Parenting

From Man-to-Man to Zone Defense

T-1000

Logging into my blog, I’m completely chagrined to discover that I haven’t posted in twelve days.  Twelve?!?  Where does the time go?  I’ve been wandering around the house in a stupor trying valiantly to parent my new menagerie.  Where did they all come from?  I feel like I haven’t added just one kid.  There must be more like forty of them roaming the halls.  I think they’re multiplying when I’m passed out in exhaustion.  Going from two to three is…interesting.

Evie’s strong personality has always felt more like triplets.  One child couldn’t possibly argue that much.  It must be three, or an entire state championship debate team.  These days, though, she actually feels like my “easy” child.  For Christmas, my parents gave her a portable karaoke machine.  You heard that right.  The biggest talker in the family is now amplified and mobile.

She follows me around the house talking and singing into her microphone, my own personal narrator.  “Hey, Mommy, now we’re in the living room.  The LIV-inggg ROOOOOMMMM.”  She’s like the emcee on a cruise ship.  “Hey, hi, how is everybody tonight?  Be sure and try the shrimp cocktail.  Now everybody get out on the dance floor and shake your booty.  I’m singing, sing-ing-ing-ing.  I’m singing into my mi-cro-phooonnnnne.  And I’m a princess.  A princess doctor.  Doc McStuffprincess.  La-la-la la-la-la I’m awesommmme.”

She’s happy.  My brain is shot, but she’s so very happy.  After about the fifth hour on Christmas day with Amplified Evie, I had an out of body experience and started floating above the room looking down at how well I was handling everything.

I no longer finish sentences.  I’m incapable.

As for the two big kids in my home, I just.  I just.  I just.  Just ack.

Bringing A– home right at the school break is both perfect and agonizing.  It’s exactly as it should be, it gives us time to run around in our jammies and bond and have hours and hours of unscheduled time together, but also, we have hours and hours of unscheduled time together.

Is anyone else looking at the last week of break like the climax of Terminator 2?  The T-1000 is waving his creepy little silver liquid metal finger at me and slowly advancing, and I’m Linda Hamilton, my leg is badly injured, and I just can’t run away.  Out of body me is screaming at badly injured me to run!  Run, dammit!  Run!  Get up and be an awesome mom!  But I’m down, good ol’ Arnold Schwarzenegger is basically scrap metal at this point, and things aren’t looking good for me.

Just wake me up when it’s back to school time.  I’ll be on the couch in a fugue state.

Since coming home from Latvia two weeks ago, we’ve had welcome home presents and celebrations, the hubby’s birthday, Evie’s birthday, Elliott losing his first tooth, grandparents visiting, Christmas parties, and Christmas.  A– assumes that our life is one ongoing party with new presents every day, and today she asked for more.  I tried to explain that we don’t open presents and have parties every day, but really, who could blame her for believing that at this point?  Sorry, love, all the presents you just got are it for about a year.

The kids are doing well, you know, with the freaking out trying to figure out their roles in the family and how to get along.  They’re busy making alliances and vying for partnerships, kinda like our own family version of The Hunger Games.  My job is to find sponsors and send in little silver parachutes when it looks like they’re about to kill each other (Oh, that’s awful, Melanie.  You went too far.  Hunger Games jokes.  Not cool.  I know.  I’m not sleeping.  Pray for me.).

With three of them, the alliances change every day.  Last week, Evie was out.  Yesterday, the tables turned and Elliott felt out in the cold.  I’m hugging child after child after child and reassuring them of their specialness and security in the family.  I find myself draped with multiple children throughout the day, all emotional, all the time.

In about half the discussions I’ve had with people about moving from two to three children, someone has made the sports analogy about going from man-to-man to zone defense.  In some ways, this excites me, because it comes from the one sport I actually understand a little bit.

As a Kentucky girl, I received love of basketball through the breast milk.  Squeaky shoes on a court still make me want to curl up on my parents’ couch for a cozy nap, and I have been known to say, “I bleed blue.”  Go ‘Cats.  Big Blue Nation.  I heart the Bluegrass State and its love of the game.

Okay, that’s about as sporty as I get here on this blog, so don’t worry.  Anyway, when people talk about zone defense, I perk up because for once in my pathetically unsporty existence, I actually know what they’re talking about.  In fact, my husband and I performed a pick and roll just this afternoon to get A– out of his office while he paid the bills.

I get excited.  I can participate in this discussion.  Except the analogy is complete bull-grass.

Going from two to three kids isn’t switching from man-to-man to zone defense.  Uh, I moved to zone as soon as I had two.  Maybe, maybe, once in awhile when we were out in public together we might’ve played man-to-man, like after church when we split up to grab one kid each from a classroom.  But most days, it’s zone for mama.  Daddy’s in his office and I am up to my eyeballs in children.  I’m waving my hands in their faces and shuffling from side to side, but it’s like I’m playing the Harlem Globetrotters and they have tricks I’ve never seen that are ridiculously creative and totally against the rules.

Man-to-man.  Snort.  Please.  There’s a reason no woman has ever said this to me, but almost every guy with whom I’ve talked has thrown it out there immediately.

Even when we’re together as a family, my husband, who is amazing and who I love and adore, has the uncanny ability to focus his attention completely on whomever or whatever is in front of him and somehow miss the hysterics happening around our house or the lobby of whatever poor venue we’ve decided to visit.

After one child, there’s no such thing as man-to-man.  I’ve whipped together these helpful diagrams to illustrate reality.

 

Upon seeing these sportastic diagrams, the Hubs informed me that the arrows are going the wrong way.  To that I say:

Dear Hubby,

Thank you for helping me upload these super cool diagrams making fun of you.  You are the best dad in the whole world and zone or no zone, I couldn’t do this without you.  Thanks for laughing at yourself so I can laugh with you.

Love,

Your Sandwich Maker

_____________________________________________________________

image from whatculture.com, video from Friends, and diagrams from my legendary artistic ability

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  • OffTheCuffCooking

    My mom (who has three children) always said that going from 2 to 3 was the roughest… because you only have 2 hands. And all of a sudden, the third child requires a bunch of new, and unfettered attention and the other two feel the void of the prior level of attention they used to have… I’m sure there’s more attached to this intensity, when you’re in fact adopting a child that’s not a newborn, and there’s already a sense of built-in competition between the older kids that have had their own status in the past. . . But I’m sure once you get a little time to decompress, get them into a routine, and get some mom time once school starts again, it’ll seem more manageable. . . Hang in there!

    • Melanie Dale

      Thanks! I’m breathing moment by moment! Grateful!

  • Awesomemom

    Oh man I feel ya! Last summer my parents took my older two for a few weeks and it was shocking to me how much easier life was with just two instead of four. My work load was way more than halved. I guess the good news is that eventually you stop noticing that you are being overwhelmed with kids, it just becomes normal and how things are.

    • Melanie Dale

      With a name like “Awesomemom,” I’m sure you’re amazing at this gig!!! :) I’m looking forward to arriving at “new normal.” Not there yet, but I’m taking life moment by moment!

      • Awesomemom

        Heh, I actually came up with this name to brainwash myself into thinking that I was actually not a terrible parent. My intro into parenting was rough so I needed all the help I could get.

  • Andrea

    You make me smile!!! This is the best description of Mom/Dad parenting. I can’t wrap my mind around the fact that he cannot smell a dirty diaper!!!!! You are right, it’s all about teamwork. Thanks for the giggle :)

    • Melanie Dale

      Laughter is what keeps me going every day! Glad I could share a little hilarity with you.

  • SGtotheDP

    Ok, so I think I have a solution to your multiplying kids thing… you’re not supposed to feed them after midnight, or get them wet. I feel like there are other rules too, but I forget the other ones. And that Friends’ clip is one of my favorite- a great way to get the “message” across. Did not understand your b-ball analogies at all, which makes me feel super inadequate as a basketball fan. But I dost think you did not go too far with Hunger Games… the parallel is truly remarkable.

 

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