I've written before of my woes of having a 2-year old, and I had sort of hoped that they would be lessening by now. Oh, it is so NOT the case. While Jarod's communication is improving (using 2 or 3 words instead of "Uh! Uh! Uh!"), he still fully takes advantage of his volume. When he doesn't like what he has to do, he releases this shrill, ear-piercing shriek that sounds identical to those screaming fountain fireworks that most cover their ears for. The only difference between him and those is that those eventually die off. His screeching lasts all day long, pulling at my nerves and twisting them until they are completely shredded, and I have lost all sense of self-control. When he's angry at his brothers, he screeches in this awful, high-pitched squeal, sounding identical to a piglet's screeching. My head hurts, my spirit hurts, my willpower hurts.
Telling Jarod "no" is about as useful as sweeping leaves inside a tornado. "No" to a 2-year old is just interpreted as, "Whatever you're doing, do it quickly before I stop you." All day long, I'm turning chairs over to prevent Jarod from climbing up and turning on my kitchen sink full blast. All day long, I'm shutting the door to the bathroom so Jarod doesn't play in the sink and cause a swimming pool on the floor. All day long, I'm telling him to turn off the TV, to get off the table, to get out of my bedroom since he's playing with my radio at full-blast. I'm chasing him down around the van when I'm desperately trying to get Jacob to school on time, I'm re-zipping his coat, pulling his pants back on, putting his hood back on that he screams when is off, but insists on pushing off anyway. He's throwing toys at his brothers, smothering his baby brother with hugs, throwing toys down the heat vents, screeching, squawking, and causing all sorts of mind-blowing havoc that I've lost the ability to control.
If it were just one boy, I might be able to handle it, but I've got FOUR boys. And two cats. My boys thrive on noise. The louder it is, the better. I feel like I'm trapped inside a cage of screaming monkeys. No matter how desperately I try to solve problems, send them into time-out, and scream desperately for them to be quiet, it is all to no avail. Pirate growls, whining, tattling, screaming, blaring music and the cacophony of three different singing chipmunks flood my home constantly. And then there's my cats, always wanting to eat whenever I put the bowls up to the safety of the counter tops, peeing on my towels, on my books, in my bathtub, and driving me crazy, crazy, crazy. Is there no end to this madness?
I always thought I was a calm person until the strains of motherhood hit. My first son didn't sleep for the first YEAR of his life. I never knew irritability until I was denied my precious sleep, and kept awake with a crying, inconsolable baby. I never knew irritability until I had two boys, then three boys, and then four, fighting for the spotlight, fighting for toys, fighting, wrestling, whining and tattling. I never knew irritability until I had finally gotten everything I ever wanted from life: a husband and children. The only problem was that I pictured a big, beautiful house filled with quiet, obedient children and a cat who stayed out of my way.
Sometimes, I think to myself that if I had to do life over again, knowing everything that I know now, I most definitely wouldn't repeat it. Being a mom is the toughest thing I've ever had to do. But then, on the other hand, it's the most wonderful thing there is. I know that I'm growing, even though I feel like I'm faltering and drowning. My heart belongs to many instead of just myself, and the love that I've grown is immense. Holding a new baby, smelling the sweetness of his skin, listening to the calm rhythm of him drinking is incredibly wonderful. Hearing "Hi, Mama, Mama, Mama!" from my two year old, and getting his arms thrown around me in a tight embrace is one of the sweetest things, only getting better when he says, "Kiss, Mama," and feeling his wet lips press against mine. I love hearing those rare words at dinnertime from my 4-year old, "Wow, Mom, this food is doo-licious!" and when I come out of the bathroom after getting ready for the day, and he says, "You look so beautiful!" I love the feeling of appreciation when my 6-year old draws me a card with a picture of the two of us, with a heart drawn on it.
Nothing is greater than the love of a child. Despite their faults, their noise, their chaos, and the millions of gray hairs they have given me, I absolutely, without a doubt, love my children. They are greater than the world to me. I love their smiles, their laughter, their shining eyes, and their rough, often-dirty hands that wrap around me daily. Being a mom is tough, and probably will be the hardest thing I've ever had to do. But despite the downfalls and insanity of motherhood, I think that it is one of my absolute greatest blessings. Someday, when the kids are gone and my house is empty and clean, I know that I'll be remembering these crazy times, and I'll probably be laughing.