You have once again started swimming lessons because I’m determined to have children who can safely maneuver around body of waters without arm floaties and tears. Given how much you despise water, you can imagine my surprise to you actually enjoying yourself during your lessons and even getting to the point where you earned your first ribbon. The passing skill for your first ribbon required you to attend three straight lessons without crying. To a stranger, that may not sound very challenging but to all who know you, they understand what a massive achievement this is. You are the boy who stands rigid on the beach, screaming for someone to hold you while children frolic around you having fun. You are the boy who needs to talk himself up for upwards of thirty minutes before entering a swimming pool. You are the boy who complains about chafing when ever you don swimming shorts. All of these examples do not point towards a future heavy in an aquatic lifestyle but here you are, changing your destiny by attending three classes in a row without crying and proving to me and everyone else wrong that you are capable of swimming without coming completely undone.
Perhaps it’s your age and the slim chance you’ve matured just enough to understand water won’t annihilate you or maybe it was the shiny new red goggles you proudly wore while sauntering around the house that has proven to be the crucial step towards overcoming your fear of water. You were surprisingly excited this time around and were so confident as you stepped in to the pool. Of course, the confidence did start to deteriorate within the first five minutes of your first class when you suddenly remembered that you hate water. You did start to cry and motioned for me to come and save you. As I was pondering whether to just let you stick it out or try again another time, a little girl in a pink bikini showed up to your class. Suddenly the tears were gone and the confidence was rediscovered. You haven’t cried since. Now that I know your motivation lies in the female species, I plan to use this to my full advantage. What? You don’t want to clean the garage? How about if you do, you can look at the Victoria’s Secret catalogue for thirty minutes? You boys are such simple creatures.
You’ve been having a little bit of a rough time lately–waking up a few times in the middle of the night and lots of potty accidents. I can’t determine what’s going on or if anything has changed in your routine or you’re just seeing what you can get away with but it kind of feels like having a baby again. I thought we had moved beyond all this nonsense but I guess it just goes to show you that nothing is ever officially over when it comes to kids. You’re very sneaky because you’ll go to the bathroom and run out with your underpants in your hand boasting that you didn’t pee your pants only to discover that you did. You look at me and with a very c’est la vie attitude, reply with, whoops. I’m just tired of all the laundry that is a result of this little hiccup we’re having. I feel like I should just set up a cot right in the laundry room. I can get my rest and change the laundry loads without skipping a beat. One can dream.
Your sister is still obsessed with Frozen and we’re all pretty much ready to shoot blow darts at her in any attempt to make her stop singing, Let It Go. You were pretty excited when I first downloaded the movie for your viewing entertainment but the excitement quickly wore off after Olivia continued to recite the movie after it ended. Perhaps it’s also the fact that during her reenactments, she makes you be Anna. And yes, she does dress you up and she calls you her pretty pretty princess. Now I think I know where the incontinence is coming from. I really do feel sorry for you because Olivia just can’t stop singing that damn song. It’s almost like a tick or something–she physically cannot stop singing it. After I put you two to bed and I’m making my way down the stairs, I’ll hear Olivia start singing again and I’ll here you shout out, ENOUGH! I can at least shut the door and walk away. Your sorry soul has to share a room with her.
We’re all a little bit irritable lately and I will proudly point my finger at Olivia and her nonstop karaoke and apparently my irritation is shining through because you’ve been picking up on the conversations I have with myself when I’m driving. I’ve heard you blurt out dammit and go ahead people, take your time in your most sarcastic tone. It’s true I’ve had some tension boiling at the surface and apparently you’re picking up on that. I’m sorry but it’s really hard to contain your cool when you’ve been listening to a song on repeat for the last three plus months while I change your pants for the fourth time in two hours. There are no parenting books to help me deal with this nonsense so therefore you will deal with the wrath of me. I’m also going to blame you and your sister for the first grey hair I discovered on my head this week. It’s true that upon the discovery of this sad lonely white hair, I shed a tear and remembered every tantrum you made me endure while I roughly counted the number of times I have heard Olivia belt out that song and I’m actually quite grateful that it’s only one hair because I really feel given the level of anxiety I’m feeling right now, I should have a full head of white or at least be catatonic.
It’s been a little rough in the O’Donnell household lately and given the hours your dad has been putting in at the office, I’ve been looking for anything to let off steam. As a result, I have actually started running. One thing you should know about me is I am not a runner. I have tried running numerous times and I hate it every time. I’m a swimmer and just feel more comfortable in the water. Running is exhausting and for me, not in a good way. Problem is, when you’re short on time, running is easy. I have started running again and I still dislike it but I’ve been very surprised by how well I’ve been doing. I’m not sure if it’s a lot of pent-up energy or the fact that you, Liv and dad have been so incredibly supportive but something has changed this time around and I’m running distances I have never even touched before. Your dad signed me up for my first 5k and it was pretty amazing to have you and Liv there waiting for me at the finish line with the biggest smiles I have ever seen. Even though I wanted to vomit in front of all the spectators right there at the finish line, those feelings of nausea were temporarily remedied when I heard you two screaming, yay Momma!!
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, parenting is exhausting. Never have I loved someone so much and still wanted to suffocate them or at least throw my shoe at their head. When you’re a parent, you’re always waiting for that break–the period of time when things are momentarily easy. People always told me, oh wait until he’s nine months and he’s sleeping through the night–things will be so much easier then or wait until he’s three and in preschool, he’ll mellow out quite a bit. All those people lied and I plan to hunt each and every one of them down to call them out on it because there are no breaks in parenting. You overcome one problem only to usher in something else. All those people gave me false hope and I don’t appreciate it. Although I do have comfort in knowing you’re not a sociopath now that you are experiencing remorse. There was a time I looked at you with some concern. You at least apologize to me on your own accord when you’re in the wrong and that’s at least a step in the right direction towards us having somewhat of a normal and healthy relationship. Now, if you can find a way to silence your sister, I will ensure that your supply of Victoria’s Secret catalogues will always be chock-full. That is a promise I intend to keep. Not at all like those liars out there with their parenting advice. Them, liars. Me, a shining beacon of truth. Remember that.