Thursday, September 21, 2006

Day 1: Girls Only Weekend

And ... they're off.**

We loaded up the car this morning with all the supplies necessary for Charlie's 4-day trip out of town with William, and we all drove to the airport to bid the boys farewell. I sobbed had a tear in my eye as I watched my baby, with his personalized "William" backpack, walk alongside his dad clutching his blankie for his first trip away from his sisters.

I waited by the curb for a long time, snapping off pictures as they got further and further away. It dawned on me at that very moment - our children can never go "away" to college. I don't think I could stand it.

Reciting my millionth little prayer that they would stay safe, I started to make my way out of the airport. I was filled with excitement ... we were about to begin our first ever, Girls Only Weekend. I've been thinking about this for weeks and I had some big plans in store, including a trip to the science museum where we were scheduled to meet with our neighbors in the next 15 minutes.

We don't even make it past the terminal when Carolyn has a conniption fit. Screaming, thrashing, throwing her sippy cup, throwing her Cheez-Its, throwing her blankie to the floor. I couldn't very well turn around to see her, since I am fighting airport traffic, so I reach back and try to console her, when she starts kicking me.

Such a lovely little child when she is having a tantrum.

Driving safely is very difficult to do when you're at the airport dodging cars, looking for an exit, and trying to comfort a child two feet behind you, who is in the midst of a fit. After several minutes, I snapped. I screamed "BE QUIET!!! BE QUIET!!! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD AND ALL THAT IS HOLY WOULD YOU PLEASE STOP YOUR SCREAMING!!!!"

For a moment she did stop. And then she started again. Louder this time.

THIS, is not what I had in mind to kick-off my Girls Only Weekend.

I screamed again, so loudly that it hurt my throat.

She stopped abruptly and looked at me with tears streaming down her face. I instantly felt like the biggest ass in the world to yell at my little girl. What kind of monster must I be??


I find my exit, pull off, and while I'm waiting at a redlight, I lean back and kiss her. I apologize for being such a crank and ask that she please not scream while I'm driving. Considering I'm trying to rationalize not having tantrums with a 23-month old ... I'd probably have better luck asking her to make me Chicken Cordon Bleu for dinner.

We finally arrive at the museum. I pull in to an over-flowing parking lot and hear Elizabeth start to cough. I look in my rearview mirror just in time to see her throw up. She starts to cry and then throws up again ... so hard it comes out her little nose. I stop the car in the middle of the parking lot and jump out. I run around the side and hop in the back. She is covered from her hair to her toes in what had been her breakfast and mid-morning snack. I pull her out of her carseat and now I, too, am covered from my arms to my knees in what had been Elizabeth's breakfast and mid-morning snack. This isn't a virus ... it's carsickness, probably exacerbated by my horrific screaming at her sister.


THIS, sure as heck, is not what I had in mind to kick-off my Girls Only Weekend.

Just then, my neighbor walks up alongside the car with her children. Carolyn's face is tear-streaked and she is still gasping ... while Elizabeth and I are both covered in puke. She asks if everything is alright and I inform her that I'm prepared to call Charlie and tell him if the first 20-minutes following his departure is any indication of how this weekend is going to go ... he needs to come back, immediately.

She pulls out a half-dozen chocolate chip cookies and I cheer up. I'm so damn fickle.

Apparently, I got all the bad stuff out of the way - because the rest of Day 1: Girls Only Weekend, was magical. We had a wonderful time at the museum where we explored for two hours. (sidenote: just as we were leaving the museum, Charlie called to tell me that he had arrived safely. William talked babbled with fellow passengers on the plane and completely warmed everyone's heart. By 3 PM, he had not yet napped and was looking like a zombie. When Charlie called me tonight, he said that William was having the time of his life and savoring all the attention that was being showered on him. This makes me so happy.)

I thanked my lucky stars that I had with me, a change of clothes for Elizabeth and a spare carseat for her to ride home in. When we did arrive home, the girls took a two hour nap, while I scrubbed the inside of the car and washed the carseat cover. I then cleaned out our entire garage, something that I've been putting off for weeks. When the girls woke up from their nap, my friend and her two year old triplets came over for a playdate. While the children romped in the sprinkler for the next hour ... she and I had a chance to talk.

And talk. And talk.

I confided about my emotional outburst in the car and how I felt so terrible screaming at my child. I also told her that for the past month or so ... I find that it doesn't take much for me to lose my temper and that inability to bite my tongue really worries me. Up until recently, I never lost my patience with our babies. I could tolerate the crying, the fussing, the fighting. But not so much, anymore. It seems like my patience quota is exceeded rapidly.

Within the past month, directly following breakfast, I have to get out of the house as soon as possible. Otherwise, all hell breaks loose. They scream, they whine, they fight, they do absolutely everything I don't want them to do - and in the process, they are driving me insane.

See, I believe it is important to be honest. So, I'll say it again.

There are some days ... our children are driving me insane in the membrane. Even despite my positive attitude.

I suspect what is happening is that they get bored and need a change of scenery. I suspect that I am getting bored, too. There is only so much of the house and backyard I can take before we need to do something different ... even if that involves going out alone with three toddlers. Since taking them to the park by myself borders on suicidal, I'll try to arrange triplet playdates as often as possible.

During one of our outings last week, as I was cruising down the freeway at 65 miles per hour, I looked back in the rearview mirror and noticed that Elizabeth was almost completely freed from her carseat. The only thing holding her in, was one leg hung up on a strap.

I see this. While I'm barreling down the freeway. At 65 MPH.

It is no exaggeration that I almost lost control of our vehicle and careened in to a swamp. I made an emergency exit and no sooner did I come to a stop, Elizabeth was entirely free from her carseat, and running around the inside of the van. Taking a huge breath and wondering what the hell had happened to my life ... I looked up, hoping to see God in the sky above me. I needed some form of divine intervention at that very moment more than I've ever needed it in my entire life.

When I looked up, I was surprised to see that there was a vaguely familiar looking office building before me. Slowly - it dawned on me. I was in the parking lot of the infertility doctor who had gotten us pregnant two and a half years earlier.

What this a sign? Could it be??

For a moment ... I thought about unloading all three of the kids ... bringing them in to *see* the doctor, and asking if he wouldn't mind taking them back, for just a little while. I would promise to retrieve them when they were potty trained and stopped throwing their food everywhere. And, when they understood the importance of not giving their mother a heart attack by climbing out of their carseat while she is zipping along a southern California 12-lane freeway, during rush hour.

Thinking it was highly unlikely our IVF doctor would take the kids back (even if for a short time), and thinking it was highly likely he would call DSS, I continued on to our playdate. But only after I had clamped Elizabeth into her carseat so tightly she couldn't move.

Today, my girlfriend confided in me that she is going through some of the exact same stuff. At times she feels stressed out. At times she'll yell. And then, whenever she yells she feels like dirt because these are little children that she desperately wanted and desperately loves. But there are times, when she feels like she is desperately at the end of her rope.

What made me feel really good about our confession session, is that all of this was coming from a person who has family in town, that lend a tremendous amount of support. So the fact that Charlie and I are managing this on our own - with no outside help - well. It's no wonder we sometimes feel like we're going a little batty. Especially since I've been inundated at work and with extracurricular volunteer activities.

When my friend left, there was quiet. The girls were merrily playing and there was no fighting. There was no screaming, no biting. There was absolute tranquility, which is literally and figuratively, completely unheard of at 5:00 PM in our house.

I fed the girls dinner and then we took a bath. I filled the tub with Mr. Bubble and we all climbed in. The last time I dared take a bath with the children, it was a disaster that involved floating poop and pee puddles all over the floor. But tonight, it was perfect. For the first time in a long, long time ... I feel completely relaxed.

I suppose this just goes back to my theory on relativity. The vast majority of people might not consider a 4-day weekend, alone with 2-23 month olds to be a vacation ... but I do.

(**Don't mind the date stamp. The reason I didn't get pictures of the coffee explosion the other day, is because our camera battery completely died. Once it was recharged, I noticed the date was wrong. I just haven't fixed it yet.)


  1. You are awesome. I love your honesty. I love your blog.

  2. I don't understand how you manage it with three. I have my own 19-month old son and I find myself going down this slippery slope as well. The patience just isn't there anymore.

  3. duncan is right there with your kids. he likes to kick me, he smiles so sweetly when i scold he finds me so amusing. i know your frustration and for god's sake woman you are doing it with THREE little monsters (cross out) i mean angels!

  4. Oh my goodness. There is a lot going on in that post. I just think you're totally awesome being able to express yourself the way you do. We all feel it, you're just able to tell the story. And it's always such an entertaining story as well.

  5. Jenna-
    Another awesome post! Shayna misses her buddies!

  6. What a wonderful post!
    Enjoy your girls weekend.
    I so enjoy your blog. I have started to think of you as Amazing Jen!
    It is getting light so early here that I have 40min in which to have a coffee or 2 and read my favourite blogs before the the screaming masses wake up. Reading your blog is a wonderful start to my day.

  7. You have no idea how much I needed to read this honesty and know that I am not psychologically unstable for feeling this way. I just yelled at mine and put them directly to bed. Ryland is in Montana for a few days and my sitter is on it is just me & them.
    I had a long talk about this slippery slope today with a friend of mine. Guess what, we are normal. My revelation is that this is why we get them for 18 years or takes that long just to pour the foundation in thei little lives of how to be mature adults...I think it is also because it takes that long for God to work out our rough edges. Motherhood has been the truest lesson in humility I have ever known!

  8. You have one of THE best blogs on Blogspot. Your wit and the way you somehow remain sane with trips is while people keep coming back! Your entries are hysterical!(Even though I do feel bad for you when you had not-such-a good day). Anyway, enjoy the weekend with your girls, they grow up WAY too fast!

  9. Lots to cover here........I wanted to tear up when I saw the pics of your husband and little William (looking like such a big boy with his little backpack). I can imagine that you got emotional at that scene.

    As far as the screaming goes....we've all done it. Shamefully, it goes along with the territory. You just have to realize, as you did, that you're only normal. You are doing more in a day than most people can think about doing in a week (or longer). You're bound to be worn down after almost 2 years of being around them non-stop with almost no help! You and your husband are super heros as far as I'm concerned!!!

    The carsickness....aauugghh! Jace went through this phase up until a few months ago. It didn't matter if the trip was 5 minutes or 50 minutes. He would do "the cough"....oh, how I hated that cough....because you knew what was coming next. We started putting a trash bag around the seat, putting a large plastic bib on him and carrying towels, wipes and extra clothes everywhere we went. We had a system down. It was awful.

    I hate that your weekend started off bad, but it's bound to get better! Enjoy your girls....sorry to ramble on and on.

  10. Jen,
    I've been there with Imri - thank you for your honesty. I feel like a heel when I lose my temper ... it's just that I get NO FREE TIME and it's making me slowly insane. None.

    He is the sweetest boy ever but sometimes ...

    *Hugs* and thank you for this post. And I'm so glad you had a great weekend :)

  11. Jenny,
    That's a horrible picture of me!! I'm much better looking then that!!

    Had a great flight. One is a lot easier....but I miss the girls.

    See you soon!!

    Me and Minime

  12. Jen,
    It is so good to hear Supermom (YOU) has those days too.
    I get like that with Nay, and he's only one little person. And I have family helping me...
    Big Hugs!
    Glad your girls weekend is going well!

  13. I bet Carolyn was crying and upset to be away from her Brother for the first time. Do not worry, it does get better.