Tuesday, April 30, 2013

When Travis Travels

Last week, Travis went out of town.
And unlike past trips, when the boys were just sad and clingy the whole time, this time after a day of his absence, they were angry.
And the person they were angry at was me.

They were so frustrated and mad that I had allowed Travis to leave, that all day long was Mom-Punishment-Time.
If we were with other people, they were temporarily distracted, but the moment it was just us: meltdown time.
Screaming, flailing, kicking, punching. They slapped me in the face, grabbed handfuls of my neck with their fingernails and pulled off pieces of my skin, they grabbed objects with heft and swung them at my head.
And all the while they screamed. SO MUCH SCREAMING.
I half-carried, half-dragged these shrieking, biting, thrashing children back to the car from the park, and unable to completely contain myself, definitely screamed a bit myself, including things like,  "IF YOU PUNCH ME AGAIN YOU WILL SERIOUSLY RERET IT!"
After another 15 minutes of wrestling them into the car (and getting a gouge on my face that drew blood from their fingernails). We finally made it home.
I left the car widows down, so our neighbors could hear the shrieking of my banshees.
We got out of the car, the boys broke from my hold so they could lie face down in the middle of the hot street and continue screaming.
I carried our bags in and then the boys one at a time, lying them down in the same position on the floor so they could continue their screams uninterrupted.
Every once and a while, someone would scream a word, like "MILK" and to be helpful (and possibly shut the demons up), I would fetch a milk in their favorite cup.
Then they would tear the lid off and chuck their sippy cup at me with all the strength they could muster.
Why is dealing with 15 little tantrums a day so much easier than dealing with two hour-long tantrums a day?

I thought it was going to be so much easier to be home alone with the boys for a week now than it was when they were babies.
I mean, they don't get up in the night (oh, they do when Travis is gone. They wake up to cry, "Daddy! Daddy!") and they are easy to feed (False: they went on a hunger strike) and they no longer insist on being held all day every day (oh, wrong again. And now combined they make up half my body weight. It stinks to hold them both.)

I love newborns so much. I love their hot, heavy weight on my chest. I love the way you have to work for those smiles, so they're unbelievably precious. I even love that pathetic mewling cry that isn't manipulative or angry, just sad or hungry or scared.
But newborns are hard, especially when there are two of them.

Our days have gotten shorter and easier in almost every way as the boys have gotten older. They're easy to feed (I don't need to sit for forty minutes with a baby on each breast six times a day, nor do I need to buy and measure and warm formula and aren't there any clean bottles?). Now I can just hand them each a sandwich and an applesauce. Done.
They're easier to entertain (no more constant bouncing, singing, jingling, and shaking for an hour in the backseat.) Now I just hand them each an iPhone.
They're easier to put to bed (I haven't bounced a screaming baby in a dark bathroom while counting to a thousand in over a year). All I have to do now is put the boys in bed, half-heartedly sing them a lullaby, and give them each a few kisses through the bars of the crib.

But there is one thing that is so much harder about toddlers, and it is this: They are smarter. They are more aware. And they have opinions about what's happening.
And when things aren't going the way they'd like, they put up a fight.

Oh my gosh. Welcome home Travis. Never leave us again.

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Polly said...

Thanks for outlining how things go down when Travis is gone. It will help me make an informed decision when you guys want to leave together and have me watch the boys for a week.

Sarah said...

Oh my - what a week you had!!!

Glad you survived!

Shayla said...

I UNDERSTAND! I had three at once...they are five...we still have crazy days. :)

Unknown said...

I am so sorry. That sounds terrible. My 17 month old will hit sometimes or pull my hair.. and I assumed it was a phase because he can't talk. Yikes. I hope it doesn't go like this...