Whatever virus Riley has seems to be of a particularly stubborn ilk, because it’s been nearly a week and he’s still hacking and snotting and running a comes-and-goes fever that periodically transforms his personality into an event horizon whose escape velocity traps all light, happiness, and parental will to live. Once the Motrin kicks in he’s pretty much good to go, but in those dark soulless moments between dosings of berry-flavored miracle elixir it’s basically like living with the world’s most sullen 30-pound teenager, being as how he hates EVERYTHING and its ASS FACE.

It’s weird and sad to experience such a different side of my own kid and even while I’m struggling to be patient and understand this has to do with not feeling well I found myself nearly weeping to JB last night about how upset I’ll be if Riley turns out to be the kind of person who doesn’t care about anything and I don’t care WHAT he cares about as long as he cares about something, please god just let him be passionate instead of sitting around RAGGING ON EVERYTHING like some kind of MISERABLE A-HOLE, and whooaahhhhh there hoss, maybe wait until the kid’s temperature drops below 101 before deciding his future as a nihilist?

In the meantime, Dylan has picked up nearly all the good-attitude slack and has abandoned the nonstop tantrums in favor of an adorable streak of babbling, scampering, and generally staying greatly amused by almost anything, as demonstrated in this video:

The only constant in parenting is the inconsistency, and you’d sure think I’d know that by now but I keep falling into the trap of thinking that whatever stage we’re in is going to last forever, even with so much empirical evidence to the contrary. I think this is my biggest shortcoming in motherhood, that I’m so easily overwhelmed by the moment and so often unable to remember that it is, in fact, a moment, soon to be gone forever.


47 Responses to “Blink”

  1. kim on April 20th, 2009 3:48 pm

    reminds me of my own parenting when my child was that age. I say Ha Ha, and he says Uh Oh….classic.

    great video, thanks!

  2. Celine on April 20th, 2009 4:00 pm

    I am really not meaning to be the bearer of bad news, but I have had a similar virus for 8 days with no sign of letting up. When I spoke with my doctor, she said that she has patients who have had it for two weeks before it starts to improve.

    In good news, Dylan is very sweet with his giant stick. Seriously, what IS that?

  3. beach on April 20th, 2009 4:01 pm

    he is a cutie…..and your house is so freaking clean, man where is the dust????….the rug tassles are perfect….gah….and you have toddlers what gives????

  4. Chelsea on April 20th, 2009 4:08 pm

    That boy is gorgeous. And if I had a nickel for every “Dude, seriously” I have uttered to someone in a diaper….

  5. Amy on April 20th, 2009 4:20 pm

    Dylan is adorable! It does help to have a cheery one when the other is being a pill. I hope the virus subsides before the trip. We took our son to Dland for his 4th birthday. Sac to Anaheim you would think would be a piece of cake. President Bush was in the area at the time and we got triple diverted. Simple flight turned into 4 1/2 hours. He was a trooper! Completely amazed me. Have fun!!

  6. ellipses127 on April 20th, 2009 4:21 pm

    boys would always rather play with sticks than brooms! i always forget what sweet kids i have until they are in bed & can no longer pester or snot on me. ah… parenting.

  7. Hillary on April 20th, 2009 4:30 pm

    uh oh! That is just adorable.

  8. Melissa D. on April 20th, 2009 4:33 pm

    Adorable video. I fall in the hopeful trap all the time thinking things are great and then the shit hits the fan. My daughter was potty trained for months and now can’t ever seem to keep her pants dry and my little man chipped his front tooth that just came in. All that teething to just almost knock the damn thing out. Try not to beat yourself up too much. Hope Riley feels better for your trip.

  9. Casey on April 20th, 2009 4:58 pm

    Don’t look now, but I think you just paraphrased “This too shall pass.” So maybe it’s annoying when someone else spews that at you, but refreshing when we can, as parents, pull up focus enough to see just where we are in the timeline. Oh yeah…NOT stuck in foreversuckville, but ultimately witnessing a trend, a peak or valley, or both, in your case. The trick is that because we don’t know when the valleys and the suckfest will end, it feels like eternity. Kind of like driving through Georgia on your way to Florida as a kid. (No offense Georgia, you just weren’t the “there” in “are we there yet?”)

    Also, that Dylan is scrumptious. Can’t get enough of the babbling. Because he knows what he’s saying, even if his audience isn’t quite with him yet. So awesome.

  10. Kelsey on April 20th, 2009 4:59 pm

    I always tell myself not to get frustrated with the kids when they’re sick, and yet…

  11. Jodie on April 20th, 2009 5:00 pm

    AAHH! It’s that damn splinter filled stick from a previous post, you still have that thing? haha.

  12. Drama Queen Jenner on April 20th, 2009 5:28 pm

    My youngest was totally talking along with Dylan. Also, being in the moment has it’s drawbacks, but why book ahead? It just distracts from the now. (Yeah, I ripped that off The Incredibles.)

  13. Julie on April 20th, 2009 6:01 pm

    You just described the last week in our house! Our 3.5 year old girl has been a huge PITA and our little 1.75 year girl has thrown us more cute than ever to combat the mood. I was so glad to go back to work today.

  14. Maria on April 20th, 2009 6:10 pm

    Great video! I totally recognize the stick too! Is it scary that I recall it’s used for your sliding door? Perhaps.

    We have children close in age, and I can very much relate to what you’re going through…I’m living it right now. My daughter is 3 1/2, and it seems the terrible twos started at 18 months, and progressed right into the horrible threes. The whining and the tantrums seem to never end, and I’ve yet to see how we’ll make our way out of it. There are times when I feel like a child myself, and just want to hide under my pillow til it stops. Ugh.

  15. Christina on April 20th, 2009 6:42 pm

    I think you asked about worst jobs we have had the other day and I would say the best and most difficult job I have had started four years ago this past Sunday when I gave birth to my son. I too feel the same way that you do. The moment comes on with such intensity that by the time it ends I am like ‘whoa why was I so fired up about that?’ I always feel like I am the only mommy like that. Strange as it may sound, I am glad to know others are like this too.

    I too worry about my wee tot and how he is today will be how he will be tomorrow. Like I worry that maybe because I was a bit difficult as a teen he will be as well unless I nip it in the bud now. Weird.

    Anyway, hang in there. My son has been sick since Wednesday and it seems to be lingering in that annoying I want to bash my head into a wall kind of way, and he flits from happiness to screaming temper tantrum in the middle of Barnes & Noble at 10:00a on Monday morning at the drop of a hat.

  16. Jillian on April 20th, 2009 6:47 pm

    That made me laugh. Not that he’s sick, but that he acts that way when he’s sick. The good news is that sickness truly brings out the WORST in us. I don’t think you have anything to worry about.

  17. erin on April 20th, 2009 7:32 pm

    i think your kid is fluent in chinese. at least that’s what it sounded like.

  18. warcrygirl on April 20th, 2009 7:42 pm

    HAHAHA! Love the video; get that kid a Swiffer. I’ll never understand the fascination boys have with sticks. Pretty soon you’ll be finding twigs underneath Dylan’s pillow.

  19. Belle on April 20th, 2009 8:19 pm

    Great video of an adorable wee one wielding a big stick. His “uh oh” made me laugh out loud. Thanks for that!

    Get well, Riley!

  20. Kate on April 20th, 2009 9:28 pm

    Did you know that you can give Tylenol and Motrin closer than 4 hours? They are processed in the body differently so won’t end up causing toxicity. You can actually give both at the same time, or alternate every 2-3 hours to avoid hitting the darkness between doses. :) Just an FYI. I worked in the ER for several years and the nurses and MDs told me that little trick.

  21. Allison on April 20th, 2009 9:35 pm

    I TOTALLY understand the darkness of the moment. In that moment there is nothing else. I swear it is a chemical unavoidable response to be mired in that moment as it occurs. ;-)

    don’t think of it as a shortcoming. .. . .think about the fact that you can say you live in the moment :P Sounds good right?

  22. Anya Paull on April 20th, 2009 9:48 pm

    You have a Riley and I have a Preston but other than the names, this is exactly the same worry that plagues me a few times a day & night (even when he is not ill or running a fever) and just being …oh holy gosh….’himself’: how upset I’ll be if Riley (Preston) turns out to be the kind of person who doesn’t care about anything and I don’t care WHAT he cares about as long as he cares about something, please god just let him be passionate instead of sitting around RAGGING ON EVERYTHING like some kind of MISERABLE A-HOLE…
    Just so you know, you are not alone and this is my #1 fear most days as I look at my little creature ;-)

  23. Katherine on April 20th, 2009 10:57 pm

    You pretty much summed up all my problems with parenting my own two boys. Their bad behavior and quirks irritate the hell out of me at the moment. But as soon as they are over, or I look back at old videos and pictures I just think why didn’t I enjoy it more?

  24. danielle on April 21st, 2009 4:53 am

    Thanks for reminding me that the strange rebellious nature of my 4yo is just a phase. And that I am not alone in worrying about where he’s headed. It’s amazing how so many of us are carefully watching our kids to make sure they don’t end up being “that kid.” I wonder if our parents even thought about that type of stuff with us?

  25. Melis on April 21st, 2009 4:53 am

    Okay…so I *have* to mention my love of your “Waiting for Guffman” reference even if no one else mentioned it. Corky! Corky!

    Back to the topic. Your Riley and my Glenn could be twins when sick. The kid turns into the worst Homerun Derby participant (FINE! THROW ALL MY TOYS AWAY!-as a response to “Could you please put on your socks?” and the subsequent NO). He actually told me to throw out his prized Star Wars figurines last night because I wanted him to take a bath.

  26. Sharon on April 21st, 2009 5:46 am

    Well said. I seem to fall into the overwhelmed trap more often than I’d like. My kids are 8 and 4 and I still have to remind myself constantly that the tough stuff is temporary.

  27. Eric's Mommy on April 21st, 2009 5:53 am

    It’s so hard when it comes to bad moments and good moments. You want the bad moments to fly by and the good moments to last forever, when they both come and go just as quick.

    I think about this when my Son wants to play the same game for the millionth time and I am getting annoyed. In a few years he probably won’t want to play with me anymore, he may not even want to be SEEN with me! So when he is annoying, sick and miserable or just being a DB, I know it will pass, it always does, it just sucks going through it.

  28. Christie on April 21st, 2009 6:10 am

    Ok…completely off topic…how do you keep your wood/laminate floors shiny???? We have 2 dogs and have tried EVERYTHING and no shine…just blah…PLEASE share your secret!

  29. She Likes Purple on April 21st, 2009 7:10 am

    Man, I’m failing at this myself (just two months in). I keep thinking once we’ve figured out how to get him down for a long nap that he’ll take long naps FOREVER. And when he sleeps more than five hours at a time, we’ve hit the jackpot and he’ll be sleeping through the night FOREVER. I’m quickly and easily reminded that I’m a total idiot, but when you work so hard at something it’s hard to remember the payoff won’t last longer than a day/hour/split second.

  30. kath on April 21st, 2009 7:12 am

    One of my sister’s kids, backed me into a corner wielding an unwieldy yard stick. I couldn’t grab it and the more I squealed and laughed the harder he swung it. He wasn’t much bigger than Dylan and I was trapped. He’s 30 and has his own kids now.

  31. Trenches of Mommyhood on April 21st, 2009 7:13 am

    “The only constant in parenting is the inconsistency.”


  32. Diane on April 21st, 2009 7:16 am

    Loved the video and that is the most adorable boy ever….or at least since Riley was that age and just as adorable.

  33. Kristina on April 21st, 2009 7:24 am

    Waiting for Guffman…classic. Every time I hear the word nihilist I think of The Big Lebowski….”No, Donny, these men are nihilists. There’s nothing to be afraid of.” BTW – Your boys are too cute!

  34. Sarah on April 21st, 2009 8:07 am

    I think we all fall into the trap of forgetting how inconsistent it is. I myself wonder on a daily basis if I truly have the patience to be a parent, period…much less a parent to three!!

  35. Andrea on April 21st, 2009 8:41 am

    Seriously. I know. In the hazy newborn days I was convinced the crying and pooping would never end. Now, I’m in the incredibly pleasant happy but not yet mobile stage and I LOVE it. But…I know it’s about to end and the next stage will come with it’s own ups and downs. I think you do a great job of having perspective when one of your kiddo’s is in a challenging phase. At least it’s not both at the same time!

  36. angie on April 21st, 2009 12:41 pm

    Not sure where you are, but pertussis/whooping cough is going around here. Most kids are vaccinated, but there are enough cases that our pediatricians are sending out emails.

  37. MelV on April 21st, 2009 1:14 pm

    OH have I been there with the weeping to the husband with worry that the boy will grow up to be that miserable a-hole b/c seriously! how can someone be so miserable and HATE everything and the world is oppressing him, and just general WOE! I guess its at least nice to know im not the only one dealing with that.

    And that video? Precious!

  38. Sarah @ BecomingSarah.com on April 21st, 2009 4:09 pm

    The only constant in parenting is the inconsistency?

    And with that, I cry.

  39. Jess on April 21st, 2009 4:51 pm

    Re: the ID that a 3 y.o. needs to fly is nothing, my 5 y.o. needed a passport to go overseas but in-states you are fine. Have fun!!

  40. Jenny on April 21st, 2009 6:30 pm

    When my mother-in-law asks me which child she wants me to take with her to the store I have to stop and think really hard about it. One week my daughter is the easy child, because she’s all capable and stuff, then the next week my son is because he’s not all shrieky and can’t really talk. Finally my mother-in-law just will give me a look like “It’s not rocket science” and makes the decision for me.

  41. Tash on April 21st, 2009 7:21 pm

    Adorable video. And yes, they’re all just moments, but we’ve all felt that way.

    And incidentally – are your books colour coordinated? (sorry, wasn’t scoping out your house, Was just so pleasantly surprised to see all those books.. love a house with books.. and then it hit me – colour coordinated!!

  42. Jasie VanGesen on April 22nd, 2009 8:55 am

    duuuuuuuuuuuude. Love the waiting for guffman reference.

  43. Jasie VanGesen on April 22nd, 2009 8:57 am

    “The only constant in parenting is the inconsistency, and you’d sure think I’d know that by now but I keep falling into the trap of thinking that whatever stage we’re in is going to last forever, even with so much empirical evidence to the contrary. I think this is my biggest shortcoming in motherhood, that I’m so easily overwhelmed by the moment and so often unable to remember that it is, in fact, a moment, soon to be gone forever.”

    And also… this. 100 times over, this. Also my downfall.

  44. victoria on April 22nd, 2009 9:55 am

    I just read your recent Tweets. You are hilarious.

  45. camilel on April 22nd, 2009 2:07 pm

    Loved the part about the current stage being FOREVER. You’d make a good Buddhist — at least you are IN the moment (maybe too much sometimes). I feel ya, lady.

    Mom of 16-month-old.

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