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Pandemonium August 2, 2014

Posted by Judy in Musings, parenting.

My family. Ah, my family.

They drive me bat shit crazy. Yep, you read that right: bat. shit. crazy!

Surprised? I imagine you probably are. Many of you, who I’m happy to call my friends, have over the years said what great children we have, how well-behaved they are, what a great mom I am, what amazing parents we must be to have such great children, etc. Generally, I smile and say “Thank you!” Today, I say, “But you don’t live at our house. You don’t see what I see.”

Pandemonium. Pure and utter pandemonium. All. the. time.

The toddler loves to shout and yell. It was cute when he was an infant. Now, not so much.

  • Add his loudness to the child who, when frustrated, becomes unable to use language and is thus relegated to screaming bloody murder.
  • Add his loudness to the other child who constantly shouts “NO!NO!NO!” when someone is bothering them rather than using calmer language.
  • Add his loudness to the other child who slams doors, knocks over chairs and is generally wild when frustrated.
  • Add his loudness to the parents, who, weary from all of the above anger and shouting, add their own shouting to the mix.

Add all of that together and you have pandemonium.

So you see, if you stepped into my house, you would be tempted to retract all of the compliments about well-behaved children. You would rethink whether or not you wanted to shower me with accolades for being a supermom. You would likely gather your things and make a hasty retreat from the pandemonium, bedlam and mayhem that seem to reign supreme.

Some of you might say, “Give yourself a break. Your family is dealing with the huge stress of cancer right now. It’ll get better.” Our house was bedlam-filled long before cancer popped up in my left boob. I’ll concede that the cancer makes it more stressful, because in addition to dealing with the mayhem, I’m also doing my best to, you know, not die. But, that doesn’t really change the fact that bedlam seems to reign in our house and that I’m going BSC.

Sometimes, who am I kidding, MOST of the time, I feel like grabbing my purse and Kindle and running out the door. I imagine myself having peace and quiet in some idyllic, secluded place for weeks, or months even. But then I realize that I’d return and everything would be the same, and the idyllic vacation would have been all for naught. So I don’t physically run away. I run away inside my brain. I wonder what we did wrong, or IF we did wrong. I wonder how in the world to change the behaviors. I wonder why we seem to be the only ones with children who scream and yell so much. I wonder and wonder and end up feeling like we have failed at this thing called parenting.

And then, the 4 year old will say, “Mommy, watch this!” and proceed to kick up into a head stand against the wall, and then push up into a hand stand. And I’m amazed.

And then, the toddler will run over, give me the biggest bear hug ever and plop a giant kiss on my cheek. And my heart melts.

And then the 7 year old reminds me in very specific detail of an event that took place when he was 2. And I’m astounded.

And then the 5 year old flashes her award-winning smile, the same one she’s been flashing since she was 5 weeks old. And I’m smitten.

And then the hubs plays some crazy game with the babes and they are all laughing and giggling like crazy. And I’m hopeful. Hopeful that maybe we didn’t mess up.

And then the bedlam starts up again and I want to run away again.

A friend posted this on FB just now: “Action is the antidote to despair.” – Joan Baez.   It was as if she posted it just for me.  I’ve realized that running away inside my brain doesn’t help. I’ve realized that I can’t change the behaviors of others.  I’ve realized that grumbling and complaining and being angry about my life doesn’t get me anywhere, except for maybe to the doctor’s office with high blood pressure. (And really, I’m kind of maxed out on doctor’s offices right now!) I’ve realized that the best thing, and really the ONLY thing I can do, is to change MY reaction to the BSC-making behaviors. I have no idea how exactly I’m going to do that, but I’ll figure out a plan tomorrow.  Today, I’ll revel in the fact the end of the pandemonium starts right here, with me.

I’d say coming to that conclusion is accomplishment enough for today.


1. Claudine - August 2, 2014

Prayers going up for you. I know exactly what to pray for. I have three of my own yelling, lovable little people. And I will pray that you continue to see the change in yourself. That is where it starts for them. Courage.

2. Mary - August 2, 2014

I’ll be praying also my dear. For some reason this all sounds familiar. Mine weren’t as close together in age but they still managed to yell and excel at obnoxiousness toward one another and just when I was ready to do something dreadful they turned into sweethearts just in time to save their little bacon! I think it is built into children, that radar that warns them just in time! May God give you the needed patience. This stage doesn’t last forever. Believe it or not, there are times when it would be nice to have that stage back again! Love you.

3. Kari - August 3, 2014

Very honest post. Our house is like this many days. Knowing that we are not having anymore kids, makes me want to enjoy every moment. Some days this is easier said that done. I will pray that you find the solution, if there is one. If you ever need a play-date or night out let me know.

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