The joy of having two kids a year and a half apart is that just when you are sad about your older one leaving a precious milestone behind, his younger rugrat is there to take its place, often adding to the preciousness (is that a word?) Ex: Not only does Sophie dance on command like Nick used to, but she also shrieks "dace! dace!" and does this half "Staying Alive" half "Alleluia, Amen" move to boot.
The negative about having two kids so close in age is that when one one has a bad day, this usually transfers onto the other in the form of hitting, pushing or screaming no about as many times I've tried to tell Diet Coke to buzz off. Today is one of those days. Nothing is settling Nick down, nothing is making Sophie sleep. It reminds me of something my sister-in-law said to me this weekend regarding her still child-less status. Something like "everyone I know has kids, and while they wouldn't change it for the world, they're still super frustrated. I'm not ready to join that crowd quite yet." And why should she? She's just 32. When she's ready, she's ready, and she'll be phenomenal. I'll never forget last Christmas. She came over December 22 to give me a well needed rest. In the two hours I was gone, she cooked a lasagna from scratch, Sophie on her hip and Nick begging for Cheerios (at that time they were 'Cheeri-o-nonon-no-nonnny os' , morphing him from a young toddler into a bad impersonation of a Chinese hot dog vendor.
Getting back to her comment about people loving their kids, but always trying to get rid of them... I can't deny that. At least one entry a week is dedicated to my efforts to find balance between being being homebound with munchkins and needing alone time for other essentials like thrifting, Starbuck stalking, and exercizing (exercizing translating into me sitting on the couch watching Oprah reruns about diet and fitness while I down 40 Twin Dragon Almond Cookies and commit to sign a Bob Green Diet contract that very evening, before I fall asleep, head first, drooling in a butter and lard coma).
Despite this reality, I can't say how much I do really adore my kids. For every 1 moment of wanting to go Andrea Yates on someone's Huggies, there's 20 moments of pure joy and equally as many of medium happiness (This being where I wonder if there's not a way to make money for myself while mothering, but I'm mostly settled into my role as Felicity Huffman's character on Desperate Housewives.)
For those 1 in 50 moments, rather than wish I never had kids, and rather than hitting, screaming or calling James in a tear ridden panic with desperation filled pleas of "Come home or I'm leaving you forever with these hellions! But not before I take a picture of you freaking out over the 30th dish you've done so I have some memories to make me smile as I go to sleep in my Arkansas double wide" I do something very motherly: I lock my kids in the garage. (Now this last statement qualifies me as either worthy of jail time, or winning an award for "The Officially Longest Run-On Statement Blogger Has Yet to Publish")
Now before all you non-parents out there turn me into Social Services, let me explain that my garage is attached to my house. I shut the garage door where any perverts, gardeners or mere looky loos can steal my kids (because 2 howling toddlers is so appealing). I then grab my lap top and sit on the step outside the garage and type (like now... under an umbrella... in the rain... it's all I ever dreamed a writing career would be). The beauty of this technique? The kids automatically calm down because they think they're going on a trip. I don't lie to them and tell them "we're going to the beach!" but I usually tell them a story about Disneyland a few minutes earlier. If they want to project that they're going to the Magic Kingdom, so be it.
This gives me about 15 mintues of blessed quiet time. Then for another 5 minutes they start to pip and squeak, but they can't go anywhere, becaues they're in their car seats. And then when they really get upset, I turn off the laptop and we drive somewhere, calming them down once again. Our destination? Not as magical as Disneyland, but the kids simmer down once again, rendering our funfilled journey to the cleaners and post office a peaceful, happy affair. Chillin kids means relaxed mommy which, when we get home, equates our home to "The Happiest Place on Earth" once again.
I'm telling you, two kids, two car garage, you, too, can find solace.