The craziness and joy of bringing up children while flying solo….

by Rod Smith

If I were endowed with the power to award gold medals, mothers who stay at home with their young children day after day would be decorated for their bravery. Two days after the curtain closed on my son’s delightful Christmas pageant, and we took our children home for the holidays, I was already fried.

To be honest, it’s finally happened. I’ve gone over the top. Lost it. My entire identity has been dragged through the transforming challenge of sharing the holidays with a 3-year-old. Hook, line and sinker; nose ring; ball and chain — choose whichever metaphor gives you a picture of my being dragged hopelessly through scatterings of toys, buried under mounds of paper, lying on a bed of Legos, covered with dog hair, exhausted and muttering, “Oh where, Oh where has my adulthood gone. Oh where, Oh where can it be?”

These holidays, I’ve done everything I found ridiculous and amusing about other parents when I was a childless observer. For instance, I drove to four Walgreen drugstores covering a radius of about 20 miles from our home in search of a single $3 whoopee cushion, which, on delivery to my son’s grateful 4-year-old friend, burst immediately in their unified search of the ultimate whoop.

All the while, in an attempt to stretch my mind, I’ve been forming a list of the Most Ridiculous Things Adults Say to 3-year-olds. They include “Wait,” “Keep that on the table,” “Keep your shirt clean,” “Put the dog down,” “Lie still,” “Tomorrow,” “Where are your socks?” “Let me show you how to do that,” “Put the food in your mouth,” and “Don’t jump.”

Today, to illustrate just how far off the rails I have gone, I drove 9.5 miles for the sole purpose of picking up two, 2-inch plastic medieval men (one red, one blue) my son left at a Christmas party. Without them he will not launch the plastic bomb from his Lincoln Log castle to bomb the living room that has been perpetually bombed every day since the good reindeers delivered Santa to our rooftop.

Have you noticed that Legos, Lincoln Logs, jigsaw puzzles, Monopoly – the games and toys with lots and lots of pieces – require only the briefest little tug to open the box and you are knee-deep in a colorful mess of stuff? Toys with limited potential to be strewn afar, like Buzz Lightyear, are straddled into multiple packaging, twisted secure, limb by limb with wire, taped and screwed into box within box requiring at least a hammer, chisel and power saw to extricate them for play.

About music and videos: How many times can a 3-year-old watch Toy Story? There is no limit. How many times can he want to hear the Bananas in Pajamas sing about walking down the stairs? There is no limit. How many times can a 3-year-old want to jump off the dresser, onto the bed, onto the floor while shouting, “From here to infinity and beyond”? There is no limit.

I do have limits. There’s a limit to how much stuff I will pick up. This week, I have picked up stuff from morning to night. I pick up the same stuff every day, several times. I’ve packed and repacked drawers my son has, for no reason at all, unpacked.

Yesterday, I picked Legos out of the heating duct, the garbage disposal, the upstairs and downstairs toilets, the blender, the piano, the potted plants, the teapot, the dishwasher, the freezer and the VCR. As evidence of my personal growth, I can retrieve stuff using my bare hands out of toilets, sinks and sewers. These are places I could not even look in when I was a child without feeling squeamish. Now I go right ahead, put my hands in without holding my nose, turning my head or closing my eyes.

I’m holidayed out. I’m done. If my son’s preschool teacher wonders why I am so glad to see her, it’s because I have seen the slow process of my encroaching craziness. I have become irrational, unreasonable, overly emotional, irritable and illogical simply through the tiresome process of removing Legos, Logs and Lightyear from every imaginable, inconvenient place in our universe and I am ready to send my son back to school so I can build the castle, load its cannon with real fire power, aim it at Buzz, and the ridiculous singing, dancing bananas and be rid of them, once and for all.

One Comment to “The craziness and joy of bringing up children while flying solo….”

  1. Motherhood..ahh the joys … well atleast thats what you are told before you have your own. Then BAMM.. suddenly I have 6 girls. The only man in the house , is the man of the house. I choose to stay home with my girls simply because I dont want to have them here or there with differnt sitters, because really who in their right mind would want to babysit 6 girls ages ranging from 13 yrs – 7 months. Even if there was someone, could you imagain the bucks it would cost me to pay a sitter. No thanks. Some days i feel myself going completely out of my mind, here all day with my girls, but one of them will do or say something off the wall and make me laugh so hard, I forgot what i was stressing about. I am a 30 year old mom but, because of my girls I still feel as If I’m 25. They keep me on my toes, and keep me firmly planted. I couldnt trade it. It’s the life.

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