2 Under 2: Days like today I’m over parenting (#075)

I should be happy and excited right now.  I have received some very good personal news.  But I’m not.  I can’t be, because parenting two under two is soul sucking draining and there’s no room in my life for anything me, because I’m dealing with two crying kids all fucking day every fucking day and I have no idea when it will ever get any easier. 

#2 sucks at sleeping and doesn’t nap or stay asleep which already drains me daily, but has now devolved to where it encroaches into my one-on-one time with #1, because she’s insisting on waking up earlier than ever, despite not getting any more nap time or night sleep, so I am literally handcuffed to her from the moment I wake up until the moment I go to bed.  And to think she had one really perfect day earlier in the week where she slept until 8, had two perfect naps, and didn’t fight me Mortal Kombat when it came time to sleep.  

To make life any easier, #1 has apparently begun entering the terrible two phase where everything warrants crying and tantrums, and we’re talking real tears and snot and screaming and shunning.  And there will be moments in the day where both kids are crying, fussing, screaming, or all of the above to where I just have to stop, stand there still, and contemplate that this is where my life is at, and wondering, what. the. fuck. 

Obviously I’m not the only dad or any parent who’s ever been in this situation, but I would really like to know how other dads have fared or handled this specific scenario of simultaneously raising two under two, in similar aged kids to my own.  I need to know I’m not alone here, because I’m constantly overwhelmed, constantly overworked, often miserable, and at times completely over being a parent and just wanting a fucking break that will never happen because two under two is too much to ask of anyone to alleviate me of and I can’t rely on anyone and I don’t know any two people or don’t trust anyone to do a fraction of shit I do on a daily basis to get me one. 

I know that I’m not alone under these circumstances. I just want to hear it. 

But the disheartening thing is that I don’t know anyone in these circumstances. My friends and our generation itself are all so anti-kids or they have just one kid, or they’re fortunate enough to have family and other free care to lend hands, that it really does feel sometimes that I am alone.  

All I want for Christmas is a single day where I can turn off dad mode and live like a regular human being for a day.  Sleep without an alarm. Past 7 am. Eat when I want to eat and not when #1 eats so she doesn’t get pissed that I’m eating without her. To have a moment where I realize that I can run, write, or workout or watch tv for an hour without getting interrupted. Not be on double duty with two kids by myself for 3-5 hours a day.  Not to have to deal with pets.  To have an evening where I don’t have to sprint upstairs at a moments notice 3-5 times to pacify a kid because they can’t stay asleep.

Just one fucking day.  Happy Kwanzaa 

Oh, and my nanny just called in sick. Today’s going to be awesome.  Happy Hanukkah 

2 Under 2: life as an amputee (#074)

I did not actually amputate a limb, but I may as well have lost an arm, considering how my life is basically spent handcuffed to #2.  And frankly, this post could’ve been titled life as a paraplegic, based on how her developing motor functions are teasing the evolution into baby death wish, where your kids actively try to lunge out of your single arm grasp, resulting in me needing two arms more and more often.

If it’s not obvious, this post comes from a place of angst and frustration, at just my sheer inability to accomplish, absolutely anything at all, because my entire current existence is primarily spent, metaphorically handcuffed to a 14 lb. baby. 

Of course, such is the utmost and most important priority, but I do still have personal goals and daily tasks that I’d like to even have a modicum of a chance at being able to do, but can’t on a regular basis, for the aforementioned reason.

But when your kid fights nap time screaming bloody murder for 45 minutes, and then only sleeps for 15, all I can think about is wanting to blow my brains out because I can’t accomplish anything at all because there’s no fucking schedule and just endless chaos and I’m trying to keep up a put-together facade when I’m just feeling so dejected and exasperated inside so I write about it instead since nobody reads my shit so it’s the perfect balance of expressing it but keeping it private still. 

Honestly though, I really shouldn’t be this aggravated. It’s not like I have any clue of what to do with my time when not on dad duty anymore.  Sure, I’d like to write more but it’s hard for me to start if I know I could have 15 minutes or I could have 45, and even the threat of interruptions is usually enough to deter me from even starting.  Same applies to watching the endless queue of shows and movies that I’d like to watch but probably will never get to because, kids.  

So I usually sit directionless unable to start anything that probably needs some attention like Christmas shopping or putting together my own Christmas list for all inquiring parties, but I can’t focus and I can’t get anything done because I’m pretty broken, and since I’m on the unpaid portion of my leave, I’m becoming pretty broke, and I end up feeling all dilapidated and like a failure because I’m caving to my frustration and I’m getting nothing done but bitching about how I think my life is so difficult. 

(Written on my phone.  With mostly one hand)

I don’t really want to shop this year

In years past, I enjoyed holiday time shopping.  I would scour the interwebs in advance and come up with plans of shit to purchase for myself, for famiry, for friends and whomever might actually warrant getting a gift for.  And by the time Thanksgiving rolled up, I would go start going gangbusters on purchasing things from all the retailers that might or might not have had early, Thanksgiving day, or Brack Friday deals.  By the time December rolled around, I was mostly done with my holiday shopping, save for those closest to me that I’d want to keep getting things for maybe.

Obviously, the big variable in those years past was the availability of time, and having the time to do research, think about other people, and to come up with plans, and seeing as how this year can mostly be summed up that as far as time goes, I just never fucking have any, and as a result, I look at holiday shopping and gift giving as something more a nuisance and an obligation, as much as it’s something that I’m feeling enthusiastic and eager to partake in.

Yes I understand how curmudgeon and shitty that sounds, but that’s where I’m at right now.  Overwhelmed, overworked, exhausted and perpetually pushed past my limits, that I’m finding it incapable to enjoy things I’ve enjoyed in the past, much less any and most of the little things that might’ve lifted my spirits in the past.

Additionally, I’m not working now, as I opted to, and it turned out to be extremely essential, in taking my extended leave of absence from work beyond my normal paid paternity time, but that also means it’s 1.5 months of not getting paid, as my job is secure, but the paychecks stop.  So I have financial concerns on top of everything else, and I’m wondering what wells in which I should be pulling the necessary funds to make sure my famiry and loved ones can actually have some gifts from me, because we’re all capitalists and all feel obligated to buy shit for one another.

As the Thanksgiving week rolled around, my email box was bombarded by e-blasts and messages from retailers that I ordinarily would want to browse through.  Brack Friday prices now, extended, Cyber Monday, etc., etc., for an entire week.  Of course I wanted to look through and peruse and hope to find some shit for myself or my loved ones, but with what fucking time?  I don’t have any.  By the time I have any time to do anything of the sort, that time is spent cleaning shit and resetting shit for another day of parenting, before I’m too gassed and tired to do anything else.

As the week progressed, and in what fleeting moments I might’ve had that I could have done something so frivolous, I was basically at the point where every commercial website I’d go to had countdowns at the tops of their page ticking down the amount of time left that such deals would be in place.  And I hate working against clocks, much less visible ones, and then I’d remind myself, with what fucking money? And then ultimately just start closing browser tabs, and sink back into my general hole of angst.

Believe me, I don’t like admitting all this stuff as much as I am putting it in writing for it to be immortalized, but that’s where I’m at.  It’s like, I only want to shop for my immediate household, and would like to be alleviated from the feeling of obligation to shop for anyone outside of it.  Because that’s all my world really is these days, the people within my own walls, and I have no idea what anyone outside of it might want, or needing to exert thoughtfulness, because it’s just adding unnecessary stress and anxiety to me, and I really don’t need it.

Ultimately, I’m going to just start kicking down doors and demanding ideas for what to get people, because we’re still in a pandemic, I don’t speak or interact with people enough to have ideas of thoughtful observational gifts, and I kind of just want to be done with needing to feel like I have to shop for others.

Maybe, hopefully, in the future years, this’ll go back to being typical slaves to capitalism, where we’ll all be happy to throw our money around at shit nobody really needs, but at least we’ll be in better spirits.

Happy holidays!

Not feeling that thankful this year

Oversleeping was my fault. A lot of the day’s issues don’t happen if we don’t oversleep, but it’s simply something that can happens when living a life as exhausting and draining as ours of raising two under two can be.  But it’s how the rest of the day transpired that has left me feeling few emotions aside from disappointment, regret, and the polar opposite of what Thanksgiving is supposed to be all about. 

The irony is that even if we don’t oversleep, there’s no guarantee that we would’ve made it to the airport on time.  Airlines appear to have tightened up two hours in advance rules to where they don’t even check people in for flights once within 105 minutes.  Long appears to be gone the days of when I could roll in with 75 minutes to go, no checked bag, TSA precheck and be ready to board group 1.  But with kids, all the kids’ stuff, and checked bags, that creates a tremendous amount more room for complications.

Ironically, regardless of if we left at our originally intended time, there’s little chance we would’ve made it on time anyway, because Atlanta airport’s parking is basically the worst lot in the galaxy, and it took us probably 30 minutes to find a place to park, and we would’ve missed the check in window anyway.

At this point, I’m kind of ready to punt; our original plan was to get us there as efficiently as possible, and pivoting with kids and checked bags never seems like a good idea to me, but mythical wife seemed more determined to see my family than I was, so after a 47 minute phone call with the airline, $465 basically paying for a full fare, we’re rebooked for a later flight to a different airport that gets us in four hours later, which slashes my already short trip and I’m wondering if it’s even worth it. 

Calling my mom to give an update is met with more disappointment and aggravation at the change of plans instead of any modicum of empathy or understanding. After my mom asks if we can uber to dinner after the money and effort to make sure the girls had car seats waiting for them, I’m already having regrets for not punting and heading into this trip with more dread than any sort of anticipation or excitement, that my family is finally getting to meet my kids for the very first time. 

Continue reading “Not feeling that thankful this year”

2 Under 2: Sleep training, the sequel (#073)

Looking back at the journey of raising #1, I would have to say that the hardest part would had to have been the teething.  When she started cutting teeth, and the pain and misery sat in, there was pretty much nothing that anyone could to do alleviate it, leading to a helpless failure of a feeling as parents that we can’t take the pain away, no matter how much we want to.

Although we haven’t gotten to the teething stage with #2 yet, I think it would be a safe bet in a few months that I’ll still be in agreement that the whole sleeping thing, is probably going to remain the worst thing about the growth of #2.

Since the literal very beginning, sleep has been a challenge from day one, where upon arrival, her circadian rhythm was all jacked up, where night was her peak awake time, and the daytime was when she would conk out.  Much like her mother, #2 has demonstrated being a light sleeper, that has had a hard time staying asleep once down, and as I’ve written about in the past, every single nap is like going to the shores of Normandy, they’re that much of aggravating battles.

It’s like putting her head down in her bassinet is like plugging a Game Genie directly into her, with infinite stamina codes programmed into them, because no matter how tired, groggy, or even asleep she is when being held or laying in a lap, the second she’s put in her bassinet, her energy bar fills right back up, she’s not only not sleeping, she’s on the fast track to screaming bloody murder.

One night, she literally screamed and cried for nearly two straight hours before mercifully seemingly tiring herself out to sleep, but of course she still woke up like 27 times in the middle of the night and required physical intervention in order to go back down for another 30 seconds before repeating itself again and again.

Another night, she would fuss and require pacification to fade back out, and no less than five minutes afterward, the process would start over again.  I’m fairly certain I got maybe an hour of sleep that night.

We’ve begun sleep training, which is basically to establish a routine that we’ll try to adhere to as carbon copy as possible every single night, with the hopes that she herself will begin to associate the routine with sleeping at a generally set time, and if all goes well, sleeping for more consistent stretches or windows, that can hopefully provide some chunks of downtime for mythical wife and I to feel like human beings again.  Because it’s for this reason alone that we don’t have any semblance of lives right now until she learns to get her shit together, and there are sometimes some days where I feel like I just can’t take it anymore, and in spite of my determination to not cave into the frustration, I just get owned. 

I’ve forgotten what normalcy feels like

Occasionally, I’ll have a day where I’ve caught up with all of my daily chores, the kids are actually asleep, and with the whole, giving myself until 1 a.m. thing in play, I have a moment to sit there and feel like a human again.  But then I realize that I don’t really know what to do when I have like, 90 minutes to myself suddenly, and it’s occurred to me that I’ve forgotten what it’s like to be a normal person.

I’ve put my general life on hold until things chill out on the whole raising kids thing, but in doing so, I seem to have lost touch on what to do with free time, when I actually have it.  One of the first things that comes to mind is to possibly watch television or movies that have been queuing up as things I feel like I should watch, but with just 90 minutes if I’m lucky, I often tell myself that I don’t want to start something that I won’t have any real reliability to continue on with, so I kind of nix that idea.

Running, as much as I wish I could keep doing it like I used to, isn’t really an option, because it’s often times so late in the evening, that I don’t like the idea of pushing myself to do cardio at a stage of the day when energy levels are low, and I don’t want to elevate my heart rate before ultimately going to bed, because that seems counterproductive.  Plus, I don’t want to work up a massive sweat, and be forced to shower at like 1 a.m. because #2 is already a light enough sleeper as it is, and I don’t want to risk waking her, so running is off the table too.

I’ve basically forgotten how to surf the internet, and the vast majority of news and information that I get on a somewhat regular basis is often second-hand over social media, and if I’ve got a little bit more time, then I scroll through Apple News to see what might be showing up in the media.  All the sites I used to go to in the past, I really don’t anymore, because I don’t remember them off the top of my head, or they’re just black holes that I know I’ll get sucked into if I visit them again, so I opt not to.

There are worse things to eventually fall back onto, but at least I’m often times using these opportunities to catch up on writing, which indicates to me that even at the most base and subconscious levels, the act of writing is still that highly prioritized in my head to where it’s what I gravitate towards whenever I can.

But if it’s not writing, it’s usually some dumb bullshit like, finding a YouTube channel simply called Idiots In Cars, and then the rest kind of serves itself.  All the same, it’s going to be an odd transition when the day comes where both my kids are in bed and out by 8pm or sooner, and I might actually have some more hours to actually feel like a human being again.

2 Under 2: Sick and tired of being sick and tired (#072)

I’ll be the first to admit that it goes without saying that I’ve done a lot of complaining on my brog about the rigors and tribulations of fatherhood, twice over now.  That was never my intention, but that’s just the way things have panned out because parenting is really difficult, I knew it would be, but it still didn’t change the fact that things frustrated me, and I got stressed out and fried and all sort of defeated on a regular basis, especially since having a second.

More recently, I had a chat with myself, as I often do because despite the fact that I probably could benefit from formal therapy, I have never taken any steps to explore it, so I end up talking to myself a lot, mostly when I’m feeling frustrated and down in the dumps.  I’ve accepted the reality that over the last few months, I have been irritable and constantly upset, and I told myself just how sick and tired I was feeling of constantly being upset.  

So I rebut to myself, to simply stop.  Just stop being so upset.  Stop it.

That being said, over the last few days, I’ve constantly been trying to coach myself to not give into anger too much, and even if I do get pissed about something, to let it burn as quickly as possible, and talk myself back from the ledge about how much it sucks to be upset and to cool my jets.  

And as easy as it is to say to stop, it’s kind of helped quell my constant frustrations, and much like Peter Pan, I try to think happy thoughts alternatively, and enjoy little things about my kids and parenthood, because in the blink of an eye, this will all eventually be over when my kids grow up, and all I’ll have are memories of their baby years, and I want to counteract as much of the negative ones with as much positive ones as possible. 

Once I got my head out of my ass, I took a video clip of my oldest, walking around in the yard.  Watching her progress from a frail premature baby to this boundless energy toddler marching all over our property is something I want to remember always, and it’s thinking like this that reminds me of the importance to try and capture moments so that I’ll always remember them and be able to relive these days, especially when they’re far back in the past.