Soldier of Love

It's official. I have become Kate Gosselin.

No, I don't mean that I am pregnant with sextuplets (heaven help us all if that ever happened!). No, I do not have an atrocious haircut. No, I do not allegedly put the quest for fame ahead of my children. And, no, I am not filing for divorce after 10 years of being together with my husband (well, at least not today...but he better act right! Just kidding...)

But, like Kate and so many other harried moms that we all see every day, I have lost touch with the true meaning of motherhood. The tantrums, sleep deprivation and constant vigilance of being the mom of 2 under the age of 3 has officially caught up with me.

My patience is non-existent. EVERYTHING gets on my nerves. My husband can do nothing right, and when he does something better than me THAT irritates me even more. I am on top of every detail in my home - to do lists made and checked off, sleeping and eating schedules synchronized, bath and bedtimes cacophonous but like clockwork.

But I can't help but think that I don't even really know my own kids. I feel more like a maid or circus ringmaster than a mother.

I have fallen into the trap (once again) of doing rather than being. I get things done. I technically spend time with my kids but more and more these days it's about getting it over with rather than enjoyment.

And that's a shame.

I wish I could say that things are different with my husband, but unfortunately the bulk of our couple-dom is taken up by childrearing or recovering from said children. Not much talk that does not involve discussing the merits of time-out vs. spanking, scheduled naps vs. all hell breaking get the picture.

In this blog, I like to tell it like it is so that all you other moms out there don't feel like you're alone. To eliminate some of the mommy guilt and just speak the truth.

So, in the spirit of The BadAssMama Chronicles, I am going to reveal my most shocking truth to date.

This morning, I wished that I did not have kids.

There. I've said it.

Shocked silence.
Dialing DCFS...

After my normal 5am wake up call (thank you, Hurricane Victor) followed by the whining terror (a.k.a. Angel) at 5:35, I found myself being downright mean. Yelling at the baby. Screaming at Angel to STOP WHINING FOR CHRIST'S SAKE. Throwing dirty looks at my husband.

As Big Angel took the kids downstairs for some breakfast (and, more likely, to whisk them away from the raving lunatic that his formerly blushing bride has become), I lay silently in my bed, thinking of happier times when I could sleep in until noon. Going for a run at 8am rather than midnight. Spending 90 minutes in the gym. Seeing movies that didn't involve cartoon characters or emotional intelligence. Going out to dance with my girlfriends. Occasionally drinking just a bit more than I should have. Reading the entire Sunday paper (OK, I never ACTUALLY did that, but had the option to!).

Don't get me wrong. I LOVE my children. Madly. Insanely. They give my life a meaning that I never thought it would have. I truly don't know what I would do if anything ever happened to them.

But sometimes, they just piss me off.

There...I said it again. And you KNOW that you've thought it in the past.

Sometimes, I just want them to play nicely. Sometimes, I just want a day without whining or tantrums or refusing to eat or screaming for lollipops (how did they even learn what a lollipop is?)

I think I need a vacation from motherhood. Not a long one. Maybe just a few days.

No big "ah ha!" moment or blinding insight from this post, folks. Just truth. Nasty, embarrassing, raw, keeping-it-real truth.

Just another day in the life of a BadAssMama.

Maybe I just need to calm down

I like to analyze things.

It's part of why I'm good at what I do. I can pick apart a situation, examine it from multiple angles and determine the most efficient plan of attack.

Often in less than 3 seconds. While on a conference call, completing a powerpoint presentation and signing contracts. OK, so maybe I can't sign a document while working on a powerpoint...

But, I am pretty good at analyzing stuff.

Since I'm so efficient at analysis, I often OVER analyze. Particularly when it comes to my kids.

Victor has a form of sickle cell anemia known as hemoglobin SC. It is a milder form of the disease than my sister Stacy had (she had hemoglobin SS) and fortunately it has not affected him much more than the poking and prodding he must endure at the hematologist every three months (this kid still starts screaming upon the scent of an alcohol prep pad...poor baby).

Even though he is a healthy kid and will likely NEVER be adversely impacted by this disease, I over-analyze everything. Every cough (could it be an infection?) Every crying jag (is it teething or a pain crisis?) Every grumpy day (is he anemic?)

Fortunately, as I've gotten to know this kid over the past 17 months, I'm learning the signs of when he is truly in need of assistance and when he's just going through regular every-day baby stuff (which is 99.98% of the time).

I do the same thing with Angel. As many of you know, I developed severe pre-eclampsia when I was pregnant with Angel and he was born 8 weeks early. He had restricted growth because of my high blood pressure and came into this world at a whopping 2 pounds, 13 ounces. He stayed in the NICU at NYU Medical Center (I still keep those people in my prayers on a daily basis! They are TRUE angels!!) for 32 days. He always breathed on his own, never suffered any major setbacks but was unable to be released until he weighed at least 5 pounds.

The NYU neonatology department followed Angel (as they do with all preemies) for his first 2 years of life. Every 6 months, he was reviewed by a pediatrician, neonatologist, occupational therapist and psychologist (really? Babies need psychologists you say?). At the ripe old age of 2, they declared him free of any impact of prematurity, either physical, medical or developmental and he officially "graduated" from the neonatology follow up program.

We were (and continue) to be truly blessed. So many things could have gone wrong with his birth, during the stay in the NICU, after he was released. But, thank God, he is a strong, healthy, smart, strong willed, free spirited little boy.

And that's what my pediatrician reminded me of today. I asked him to sign the referral to be re-evaluated by the team at NYU. Our doctor assured me that Angel's tantrums, while disturbing to order-loving Sherice Guillory Torres, have NOTHING to do with his prematurity. He throws temper tantrums. RAGING ones. But, he's three. That's what they do.

Part of me wants to take him in to be evaluated anyway. The other part- the true part that knows my son and what he needs - tells me that I'm over-analyzing this thing.

Maybe I just need to calm down...

Do you have a minute?

I like logic.

Don't get me wrong - I'm a very empathetic person. I do the whole organizational behavior, understanding different working and communication styles thing very well. I can understand behavior fueled by emotion. I can understand behavior fueled by ulterior motives. I can pretty much cut through the bull and see the motivation behind most people's behavior and try to find the best way to deal with them on their own level.

And then there is my 3 year old.

There is NO LOGIC to his temper tantrums. Yes, I guess TECHNICALLY he is acting out because he isn't getting something that he wants, but you would think that the world was ending. When this kid goes off, he goes off.

At first I thought it was just a phase and it would pass. The terrible twos. The terrible threes.

Then I get "the talk" at school today...

When Angel started to have lots of temper tantrums, I mentioned that I might call the psychologist at NYU since they tracked him for 2 years after he was checked out of the NICU. The school told me that they were sure it was not that serious.

I guess his behavior this week changed their minds.

As I was dropping off the kids with seconds to spare before missing my train (what else is new), one of the teachers casually asked if I had ever seen the psychologist. When I said no, her response was something along the lines of, "Well, maybe you should go see them. He's still young and..." This was followed by references to early intervention and attention something-or-other. After the shock of "Maybe you should go see them," it all kind of sounded like Charlie Brown grown-up talk.

My first reaction was pure rage. How the hell are you going to drop a bomb like THAT on me as I'm running to catch my train? This is not a 5 second conversation at the door. This is a let's-sit-down-and-talk-about-your-child's-future-after-school type of conversation.

But, rage wasn't going to help my kid. After I calmed down (and no, I did not yell at anyone...for those of you who know don't know me that well, understand that this is TRULY an accomplishment), I went from rage to fear. What if something was wrong? What if we were finally seeing an impact of the prematurity, and it was a developmental rather than a physical delay? Then guilt - it was MY fault. If I would have caught the pre-eclampsia earlier, he wouldn't have been born prematurely and none of this would be happening. Is it because I yell too much, scold too much, work too much, don't spend enough time playing....Then, I snapped out of it and made a plan.

I got in touch with NYU and am waiting to set an appointment for an evaluation.

He may just be three. It may be something more. I can hypothesize all I want, but I won't feel better until I have an answer.

I'm back...

One week ago today, I did something that I never thought I would be able to do after having my boys. I completed a full marathon.

I didn't break a personal record. I actually had to walk more than run between miles 17 and 22, but I finished and finished strong, without injury. I crossed the finish line with both of my boys in the double stroller.

It was awesome. Training for the marathon (sleep deprivation and all) gave me back a part of myself that I never thought I would see again. I was (and am still) proud of myself and felt totally BadAss in a way that I never thought I would feel again.

Now that the heavy marathon training is over, I plan to be back to regular posts on the BadAssMama Chronicles. I've missed you (and the space to clear my head).

It's good to be back...