Thank you for the ideas/commiseration on Dylan’s sleep issues. Sometimes it’s just immensely helpful to hear “oh my god, my kid does that too, and it SUCKS”, you know? JB reads my comments too, and I think we both breathe a giant sigh of relief when we learn that whatever parental challenge we’re struggling with is not unusual and that other people are in the same boat and we’re all frantically bailing water while looking for the goddamned hole.

Dylan slept through the night last night but woke up, as usual, way before any normal human would choose to start their day, so I went and brought him to bed with us. This always seems like a good idea, and at first he’s a dream. He snuggles belly to belly on top of one of us, usually JB, and all is cozy and comfortable and warm and loving, until out of nowhere he jerks his head upright and brightly announces, “HORSE!” Then he’s off and running:

“Horse! Neiggggh. Cow. Cow. Moooo! DUCK. DUCK. DUCK. Donkeys. DONKEYS! Sheep.”

(Despite how I make him sound he doesn’t actually communicate exclusively via farm-speak, but it sure seems to be a conversation starter for him. I can imagine him at a toddler cocktail party, wearing a wee little bowtie and accepting a sippy cup from a passing waiter, then turning to his companion and chirping, “So . . . HORSE?”)

Once he gets started with the Naming of the Animals, all is lost; he’s all over the bed and joyously sticking his grimy little fingers deep into our eyesockets. At that point Riley usually comes padding out of his bedroom and climbs up and we endure maybe 5 more minutes of total physical chaos before the blankets are on the floor, both kids are crying about something, and JB and I are bolting for the coffeemaker.

I’ve never particularly wanted to co-sleep past the newborn stage, but then again I’ve never really had the opportunity to give it a try. Both boys have always acted like they regard our bed as a thinly disguised ball pit, even in the dead of night. I think I remember one time when Riley slept with me when he was little and sickly and JB was out of town, but I woke up at the exact moment he was happily starting to roll off the edge of the mattress, and hoo boy. Never again.

I was thinking how our mornings seem extra crazy lately—starting with the Great Family Bed Fail and moving immediately into the breakfast madness which involves Riley acting sullen and grumpy until the first Honey Nut Cheerio hits his system and Dylan saying “Waffle? Waffle? Waffle? Waffle? Waffle? Cook? Cook? Cook? Cook? Cook? Hot? Hot? Hot? Hot? Hot? Hot? WAFFLE? WAFFLE? WAFFLE?” until I think I’m going to go slap out of my damn mind at which point Riley inevitably sighs with great put-upon drama and wonders out loud why no one got him anything to drink—but the truth is, EVERYTHING is crazy. Mornings, afternoons, dinners, naptimes, bedtimes, it’s all shouting galloping couch-jumping shrieking open-mouthed-chewing craziness all the time, and while I obviously wouldn’t trade it for the world I think it’s one of those parenthood truths you really cannot imagine until you’re in it: the peace and quiet in your life is going to go away. Altogether. Except maybe between the hours of their bedtime and yours, which you will come to defend like a starving buzzard hunkered over a flattened, steaming chunk of roadkill.

Such is life with kids, though. It’s loud and there are many bodily substances. It’s basically like belonging to a fraternity, where your roommates spend their time hazing you, barfing, and screwing with your sleep. It’s steeped in ritual and there are songs. Also, you will forever have something in common with your fellow members, which is one of the things that makes it all survivable.

Well, that, and . . . you know. The children.

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teralyne
teralyne
12 years ago

Totally cute and totally right on.

Becky
Becky
12 years ago

seriously you have a camera on my house right?

Pete
Pete
12 years ago

Once again, as fun as this sounds I am so glad my kids are past that stage. My wife will on occasion mention adopting a little girl. My response is always “Really, with who”

Kristy
12 years ago

This morning I spent 3 hours alone drinking a hot cup of tea trolling the Internet and the solitude…was loneliness. I would love to trade with you…to make waffles for toddlers…divine.

Eric's Mommy
Eric's Mommy
12 years ago

So true. My son is 7 now, so it isn’t AS crazy, but I do remember those days.

beach
beach
12 years ago

I know you’re probably thinking”Shut up lady” when you read my comment….but, sigh, you will look back and miss these crazy times. I LOVE reading your in depth family posts because it brings me back.You have a wonderful family!

Maria
12 years ago

I wish that someone had told me all this before we had our own kids…but even then I don’t know if I would have truly believed it until I lived it myself. And man, are we ever living it ourselves.

jonniker
12 years ago

HAHAHAH. Maria. Everyone told me, and though I believed them, I didn’t really BELIEVE them until I had my own. Now, I believe everything, and it’s much easier to envision past whatever stage we’re in, and that includes the effing madness of toddlers and two kids, whereas we only have one, and a baby at that.

But still.

And Linda, I have to admit I’m HOWLING at Riley and his sullen pissiness before the Cheerios. And the drink! HA. He’s like a grumpy old man before his coffee.

Gleemonex
12 years ago

Substitute “smoke detector,” “Vader” (as in Darth), and “yogurt,” for some of the animal words, and that’s what we’ve got here. I wish we could do the everybody-snuggle at 5:00 a.m. (OH MY SHATNER! IT BURNS! IT BURRRRNNNNS!), but once Kid Gleemonex is awake IT IS TIME TO FUCKING PARTY YOU LAZY BITCHEZZZ! Love this life, love this kid, but oh I do miss precious wonderful sleeping-past-7:00-EVER.

McKenna
McKenna
12 years ago

“…shouting galloping couch-jumping shrieking open-mouthed-chewing craziness all the time,…” Yep, that’s my life. Of course, I also have 2 boys about the age of yours. I understand from friends that their girls tend to be a bit more low-key…I gotta wonder, what’s that like?

Christen
12 years ago

Love toddler cocktail chat. Imagine Dylan, saying, “Horse?” And my 2-year-old Grayson replying, “Garage door up!”

Korinna
12 years ago

Oh, the hours between his bedtime and mine. That alone sometimes keeps me from going on evening dates with the Husband.

“No! I want to sit on the couch! Wearing no pants! Eating Fruit Loops!”

I instead encourage a late afternoon date; that time of day where I start to lose my marbles and wonder when it’s all going to come to a close.

Veronica
Veronica
12 years ago

I have a few remaining friends who are happily single with no children. When they get peeved about why I can’t just go hang out for this or that I will be tempted to send them this brilliant post and highlight “like a starving buzzard hunkered over a flattened, steaming chunk of roadkill.” I will then pick up the phone to call them and once again quote, “Like a fuckin’ STARVING buzzard okay! (silent pause) OKAY????” You think I kid. I do not.

Heather
12 years ago

SO my husband wonders why I stay up until Midnight. I should go to bed, sleep, and all that. But…the SILENCE…oh it is so wonderful I feel like I need to just sit and marinate in it and once I go to sleep…the NOISE just starts again all too soon. “Steaming chunk of roadkill” indeed.

jens
jens
12 years ago

you are so goddam funny, I just want to hug you! I just wanted to say how I always think co-sleeping sounds so warm and fuzzy, usually around 3 am when I want nothing more than to crawl back under the covers and SLEEP. and there were times it was, times that were precious, with that little peachfuzz head under my chin. but moreso it’s like you said- the kids think it’s a ballpit. Even when they were babies there was scratching and kicking and hello- biting. And the time between their bedtime and mine? DONT GET NEAR IT. DONT MESS IT UP. DON”T TALK TO ME. MY TIME. GRUNT. URGH.

Kami Lewis Levin
12 years ago

My husband is all, “why do you get so stressed out? They’re just crying. It’s not like their dying or anything.” And I’m all, “if your name was Mommy and you were the constant source of one or the other small person’s unhappiness, you’d be stressed the fuck out too. Now please, make the fucking kids their damned oatmeal already!”

Stacy
12 years ago

I have to laugh at the comment about families with girls being more low key. I wish! My girls are just as bat-shit crazy in the AM, but substitute all the farm animals for purses and princesses. My 4 yr old does the same pouty pre-breakfast routine while the 16 mo old is running around going nuts pulling every possible thing imaginable from the cabinets/toy boxes until I put her in her high chair (thank god for the straps on that thing) and start throwing food at her. Add a hyper lab into the mix and I would say our mornings (while I wouldn’t trade for the world) are less than low key.

And how I wish I had kids who would snuggle in bed! Our little one is up at 5 and if I bring her in with us, lasts two seconds before i get a finger up my nose/in my ear/eye/whatever to wake me back up. Then the giggles, then the kicking, rolling, high-diving off the mattress.

Think typical boys, just higher pitched.

Kaitlyn
12 years ago

So true! Thus is the difference between having a toddler and a baby and having two toddlers, life gets crazy nuts! Loud, busy, obnoxious… but so wonderful (especially after they’re in bed :)

Hillary
12 years ago

OMG, so you want commiseration? The Boy, 20 mos, sounds like this EVERY morning:
Up! Eat! Eat! Eat! Eat! Nana! Eat nana! Milk! Cake! Cake! Cake Cake! Cake! Cake! etc

This goes on until the damn pancake is out of the toaster oven. And lord help us if there are no pancakes. I love him, but I will admit to telling him on at least one occasion that if he didn’t SHUT IT he was not getting the god forsaken cake.

Dana
12 years ago

Yeah, the “girls are low key” comment made me laugh too. I only have one, and she’s 18 months, but she is slowly KILLING ME. I swear to god before she was born I had lovely bouncy healthy BROWN hair and now? I see grays the day after I dye it. My daughter is so bad at times, I get dirty looks from other parents in WALMART. Walmart, people. We just got back from a 5 day trip where I was surprised that St. Thomas didn’t KICK US OUT. Seriously, like “leave our island, assholes. And take that pain in the ass screaming kid with you.” And I am no longer welcome in Best Buy.

I turn 33 next month and I feel like I’m 63. It’s all Leah’s fault.

Oh, and of course, I love her she’s great wouldn’t trade her for the world disclaimer-cakes.

Cookie
12 years ago

This totally sounds like life at my house. Nick eyes every food suspiciously and asks hot hot hot, until I answer. Even if he’ already picked up the food and licked it he needs me to give him an answer. Gabe likes to do the I’m dying of thirst thing, which never makes me want to hurry up with the drink.

Robin
Robin
12 years ago

You are so right, having kids is like being in a fraternity. You totally need to make t-shirts with “Kappa Babble Upchuck” on them.

Mary
Mary
12 years ago

My dad used to compare walking into the house after work at 5 to “walking into a buzz saw.” I could never understand what he was talking about, it didn’t seem that bad as a participant. Later, as a mother, there were many evenings when the husband came home to find me in tears. There was just. so. much. noise.

These days, the teenagers don’t talk as much, and they manage themselves for the most part and everything is so. much. better. They also like to sleep until noon. Hang in there.

joaaanna
joaaanna
12 years ago

Wait. You said ‘open-mouthed-chewing’? Oh ew. Ok – I gotta rethink this whole trying-to-have-a-kid thing.

The cuteness makes up for it, right? RIGHT?!

Tina G
Tina G
12 years ago

You have such a way of distilling life with kids right down to it’s truest essence. My own mother calls me at DINNERTIME. or, better yet, KID’s BEDTIME and wonders why I am stressed, or can’t chat. To top it off, she ponders aloud “why is she dictating your every waking moment?” “what do you mean you have to lay down with her?” etc, etc.
I have a college-aged one as well, and yup- it all gets better soon enough and then-POOF- they’re grown up.

Wiffany
Wiffany
12 years ago

This is my life lately. My kids are about the same age as yours and they have lost their damn minds. My oldest son does this moutnh-noises thing… are you familiar with that? WOOHOO WOOHOO UNGH UNGH. MOM I’M A FIRETRUCK. WAHAHAHAHAHA NOW I’M A POLICE CAR! This goes on all.day.long. He also has these random spurts of energy that cause him to spontaneously stand on his head (I wish I were kidding) then sprint across the house. My youngest, a girl, is very sweet and cuddly, but also the most demanding human I have ever encountered. She wants pickles NOW GODDAMNIT! If I don’t snap to fast enough she slaps the hardwoods with her palm and then cries because, well what do you know, that hurt. If I accidentally put juice in her cup when she wants milk- cup goes flying, then her head meets the floor in temper tantrum mode. I… am losing my mind. Not even slowly, but very rapidly. God help us all. MOUTH NOISES TEMPER TANTRUMS HEAD STANDS FUCK.

Nhalia
Nhalia
12 years ago

I second the t-shirt printing of “Kappa Babble Upchuck”. I would so wear that. Put your blog addy on the back. Free advertisement ;)

Kate
12 years ago

Oh my gosh, the NOISE. The incessant, being-pecked-to-death-by-ducks at varying speeds and levels, NOISE. The ungodly hours at which they wake up. Oh my. Yes, it’s all very crazy. And now that I have one in school and the other in preschool (and work until midnight) mornings have a new level of unpleasantness. And tiredness.

But, like sands through the hourglass, these are the days of our lives.

Sharla
Sharla
12 years ago

Love the t-shirt idea too!

spacegeek
spacegeek
12 years ago

Not to mention then there is the husband LOUD TV and pawing at me. Two toddlers, I want a princess dress I want a princess dress I want a princess dress. Mommy mommy I’m talking to YOU. OMG The fucking noise.

And my husband says too “Why are you so stressed out?” Because every minute of the day someone NEEDS me!!! All I want is to be left alone.

Kristi
12 years ago

This may be the best sentence ever written:

“Except maybe between the hours of their bedtime and yours, which you will come to defend like a starving buzzard hunkered over a flattened, steaming chunk of roadkill.”

I’ve come to think of children like Labs – the longer you have them the more you get used to them, and you then become Zen Master of Chaos in your own little 3-ring circus!

Donna
Donna
12 years ago

My two oldest grandkids, both boys, are like 18 months apart, and on a long road trip had all their little animals out and the oldest was doing all the noises, bark meow neigh moo baa gobble, ad nauseum, and the little one who didn’t talk for a long time because he couldn’t get a word in edgewise with the older one was completely silent. And then out of no where, he holds up his one, one little animal, a frog, and goes, IBBIT! I thought I’d die. It was the cutest thing ever.
But trying to let them sleep with you was like sleeping with swamp rats. Feet in your mouth, thumb in your eye, falling off the bed.
And some of the best memories I could ever have in my life…..and will be in yours too.

Jessica Contreras
12 years ago

HAHA! Evelyn will happily stick her fingers in our eyes and scream “EYE!” if we so much as let her into bed with us. Totally get the grubby eye poking thing.

Ashlea
12 years ago

Noise eh? Open-mouth chewing kids? Screaming and running around pulling on eachother making each other cry? Giant strollers/SUVS that the kids are sitting in crying? Full Arcade with NO VOLUME level? ‘You’ve got a friend in me’ on Repeat? All day?

WELCOME TO TOY STORY PIZZA PLANET AT DISNEY’S HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS AT THE WALT DISNEY WORLD RESORT.

I totally work there. Every Day. You can imagine my hell. Also – I have to deal with parents. Sorry but you bunch are not a very happy lot. Some are, some are awesome.. but damn. I do not want kids. At the same time: I FEEL YOUR PAIN.. and I admire your bravery at keep the human population strong.

Christy
Christy
12 years ago

Yes, it IS loud and filled with bodily substances. Excellent description. Sometimes (a lot of time) I stay up later than I should because of the quiet. So nice and quiet.

Megan
Megan
12 years ago

“So…HORSE?” I’ve been cracking up at that all night.

Helen
12 years ago

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBu_yXGF2Uw
That song gets me every time, I have 2 ‘litters’ and every time I get crazy with my littlies ( 6, 8 and 9) I look at the biggers ( 20, 22 and 24) and cry at how fast they stopped being little. The worst times somehow become the best memories.

danielle
danielle
12 years ago

I too am at the Life is Chaos stage of parenting. I’m watching my home and belonging slowly dissolve into grubby piles of child aftermath. However, I’ll gladly take this phase over the ever-looming teen years. Oh, Teen Agnst! How I dread thee!

Jessamyn
Jessamyn
12 years ago

This is TOTALLY like Katie: “Riley inevitably sighs with great put-upon drama and wonders out loud why no one got him anything to drink…” Except her wording is usually, “I guess everyone is going to have something to drink EXCEPT ME….” And then I knock her block off. Ha! It’s total chaos around here, too. The chaos is definitely better when everyone’s sleeping through the night most of the time, though, so I hope you get that soon!

Tia
Tia
12 years ago

You hit it the nail right on the head. Ours is between 5-6am, belly to belly and I’m all this kid is so great to him screaming for SHREK, DONKEY, SHREK, DONKEY. Or DONE, DONE! Like he’s a freaking robot that is stuck on repeat. Here’s to a good night’s sleep :)

Melissa
Melissa
12 years ago

Dead on – my house is nothing but screaming and yelling, it seems, at all times. Love your comparison to a fraternity. We’ve been having similiar issues with sleeping as well and the mornings sound exactly the same. My problem is that I’m 10 weeks pregnant and have been dry heaving into the kitchen sink while my husband is running for the coffeemaker and the kids are just nuts. Which makes me wonder why I got myself into this condition…:).

Kelly
Kelly
12 years ago

I have a girl (4.5) and twin boys (15 mos) – yeah – you are pretty much describing my house every morning. Particularly the forlorn, put-upon way my daughter mentions that no one got her a drink or my favorite “I’M SITTING AT THE TABLE BY MYSELF!!!!” Um, yes, darling, that’s because I’m engaged in a WWE cage match with the twins because I’m changing Brother1’s poopy diaper. Brother1 is PISSED that I’m changing his diaper and Brother2 would like to see what all the fuss is about. I’m fending off 4 small hands all desperately trying to get at the poop while Brother1 has managed to lift his entire body off the floor balancing only on his head in an effort to roll away and thwart my diaper change. I apologize for leaving you at the table alone, my princess.

Ah, children. There are MANY reasons why god made them so stinkin cute.

Christina
12 years ago

Oh this is fun. I think we should make a Kappa Babble Upchuck sign which would look like what? I have no idea but I do like the idea of a secret handshake.

On a serious note, there are times where I feel like “the fuck? this is my life. HALP!” Then I remember that this is not going to last forever and when it is gone we will be left looking at one another over the tops of our books wondering why life is SO dang boring and what not.

Mind you I have BIG plans to travel the planet at some point in the future so this boredom thing might occur in say Turkey or Spain but still… one day it will all be different. So that one day may be 15 years from now but it will inevitably happen and when I remember that things will not always be so chaotic and I try to just enjoy the insanity.

Karen
Karen
12 years ago

“Except maybe between the hours of their bedtime and yours, which you will come to defend like a starving buzzard hunkered over a flattened, steaming chunk of roadkill.”

Even when my kids got older, this is exactly how I felt about my early morning hour, before I had to awaken them for school.

Marie Green
12 years ago

Yes, I’m nodding as I read, this is EXACTLY what it’s like. Oh, the noise is.. it’s, well, incredible. Sometimes I have to insist that everyone just BE QUIET for 10 seconds. And then they do, but somewhere around second 9 they all start again in full force and I just want to curl up in a ball with some earplugs.

But then, someone says or does something funny or cute or, let’s be honest, MEAN and then I’m back in the game. Mommy.

pam
pam
12 years ago

that toddler mocktail party sounds fun.

SART
SART
12 years ago

Ha! We’re always forgetting to give our 4.5 year old a drink. So much so that he’s resigned himself to going and grabbing the nearest foot stool, climbing up to the cabinet where we keep the kid cups, grabbing a cup and filling it with water from the fridge dispenser. All the while shooting us a death glare that screams “You fail at parenting.”

I want to blame it on his 2 month old kid sister, but this has been going on a lonnnng time. I can’t wait to the chaos that awaits when I go back to work in 2 weeks. Gah.

Joanna
Joanna
12 years ago

“Except maybe between the hours of their bedtime and yours, which you will come to defend like a starving buzzard hunkered over a flattened, steaming chunk of roadkill.”

This is me. Last night I kept hearing a 3-year-old talking during House Hunters and couldn’t figure out why it was so disconcerting. Until I realized that it my son up past his bedtime standing next to me. HGTV past 7:30 at night is MY time so hit the hay kid.

sheilah
12 years ago

Oh, yes, I love that time between his bedtime and mine (both hubby & son) b/c I do love to sit alone and gnaw my roadkill in silence ALONE.

Tara
Tara
12 years ago

This post really says it all. I feel like I need to send it to all my parent friends, because it’s just that dead-on.

We have had the honor? punishment? of our 4-year-old sleeping with us a couple of times, either due to recurring nightmares or loud thunderstorms. When this happens, one parent gets a great night of sleep, while the other deals with kid feet in their stomach or groin area all night. I would have thought a king-size bed is plenty big enough for two medium-size adults and a child, but apparently not. Good times.