Tuesday, May 19, 2009

the fallen angel

Just a short while ago, as I was printing out a document to review for work, the children were playing on the floor behind me. Without any forewarning, Henry erupted in to a painful cry. When I looked around to see what (or WHO) had hurt him, I immediately spotted his sister standing less than two feet away and holding a wooden Brio train track like she had just completed a powerful overhead serve.

Henry was clutching his face with tears squirting around his chubby fingertips and I was instantly furious. I know that sometimes, the baby is an absolute pill. I know that sometimes, he chases after the kids and torments them relentlessly. I know that sometimes, he screams like a mandrake and requires a lot of my attention.

But barring the use of a straight jacket or vast amounts of duct tape, there is only so much I can do with a lively toddler who truly believes he is the fourth triplet.

Try as I might to stress that the children need to be gentle and remove themselves from a situation when things start getting tumultuous with Henry, they never do. Instead, they pick up what ever happens to be close and pummel their baby brother with it. Or, they kick him squarely in the chest and send him flying across the room. Which heightens an already tense situation and before you know it, I've got a room full of small people brawling and bawling.
It. Drives. Me. Crazy.

So today after this most recent incident occurred, I glared at my daughter and I told her that the next time she hits her baby brother, I am going to hit her and there is going to be BLOOD.

And then, I looked at my two other four-year-olds and added, "THAT GOES FOR YOU, TOO!!"

Henry cried.

My daughter cried.

My other children cried.

I felt demonic.

Moments later, my husband smartly decided that an immediate outing was in order and took all four children to run an errand. As my family was walking out the door, I happened to notice that my mother-in-law, Kathleen, had sent us a lovely package that was sitting by our doorstep. I opened the package up and saw that she had included a piece entitled, "Legend Of A Child Waiting To Be Born." It read,

There is an old legend that tells of a child that was preparing to be born. He said one day to God, "I'm told that you will send me to earth tomorrow, but how will I live so little and defenseless as I am?"

God: "Among many angels I chose one just for you and it will be waiting for you ... it will take care of you."

Child: "But tell me, here in Heaven, all I do is sing and smile and this is what keeps me happy."

God: "Do not fret, your angel will sing and smile at you everyday; you will feel loved and you will be happy."

Child: "But how will I understand when people speak in the strange language that man speak?"

God: "Your angel will tell you the sweetest and most gentle words that you could ever hear; and with a lot of love and patience you will be taught to speak."

Child: "And what will I do when I want to speak with you?"

God: "Your angel will put your hands together and teach you to pray."

Child: "I've heard there are many bad men on earth, who will defend me?"

God: "Your angel will defend you, even at the risk of it's own life."

Child: "But I will be sad because I will not see you again."

God: "Although I will always be at your side, your angel will always speak of me and will show you the way to return to my presence."
At that moment, a great peace reigned over the Heaven, but the child began to hear earthly voices and hurriedly he repeated softly, "God, please ... I am leaving now ... tell me it's name ... what is my angel's name?"

God replied, "It's name is not important. You will simply call her Mother."

This piece is so beautiful, when I got to that last line I actually burst in to tears. I couldn't help but think about the scene that unfolded at our house less than five minutes earlier. It appears my children have been born to an angel that will threaten to beat them until they bleed if they continue to wail on their baby brother. Isn't that nice?

Oh! Listen? Can you hear it?

I think that sound were the doors of hell flying open for me.


  1. ...yeah, but I bet they'll think twice about hitting him again!

  2. You still are their angel.

    This is a good opportunity to teach the kids that grown ups should say "sorry" too when they go too far (even in words).

    You didn't actually smack until they bled. You were fustrated and angry - understandable, you threatened it. BIG difference. Don't beat yourself up, say sorry, I threatened a bit too much, explain why (fustrated, nothing working to stop them, concerned that someone is going to get really hurt badly), then tell them you have had enough of it and you will think of something that will STOP them hurting them.

    We have had the same issue with our kids recently. Our current solution (which seems to be working) is to send the naughty child to bed as soon as dinner is over. So instead of bedtime at 7:30, the naughty one is going to bed at 6:30 alone (our 3 kids actually chose to sleep in the same room). We have made some progress as they miss us reading to them before bed, which they have always loved.

    PS - I do smack as well at the time.

  3. i almost cried when i read that too. hang in there. they know you love them and they won't remember what you said in a couple of years. bodily harm sometimes is the best threat to get compliance. . . . teehee!

  4. ROFLMAO!!! Your last line literally caused me to GUFFAW!! You are a gifted writer indeed.

    And you know, don't beat yourself up. Given the sum total of all you do as a parent, you do a damn good job.

  5. well good lord what else are you suppose to do, reasonwith them, yeah right. We all want to be that perfect mother and I feel terrible at times, but geez I only have one and that means that she can be mean to our pets, thats one of my number one things not to do, there are just times where you loose it, its good to be normal, if not you are on drugs.

  6. I will join you there then, because mine used to do the same thing to Austin and I used to threaten them with the same lines.

    It's hard having a fourth triplet. I think you are the only one who understands!

  7. I wouldn't be so hard Jen. When I see any type of harm going in the direction of my child, no matter the source, my claws come out with a wicked quickness. I think that's the momma bear in us and it's called instinct. Which I consider God-given. You're a good momma. Please don't let this one moment bring you down too far.

  8. You were being Henry's angel. They all get a turn!

  9. Jen, it's the fact that you DIDN'T do and WON'T do it that makes you their angel still. I was up with a wide-away boy until 3 a.m. and there was not a single kind, loving thought in my head. But we made it to morning unscathed and that was our triumph for the day.

  10. Even though I knew it was coming, I burst into tears at that last line of the piece your mom sent you. AT WORK! And then you made me burst out laughing in the next couple of lines. Thanks, Jen. My coworkers think I'm crazy.

    Although it's not really your fault, since I am crazy, hormonal pregnant right now. And I'm hoping that they think I was just laughing at it all. So maybe the chuckles at the end were the perfect coverup. ;-)

  11. A friend of mine once told me about someone she knew who said that raising her children was going to be her "ticket" into Heaven. I told her raising my children was what was going to get me sent the other direction.

    I love my children with ALL MY HEART, but man, I can so easily relate. It's awfully hard to live up to all the pithy statement about motherhood, isn't it?

  12. From a mom of three-not all at once though! Better the threat of blood than there to be real blood! Lisa

  13. From a mom of three-not all at once though! Better the threat of blood than there to be real blood!

    P.S. I would have said something like that also! Lisa

  14. I agree with Reno...you were being Henry's angel at the time. Sometimes you have to protect the siblings from themselves or we'd all be only children.

  15. Oh...I actually burst into tears too when I read that last line. Some days we just need a sign that it's going to be OK...

    Peace be with you and yours. My twins arrive on Saturday...I am so excited. :)


  16. I really enjoy your blog and your honesty -- I'm a Kindergarten Teacher (on leave right now) and before I had the girls I handled a class of 25-30 five and six-year olds by myself M-F. These days my TWO 3-year olds can bring me to my knees!! It can be so hard at times, and then the timing of getting that gift! I hope you can chuckle now : )

    Oh, and running 20 mile WITH all your children, WTG!!!!

  17. LOL... I am sorry to laugh but you really do paint a picture. I know you know this but don't beat yourself up... we all make mistakes (your just honest enough to admit them to your adoring public!) I can't say that I wouldn't have done the same thing. It's got to be tough on Henry... they have the triplet thing and they are older/bigger... rough going for a toddler. He's going to need an advocate!