Wednesday 16 February 2011

Dispatches From The Middle Of The Ocean

If you're in a hurry, come back when you've got a cup of tea and a bit of time to spare, because this is l-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-ng. And honestly? I feel a bit fragile about publishing this, but I think I'm just going to click the button and try not to think too hard about putting it out there.

I'm going to level with you and tell you that right now, I find it hard to read about people's happy family adoption stories. I find myself assuming that life really is like that all the time for everyone else. It's one endless round of creative playtime, where appropriately-developing children are watched over happily by an adoring mamma. This adoring mamma spends the children's naptimes crafting Ethiopia-themed toys for them, rather than sitting around in her dressing gown and wishing she could have a G&T. I read these stories and I know that that nobody is making a hash of things like me. Right now, I even find it hard reading about the bubbling excitement of people who are preparing to travel - forgive me, please - because I know, I just know that all of these people are going to be better, happier parents than me. They won't be feeling like this, fifteen months on. How could they? They're about to be given the greatest gift of all, a child. How could they ever feel anything other than grateful for that gift? Of course, there will be hard days, but they will always feel basically content and appreciative. They won't find their fantasies suddenly shifting from fluffy blankets and babies to how much they would like to find themselves stranded, alone, on a desert island. How could they? Only an awful person would have thoughts like that.

And actually, that awful person never used to be me. When we came home with our babies, we had a tough (tough!) transition into parenthood, like most normal human beings. But after a few weeks, things started to feel normal again, and then they even started to feel good. And I liked that. Finally, I got to be a mother to these two wonderful little human beings, and it was good. Hard, but good.

Mostly, I felt like I was walking along a road that I could manage. When the hard times came, it was like the road led straight into a lake, and I found myself swimming instead of walking. Swimming takes a lot more effort, and there is nowhere to rest. The early sleep deprivation felt like one of those lakes. The hunger strike of 2010 felt like one of those lakes. They were hard, and I was tired, but there was land all around me and I knew that eventually I would get across the lake and be back on dry ground. The lakes were not fun, but they were always finite, and they felt like just a small part of a life that I could mostly manage.

This is pretty much what I thought parenting was going to be like. Then overnight, someone came and took my sweet munchkin babies away and replaced them with toddlers. I've got to say - I'm not entirely sure that it was a good trade.

And now, it feels like the lakes have become bigger and bigger. There's the lake of 'who was I kidding when I thought I could manage working and parenting', which is adjacent to the lake of 'I really wish that my husband could occasionally get home before 9pm' and not far from Lake 'bye bye, morning naps, and therefore bye bye, morning housework' which was definitely not on my map for this part of the journey. But these are small bodies of water compared to the chain of lakes known as 'Toddler Behaviour'. Lake 'I would prefer to sit in this dirty, stinking nappy until my bottom rots off than let you change me' is much bigger than expected, and I've been swimming through that for months and months. Lake 'biting and scratching' is not beautiful, and nor is Lake 'I demand that you give me that sharp knife / burning liquid / electrical cord right now'. We've also been trying to swim our way through Lake 'Surprise! New attachment issues!' which will have its own post. Of all of these, Lake 'Extreme unpredictability' is probably my least favourite. It's alternative name is Lake 'This might be a wonderful day or an awful day and you have no way of knowing' . I do not like it. I do not think that it has a booming tourist trade.

And the thing is - I'm in the middle of all of this and then one day I look around me and I realise that the landscape has changed. The lakes have begun to run into each other until I'm really not in a lake anymore, I'm in an ocean. There are islands in the ocean, like the island of Pink finally learning to say 'duck' and the island of their unbearable, hilarious cuteness. Some of them are big islands - two weeks ago, we had a perfect weekend where they were cherubs throughout. I do get to spend time on dry ground. But now it's the land that feels finite. Even when I'm standing, I look around me and I'm surrounded by ocean. And when I'm back in the water, I don't know when it's going to end.

Maybe that's too metaphorical. And I was prepared that things would be hard. What surprises me is that sometimes, these days are as difficult to endure as the very hardest days of it just being the two of us. Three, if you count the cat. I still, regularly, have times when I cannot stop myself thinking I do not know how I am going to survive this day.

On these days, I find it hard to like my children, and I certainly don't like myself. On these days, it seems always to be nine thirty in the morning, or four thirty in the afternoon. Mostly I feel like I can get through, but one day in a hundred I just want to jump off the top of a very tall building. Okay, one in fifty. At the moment, maybe one in ten. And the worst part - on these days, I see so many sides of myself that I would prefer would stay hidden. Angry sides. Irritable sides. Lazy sides. I see impatient, bored, cranky sides until it seems that I have turned into nothing but a dodecahedron of maternal vices.

Once I was jealous of women who planned their babies around their summer holidays. Now, I'm jealous of women who have any form of domestic help, who have husbands who come home in time to help with bedtime, who have parents close enough to babysit, who have (again, forgive me) only one child, whose two-or-more children don't turn their living room into a scene from Lord of the Flies the moment their back is turned, or, most of all, women who don't have any of that yet somehow manage to retain their sense of humour and perspective.

I knew that the hard road I walked to motherhood would not stop me finding motherhood difficult once I got there. I knew that feeling sad about childlessness would not innoculate me against finding motherhood tough. I knew that. But I suppose that all the grief I felt, all the worry, all the sadness... I thought that would innoculate me against feeling ambivalent about motherhood. I knew it would be hard, but I thought that hard meant difficult. I thought it would mean I would get to the end of the day and think That was incredibly tough. I didn't think that I would get to the end of the day and think I'm not sure that I want to do this anymore.

You'd better believe I have a lot of adoption-related guilt about admitting that I feel ambivalent about mothering right now. My kids are wonderful, adorable, insanely delicious little bundles of humanity - you know I know that, right? I love them with all my heart. And yet so often, at the moment, I wake up in the morning and my first thought is "oh no". So yes. There is lots of guilt. I can't believe that anyone else in my shoes would feel like this.

I think that adoptive parents are often a bit quieter than others about the times when we find parenting really difficult, especially when we are together, whether online or in real life. I always assumed this was because we were more fundamentally grateful for what we'd got. And maybe that's true, but I'm beginning to wonder if it is also because we are just a bit guilty or ashamed of feeling this way about something that we wanted so much. Actually, I'll lose the non-specific plural and speak for myself: I think I don't want to admit just how hard I have been finding things lately because it makes me feel guilty and ashamed.

And even when we bare our souls, and talk about the hard parts, there's some kind of obligation to finish on an up-ending. I do it myself, all the time. Earlier today, I got really cranky at Blue because he was grabbing his bottom when it was covered in poo. Pink was grabbing my knees and shrieking and then Blue tried to wriggle away and nearly fell off the change table and the day's traumas all hit me at once and I thought 'I can't take this anymore!' and then I put my elbows on the change table and my head in my hands and I started to cry. But then he reached out and stroked my hair and made humming noises and I realised that it was all worth it. End of story, right? What I haven't mentioned is that he stroked my hair with the same hand he had used to touch his poopy butt, and within two minutes he was yelling about something else when I still hadn't recovered from the first thing. And although they can go from sunshine to storms and back again in the blink of an eye, I can't keep up. If one of them has a tantrum, they get over it immediately but I'm still reeling from it, heart pounding, ten minutes later. Spending the days with them is like trying to go ten rounds with a pair of weebles. The up-ending is never the end of the story, unless it happens as I'm shutting their door at bedtime. Sometimes the dominant emotion of the day really is ambivalence, and it's best friend, extreme adoptive guilt.

But I don't really like to admit it. In fact, my brain won't even really let me believe that I feel this way. Yesterday, I went to visit a friend. On the way back, we were walking along in the late winter sunshine. I would sing a pattern of notes, then Blue would echo it back, then I would sing another, and he would echo again. Pink was sometimes joining in, and sometimes turning around and grinning at me and I don't think that I've ever been happier in my life. And as we were walking, I was thinking about writing this, and some kind of cranial override function kicked in. Don't be ridiculous, Claudia, my brain told me. Why would you write that silly thing you've been thinking about? You don't feel ambivalent about being a mother! You love being a mother! See how much fun this is? And I argued back But ambivalent doesn't mean it's always bad, it just means I have mixed emotions. And it's not always like this. Yesterday it was awful. I remember. And then my brain said No, you don't! You're imagining it. It wasn't awful at all. Maybe it was difficult, but it wasn't awful. And I replied Hang on, I'm pretty sure it was actually awful, and I was feeling like I was going to scream until something shattered but the override function said Don't be silly, Claudia. You're so grateful to finally be a mother after waiting so long, how could you possibly have felt like that? You're imagining things. It was fine. You were fine. and by the end of the walk home, I pretty much had myself convinced that I was overreacting, that I had imagined how I felt that other time. I guess it's this sort of brain programming that convinces people that yes, they really would like another kid. *

I find myself just so very certain that I can't possibly be feeling anything substantial other than gratitude. Sometimes I act as if God and I had a one-time deal while I was waiting - God, if you can get me through this awful bit of my life then I promise, I promise I'll never bother you again. I'll never find anything else difficult, ever again, I promise. But God doesn't make deals, and if he did, he wouldn't make a deal like that. I need to learn, so many times, and in so many different ways that the God who helped me through childlessness has not changed and abandoned me now that I've got kids. I am allowed to admit - to Him, and to myself - just how much help I still need. He sets the lonely in families, but he also grants rest to the weary and right now I am reminded how much I need that rest because I feel very, very weary**.

If you're looking for an up-ending, here is the best I can come up with: there is one saving grace about this ocean that I find myself floundering it. This time in my life might be just as hard as childlessness, but it is nowhere near as isolating. Some days, I still feel profoundly miserable, but the difference is: I can say it out loud. I find it hard to admit to other adopters, as I've already said, and I do try to have a filter and not moan to childless people.*** But In my day-to-day life, it's ridiculously easy to find sympathy. I don't have to do that 'hmmm, she's older than me, been married for a while, doesn't have any kids, I wonder if maybe we might have this in common' reconnaissance that used to be necessary before sending out tentative conversational feelers. Instead, random strangers in cafes raise their eyebrows and say 'Twins!' and ask me how my day has been, and if I answer honestly, they say encouraging things in reply. In fact, the rest of the world is much kinder to me about this than I am to myself. While I'm thinking 'how can I be so ungrateful for such a wonderful gift?' other people are saying "oooh, that sounds terrible, you really deserve that coffee!" A few days ago someone asked me how old my kids were, and when I said eighteen months she shuddered and said 'oh, that's a dreadful age' and I nearly kissed her. Sometimes I think that what we want in life is not happiness so much as connection, and some days I think that the only reason I think I'll eventually get to the other side of this ocean is because of the solidarity that other people have offered me on the way.

It's the exact opposite of what I used to experience while we were waiting, when I felt like my suffering was real but the world ignored it. In fact, this parental solidarity was probably the hardest thing I faced, while we were waiting. The reason that I, in my childlessness, felt so isolated was that everyone else seemed to be complicit in the assumption that parenthood was the hardest thing ever, the only trial worth talking about. And now, I appreciate it so much on the other side and I can see why everyone is doing it, why we all feel like we need that validation.

In other words - all those ungrateful, whiny parents who were made me miserable while we were waiting? I get it. I finally, finally, finally get it. I got it intellectually at the time, but now I get it. I'm not saying that I think it was okay to complain like that to a childless person, because it wasn't. It was thoughtless and selfish and unkind. But I think that now I can see how easy it is to be thoughtless, and selfish, and unkind when life feels like nothing but seawater, all around. (I've probably displayed all three of those already today in some direction or other, which must make me eligible for some kind of award).

In fact, I'm going to be honest and tell you - if I hadn't been through what I've been through, right now I would talk about nothing else except for how tough this is. Ever. I would have no filter. I would accost people at parties (if I went to parties). I would bore people at work (oh hang on, I do bore people at work). If I met someone without any kids, I would probably say 'hey, are you SURE you want them? It's harder than you think, HA HA HA'. In fact, it is horribly, terrifyingly, chillingly possible that I would say something to them like if you want a kid, you can take one of mine!

Excuse me while I sit here for a moment in shame.

And I don't, of course, but the part of me that wants to is big enough for the rest of me to reel in horror and think how did I become this unforgiveable hypocrite? I feel like I've betrayed my old self. If I could talk to Claudia-from-the-past, I would beg her understanding and reassure her that I haven't forgotten what life used to feel like. I would also try to gently remind her that life is not the Pain Olympics. That pain was awful. It's over. I couldn't be more thankful. But that doesn't mean that I have to hang onto it forever, or this isn't real, or that there might not be new, different oceans ahead. (And then I would run away, quickly, because I'm really not sure she would agree and I'm pretty sure she could take me in a fight).

And so I continue to swim. I don't think I'll be here forever. A few people have said that two and a half is the magic age where things suddenly get better. Then, or later, or hopefully before, I'm hoping to see the shore again. But in the meantime, here I am. Anybody know where I can buy a boat?

* who knows. Maybe one day. But I think I would need a lot more cranial override action first.

**This is not a discussion of adoption theology. I have opinions on adoption theology (quelle surprise) but this is not the post where I'm writing about them.

***unless you're reading this blog, in which case I apologise. But I kind of wish I'd had some straight talk about this stuff from someone who had been on both sides of the fence before
I adopted, so maybe I'm not apologising that much. You can choose.


  1. can't help you in the parenting department, but can share what i learned at a bible study this morning.

    when gold is first found, it looks a little like coal. when it first goes through the refining process, the coal-like outside melts off.

    However, it's only in the continual refining process that the innermost impurities are brought out and skimmed off the surface.

    usually, when we're in the midst of some sort of crisis, we initially react with something that leaves us saying "woah! where did that anger/bitterness/jealousy come from? I thought I was beyond that!" Many times, that crisis in our lives is because God is refining us a little more. Our responsibility is to own up to it, and to allow God to skim the impurities off of the surface.

  2. just wanted to say if you want to swim over to ours we would love to have you!
    or take a boat if you find one!
    Praying for you and blue and pink! :)

  3. Awww hon. Toddlers are hard, there's just no two ways about it. I feel your pain, I really do. I cannot for one minute imagine going through it with twins. And your husband being gone all those hours????? I think that's what's killing you. you need a helper.

    I know you know this but I'm going to say it anyway, it will get better. I can say it because I know it to be true. Hang on hon. You can do this. And then you can torture them with stories about how awful they were when they are older. tee hee.

  4. Toddlers are hard.
    I wished MANY tines after my first was born that someone...anyone...would have told me how hard it would be. That I may not fall in love the second he arrived or feel much of anything for a couple weeks or that maybe my DH and I would not in fact "love each other SO much more" while we adjusted our perceptions of each others and parenthood.
    Hang in there momma! You are doing great!

  5. Oh my gosh -- I can really relate to this post. My oldest is 6 and so lots of things are better -- we're (mostly) past the toddler tantrums and limit testing, she has some ability to make good judgments even when I'm not right on top of her so she can play alone at times, and she's generally less needy. My youngest is 3 1/2 -- and I'm hoping heading into an easier phase. While I adore my children -- and am thankful for them every day after the long wait to become a parent -- there are moments (even days) when I don't really like them much. And there have been a few times when I've thought maybe this mom thing isn't as great as it's cracked up to be. Which of course brings on the guilt of how I could possibly feel that way after wanting so desperately to be a mom. Thanks for such an honest post!

  6. Ah, I love how you write. I often finish reading a post of yours thinking, I would love to comment but she said it all! And you say it without using any bad words!

    Here is my take on all of it:
    Kids are really effing hard.
    They can and will be horrible, often.
    Mommy guilt will suck the life out of you in under an hour.
    Feeling your feelings does not make you a bad person.
    You are normal and this shit is crazy, it really is!

    Okay? Feel better. Make their world really small and use ear plugs! That is your up- ending, hope you liked it, lol!

  7. So many things to say, only 7 minutes (meeting coming up)

    I laughed and nodded and went, "mmm" throughout this post.

    your writing is beautiful! and I see why you can't only write 200 words.

    Love the visual images of the lakes - love it.

    It is very, very hard at times. No one is disputing that.

    I am one of those you will hate with a 6pm husband and dear V. I would die without V - seriously. I need to write about the school/ V scenario.

    love what you said about connection vs happiness. So true - i want to know i'm not alone.

    But here's something to encourage you.

    on sunday MIL babysat so we could go to a movie. we were away from our kids from 12:30 - 4 pm. After church which was as usual awful as I've blogged. Running around non-stop, sweating within first 5 minutes of toddler wrangling.

    Just before we left to go home (3:45 pm) I said to D, "I can't WAIT til they go to bed (6pm)". D thought it was a terrible thing to say - I said, "I can't help it - they are hard, hard work".

    they really are - i'm praying your islands get bigger and the sea becomes smaller and smaller :)

    love you!

  8. This post is beautifully honest. The one thing I could wish for you is to let yourself off the hook about finding it to be hard. I told a friend recently that I get a little flip in my stomach when I see that bus come in the morning to take my son away. But guess what? I also feel that little flip when the bus comes back and he jumps into my arms. I'm glad to see him go and I'm glad to see him come back. The hardest part of having a baby for me was the sleeplessness. It took its toll on my ability to deal with everything else. One two year molars were in, we all slept through the night and things got better. The other thing that makes me sad, or should I say, scares me, is the additional guilt of feeling this way about an adopted child. I imagine I might feel that way, too, but I don't want to and I wish you didn't either. I won't know about me until I get there. I'll say it again, this is a beautiful piece of writing.

  9. I have had countless people tell me I could have their kid while we were waiting. I also can understand this on an intellectual level, but have not experienced it, but I think nothing less of you, at all.

    I've had some serious adoption guilt over the last 24 hours. As I wallow in my pain of having to leave my child in Ethiopia, with no end in sight for our return, my heart pained for him. And yesterday, I reminded myself that his mother will likely feel this same pain, perhaps daily, for the rest of her life. I only have to endure it for a few weeks. Serious guilt and shame for me too.

    Thanks for sharing.

  10. Great post Claud!

    Solomon's biggest thing is smacking me right in the face. Or throwing (umm, more like launching) a toy my direction when he's mad. When that happens I find it really hard to breathe.

    I understand your words.

  11. One of the hardest times for me as a mom was this period of time when Ted was traveling to Los Angeles for long stretches, anywhere from a couple of days to a few weeks. The longest stretch was a month but that was when Abe was older. When he was little, like yours, Ted was gone once for a week, and I thought I was going to lose it. I really did. We decided then and there that our limit was 5 days away because we are not made to go these long stretches without a break. And that's basically what you're doing with your husband gone until so late at night (and with two!).

    I wish I were closer so I could take the kids regularly for you. During that hard period of Ted being away, I was always so thankful for even an hour or two when a friend would watch Abe for me.

  12. I think we need to have an off-blog/ email chat about this cause we are swimming in the same body of water right now. And I don't want to cause a ruckus but I think what sets us apart from others is the twin factor. Twins are not the same as two kids 'close in age.' they just aren't. We are at 22 months and life is harder than I ever imagined. People who have kids to save their marriages are crazy. I could go on but have to go to bed (at 8:30... because I'm exhausted. as always.). Just know that I agree with and echo everything you said--the crazy love and the ambivalence. I'm with you mama. let's talk sometime.

  13. I think that all sounds spot on. Genius as usual.

    I'll tell you... there were moments when I felt somewhat like that in the BEGINNING of my time with E. His newborn phase was so very horrible in so many ways. My husband and I say the most horrible, awful, amazing, wonderful thing we've ever been through. Sound about right to you? And I felt NOTHING but guilt about it which didn't help. Some people were understanding, and others were all judgy as in "Why are you acting so tired and unhappy? Isn't this what you so desperately WANTED?" And yes, I'd reply, it absolutely is with all my heart, and I love it. But that didn't stop the insanity from lack of sleep, frustration from not being able to provide what he needed so he could be calm, or the need for just ONE QUIET DAY OR NIGHT.

    And there... now I look like a bad momma too.

  14. When my three old son discovered he had an opinion about everything, I felt like it got way harder to parent. Thank you for your honesty - sometimes it's hard to put the tough stuff out there.

  15. So well written.

    Posts like yours so scare me because I'm childless and have been for for nine years of marriage and we expect our referral for two any day now. It could be twins, but even if it isn't the whole thing scares the pants off me, even though I know intellectually what I'm getting myself into, and even though I'm the oldest of 10 and have lots of experience with kids.

    So I have no wisdom, nothing to share except that I think you will each day into a place where you can look back and say "wow" and the great thing about children is they change, they grow, they do not stay the same, and neither do we, really.

  16. *HUG*
    I didn't have the time to read ALL your post, but I did read most of it and I just want to hug you and wish I could come give you a break! Do you get a chance weekly or every other week to get time to yourself? I have heard from many experienced moms that this is how they got through the hard times. I am trying to do so...sometimes it happens and when it does, I am a different Momma and Wife. Without the experience of being there, I completely agree with others that a MAJOR factor for you is TWINS and that your husband comes home so late. I am confident I would want to be pulling my hair out daily or crying a lot in your situation!!! I am praying for some good, practical help for you. Also for strength, lots of reminders of solidarity, creativity, freedom from the guilt and the peace to take the days one hour at a time. Sending lots of love to you!

  17. I can completely relate to your post. About two years ago, when I had a one and three year old, the baby woke up at least three times a night, the toddler was up at five every morning, and my husband was travelling three days a week, I seriously thought I was going to lose it. I'm an expat like you and my family is in America so I had no respite, ever. This was all going on while my beloved sister was going through yet another IVF, so then all I felt was guilty guilty guilty, and angry and disappointed in myself. I remember telling my husband I wanted to run away.

    I seriously do not know how you do it with twins, and I think it would be a million times harder.
    One thing that helped me was I met up with the same mums every week where we talked (mostly about how tired and irritable we were.) It really helped to know I wasn't the only one.

    All I can say is that it really does get easier as they get older. They can start watching Cbeebies for more than five minutes at a time and going off to play with toys without needing you to intervene constantly. I know it won't make you feel better right now but I do think you're at the very hardest point. Soon you'll be looking back at this time in your life and feeling really grateful that it's over, and also grateful to Cbeebies!

  18. Oh, Sister. I so feel you. I have felt the same way about both my bio and adopted children and I must say the GUILT about the adopted child is MUCH worse than the guilt about the bio ones. Not sure why... but it just is. I think things like "Good Lord! She was an orphan! She just needs a hug! What kind of awful person would push her away to go get more coffee???" but I do. I did it to my bio boys too, but it felt different somehow. Like I was entitled to do it. Now it just makes me feel like crap.

    It *does* get easier. Toddlerhood is sweet and wonderful for about 5 minutes a week. But would you believe me if I told you that someday those 5 minutes are ALL you are going to remember from these years? Okay, you'll remember the other stuff. But the bad/crazy stuff won't carry as much weight as those 5 minutes. Really.

    You are doing a great job. And deserve as much coffee as you want. ;-)

  19. I sent you a much longer email but let me just say this... I feel ALL of this, ALL OF IT (and more). It is so much harder than I thought it would be. And it has only been in the last couple weeks when hard but funny became I am pretty sure I can not do this anymore.

  20. I have one toddler and have help with me most of the time and, I admit it, I have days like this too. They are tough, and I couldn't, seriously couldn't, dare-I-say-it-bash-my-head-against-the-wall, could not do it with twins and without the help! Good news: It does get better. Bad news: I don't think it's at 2.5. Probably more like 4.....Hang in there. Throw me a life jacket, will you? And I will do the same for you.

  21. I don't have children, so am not really qualified to comment, but I saw a T-Shirt the other day that said "It takes a village to keep the mother of a toddler from leaping off the roof." It made me laugh--thought it might give you a smile, too. And I think it illustrates that you are *not* alone in how hard this stage of the game is. Hang in there!!!

  22. It will get better. When I don't know. It will gradually get easier as they are able to do more for themselves, really it's not that far off. But there will still be days where you feel like you are drowning like during potty training or weaning off of naps or during infinitely long times of illness (like we've had this winter). I still have days when I wonder how I'm going to make it till bedtime, but they get fewer and farther between. Plus all of those amazing moments that melt your heart are there for a reason. Eventually you'll look back and actually miss it, I know it's impossible to believe right now. Mine will be 5, 5, and 4 this year and I sometime I so wish for when they were younger and all of those awful make me want to pull my hair out things (like Bam eating his crib or chewing outlet covers out of the outlets) are actually kind of funny to think about now even though it was certainly not the least bit funny then.

  23. how is it that no onw has quoted finding Nemo yet?

    Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.

    From someone who has claimed that I think I am starting to feel ok for months, and then being continually surprised by how it's not exactly feeling ok yet and realizing I might never feel ok because dear God I have four kids four and under and they will always be this close in age, which means 4 teenagers at a time what was I thinking...

    I know. And I know about the Daddy being gone too much. I don't know about balancing work because that would send me over the edge into insane-o ville. So, my prayers, my thoughts, and my deep empathy is with you.

    love, your swimming buddy. You can't see me because I am in a different lane, but I am there, clawing for air with you.

  24. Hugs to you. Toddlers are a handful! There is no way that I could handle two who were the same age. They would rule the house.

  25. I know its been said, but this is incredibly written and it resonates with me. I went for a period of time where I had to stop reading these motherly-love type posts people were writing. They gave me the same feeling they were giving you, that these peoples lives were solely comprised of those kinds of days/moments. It just made me feel like a complete a-hole, filled me with self-loathing, given how difficult I was finding my days.

    I am sure that twins are beyond difficult in many ways I can't comprehend; having to do everything for two exactly aged dependant children - WOW. How do you ever leave the house? I can't imagine.

    But one child, I think must be very hard in a way that having more than one isn't. In that, particularly, there is no one else for the child to seek attention from except parent(s). On days when it is just he and I at home, O.A. follows me around all day long, I can do nothing without him whining for attention from me, and this even after I have allocated special attention time to doing things with him. His need for attention is ceaseless and I'm the target. Sometimes the urge to put him in front of the TV overcomes me and I succumb. And I'm the parent who said I would never do that.

    I too have had days where I feel like I wonder if I can handle his whining for attention one more minute more... before I lose my marbles entirely. Those days are painfully long.

    On top of all of it, there is the guilt that feeling induced and in order to admit these feelings to anyone I must qualify with how much I love him. And I do love him, intensly, with all my life. But on some days I feel like that life could perish if my husband does not come and take him from me.

    O and potty training - I thought would be the end of me. But he's potty trained now. Seriously though, it put me in tears doing it many times. It was exasperating.

    Thanks for writing such a brutally honest post, IT IS SO REFRESHING!

  26. great, now I'm the crazy person who left a disgustingly long comment...

  27. I resonate with almost every single thing you said. I get smacked, scratched, YELLED at so much that sometimes I just want to do it right back to them! Yes, K is my hardest one right now. Dreadful age indeed! I got all chillbumpy when I read that 2.5 is the magic age. Never heard that before, but it gave me such excitement at the possibility! You know my story. I am no perfect mama. Medication has helped me tremendously. And as far as God is concerned, I keep feeling as though I was abandoned way back in the waiting days. Never quite got over that. Who has time to develop that relationship anyway? Sigh.

    YOU ARE NOT ALONE. And I'm sorry I take so long to read your amazing posts. I run away from long posts, even though they are usually the ones that I enjoy the most.

    You are a treasure.

  28. I am late to this party (with a good excuse)... but let me be the 28th person to say: thank you and wow.

    We have been home 5 days and I have already punched my adoption guilt-ambivalence-anger-irritation-self.loathing card many times. I haven't updated my blog since we got home because I just don't know what to say yet...

    This is hard? [Well, duh.]

    No, I mean HARD. [Well, you signed up for it.]

    No, I mean it's really hard and I don't like it. [Oh... man, you're a terrible person!]

    Grace, grace, grace. And more grace.


Over to you!