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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bah Humbug

That is how I feel about Christmas right now. I was so excited to start our family tradition this year and finally enjoy a holiday. Thanksgiving was a success and it seemed we were over the hump of struggles. I was so wrong. We have entered into toddler stage. Rob and I excitedly loaded the kids into the van for our annual trip to the Tree Farm. We successfully got the kids there and back. While the kids were napping we decorated the tree and had it ready for when they woke up. It was so neat to see their reaction. They were in awe of it all. That lasted a few minutes before mission: "Destruction" was in play. Since then we have lost more ornaments than I can count.

The Christmas tree is supposed to jump start the holiday season and remind us of Jesus' birth. Unfortunately, the tree has had the opposite affect on me. It has reminded me the we are not a normal family and never will be. It has shown me that we are not getting past our struggles, but just entering into the toddler phase of struggles. I am really mad at my kids right now. That is allowed right? I mean every parent gets mad at their kids now and then. Granted, I know they don't know any better right now, but it doesn't take away my frustration of how life is going right now. But I will come back to that a little later in this post. First I will recap on my evening.

I decided to make a meatloaf for supper in an attempt to broaden the kids menu of foods. Keep in mind I am alone with the kids at least 75% of the time which means they have to be left alone sometimes. I was in the kitchen when I heard a crash. That noise seems to be happening all the time lately. I knew what it was right away. I headed around the corner to find Landon in the foyer with a shattered ornament at his feet. I walked over to him and proceeded to tell five toddlers not to touch the broken glass. Anyone with any common sense knows that they aren't going to listen. I had to leave the scene of the crime to get the broom and dustpan. I returned seconds later to find all five of them playing in it. Big Surprise!!! I proceeded to carefully remove the pieces from their hands. As I took what was in Peyton's hands and put it in the dustpan I noticed my hand was clammy. That is when I saw it. My hand was covered in blood. I knew I hadn't cut myself so I checked everyone and found Peyton's hand dripping. The cut was small but it sure bled. So, I held Peyton's hand trying to keep the blood from getting everywhere while I swept with the other hand and held the dustpan with my foot. Talk about multitasking. Once the mess was cleaned up I took Peyton to the bathroom. We cleaned his hands and mine. It was one of those cuts that won't stop bleeding and once it does it will start again if you move the skin. So, I had no choice but to put a band aid on it. I KNOW!!!! Kids won't keep band aids on. I had to try at least for a while till I could get the bleeding stopped. He did really well with it. By that time my meatloaf was overdone and I had to get it out of the oven.

While I was getting their plates ready I noticed that the kids were being really quiet. I walked around the corner to see what was going on. As you can see they don't listen to a thing I say. Might I add, that popcorn was strung and used on last years tree. That was it. I put them up to the table and got them ready for dinner. They won, I can't fight it anymore. Their safety has to come before my need for normalcy and tradition. After dinner, which they didn't eat, I proceeded to take the tree down. It is now bare in the front yard. I am so disappointed.

I love my kids more than life. They have been the most rewarding thing to happen to us. Very few people get to experience what we are and we wouldn't trade it for the world. BUT...our lives are absolutely nothing like we had planned. Everything is 100x harder than we ever thought it would be. I am tired...tired of cleaning, changing diapers, playing, cooking, doing laundry, and thinking. My brain hurts. Everything is so scheduled and planned. It has to be that way, but I am beat. Sometimes, I wish we could be normal. Normal people can have a Christmas tree. I wish the simple things in life were simple again. Nothing is simple...
Oh yeah, the band aid is gone. I'm sure whoever ate it will pass it in the next day or so.

22 comments:

Lauren said...

Oh Emily. My heart just aches for you. YES, I think you are allowed to be angry with your kids. I'm not a parent yet, but I can't think of a single parent I've known who hasn't been mad at his/her kids at some point in their lives. Is it possible to keep the tree in your bedroom? That way they don't have easy access to it, but it will at least be up in your room and you can see it when you wake up and go to bed at night ... what state do you live in? I'm sure the probability of you living *anywhere* near me is is very low, but man, I wish I was close so I could help out in some way. I keep up with your blog and I enjoy your candid sharing of motherhood much more than I can say. I think you are doing an incredible job of raising 5 beautiful, healthy, happy babies, and I don't think any of this would be worth it if it wasn't easy. Hang in there. I pray for you when I think of you and your family.

Kim said...

Somehow, I came across your blog. What cuties!

You know, I hate to see you guys without a tree :O(. Did you know that that gate you have up can be extended? They sell extension kits with 2 more panels, or you can even attach a whole other set. And I always see MANY being sold on Craigslist very reasonably. Perhaps if you extend it a bit, they will be further away and can't touch it :O).

Really, don't give yourself such a hard time.. it's not a 'quad' thing necessarily, it's something that everyone with toddlers faces.. with one or three or five. If the above solution doesn't work, how about a tabletop tree? Or one of the 'skinny' artificial variety? Surely there's another way!

Kim said...

Correct, 'quint' thing - sorry!!

Penelope said...

I couldn't read that and not comment!!!

I only have one toddler (well, she's almost three so not really a toddler anymore...sniff) but the past two Christmases we have sacrificed a big tree and just had a small one up on a table/sideboard, with unbreakable ornaments. Sure it's not the gorgeous tree I want, but it's still a tree so I can feel festive. I try and decorate the rest of the house instead...greenery along the top of windows/door frames, and put the ornaments on there instead. Or hang gorgeous ornaments on fishing line from windows. I saw a gorgeous tree the other day made by spraying fake snow in a tree shape on a window, then sticking baubles on it. THe tree does not have to be the be all and end all of Christmas decorating!

And OF COURSE you're allowed to be mad at your kids! It must feel like after all the effort to get your gorgeous kidlets, that you have to love them all the time and never be ungrateful, never complain because they are such miracles...well yes they are, but they're still kids! And motherhood is hard. Part of the reason for keeping a blog is so you can vent about these kind of things and not have to take it out on the kidlets.

I take my hat off to you, I think you're doing a fantastic job as a Mummy!

Jenny said...

Emily, i understand! We don't have a tree this year for a few reasons 1) i have 16 mos old quads that CAN NOT resist the tempatation 2) we have NO ROOM to put it up and still be able to play 3) it WOULD get eaten in know it 4) did i say i have quads? that are walking and climbing and LOVE to knock things over!
so anyway. it's not decorated here at all...i just don't feel like doing it if i'm not going to get the tree out. we go and visit gma and gpa's alot so...
love ya. hope you get some peace!!
jenny

Joanne said...

I read your blog from time to time, and my heart resonated with this post. No, I don't have quints, but I do have a 15-month old daughter that was diagnosed with diabetes two days after her first birthday. Nobody (except the very few who have walked my path) understands what my husband and I go through. The finger pricks, the shots, the carb counting, eating on schedule, the ketone testing... it is so very overwhelming and there are days that I want to walk away from it all. But we don't, do we? Because they mean the world to us. There are days when I completely forget what joy feels like, but then my daugher smiles, or hugs me and I remember.

I hope your joy is restored, and it's okay to feel "done". You wouldn't be human if you didn't feel that way.

Tightening the Corset Again said...

*hugs* I have three boys... they're big now.... but the youngest has Asperger's Syndrome. He's highly intelligent, 14 years old, beautiful and charming and supposed to be capable of staying by himself for a few hours at a time... but today I came home to find that he had scattered a bag of mini-marshmallows around the living room. Why? He was throwing them at the cat? Why throw them at the cat? He doesn't know. I wanted to toss him out the door... it's a small thing compared to parenting toddler quints.... but I get where you're coming from. Praying for you right this minute!
*hugs*
heather

Trish said...

It's okay to be human and get angry .
It is okay to be 'over it' some days no matter how much you love your kids.
My twins (dare I whinge) are 2 yrs 5 months and they keep knopcking my tree over, breaking ornaments and taking them off the tree (it is up on a table too) so they climb on top .
Arghh...you are an awesome mum.I am in awe of you with quints.

Take care of yourself and have a merry kiss mess' x 5 and a huggy new year.
I can just imagine Christmas mornming at your place with all those smiles too.

Anonymous said...

Have you thought about having the tree with just a string of lights? Or I have heard of people taking the christmas cards they receive, punching a hole in them and putting them up on the tree. No harm if they eat a card. =)

Anonymous said...

Hang in there...I know it's tough...but we have our own personal reason's why Christmas is hard from year to year. This year it's because Christmas was all centered around Mason w/him being due on the 21st. It was really tough getting those decorations up...but I had to do it for Crystal and for me because of my love for Christmas. One of these days you'll look back and laugh and wish you could have this time back again.
I remember Crystal's 1st Christmas and I was soooo afraid of her getting into that tree. We got the tree up w/lights and ornaments and of course she wanted to touch them...but she learned when she almost pulled the tree down on top of her not to touch them. I could never not put a tree up though because in front of the Christmas tree is where she took her 1st steps w/me and Jeremy there.
So...hang in there and enjoy. And remember that no nobody or family is "normal".

:-) Kali

midlife mommy said...

I know how hard it is with just one -- I can't imagine multiplying that by five. And I do get angry and irritated. One thing that I can promise you though is that every year gets better and better and easier and easier. There are challenging things at every age, but you don't have to be on suicide watch all the time as they get older. My daughter turned four a few months ago. There is more whining and drama, but I can walk away and leave her for small periods of time, knowing that she won't destroy anything.

And, the absolute best think, I think, is that you have been documenting all of this. When your kids are grown, and they will be someday (sniff), you can sit there and chuckle while they struggle with one at a time.

Oh, and FWIW, we really haven't had a lot of ornaments on our tree since my daughter has been born (I'd only put the things up that she made in daycare). Honestly, we don't have them on our tree yet, because I'm too lazy to get them from the basement. But, you would be surprised how nice a lighted tree can look all by itself.

Mark and Anji said...

I can't imaging what you are going through with five small children. However, I do have a 20 mo. old and a 5 year old and we were facing that same issue over the last few years. We ended up going to the dollar store and got a couple packages of plastic bulbs that we let the kids hang up wherever they want. They can't break them and they can't eat them! They take them off and move them at will. Our tree looks a bit ridiculous, but it is our tree, and representative of our family. And the plastic ones only cost a dollar!

Whatever you decide, hang in there and good luck.

Sara Tyre said...

Oh, Emily. I am so with you on this one. Last year. Our youngest child took many of our tree ornaments and flushed them down the toliet. For days we had clogged toliets and got the magical snake out and used it on them. This year my tree looks ugly. We just mainly have lights on it with the left over ornaments that we still have. The thing this year is not messing with the ornaments so much as it is to see who can knock the tree down first. Not sure if our tree will last past this Christmas. I am sorry for your dealings. I plan possibly by the time they are 8 maybe I can then have the tree that I desire to have, LOL!! Hold in there. You will look back with laughter one day. It took me awhile to look back and the clogged potty's, Have a great week.

Courtney said...

Emily, my step-mother Judy Miller, who used to work with you told me about your blog. I totally understand the stress of multiples as the mother of twins. However, I can only imagine that you are much more stressed with five toddlers! Don't be so down on yourself. It's OK to be mad at your kids from time to time. I get that way and I only have 3. My twins are only 9 months ans we have gated the tree away from them, but I'm sure next year will be a bigger challenge. You are a great mom and I'm sure Christmas will be wonderful and fun even without a tree. Just wait until next year whe they are almost 3, they will finally understand the Santa Claus concept and it will be a blast on Christmas morning. It was a hoot with my oldest last year! Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

Just a random blog reader.....I only have one, but she is 23 months old and there are days when I think can it be harder?! - go ahead and laugh at me for thinking that with just one it is hard....anyway, I was having a really hard time getting her to listen to me, so I read an article in Parenting magazine that suggested not tacking on the word okay at the end of a sentence. To a child that is question and therefore they do not want to do what you want. I have changed my approach..instead of saying, "It is time to put on your shoes, okay." I just say, "It is time to put on your shoes." It has really made a difference in how she responds to me. That might make your life a little easier, because I was starting to really stress about how to get her to listen me. To the point that I was not sleeping.

As for our tree, I have must have the put the fear of God in her, because anyone that comments on the tree...well, she tells them "That is Mommy's tree, no touch."

Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Anonymous said...

Just a random blog reader.....I only have one, but she is 23 months old and there are days when I think can it be harder?! - go ahead and laugh at me for thinking that with just one it is hard....anyway, I was having a really hard time getting her to listen to me, so I read an article in Parenting magazine that suggested not tacking on the word okay at the end of a sentence. To a child that is question and therefore they do not want to do what you want. I have changed my approach..instead of saying, "It is time to put on your shoes, okay." I just say, "It is time to put on your shoes." It has really made a difference in how she responds to me. That might make your life a little easier, because I was starting to really stress about how to get her to listen me. To the point that I was not sleeping.

As for our tree, I have must have the put the fear of God in her, because anyone that comments on the tree...well, she tells them "That is Mommy's tree, no touch."

Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Anonymous said...

I remember that Christmas when the babies were 1 and 2 1/2. I put our tree in a PlayPen and hung soft ornaments so nothing would get broken. The tree didn't fall over and they had fun! Godspeed -
Margaret

The Farm House Kids said...

Emily,

I'm still waiting to see if you want me to come over and help you hang that Christmas tree upside down from a ceiling hook?

Then we can take pictures and laugh at this someday!

Tanya

Mom's monkeys said...

Emily-- Please be patient this will get better. They are at the age where they dont know how to listen. I think you need to bring the tree back in and just put lights on it and maybe the ornaments on just the top half. That is what we did one year. You just have to stay consistent on telling them NO. They are gonna have to learn that you are the boss and I don't know what you do for punishment, but maybe poping a hand or making them sit in a car seat or a pack n play for "time out". I know you may think they don't get it cuz they are young but if you do it everytime they do something wrong they will catch on. YES, you totally have a right to be mad at your kids and this will not be the first or last time you will. Weather you have 1 child or sextuplets(like me)there will be days you want to leave the house or like me want a padded room. Well just know this phase will pass and you will have a new phase that will drive you nuts.

Anonymous said...

Have you considered putting lights on the tree you threw outside? I did that one years ago when it was impossible to have a tree because the current toddler (I had 5 singles) kept pulling the tree over. My 5 yr old helped make peanut butter and birdseed pine cones. We decorated with popcorn strings and cranberries. I also remember some suet balls and orange slices and peanuts hung with string. Anything to give it color. The birds and squirrels picked out what they wanted. I called it our Christmas bird feeder. The 5 yr old loved it!

When life hands you lemons, make lemonade....or a bird feeder.

I called this stage, the nothing is sacred anymore, not even the garbage can or the toilet. We hung the garbage can from the ceiling and used a bungee cord to keep him from emptying everything out of the fridge. It's really hard when you have a kid that is crawling by 3 months and walking at 8 months. It's like a motor without a brain. By the way, this kid is now in his 20's and is an aeronautical engineer.

The Morgan Mommy said...

Hang int here Emily, you will have your tree in another year or 2 .... with presents under it! (I won't tell you about the bickering and arguing and sassiness that goes with the tree freedom though :) Your kids are beautiful! I hope Santa brings you a well deserved break!

Sabrina said...

I stumbled upon your blog from the Farmhouse kids. I'm so sad to read about your holidays so far. It was hard for me to get in the Christmas spirit as well. I know that you think that it's because there are 5 of them that it's such a problem with the tree. I can tell you it's not necessarily that. Yes, there are more of them, but my 2 y/o son pulled down our 7 1/2 ft tree BY HIMSELF and broke all of the ornaments I bought on my trip to Germany the summer after I graduated High School. I was heartbroken and angry, but there was just 1 of him. It's the age of the kids, not necessarily the amount. By the time they are 4 you should be able to have a tree without incident. I know that's not much now, but it's something to look forward to. You are allowed to me upset, hurt, and tired. I have 3 children ages 4, 2, and 4mo and there are times that I'm just beat - I can't imagine 5 the same age! Everyone here thinks you are doing great, and supports you!

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