Thursday, July 28, 2011

You take the good, you take the bad...

My babies turned 16 months yesterday.

It's a strange dichotomy of both it's only been 16 months? and how has 16 months gone by so quickly?

This age is fun. Slightly less awesome than 14 months, simply because we are dealing with more independence and strong wills than we saw just two short months ago.

I titled this post as such because it's true. Some days in this job are very hard, but it's all worth it. I'd chose it all again.


I write about the hard stuff because it's real life. It's not because I just like complaining or because I've forgotten how blessed I am. It's because I feel it's important to be honest. Both so I can remember when these days are far behind us, and in an effort to never even pretend to give off the impression that things are perfect and we've got it all figured out over here.
When we first brought the twins home and I was in UTTER SHOCK at how hard everything was, I found honest-mom-blogs to be few and far between. Which only made me feel certain that something must really be wrong with me. Once I realized that wasn't the case, I vowed to always be honest about my struggles in motherhood. And I've made some amazing, encouraging friends in the process.

So, the challenging stuff. There have been tantrums. Some big ones. And some strong wills. It's funny...I pray my children have strong, independent personalities...just not when it opposes with what I want them to do...=).

There are days where I feel like I say "no" a thousand times more than I say "yes". And as often as I try and phrase things more towards the positive..."we sit on the couch", frustration often sets in and I'm saying (in a louder tone than I am proud of) "NO STANDING ON THE COUCH!". They are into EVERYTHING. Especially Lucas. That boy is just sooooo busy. I was looking at an old ultrasound picture the other day, where Luke -even at 13 weeks in utero- was blurry as Abbey sat still. The same is true today. He is constantly in motion. And constantly keeping me on my toes...he brought me a book of matches the other day, proving to me that he can now reach into the top kitchen drawers. Ai yi yi.

I took them to a new park the other day, and in the 60 seconds it took me to get Abbey strapped back into the stroller to head home, Luke had climbed to the second tier of the giant play structure and aiming for the top.

I do love his curious and determined spirit - as much as it exhausts me sometimes - and I know God will use it for so much good in his lifetime.

Abbey is not nearly as busy, and is so content to just play quietly next to me. But she sure can be dramatic. When she wants something she can't have...prepare yourself. She will let you know her displeasure, to the point of sheer panic. The first few times it happened I worried a medical event was occurring, like she was having a seizure or something! She can take a long, long time to recover from such fits, and it's hard for me to know when I should try and help her get over it and when that's just making it worse and I need to just let her work it out on her own.

I find myself asking those kinds of questions often. Like, really often. There have been so many challenging days lately where my patience wears thin and I am just worn out by the time evening rolls around. I want very much to be a consistent parent and teach my children that obedience is expected...but sometimes it can be hard to reconcile my heart at night that being a Momma isn't all about snuggles and laughter and fun memories. So much of my days lately involve re-direction, distraction, and discipline. And it's hard.

But it's a job. Parenthood is a job. It's a relationship, sure. It can be very rewarding and very fulfilling. And when it's neither, I have to trust that my consistency now will be rewarding later.

There is so much good as well.

I was on my Moms of Multiples Group forum the other night, and a momma with 18 month old twins was lamenting how the second year was so much harder than the first. Now I may only be four months into year two, but so far I COMPLETELY disagree! Yes, this age has it's challenges, and yes they used to just stay on the floor where I put them...but now they SLEEP!!!! Seriously, maybe she had some of those infants I'm always hearing about who sleep through the night at 8 weeks or something. But mine didn't. And as much as I do have many, many fond memories of my babies early days, I enjoy them so much more now that I can function properly. Sure, I may be worn out by the time bedtime comes these days, but having my toddlers sleep 11-13 hours each night gives me time to re-coupe for the next days challenges.

And they interact with us. They seriously crack us up all the time! They have these hilarious little personalities and beam with pride when they make us laugh. And they are so smart and eager to learn. They know more signs than I can count and absolutely love to be quizzed on them. Sometimes even mid-meltdown you can say "show me 'cracker'" and they'll stop crying and sign it with a big grin on their face!

They also play together more and more, which is endearing. They are buddies, and it warms our hearts so much. They look out for each other, and it's so sweet to watch the different ways they show their love. As we settle in before nap time, Abbey has taken to laying across my legs while I stroke her hair. Luke takes his position in the crook of my arm, and he'll gently pat Abbey's head as well...melts me!

We are still pretty much on two naps a day, with one nap days still only occurring occasionally.

They are getting better at using forks and spoons, and are SO proud of these new skills!!

They've become interested in really sitting for Baby Signing Time and Play With Me Sesame. I'm not even gonna lie, it's wonderful. Try not to judge me. They will sit contently for 20+ minutes before losing interest, and it's precious time to me when I need to get something done without their "help".

There are many, many fun things happening in our house these days. I love that I can ask the kids "do you want to go to the park?" and they get all excited and run to get their shoes. I love that they are signing please and thank you, often without having to be reminded. I love the way a mischievous grin creeps across their faces as they duck down behind the coffee table and wait for us to ask "where'd they go?", and I love it even more when they pop up and scream to announce their hiding spot. I love their smiles and the way they run towards me with open arms when they need comfort, or even just want a hug.

I love being their Momma.


Once Upon A Time said...

In most ways, Luke and Abbey are just like Sam and Anna. Two differences- 20 minutes of sitting still for Baby Signing Time??? Wowza, is all I can say about that. I get a few minutes tops, but they love it on while they play and will often stop to watch as I try to re-engage them with the signs they show. And the 2 naps a day, of course.

Kendra, thanks for blogging just the way you do. Your words in your writing about hard stuff paragraph is exactly the way I feel, and what I write what I write. I find your posts about mommy-hood to be the real deal. Thank you.

Vanessa's Dad said...

You are a GREAT Momma.

David is a GREAT Daddy.

Luke & Abbey are WONDERFUL Kiddo's.

Enjoyed the photo's. Touched by the reflections of a Momma of Twins.

Grand Dad

Julia said...

I TOTALLY agree with you! The second year can never be as hard as the first was. Because you're right, when it's really hard, and I feel like I'm redirecting and disciplining constantly and they don't nap well, I know at the end of the day, they will go to sleep and sleep at 7, and sleep until at least 6:15. Praise God!

You did a great job of writing about parenting toddlers in a way that's authentic and real---thank you, Kendra!

Suzanne said...

OK, seriously. I think you & I were split at birth. Every post of yours is something I would write. Your kids have the same booster seats and your son is wearing the same plaid Target swim suit that my son has. Too funny!

And, every word you said is TRUE! :)

Julia said...

P.S. I say some variation of "Please sit on your bottom on the couch" about 79 times a day! So hard to say it in the same positive voice every.single.time! :)

Cool Grandma B said...

tHINGS ARE A LITTLE QUIET HERE RIGHT NOW SO FELT LIKE i could try to expierment a little. Hope it works.

Lacy said...

I have been a horrible blog commenter as of late, because I usually only have time to read blogs on my phone, but when I read this post, I HAD to get out the computer and comment!!!!!

Did I write this (other than the whole having twins part, lol?!) My goodness...I can TOTALLY relate on so many levels Kendra!!

While I feel, of course, SO COMPLETELY THANKFUL to have my beautiful son...being a momma is HARD too!! When you said you find yourself saying "no" a lot...that is me! I want so badly to be the best Mom I can for CJ, but he is so "busy" that it sometimes I feel like all I do is chase after him and try to correct the wrongs. And no judging here...we do Handy Manny and Mickey Mouse at our house. You need *some* alone time.

And I hope this doesn't come off the wrong way, but I was glad to hear that little girls aren't always perfect. When I see little girls sitting calmly next to their Moms, I think to myself "that must be EASY!" compared to the busy boy I have, so I was glad to hear your honesty that girls and boys are different and challenging in different ways.

Glad to see y'all are doing well!! Your son and daughter both are so beautiful and you are doing a GREAT job!! Thanks for a great post!!

Aunt Carol said...

I'm glad you love being a mom. Not being one myself, it's wonderful to get a realistic account of the ongoing adventures of motherhood.