Embracing Chaos


or, unParenting unResolutions

“Mama? Big mama? Wake up, big mama. I love you so very very very much.”

This is how Ender sets up the mood for the day—ensuring that no matter what he flushes down the toilet or smashes into pieces with the meat mallet (“How the hell did he find it again? I hid it on top of the fridge!” “Judging by barstool beside the counter, and the stack of boxes on the counter, you don’t want to know.” “Oh, Kee-rist. How has this child not broken any bones yet?”), my first and most brilliant memory of the day is tickling butterfly kisses and expressions of love ultimate from the beloved beast who will spend the day terrorizing the house, the family, and if we let him outside, the neighbourhood.

He is who he is; he is three. He’s careening towards three-and-a-half (see Surviving 3.5 and 5.5: A cheat sheet for an exposition and some almost practical tips and tricks), and three-and-a-half for the boys I birth is the age of chaos. So as I prepare to say goodbye to 2012 and hello to 2013, I know that chaos and the Ender crazy will dominate much of the year.

And I make no resolutions to yell less. Or discipline more. I will lose my temper, and I will yell, and there will be days when, as I survey the destruction wrought by the whirlwind in the kitchen while I absented myself from his side for five minutes, I seriously ponder just how wrong it would be to put him in the dog’s kennel. Just, you know, for a little while. And there will be days—and weeks—when I’ll be counting the hours until bedtime from 11:15 a.m. And days when, as soon as Sean comes home, I will hand over the entire parenting business to him, and lock myself in the bathroom with a bottle—um, glass, I meant to type glass—of wine.

That’s part of the ride; part of the package. I’ve written elsewhere on that the ultimate secret behind parenting is; its close twin is this: every age and stage, every journey has tough stretches, challenging stretches. And they’re all necessary, and most of them are unavoidable, and happiness and peace lie in knowing that they just are. And not seeking perfection, from myself as mother, or from the child.

He’s so lucky, my Ender, my third. His eldest brother broke me in, thoroughly, and no sooner did I start to boast that I had “cracked the Cinder code,” Flora arrived, teaching me that I had learned absolutely nothing about the uniqueness that is her (bar that nursing every hour, every 15 minutes, or, what’s that word, constantly, is kind of normal) from my first years with the Cinder. By the time Ender arrived, all I knew, for sure, was this:

I love him, madly, fully, unconditionally, in all his guises.

He will exhaust me, challenge me, frustrate me, make me scream.

And I will love him still, and love him more.

As far as everything else goes? As he grows, I will learn him slowly, piece by piece, unique need by unique need. Sometimes well, sometimes badly. Sometimes I’ll fail him—and sometimes, I will do right by him even though in the moment he thinks I’m failing him completely. And maybe, at the end of it all, when he’s 30, 40, with his own children—in therapy—maybe he’ll despise me, blame me, reject me. I don’t know. All I know for sure, is this:

I love him, madly, fully, unconditionally, in all his guises.

He will exhaust me, challenge me, frustrate me, make me scream.

And I will love him still, and love him more.

More like this: Sunshine of Our Lives, or, How Toddlers Survive.

Blog Hop Report: I spent some of the weekend blog hopping at the TGIF Blog Hop hosted by You Know it Happens At Your House Too. What a fascinating variety of blogs, people and approaches to life, the universe and blogging.

I’d like to introduce you, if you do not know them already, to three mama-bloggers (but so much more) with attitude:

Jenn at Something Clever 2.0  (Twitter: @JennSmthngClvr)

Teri Biebel at Snarkfest (Twitter: @snarkfestblog)

Mollie Mills at A Mother Life (Twitter: @amotherlife)

And something completely different, a woman who took my breath away with her authenticity and boldness of voice from the first line of the first post I read of hers: Jupiter, “Eco-Redneck,Breeder,Stitch-Witch,Knittiot Savant & Whoreticulturist Extraordinaire” at crazy dumbsaint of the mind. I’m not going to attempt to explain her. If whoreticulturist is not a word that turns you off, the word sapiosexual turns you on, have a visit and get to know her. Otherwise, maybe not. Safe she is not.

Happy reading, happy blogging, happy living, and I will see in 2013. My year of chaos. Your year of… what?



P.S. And if you’re having a slow New Year’s Eve at home with your kids and computer, check out Dani Ryan’s The Best of 2012 Blog Hop at Cloudy With a Chance of Wine.

30 thoughts on “Embracing Chaos

  1. I totally relate with my both my 3 1/2 year old and 2 year old. Loved your resolutions in regard t your kids and can say this sounds very much like my house. Thanks for sharing and Happy New Year to you and your family, Jane!!

  2. happy new year! love your unresolutions. just had a conversation with my teen about *not* setting do all/be all resolutions for the new year. they never seem to work out. but i like where we’re headed. 🙂

    • Lori! I just fished you out of spam! What have you ever done to WordPress that it hates you so? On the plus side–this time I found you before you were permanently deleted. Happy New Year to you and yours, and may 2013 bring you everything you desire, professionally and personally.

  3. Ooh, an honorable mention! Thank you!

    I’m looking forward to the boy turning 4 in exactly one month, and magically turning into an angel again. That’s totally going to happen, right?

  4. Great post and I’m so with you on the yelling thing…I was going to put that as one of my resolutions, but who are we kidding? Its not gonna happen…I still will love my kids no matter what. And I think your title says it best: we have to embrace the chaos, rather than fight it. Have a great new year!

  5. made me teary ❤ one thing i have learned from my children about the tough "stages" is that we all have them. Even me. The adult. And the one consistant thing among all of us growing is love. Happy growing my friend ❤

  6. Loved this. I have 3 sons and the eldest is only 5 so it scares the crap out of me what my future holds. I also have an older daughter who is 9 but like you I learned nothing from her .. boys are unique and WILD. Great post. ps. Let me know how you get on with the shouting less and send any tips this way, I need to do same.

  7. I love motherhood. You can train for all kinds of careers and jobs, but this is the one ‘job’ that will take everything you ever learned and toss it out the window.

    I’ve found that yelling is actually counterproductive for my little guy. So, there isn’t really a whole lot of that going on directed at him…his dad, on the other hand, gets an earful daily (the man refuses to pick up after himself and thinks because the 6 year old gets away with it, so can he – HA!).

    • Of course yelling is counterproductive. But, um, well. I’ll do it. I know I will. Cause that’s life… 🙂

      Motherhood is… a state, is it not? A state of being, a state of doing, a state of living. The biggest change and adventure ever.

  8. Jane, this is magnificent! 3 years old has definitely been my least favorite year for children! It is exhausting! Most people say they don’t like the 2 year old stage….I love it! And yes, somehow we get through it. And yes, every child is different so what you think worked with the first doesn’t work with the rest! My 2 year old will be 3 in September, I’m getting all worked up just thinking about it!!! LOL!

    • I remember, with my first, being all self-righteous and oh-so-proud about my take on the “terrific twos.” No problem. And then came 3.5… A lesson in humility I am learning again for the third time. 🙂 Thank you for your lovely comment; it means so much coming from you (I am a big fan of your blog).

  9. I love this post. I just made a resolution (the perfectionist in me rose up) to yell less / use my words carefully…and now you have me rethinking it. 🙂 Am I just feeding the perfectionist, I wonder? All that unconditional love is a beautiful thing. 🙂

  10. Think of me when you’re locked in the bathroom with a bottle, I mean glass of wine! Just know that I am doing the same thing in my neck of the woods. My son is nearly three and half years old like Ender. Cheers to another year of chaos, my friend!

  11. Ender is lucky to have you as his mama. And no worries about the wine in the bathroom thing—-we’ve all been there multiple times. It’s when you start soaking in a TUB of wine that you have to start worrying….

  12. That was a great post. It’s hard, as mothers we feel we “should” resolve to yell less, but sometimes it’s not in our grasps. It’s a tough job but only the best can handle it.

    Thank you so much for following. I’m a little late following back (via FB), but I am now. hope you have a fantastic 2013

    • No worries; I’m not into the forced reciprocal follow thing at all–I only follow if I genuinely want to read someone, and that’s all I want back, genuine readership. But thanks for popping in!

  13. This is my first time on your blog, and I am so delighted that I found it. You are truly a beautiful writer. I LOVED your not-resolution about yelling. I am so excited to read more of your thoughts- you have excellent insights and your writing is so much fun to read.

  14. I am so behind in my reading that I might have to just give up!. WHat an treat to read your blog for the first time and be mentioned.. I am humbled and honoured. Your home sounds like the kind of wonderful chaos that would kill me dead…… More power to you for it. I love the paint wall of the new years party. My husband would die 🙂

  15. Pingback: I blog because… #FTSF | Nothing By The Book

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