portray the idea that I have it all together, have all the answers, or wear any kind of giant “S” on my chest. I have spent years on this blog, happily admitting when my kids don’t get out of their pajamas for days, eat sugary cereal off the kitchen floor, or watch too much TV. We’re all happy to admit that our pre-schooler told her friend at Kinder recess that she was going to hell (mine), or that we wore our shirt backwards all day with lactation leaks all through it (that was me), or when we totally forgot to celebrate our fourth kid’s birthday three years in a row (right here). Because those are things we can laugh at. They’re not too serious, and they happen to everybody. And let’s stop pretending that giving your kids ice cream for dinner once in awhile counts as a #momfail, everybody knows that makes you even more awesome! But if real is who I want to be, am I really being totally real?

The answer is no.

This summer, I hit a wall. I can pinpoint a handful of things that may have led up to it, but I’m not sure any of it really matters. I lost it. Not cry-for-a-minute then fix-my-mascara kind of “lost it”. I mean, unable to fulfill my duties as a wife and mother for many days, and not operating on all cylinders for several weeks after. It’s been months now, and I’m still not the same. (I haven’t decided yet if not being the same is a good thing or a bad thing.)

But in the depth of my despair, when I had more questions than answers, more tears than words, and more self-loathing and disappointment in myself for being such a failure to my family and anyone who ever dared to think I had it all together, the thing that kept resonating with me was, “Why doesn’t this happen to anyone else? Why don’t any of my friends ever feel like this?”

I quickly learned, it does. And they do.

I’m going to digress a minute and say that writing this blog has been on my mind since the middle of the summer, when I felt so alone, and thought that surely others must have felt this way at some point in their lives, too. But I just hadn’t found the words. How would I be honest without making myself look like the worst person ever? Was it possible to be authentic enough to be of benefit to others, but not so authentic that I expose what a mess I am?

And then this morning, via a live Facebook moment from a very sweet friend, whom I respect so much, I got the push to finally get the words out. She was having a rough time, too, and had the exact same message I wanted to get across. It happens to the best of us, despite all our best intentions.

I wanted this- all of it. (I still do, by the way!) I couldn’t wait to get married, couldn’t wait to have all the babies, and then when I got the opportunity to me a “mompreneur”, I really had it all! But suddenly this summer, all the things I had wanted so much in life were suffocating me. The people I loved more than anything were making me feel trapped.

I was suddenly aware of the fact that I was getting older by the day, and I still didn’t have it all figured out. I’m still not the size I want to be and probably never will be. I still don’t make the most balanced lunches for my kids or even buy organic food without GMO’s or dyes or whatever other shit I’m supposed to worry about. I work harder and harder every day, but the bills still often exceed what’s coming in. We slaved away all summer on the major stuff, and I slave away all day on the inside stuff, but the appearance of my house still mortifies me every time anyone comes over. I started making the excuse when Dally was born that I was too tired to read stories to my kids every night before bed, and they could start reading to each other, but Dally’s three now, and I still can’t bring myself to spend just one more minute with them before they go to sleep. Even though I know it’s important to have our family sit down together for dinner every night, we still eat different meals at different times, because it just feels like more work after a full day of work, and all I want to do is enjoy one meal a day. I curse a lot more than I should. A lot more. And I drink bourbon sometimes just because it makes me feel a little bit better about it all. I questioned, “Is this really all there is, and it’s all downhill from here?”

This isn’t about the little fails in life, like fact that I rarely wear make-up in public and don’t even shower regularly. This isn’t about Dally’s nonexistent nap schedule, or that I potty trained her later than I probably should have. This isn’t about the fact that I still haven’t ever taken my kids to one of those damn pumpkin patch/corn maize places. And this isn’t a silly meme about a tired mom roaming the aisles of Target in her bathrobe with multiple glasses of wine. These are real ways in which I am letting my kids down, and letting my husband down every day. Oh, and that part about God being at the top of my pyramid? Yep, I’m failing there, too.

I cried this summer. I slept a lot (as much as one can sleep in a house with six people, two dogs, foster animals everywhere, and a husband equipped with every power tool known to man merely feet away from my headboard). I took some pills for a bit (legal ones, I swear!), and I eventually decided to talk to someone about what was going on. Again, I’m still not quite myself, but perhaps that’s because I’m in the process of evolving into a new and improved self; not in that I will be the 2017 Donna Reed and finish all my chores and be the best wife and mom in every kind of way, but in the kind of way that I allow myself not to be perfect, and stop trying to be something that is not humanly possible. I hope I’m maturing into someone who stops gauging my own success and happiness based on what I perceive the success and happiness of others to be. And I pray that I’m able to be a listening ear or a sounding board to any other mama (or anybody at all) who is ashamed to be their flawed, human, falling-apart self. Because it is scary to admit that to people. I’m almost at my last paragraph and I’m still terrified to post this.

I’m not looking for pity, or even understanding. I just want the next person who succumbs to the pressures of perfection to realize they’re not the first to fall, and they won’t be the last. Imagine me as one of those size 0 celebrities who brings awareness to stuff, like mental illness or hunger in America, except I don’t wear that size and I don’t have their checking accounts. Be aware of this, y’all: you’re not perfect, and nobody is. Not even that skinny bitch with a six-pack who home schools her ten kids and makes her own granola every morning and makes love to her husband every night. It just doesn’t happen like that in real life all the time, and we need to let that be okay. After all, God has already forgiven us, so shouldn’t we?

 

Our family is no stranger to a cross country meet. While I can’t say we’ve had anywhere near perfect attendance, we’ve attended several of Scott’s meets in the past, but this Fall, we have entered a new season in which one of our own is participating.

Thankfully, Luke’s and Scott’s schools are in the same league, which means they attend most of the same meets, which is handy. Because otherwise, I’d be sitting in a bar somewhere right about now. But Scott is there to coach his own team, so he’s based at his own tent, running around with his own kids, warming them up, getting them started, and hopping around the course to watch them race.

I, on the other hand, have the privilege of just being there as a spectator. And what a privilege it is! Here are a few tips to ensure you can have as pleasant experience watching your child run as I do every week.

  1. Be sure to schedule for yourself a 10 or 11-mile run through hills at 6:00 AM that morning, so you’re sure to be full of pep by the time the big event rolls around.
  2. Limit your post-run, pre-meet shower to three minutes or less so you have plenty of time to feed, dress, and wrangle four children into the car in a window of 30 minutes.
  3. Don’t bring a chair. You won’t need it.
  4. Do bring your own water bottle, but don’t expect to drink out of it. You only have it for your children, who are only ever dehydrated on Saturday mornings.
  5. Don’t bring a purse. It’ll hinder your ability to carry your three year-old EVERYWHERE.
  6. Don’t bring any snacks for your runner. That’s only for the good moms who have gotten up early to mother, not for their own selfish fitness goals, and have actually thought this thing through.
  7. Do bring a visor or hat. Sunglasses will get you nowhere, as a 10:40 start time coincides perfectly with the full awakening of the sun. Next time, I will bring a visor.
  8. Do expect to walk at least seventeen miles, and then when you reach your destination, expect to wait in a bathroom line for thirty minutes with a less-than-understanding three year-old, unless you opt for the paperless port a potties.
  9. Spend no less than 90% of your time looking for all four of your children. They may be at the far away water fountain. They may be on the playground. They may be playing in a culvert. They may be encouraging their little sister to jump into the water hazard ON THE FREAKING COURSE. You’ll never know, and you’ll never find them all in the same place, or in the place where they were supposed to be.
  10. Cheer on your son as he comes in towards the finish line, because he is awesome, and he is killing it.
  11. Explain to your other children that this cross country meet is not in fact all about them.
  12. Explain to your runner that while you know he ran hard, he should probably attempt to look a little less like he’s on the brink of death after the race and for the remainder of your time at the meet.
  13. Explain to your runner the highlights of being on a team, such as communicating with teammates, or cheering them on as they finish.
  14. Explain to your younger children that despite drinking all of your water, and spending half the morning at the far away water fountain, that the jug of water at the team tent is actually not there for their benefit.
  15. Walk the seventeen miles back to the car, this time, without the toddler, because she just became her daddy’s problem.
  16. Relish in the joy that was this magical occasion, and look forward to doing it all again next Saturday morning.

Seriously, though, GO LUKE, and GO LIONS!

The last few months have seen some very typical stuff going on around here: school, homework, cross country meets, and keeping all the people fed, clean, and alive. Also typical, every day sees new challenges, and our days don’t always go perfectly. Ok, they never go perfectly. But sometimes there is more crying and disciplining than others. But what’s not so typical is that, despite my children growing older, the resistance to being contributing members of our household seems to be decreasing. I’ve decided it’s totally my fault, and I seem to be having some awful timing in my parenting.

For example, the other day, amidst the cleaning, shopping, and birthday party transportation schedule, I thought it might be nice to save Scott a step in the lawn-mowing process. I asked the boys to go scoop dog poop in the backyard, and warned them, ever so kindly, that this would not go like it has gone other times; we would not spend an hour checking and rechecking their work, as they seem to have terribly degenerating vision when it comes to steaming mounds of Great Dane feces on the ground. There may have even been some technology threats. But, surprise, surprise, we did spend more time trying to enforce their completion of this chore than it would have taken either one of us to do it ourselves. It seems I had caught them at a bad time. You see, after several hours of lying in their beds, exploring the world of Minecraft, they were excessively tired, and therefore physically unable to complete their doo-ty to completion. My bad.

The next day, I had the same bad timing. When I asked that the living and dining room be picked up of the thirty-seven thousand toys and Lego landmines that were all over it, I learned that this was not a good time for my precious ones. It turned out that one was insanely dehydrated and instantly needed a drink, and probably a snack. Another one suddenly felt nauseous and probably needed to rest on the couch. And yet another child was so desperate to avoid this chore, she claimed to be tired enough to take a nap. A nap! I was left speechless at that mighty effort.

Even Dally hasn’t been one to miss out on the action. After a full morning of catering to her every need, filling her belly with bacon and eggs and milk, and singing all the songs she wanted, I set off to tackle my own to-do list. After an hour or so of her quietly playing in the living room, I decided it was a good time to call the insurance company about their sudden unwillingness to cover any portion of Luke’s medication. But, alas, it was not a good time. Dally had her Spidey-sense on, and immediately detected the outgoing call, and made her way quickly to my location with multiple requests for wardrobe assistance, potty assistance (even though she usually screams her request to do it herself), and more interactive song-singing. Bad timing strikes again.

Perhaps the most frustrating of all my timing problems is at 8:30 or 9:00 in the evening, when all the children have had all their needs addressed, sometimes several times over, teeth have been brushed, prayers have been said, and Scott and I are finally sitting down for the first time all day to a hot meal and maybe even speak to each other. It is at this time, without fail, that 50-100% of our little dumplings fly out of their bedrooms like boomerangs. Suddenly, at this particular moment in time, there is dehydration. There is a sudden sense of duty to double check homework assignments or discuss what happened in school that day. There may be mysterious sounds or imaginary bugs in their rooms. And most certainly, there are deep mysteries and burning questions that have gone unanswered: What would happen if dinosaurs came back to living? How many other galaxies are there? If a person invented a new kind of pizza, how rich do you think they would be? If a person farts, and it’s really smelly, and someone else lights a match by their butt, will it really catch on fire? I don’t know what I’m thinking, trying to eat in peace at such a high-need hour.

My poor timing is becoming such a problem, I clearly need to do something about it. I’m working on trying to eliminate sleep completely from my schedule, so that I can do all my household duties, and get any personal nonsense, such as showering, eating, and utilizing the facilities, during the nighttime hours, lest I inconvenience anyone with moments of unavailability during the day.

 

My baby girl turned three this week. Three. I know it’s cliche, but I really don’t know how three years have already passed since this little girl came into our lives.

But this is not a wistful post about how fast it all goes. This is a post about how I may or may not be screwing this one up. Because the thing is, she’s three now, and she is not potty trained.

Gasp! I know! Clearly I must be the laziest mom on the planet! How could I let this happen? Don’t I know what I’m doing by now? Being a rookie can’t be my excuse, so I must be doing something terribly wrong, right?

The thing is, this isn’t all I’m doing wrong. She is my only child to make it to almost three years old and still be in a crib. That one is attributed to pure laziness, but we finally got it together and dragged the twin bed out of the shed last week and set it up. We even gave away her crib before we had finished setting up the new bed. I didn’t cry, or even care, if I’m being frank. I didn’t deconstruct it and rebuild it into a bench, so that it could forever memorialize the babyhood of the four children who slept in it. I just gave it to a stranger, like the old piece of furniture it was.

Before she even made it to the crib, I did it wrong by letting her sleep with us for many months, nursing on the all-night buffet whenever she wanted. We didn’t have a feeding schedule during the day, either.

In fact, we still don’t. This kid climbs stools in the pantry to get herself granola bars and fruit snacks for breakfast, often before I’m even awake. Sometimes she opts for chips. We don’t have a regular lunchtime, and she’s a picky eater who sometimes goes days without ingesting a single fruit or vegetable. Sometimes she has three-ish meals a day. Sometimes she doesn’t have any. I let her drink an unlimited amount of milk in a sippy cup all day long. We’re just kinda minute by minute around here.

And she’s not napping. Or she is. I don’t even care! Sometimes she naps at noon, sometimes at 5:00, sometimes not at all. Sometimes it’s for an hour, sometimes for five. There’s a complete lack of schedule for this one, and I really don’t care.

She’s not going to preschool. And I’m certainly not doing it for her. She can count to fifteen or so, but not because of any dedicated learning time I’ve carved out in our days. Dally’s preschool is the TV. She watches lots and lots of it while I get stuff done. And guess what? I don’t even care.

She still has her paci. I remember thinking to myself how ridiculous it was for children to be able to pull a paci out of their mouth, say a complete sentence, and then put it back in. Those moms must be doing it wrong. But I’m really not worried about it. I’m not concerned that it’s messing up her teeth, or that she’s developing some kind of weird dependency on a physical coping device. And I’m not even afraid she’s going to show up to her first day of kindergarten with that thing still hanging out of her mouth like a kid’s version of a cigarette.

I don’t sing her songs all day. The ones I do sing with her are by the Randy Rogers Band. I almost never sit down with her and read her stories. (That’s what older siblings are for.) I don’t prevent myself from ever yelling or even cursing in her presence. I’m totally doing it wrong.

But what may surprise you is, she is thriving in spite of me. She’s smart, adorable, and hilarious. She has a great vocabulary, can hold highly entertaining conversations, and has social skills that would rival any adult’s. She’s healthy, and happy, and there is no doubt in her mind every day that she is loved by a whole mess of people. It’s almost like all the books, all the classes, and all the well-meaning advice-givers could be wasting their time, and that maybe it’s harder than we think to screw our kids up.

A friend of mine recently spent the weekend around some women she has only known since they’ve had adult children. She spent the entire time with them working so hard not to yell, to display only her best attributes of mothering, and was mortified when her son admitted to them that his mom had once told him to “sit his ass down”. After all, she explained to me, the children of these women have all turned out to be well-adjusted, successful, independent human beings. They must have done everything right!

But I beg to differ. I think sometimes, you can do everything “right”, and your kid may still do some terrible shit that’s going to embarrass and stun you. And I think you can do everything “wrong”, and have a kid who rises above it all and grows up to save the world. Who’s to say what my kids are destined for? None of us yet know.

What I do know is, I’m not going to kill myself trying to be an unattainable version of perfect for my kids. Don’t misunderstand- I’m not purposely trying to do it all wrong. But the fact is, this lack of perfect structure is what works in our lives right now. I want  them to see me yell and sometimes lose my temper. I want them to see me cry. I want them to know that sometimes parents argue. And I want them to know that sometimes, things go wrong. Because I want them to be prepared for a world that includes these realities, and so many others.

I hope and pray my kids grow up to be super successful people (who can afford to support their parents in retirement). But if they’re not, I’m not going to persecute myself for letting them watch too much TV, or not sending them to the most expensive preschool. Sometimes, kids just mess themselves up!

So it seems there is another royal baby in the works, which means that poor Kate is holed up in a castle somewhere, puking her ever loving brains out. While I have never been diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum, the most severe version of “morning sickness”, I don’t have the luxury of experiencing regular, wimpy, run-of-the-mill morning sickness with my pregnancies, so I have all the feels for this poor dear.

But while lamenting the duchess’ pain the other day on the phone with my mom, she quickly pointed out that it’s not like she’s having to take care of her other two little darlings on her own in between barfing. And she’s not trying to work, or cook, or maintain a household on her own. She’s lying around in clean, fancy sheets, with her own personal doctor at her bedside, and a team of people, attending to her every need. I’m not gonna lie, I feel like I’d be willing to puke a little to get me some of that.

But alas, I have decided I am not cut out to be a duchess. Here are the top ten reasons I’m glad I’m not a royal.

  • Tacos. I’m pretty sure they don’t have these in England. And while I know she has a team of chefs ready to make her whatever she wants to eat, sometimes, you just want a plate of Huevos Rancheros from Chapala House. Or a Cheddar Cheesy from Chris Madrid’s. Or pizza. I get the feeling Kate doesn’t hit up a lot of drive thrus.
  • Make up. Have you noticed that in every picture you see of Kate, she is completely made up, and she has not a hair out of place? What a pain in the ass! I am grateful to only have to put on make up once or twice a week, and can’t fathom the idea of wearing it every day, for fear I’d be spotted looking a little too human. Royals don’t get the luxury of making the “Celebs Without Their Makeup” page of Us Weekly.
  • Entourage. While I can most certainly relate to the concept of never having any privacy, I know that someday, I’ll grow out of my entourage. (Or rather, my entourage will grow out of me.) Anyway, despite not being an “alone time” kind of gal, I’m sure it gets old having a team of people around, all day, every day. It would be like loading up my whole family every time I wanted to go anywhere or do anything. No thanks!
  • Sobriety. Have you ever seen a picture of the duchess on her third bourbon? Me neither. I’m hoping for her sake that there are a lot of private parties held behind closed doors at Kate and Will’s house, but I’m kinda betting there aren’t. What’s a duchess to do on a Friday night after a long week? When does she get to let her hair down and talk exceedingly loud to her friends about the crap they did years ago into the wee hours of the morning? I’m starting to worry about her…
  • Pantyhose. All the time. I don’t think this needs any further explanation.
  • Trucks. I don’t think they have a lot of these in England, either, and I’m going to speculate that Kate hasn’t done a lot of riding around town in a Suburban with some loud country music cranked all the way up and a bleating goat in the back. There are just some things in life you should do at least once.
  • Cursing. Aren’t duchesses and princesses supposed to speak properly all the time and never curse? I think I read that somewhere. Yeah, I couldn’t do that.
  • Discipline. Do you remember this picture of Kate getting real with George?
  • Image result for kate disciplines george

My version of this is sooooo much worse. If cameras caught me correcting my little sweeties in public, you can be rest assured I wouldn’t be kneeling properly, perfectly balanced on my stilettos, channeling all my fury through a few gritted teeth. All the non-yellers and millennials would be all over me, and the Queen would put me on fancy public appearance duty for a month.

  • Tacos. Did I mention this already? I just finished a couple of carne guisada, egg, and cheese, so I can’t think clearly right now.
  • Will. I know everybody had all the feels for the Wills a decade or so ago, but has anybody taken a look at his dad, and worried about his future? I’m sure he’s a lovely chap and all, but he just doesn’t look like much fun. William doesn’t strike me as a baby butt-wiping, little-league-coaching, pancake-making, 10K-running, bathroom-building, tattoo-having, adventure-having hunka hunka burnin’ love that knows how to burn it down on the river with his wife and friends like he’s this side of 40. I guess that’s my way of saying, he seems kinda dull. And I don’t do dull.

So just in case the Queen was looking over my resume, this is why you won’t see me in a white dress with a thirty-foot long train in Westminster Abbey anytime soon. This. This is why.

We’re 11 days shy of Dally’s third birthday, but she has been right in the thick of three-nagerdom for awhile now. She’s got the classic symptoms. She contradicts everything- and I do mean EVERYTHING- I say. She goes from giggly and happy to screaming and crying, and then back to giggly and happy all inside of thirty seconds. And she’s dealing with exhaustion as she attempts to rid her life of naps.

Sigh. I love naps. I love naps for myself, but I especially love it when my children take naps. They need them. They are better people when they take them. And they give me the opportunity to briefly free my brain from the constant narration of life that prevents me from focusing on anything of importance.

Everyone is familiar with the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. It occurred to me the other day that this applies to toddler naps as well.

Denial

This one is obvious. The toddler is in denial of the nap. The nap isn’t going to happen, because there is also denial of the toddler’s fatigue. There are the shouts of protest. “I not tired!” “I not go sleep!” There is the climbing out of the crib and emerging from the bedroom, cool as a cucumber, as though nothing has happened. There is the invention of a whole host of games and activities that can be played from inside the crib, or inside the closed door of the toddler’s room while the nap is not happening. And there is most certainly the wet noodle approach.

Anger

This is where the shouts of protest get louder. There may be kicking and screaming in this stage. There may be fake crying. There may be throwing of sippy cups against the bedroom door. There may be actions of revenge against the nap-enforcer, such as painting fingernails on the dining room table after quietly sneaking out of her bedroom, or finding markers. Often, the anger stage is able to produce instant poop, requiring the nap-enforcer to relent and come change a diaper.

Bargaining

Another obvious one. This is where the toddler tries to trick the mommy into thinking she’s adorable and cute and totally not in need of a nap. “I yuv you, Mommy,” and other such bull shit lies will be told. Distractions are a toddler’s best friend in the bargaining stage, since words are not. The toddler will try to demonstrate how good she can be, if only she is allowed to skip her nap.

Depression

More crying. A lot. Sometimes for a really long time. At this point, the toddler is losing the fight left in her because she is exhausted. But a toddler is never too exhausted to wail at the top of her lungs.

Acceptance

Acceptance is rarely achieved in this house anymore. If it is, it’s usually at 4:00 in the afternoon in the carpool line, right before five rowdy children get into my car, or right as I pull into the Costco parking lot with a huge list in my purse. This week, acceptance happened at 5:00 in the evening, right before we had planned to leave the house. At 9:00 that evening, it suddenly occurred to me that she was still asleep, and so I looked forward to a good night’s sleep, and a refreshed toddler in the morning. Ha. Instead, my little peach showed up at my bedside at 3:45 AM, ready to rock and roll for the day. I did my best to set her up for success in front of the TV in the living room, but definitely had to survive on about an hour of collective sleep the next day. I’m too old for that shit. It was not good.

Perhaps the acceptance that needs to happen is from me, accepting the fact that my sweet, adorable little girl is dropping her nap, and is going to be, um, less than pleasant, for the next several months.