My worst day of “The Challenge” thus far…

Written November 7, Day 10 without power

Dear Facebook,

Was it really necessary to delete all I had just written after the day I had?! ARGH!

Not so sincerely,
The Orange Rhino

(Dear Orange Rhinos – as I get back up and running (translation: get two weeks of laundry and dust bunnies taken care of – I wanted to re-post what I wrote on my phone for those who don’t Facebook. I will write something new soon. Like tonight. I promise!)

*

Today was ugly. Absolutely  positively, 110% ugly. It was indeed the worst day I have had on this challenge, a day I am ashamed of because it was full of way too much snapping and way too much mumbling not nice things under my breath. It was a day filled with venom.

It started off great

The kids slept in to the new daylight savings time so I woke feeling rested and so powerFULL. But then, as I stepped out of the house this morning en route to a friends house, it hit me. It was beyond COLD. The sky was grey which meant the snowstorm wasn’t a joke but instead a cruel reality, an imminent reality. And it meant no sun today, or rather “no orange rhino, your house will not warm up a few degrees naturally today so screw you!” Yes, I felt attacked by the weather today and defeated. So much so that when I dropped laundry off at a friends I couldn’t hold a conversation without crying. Because you see, not only am I cold and frustrated and feeling powerless to help others, my baby had a febrile seizure on Friday and today woke with a fever AGAIN. I knew blood work was in the works for today – somewhere between getting firewood, gas, groceries, ice all before the storm hit. ARGH. The stress of the last 10 days finally hit me this morning and it turned me into a raging B***:!We got in from dropping the laundry, I still wiping tears away, and I went on a firm voice rampage! Clean up! Do this! Do that! Now. No one responded (obviously) so I threw a temper tantrum. I went outside (in the COLD!!!), tried to hide, and stomped my feet, screamed out loud and maybe even kicked a toy. Or two.Then I walked back into the house and tried again. Still, no response. It was clear – the stress I felt was radiating. My attitude was literally being spit back at me. My boys look nothing like me but today their attitudes made them look like spinning images of me (or is it spitting? I always get it wrong!) Anyway, I digress. My boys needed to temper tantrum as much as I did. So we all did. Together.

“Who needs to scream? Okay, on the count of three we’re going to stomp our feet, pound our chest like gorillas’ and scream. And then we’re gonna move on.”

We did that. And it was fun. And worked for nearly 5 hours. Sh*t. I needed it to work WAY longer. Fast forward two hours, my ugliness is rearing its head again and my eldest dumps all the firewood ashes out on the driveway (don’t ask why they were available to be dumped in the first place). I grumbled and snapped and firmly made my point. But still felt crappy. Because I knew it was preventative and I was just in a bad mood.

ARGH. Then the opportunity presented itself to get on track AGAIN. #2 was struggling with his snow pants. He grumbled at me “I’m having a terrible, horrible, no good very bad day!!!”

“Me too I said! Me too.””Do you need a kiss and a hug to make it feel better?””Yes I do. Do you?”

“YES”

We hugged and kissed and guess what, I felt better. It was still an ugly day but at least I was able to pull it together to have that moment. Because it was the sweetest, most powerfully engaged moment I’ve had in days and I needed it. His little hug and kiss, and your stories today, totally recharged me. Phew!

“I will survive!”

Friday’s Favorite Song #3…

Yesterday, after a mere two hours of being up with all my boys and a whopping 11 to go, I started writing an email to my husband. “Dear hubby, I don’t think I will survive this day.” Then I paused. I read my words and pressed delete. I realized that with that defeatist attitude, yeah, I wouldn’t survive, that my thoughts would indeed become reality. And then Gloria Ga

ynor popped into my head. Yes, this power outage is getting to me. Before I knew it I was humming…”I will survive. Hey hey!”

So there you have it, today’s song is “I Will Survive!” I am pretty sure we all know the words but just in case, here are a few key lines for you to hum on a bad day:

“…did I crumble \ Did I lay down and die \ oh not, not I! I will survive! \
Oh and as long as I know how to love I know I’ll stay alive \
I’ve got all my life to live, I’ve got all my love to give \ and I’ll survive! \
I will survive! Hey, hey! \ It took all the strength I had not to fall apart \ … \ And spent oh so many nights just feeling sorry for myself. I used to cry! \ But now I hold my head up high. \ and you see me somebody new!

Happy Friday and weekend…you will survive!

A personal struggle (yes, another one!)

Written on Facebook when we had no power…and as I copy and paste it here and re-read it I want to make clear that this post is about ME and my struggles, not my boys! 

A post not about yelling, but about a personal struggle (hopefully a familiar one?) That stresses me. So I guess it is indirectly about yelling then isn’t it?

People keep asking me…why don’t you go and stay somewhere else? Why don’t you go to a hotel, a friends, grandparents, anywhere there is power? The reasons are quite simple. As to grandparents or a hotel, well, it would actually be more work and more stress to take four kiddos to a place without their toys, their beds, their comfort. Yes on occasion it’s fun to go to grandma’s or on vacation. But when it is unplanned and unknown how long we will be gone? No, that is too much for me. And for my kids quite frankly. They, I, need as much routine, as much familiarity as I, we, can muster.

And as to going to a friend’s house, well, this is where I wonder if I am alone. I am deathly terrified of taking my kids to a friend’s house. Terrified they will misbehave, they will be too loud, they won’t be polite, that they won’t be as good as my friend’s kids. It is so bad that I hardly ever truly relax when visiting a friend because my anxiety that one of my boys will act out scares the bejeebers out of me.Yes I know. This probably sounds ridiculous. Not just because real friends don’t judge but because kids are kids. But still I worry. I fret. I fear. I struggle because I don’t know anyone who has children like mine, or rather because I have never witnessed friend’s children acting like mine. I haven’t seen sensory attacks, screaming attacks, hyper attacks anywhere but in my own home and it is isolating. Ever so isolating.

And so I isolate myself even further. I say yes as much as I can, on days when I have the strength and patience to parent my best. I say yes on the days when I know WE will have a good day, when I won’t be embarrassed  when my boys are more apt to not have an “attack.” I say yes when I can but also, I say no a lot. I have gotten a lot better these last two years as I have grown to know my boys, as I have learned how to read them better and help them more. As I have grown as a parent but still. Again. I say no a lot just because I am terrified of what people will think of me as a parent.

Which begs the question: is the problem that my kids behavior is legitimately embarrassing or that I am legitimately insecure? It’s probably a little bit of both but more the insecurity, don’t you think?

Do you feel insecure about your kid’s behavior? Ever?

Hurricane Sandy and more chances to practice

Hi Orange Rhinos.

Today’s riddle is brought to you today by Digavise.

Which is longer? A year without yelling? Or a week with young kids and no power?

I’m not sure either! Our Orange Rhino is still without power and unable to post to the blog, though I’m sure the posts post-power-restoration are going to be amazing!

The good news is that she is still able to post to Facebook, so if you head over there, you can help find the humor in this situation and help her count down to the restoration of power.

Don’t yell, make Bananas Foster?

Written November 6, Day ??? without power

And a funny story for tonight to lighten up the mood of this page.

So obviously 8 days no power is getting to me. Tonight ’round about 4:30ish as the house was starting to darken and I needed to get everything ready for dinner and bedtime while I had lights someone opened the door to the COLD cold outside and left it open. As they ALL ran around in and out screaming and laughing and having a jolly ‘ole good time. Two seconds before I went bezerk they ran in, slammed the door shut and continued calling each other po*py heads and laughin hysterically. I was so annoyed I wanted to scream, like off my charts scream. I opened my mouth, felt the tickle start in my throat and felt the roar travel up my throat. I immediately grabbed the closest thing I could and squeezed…turns out it was a week old rotten banana. SMOOSH! Wet, sticky banana smooshed through my fingers and dripped out onto the counter and floor. What a mess it was! What a mess I am. What a dork I am because immediately after the harsh realization that I am inching towards losing it (despite all my positive feelings), all I could think of was vanilla ice cream and the necessary makings for Bananas Foster dessert :)

When it’s dark, you can see the Stars…

Written on Facebook November 5th, day ??? without power

What’s on my mind facebook asks? Well first I am thrilled I figured out how to post as The Orange Rhino from my phone. Yeah! And second, well, here is my second.

Tonight I went outside flashlight in hand desperately searching for #3’s winter hat. You all know him to be a tad OCD about his belongings and well, since we made him wear a hat one night to stay warm he hasn’t let it leave his head. Until today. It was bedtime and it couldn’t be found anywhere. I feared a meltdown more than anything so I trekked outside looking for said hat.

I didn’t find it. But I found something perhaps more amazing. The stars. As the fresh, cold air hit me in the face and I smelled all the fires burning I couldn’t help but stop and take it all in. It was so peaceful. Not a car rushing down the street. Not a streetlight shining. Not a kid running around. It was pure awesomeness. And then I looked up. Oh the stars. So abundant and clear and sparkling. I love seeing the stars at night and oh how I miss visiting “the country” where I can see the stars every night. You see, here in the burbs, with all the lights it is hard to see the stars. But as you know, right now, I am without light. My street is without lights. But I am not without stars.

It was (is?) Totally dark tonight and I got to see the stars. And it made me so very happy, so very calm and yet alive.

You all know that I am a cheeseball who loves inspirational quotes. Tonight’s search for the hat turned moment of peace reminded me of a favorite quote of mine from high school. Something like “only when it is dark can you see the stars.”

Well right now folks, its dark. But I am seeing stars, literally. And it is keeping me going. So I offer this story up to you in terms of this challenge (because we all know I love to bring things back to “the challenge.”) When it is dark – when you want to yell and kick and scream and lose it, look for the stars. Look for the beauty in your children. Look for love. Find it. It is there. And it will help you survive that moment. And if it doesn’t work right away, keep trying. It is like looking for constellations – it takes practice to see things a certain way. But it IS possible.

I’m off to stargaze. Again. Because looking at stars is way better than sitting in the dark. Again.

Do I want to be miserable or not?

Written on Facebook November 4, Day 7 without power…

Hello again! I’m on night 7 of no power and I appreciate you all staying with me and sharing such supportive comments the other night. While what I am going to write right now is theoretically about my current situation it actually applies to this challenge too, and any difficult situation in life. As grateful as I am feeling, I have finally hit the wall. I spent lots of moments today feeling angry and frustrated and annoyed at the situation.

Both my husband and I are fed up and tired and I am pretty sure we are going to lose it with each other and the kids soon if we don’t see at least 1 truck working SOON. As in, like first thing tomorrow morning. But in the middle of all my silent b****ing and moaning this morning, in the middle of a moment when I really wanted to scream at my kids just because I am that on edge, I remembered something I learned at the beginning of this challenge. I have a choice. I can spend all day pissed off and yelling and feeling really miserable as I wallow in self pity OR I can choose to feel only partially miserable.

For so many years of my life I opted for the really miserable. That seemed easier and more comforting at the time. Looking back I am not sure why I ever thought that! But today, and the last 267ish days I’ve CHOSEN the better choice for me, the less miserable choice. It’s hard to make – but it does feel better. How do I make that choice? I find whatever I can to feel positive about (like unexpected family time together). Hokey I know. Again, its taken YEARS to train myself to think this way (and to admit that my mom, who has been drilling this in my head for years, was right). But it works. So that’s what I have for you tonight. Not feeling cranky is a choice. I chose it today. Not yelling is a choice. I also chose that path today, like a thousand times I think! Under the circumstances, both choices were hard as h*ll but equally rewarding as h*ll. And tomorrow morning when I wake up cold and cranky and pissed the kids again missed the memo about daylight savings (argh!) I’ll re-read this. Until then, a nice glass of wine and a fire await. Sleep well!

Hurricane Sandy – filled with emotion and gratitude

Written on Facebook November 2nd, day 5 without power

Hello friends and shall I say family? Because in many ways you all feel like family as I have told you and trusted you with many of my deepest emotions! I tried to write today “formally” but am honestly too overwhelmed with emotion to get what’s in my mind and my heart out. So alas, as I sit here in the dark listening to the crackle of the fire and the buzzing of the generator that we were able to rent and run a few hours a night so we can keep the house at 55, I thought I would write to you all “casually.” Hi. We are holding up. I find myself wanting to cry a few times a day though, I’m not going to lie. You all know me to be emotional and this devastation certainly has brought that part of me alive. I keep asking myself why do I keep fighting back tears? Why? Is it because the house is cold, the food blah, the kids stir crazy, my routine gone? NO. I want to cry because I am so grateful. Because I am so lucky. I see trees on houses all around me. I hear sirens every 20 minutes. I see moms with week old babies waiting in line for coffee, food. I get stopped by an elderly man to get directions to the hospital because his wife, in the front seat isn’t feeling well, clearly from the cold, the stress. I, we, my family are lucky. And for that I feel so grateful, yet so guilty. Because while it is bad here and no sign of a power truck in sight, I know it is worse elsewhere. And that just breaks my heart. Do I write this to make you all feel guilty? NO. Please don’t!!! I write because it helps me process the craziness that is around me. I write because it is what I normally do and right now, I crave just a little bit of normal more than anything…(P.S. Thanks for reading and letting me emote.)