Tuesday, November 06, 2007


Pity party. Skip this if you don't feel like listening to me whine.
If you've stayed with us for any length of time, you'll know what I'm talking about. If you've spent the night in my home, you'll share my amazement at falling asleep to a spotless house, only to wake up 8 hours later (remember you were the guest-- you got your 8 hours while we got 5!).. to wake up to a house that by 6am looks like a tornado ripped through it. You'll remember your frustration when your personal belongings have been dumped out of their suitcase and scattered across 2700 sq ft of hiding places and mess.

When you've got toddlers, you know how messy they can be. Very few at that age know how to pick up after themselves and if they don't, you can usually bribe, remind, coerce, or nag them until they do it. Even if you have to shadow them, step by step until it gets done. But here's the difference with Owen and Will. They are no longer toddlers. They are little boys. They're bigger, they're stronger, they're messier and they're more capable than ever of destroying anything they get their hands on.

Will has got to be the most hyperactive child I have ever known. I'm not saying this lightly, nor am I laughing about it. His hyperactivity is something that I know I will soon have to address on a medical level, because it really is unmanageable. Will just can't sit still and I really don't think it's just when he's bored. He can be sitting quietly at the table counting his raisins, when all of a sudden out of nowhere he gets the impulse to bolt out of his seat and sprint full speed down the hall to the front door, only to run to the couch in our family room so that he can jump off its back, then plop back in his seat as if nothing ever happened. He loves jumping. If Will wakes up in the middle of the night around 1 or 2am, his first enthusiastic instinct is to climb atop his 6 drawer-high dresser and jump off of it. Over and over again. Now add to his hyperactive tendencies, the desire to 'clean sweep'. I don't know how else to describe it. Take my family room for example. It sits a step below our eating area, with our kitchen just beyond it. Will starts out in the family room at our built-in bookshelves. There was a shelf full of dvd's that whenever they caught his eye, he would rifle through them, literally whipping each one over his shoulder until the shelf was clear. Oh! A craft cupboard- let me dump that giant bucket of markers all over the floor. He'd make his way to his little work-table and clear it of every toy or book that sat atop it. Make his way to the couches and take every cushion, blanket or pillow off of it and throw them to the floor. Now let's head to the kitchen table. After eating the inside center of his bread, he just whips the crusts to the floor. If he's in an especially mischievous mood, he'll take his cup of water and simply overturn it to the floor. The worst has to be the damage he does in the kitchen. And before you judge me, please reflect on how difficult it is to shadow three children when you are only one body. If we are on a different floor than Will and he sees the opportunity, he's in the cupboards. He has already broken every lock on the cupboard doors. It could be a loaf of bread that he's dumped out on to the kitchen table (as he proceeds to eat the centers out of every slice). It could be a sugar bowl that he's eating by the spoonful. It could be a bag of SunChips. If it's not food, he's whipped off every single magnet from the fridge and scattered them all over the floor. All of this damage can occur within 5 minutes. No lie.

Now let's take Owen. He's a wanderer. He roams from room to room and just scans objects, looking for things to line up and hoard. His latest obsession is grabbing every single paper-bound (children's) book off the bookshelf so that he can line them up then proceed to bend and rip every single page. It's become a ritual. What it means is that from hour to hour, I keep finding little bits of book pages littering my floors and tons of books splayed out all over the ground, not to mention the dvd's and cd's that he also likes to line up.

Mess every once in a while is to be expected. Especially in a household with 3 boys under 6. But it's a bloody nightmare trying to keep on top of it all. It is honestly probably one of the most frustrating and tiring aspects of being a mom to these boys. We don't get to sit down in this house until after the kids go to bed, because we're decluttering all day long. Taking a break from it and sitting it out for an hour, means that the mess just builds that much bigger so that you don't know where to start when you need to tackle it. So you procrastinate out of frustration, then the piles get bigger. Til it gets to the point where you can't see bare floor. I'm stressing myself out just thinking about it.

There is no denying that in my house, when my house is clean and in order, the boys tend to do better. They're more structured and routined as well. So I can't really fool myself into the trap of thinking that no one cares so why bother. It has to be done. So I'll just continue to complain about it while getting it done. But did I mention that I was only talking about clutter? Let's not even get into how dirty my house can get. But that's another post.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh Stacey! Here I was... up at 5 something and stressing about the day ahead in my classroom of 9. (Three of whom have Autism.) I was feeling sorry for myself and then I read your post.

I have to remember that I only have the kids from 9-3. I get to go home and the end of the day. Their parents have them from 3 to 9! And they love them... and they are wonderful, sweet and loving kids... but they are sooooo much work! My hat goes off to you. I don't know how you and Jon do it. Really. You are wonderful, wonderful parents.

You also reminded me of my trip out west this summer. A friend of mine has a 7 year old girl and 5 year old boy both with Autism. I had a wonderful week visiting her and the kids but I was more tired when I came home! I am in awe of you guys. Hang in there.


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