I have this vague, partially-suppressed memory of Riley’s 18-month stage being really tough — the tantruming, the half-assed mobility, the inability to communicate — but hoo boy, Dylan’s either an early achiever or he’s going to be absolutely intolerable in a few more months, because at one year and change this child is siphoning away my will to live on a daily basis. Our good-natured butterball has been replaced by a mercurial creature whose moods fluctuate wildly based on such mission-critical variables as the amount of milk sloshing around in his round belly, the precise alignment of the planets, and the accessibility of the television remote. He still laughs easily and is quick to flash his ladykiller grins at the things that delight him — his brother, the cat (“gee gah!”), his parents crawling around acting like damn fools in an attempt to distract and entertain — but his forays into the Land of Contentment are achingly brief, not nearly long enough to enjoy a full cup of coffee or empty the dishwasher or go check Twitter in hopes of hearing news from Jonniker.

He is in a high-maintenance stage for sure, and if he’s not howling or furtively attempting to swallow a shoelace or managing to shake every last drop of milk from bottle to carpet, he’s falling facefirst into sharp wooden objects in the amount of time it takes to blink an eye.


Immediately after this happened I saw a giant cut flap of skin on his nose turn white and for a moment I thought it was EXPOSED BONE and I DIED. Then it started oozing blood and I was all, whew! And then I was all, OH MY GOD.

It was our entertainment stand that he fell into, and I’m starting to wonder if the thing has got some kind of Christine taste-of-flesh demon vibe going on because Riley had just fallen backwards into it not 12 hours before, giving himself a massive lump on the back of the head. No one’s hurt themselves on this thing before, so . . . I don’t know. I’ve got my eye on you, Shelfy.

Anyway, I don’t know if you’ve noticed but babies have weirdly sped-up healing abilities for things like cuts and bruises and Dylan already looks much better, but then just this morning I observed him crawling under the kitchen table, attempting to stand up, smashing his skull into the bottom of the table surface, then doing it AGAIN, HARDER — wailing all the while — before I managed to drag him out of there. Babies = the ultimate fail.

It’s definitely frustrating to be constantly chasing, soothing, and generally trying to figure out what in the blue fuck is wrong. Is he hungry? Tired? Teething? Disappointed by the lack of talent on this year’s American Idol? Humiliated because daycare sent him home in this astounding shirt yesterday, thanks to his loser parents forgetting to bring in extra clothes?


But I also feel bad for Riley. I mean, he loves his brother and they spend a lot of time playing together, but by necessity it seems like Dylan sucks up most of our attention and Riley is constantly being told to hang on, just a minute, you’ll get your juice when I’m finished feeding Dylan, etc. Or worse — and this is hard to admit — my patience is often stretched paper-thin by the whining baby and the barrage of “whys” and “but I waaaaaaaant tos” from the 3-year-old send me flying right over some kind of edge and I bark TO YOUR ROOM! at Riley when in fact I would like VERY much to send DYLAN to his room.

Ah, none of this is easy. I don’t know. I know I could be doing better, but I hope I’m doing okay. I hope both my kids know how much I love them, and how rich and stupidly blessed I feel as their mother. If there are moments when everything seems shrill and brittle and on the verge of complete disaster, there are so many more when it simply doesn’t seem as if there is enough room in the world for all the good things I have at hand.



69 Responses to “Nothing good comes easy”

  1. cbrks12 on March 7th, 2009 4:20 pm

    Yeah, better keep an eye on that entertainment center. There is a definate ‘The Mangler’ vibe there! :) And don’t worry, younger kids are in such a hurry to catch up with the older ones, they do everything earlier!

  2. kali on March 8th, 2009 8:02 am

    Sleep helps. For you, mostly ;-)

    The desire to do things beyond their current physical and frustration level is what rug rats are made out of. Although this appears to be a necessary development phase, it isn’t pleasant for anyone. Your temporary loss of patience during these strung-together moments teaches them limits and boundaries they need to know: big people take care of little people; we all help each other; we need to take turns.

    Keep up the good work. Bribe someone to cover for you and take a nap.

  3. Meg on March 8th, 2009 9:23 am

    With babies on the somewhat near horizon for me (hopefully), you give a taste of real mommy life. You strip away the romanticism about those drooly little bundles of love, and every blog I read is a litmus test… “am I ready for that yet?” (And it frightens me when I hear tales of gnawing on power cords, and I think “hmm, maybe yes I am.”) I can’t thank you enough for your vulnerability and honesty about the real trials and tribulations of mommyhood. And for making it so g.d. funny all the while.

  4. Amanda on March 8th, 2009 2:07 pm

    It gets better. I swear it does. And you get momnesia and find yourself wishing you could go back.

  5. abby on March 8th, 2009 6:12 pm

    your humanity is hilarious.

  6. spacegeek on March 8th, 2009 6:49 pm

    Sometimes my husband says, “it is so much better now, right?” And, “they’re just in a phase.” And then I say “a TWO-AND-A-HALF-YEAR-LONG phase???!!”
    Sometimes it seems like it would just be better to have all my teeth ripped out of my mouth without novacaine.
    This parenting thing is H-A-R-D. And certain times are harder than others. I went out yesterday with two girlfriends for a pedicure and coffee. And that felt like a little nugget of heaven. Today was a much better day for all of us. Consider a little break…?

  7. Mary Helen on March 8th, 2009 9:57 pm

    Thank you for writing this. I’m sorry you’re going through all this, but I’m also kinda relieved. I’m going through the same thing only with girls instead of boys. We can’t BOTH be fucked up, so guess what — I think that means we’re normal. I believe you are doing the best you can. You’re obviously a great mom. It will either get better or we’ll get used to it.

  8. Kelsey on March 8th, 2009 11:13 pm

    I actually had the “I’m the Big Sister” shirt growing up. I am kind of impressed that they are still making them.

  9. Eric's Mommy on March 9th, 2009 6:02 am

    That “I’m a big sister” shirt reminds me of last year when my then 5 year old son was sent home wearing girl’s jeans. I was looking at him and the jeans he had on seemed a little too “form fitting” and they were flared! So I told him to take them off so I could look at them, and sure enough they were girl’s jeans!

  10. Shutter Bitch on March 9th, 2009 7:53 am

    Aw, poor guy. And poor Riley. And poor SassMouth (my 5 year old) and poor Baby Pita (my 13 month old). Oh, you know what Pita is, right? Pain in the Ass?

    I’ve done the snapping at the older because of the younger. I’ve answered the “why do I have to pick up the toys she got out?” and I’ve pleaded for silence, for god’ssakejuststoptalking! when the baby’s the one babbling over the weatherman’s tornado warning lists while the scary radars recycle behind him, and the older one just wanted help unbuttoning his pants to go the the potty.

    I’ve also told him that he’ll get the freedom before she does, that he’ll be the one she’ll look to and it won’t always seem unfair to him. And I tell him I know, because I was the little sister and I got jealous of my big sister’s freedom.

    I have felt every word you said in this post. And for the cut on his nose? Well, let’s just say that I walked into Pita’s room this morning to get her up and my heart jumped in my throat when I saw that the blinds cord trailed into her crib (it only reached because the blinds were raised, making the cord longer when I thought they were too short to be a danger) and while she was only sleeping very soundly and wasn’t even touching the cords, I thought for a second I had left her in what I thought was safety and came back to horror. Oh god. She was fine. But Oh GOD. So yes, it sucks. It is awesome. The point is that it MEANS SO MUCH and it’s impossible not to feel a little battered by the ups and down and the fears holy god the fears. Because it means so fucking much.

  11. Trenches of Mommyhood on March 9th, 2009 8:00 am

    Yup. Mothering more than 1 child = someone always being shortchanged. Story of my life.

  12. TASG on March 9th, 2009 8:43 am

    Please, please give yourself a break. Your kids will be fine and you are clearly doing a great job!!!

  13. Jennifer on March 9th, 2009 11:45 am

    The speed at which babies heal is seriously crazy.

  14. Carrot Cake on March 9th, 2009 1:48 pm

    Almost started crying reading this. As much as I love my 14-month-old, I am dangerously low on energy, patience, and sanity. I just want to crawl into a hole somewhere for a while and sleep deeply while the world carries on above me. I know it’ll get easier, but what if we want to have another child? We’ll have to do this all over again and I am not convinced that I have it in me. This is tough!!!

  15. Maria on March 9th, 2009 2:17 pm

    I know what you mean and as usual relate all too well. I feel like I spend so much energy yelling at my eldest, yet how much wrong can a 3 year old really do? Most times it’s because I’m running late, or I’m having trouble juggling the two of them plus whatever life is throwing at me at that moment, and she’s not cooperating in a clear attempt to win over my attention. But whose fault is it really? Regardless, she gets my complete lack of patience and an earful of my raised voice.

    I try to make sure that she and I have some quiet time together before she goes to sleep each night where we can cuddle just the two of us, and I can stress with great clarity that she is my everything. No matter how mad either of us get during the day, in those few minutes I think we both know we’re good.

  16. Stacy Quarty on March 9th, 2009 2:39 pm

    Yeowch! I forget how many injuries that age can bring.

  17. Must Be Motherhood on March 9th, 2009 5:41 pm

    Well, the last picture proves things can’t be all that bad; that beautiful lamp in the background is still intact. :P

  18. Josh on March 9th, 2009 8:02 pm

    Ok, I’m not suggesting this would be a “good” idea, or a responsible idea, but it would be pretty cool if Dylan and Riley just happened to get hurt simultaneously and then you could time them to see who heals faster, like a race kind of. And since kids get hurt all the time, it just might happen, and if it does, maybe you could share photo documentation, you know, for science. Definitely not for morbid curiosity.

  19. Amy Q on March 13th, 2009 8:23 pm

    That shirt is fantastic. I think it is a daycare prank…they probably had lots of little boy shirts but this was more fun!

    Awesome post. Awesome you. Thanks

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