As I mentioned in “About Me,” I am dealing with post partum depression. I am struggling to stay away from serotonin altering drugs. Currently I’m taking Deplin, a vitamin that is a precursor to serotonin. It has made a huge difference, but some days it’s not quite enough. Yesterday was one of those days. I couldn’t sleep much on Monday night and I woke up tired on Tuesday. From the very beginning I started saying that this was not going to be a good day. After breakfast, I tried to sound excited as I announced the new color and shape of the week, but my mind was still saying I’m not feeling great. Then, wouldn’t you know my boys decided to go from doing one thing not allowed, to the next thing not allowed, and on to the next thing not allowed, and it just kept going. I desperately wanted nap time to come sooner and I wanted to yell at my kids to obey. By the time the nap time came I was totally spent with thoughts of how other mothers can handle this without blowing their cool, I should be able to that too. How can I even consider myself a good mom with thoughts of yelling at my kids? I’m nowhere near that creative and under control mom that I thought I would be. For the next hour I cried and my mind thought the worst of my mothering skills and what I must be doing to my children mentally and emotionally.
I had walked into my office and there sat my Bible and the handouts from my mentor. We have been working on the topic of renewing your mind. Right on the front page was a scripture that caught my eye. Proverbs 23:7 paraphrased: As a woman thinks in her heart, so is she. I was immediately reminded that Shirley said whatever I think about most during my day, that has been my God. With a pain of guilt, I had to confess that being a mom not living up to her potential and what I think other moms can do was being my god for the day. While I would love to say that my spirit lifted and I was a happy mommy for the rest of the day, that’s not what happened. I spent the next hour crying my eyes out, then pulled myself together to make it through the next wake cycle with my children. I didn’t yell, but man, was that a hard 2 hours. I would catch myself talking in my mind about what I should be like with my kids and what I wished they were like. Each time I had to catch myself and give myself grace because that is exactly what God is doing for me, giving me grace and filling in where I’m not able. Tuesday afternoon we have a playdate at our house. My boys always seem to act better and play longer when other kids are around. It was so true today. My boys were not perfect, they managed to stand on the couch and get in trouble more times than I wanted to count. But, it gave me a break, some friend time and it reminded me as I watched the other kids that they too are disobedient. At first I started feeling sorry for myself that I’m dealing with two disobedient kids instead of one. I quickly had to turn my thinking around. God knew what he was doing when he gave me twins and post partum depression. He could easily give me the mental health and energy to be a super mom that can sail through having twins, but he didn’t. What he did give me though is a double portion of mercy for the day. He gave me friends to talk to, a playdate for a breather and the perfect topic for my mentor to be working with me on. There certainly is a battle going on for my mind. Satan doesn’t have to come up with wacky, really sinful things to throw me off from keeping my eyes on God. All he has to do is remind me of how imperfect of a mom I am. Now that is sneaky and hits too close to my heart. I would not fall for some obvious sin, but the battle for my thoughts is subtle and so crucial to day to day living. I think I will post Proverbs 23:7 on my fridge so I’ll see it every time I go to get milk for the boys. As I think in my heart, so I am, so let me think about God’s mercies instead of my shortcomings.
The first full week of tot school is over & many lessons have been learned, mainly by me. On Monday morning, I set out the shape sorter and said to the boys that whatever shape they touched first would be the shape and color of the week. What sounded like a good idea, was not the best after all. James had reached out and grabbed a yellow triangle. Now I like yellow and we have so many yellow things around the house, but a triangle is not as common of a shape as say a circle or square. But we all said yea, clapped our hands and made a big deal out of the yellow triangle. By Friday, I asked each one to point out a triangle from all the shapes and neither picked out the right shape. Again,I asked each one to pick the yellow and once again they picked out something else. So, we will work for a week on each thing and will revisit it for another week down the road.
I hate to confess this, but some days I get just plain bored of doing toddler things. Wednesday was one of those days that I didn’t want to look at another shape or color and act like it was the greatest thing in the world. I think the boys were even bored too and they were walking around the living room and kitchen without any purpose. I decided that I was going to get the wooden blocks out and build things, build them the way that I wanted to. Since the boys were wandering around, I didn’t have to be patient when they knocked the structures down. After a minute or so, baby James came over and sat down next to a pile of blocks. He just sat and watched for a brief moment. Then, to my surprise, he started stacking blocks. Up to this point, he hadn’t stacked more than three high. Today he stacked five blocks high. I was so proud and we clapped and clapped over his accomplishment. Clapping is one of James’ favorite things to do right now. Then Lance caught sight of the two of us playing and decided to join the fun. Here is were it gets interesting. I watched as Lance placed one block on top of another block and slightly moved it around in a circle. He proceeded to do the next block the same way. I thought that was odd so I thought about what was going on in his mind. Then I remembered that we usually work with stacking cups and stacking buckets. They have little circular ridges on the bottoms so when you put them on top of each other they won’t slide off. We play with those cups and buckets so much that Lance just assumed that stacking meant lining up the ridges. Lesson learned: vary the types of stackers and other toys throughout the day.
Thanksgiving was this week. My what a treat! No yellow foods to rave over, but I have never seen my boys eat so much in one meal. Every meal since then, they have eaten a big portion of table food. On Thanksgiving, they got to practice sharing their toys with others. They had 2nd cousins and 3rd cousins all together of different ages. Amazing, they shared with everyone else well but had trouble when it came to their own brother. Guess that will take a while since they’ve been with each other since conception. I’m kinda like that too. While my Southern upbringing has taught me to be mindful of how I treat others outside my home, the pleasantries come down when I’m with close family. My husband, parents and brother are the ones who know my good qualities and my flaws. I’d like to raise my boys to be open and transparent all the time. Those times of being thoughtful of others will be taught in our home and out in public. As I think about how I’m going to do this, I’m reminded that my example says volumes to James and Lance about how they act and think. It’s a mercy raining down that God sees the outer kindness and knows the tacky remarks I say in our minds. Yet He loves me anyways and encourages me to be genuine and loving at all times. I hope to instill in my boys learning: learning academically and spiritually. I hope that leads them to knowing Christ and that will help them love their bother as the love themselves.
After such a fantastic start yesterday, how could anything go wrong? Well it did. The boys will getting their flu shot later today so I bumped up learning time when I saw them playing with the shape sorters. It started great with James doing way better with the shapes today. He didn’t throw a single shape. James was siting in front of the push car with the shape sorter on the front. I just left him alone and watched. He got all three shapes just fine. I think he just needs a little more practice and maybe some quiet, uninterrupted concentration so he can learn. Lance was all over the elephant sorter. He was pushing shapes through and spinning the belly like crazy. After about 5min Lance decided to join James. Here’s where it all goes crazy. James didn’t like his brother barging in and he screamed at him. Lance thought it was funny and started pointing at James. Apparently James had had enough and ever so quietly leaned over and chomped down on Lance’s fingers. Lance started crying and decided that hitting his brother on the face was the best reaction. James decided the hitting thing was good to do back to his brother. Both sat there with arms entwined and crying. Don’t think I just sat by idly. Stopping those two is like getting the Republicans and the Democrats to agree – it ain’t easy. With each bite or hit I grabbed an arm and said we don’t hit others while trying to move each one to a different side of me. I’m sure it looked chaotic. So I got everyone settled down & decided tot school was over for the day & declared it not good.
Then came a nap. A chance to improve the next awake time. When they woke back up & ate, we headed out the door to Home Depot. Well would you believe that is a great store for shapes. I laughed to myself as some people walked by and gave me a what are you doing look while others said how cute & learning about dad’s tools too. Home Depot may not look like a typical school, but man does it lend itself to good learning. Lights with round bulbs, square boxes, star in the Christmas decor and a hexagon in the wrenches. So my mercy today is finding Home Depot as a learning place. I wonder if I can get my husband involved the next time he makes a Home Depot or Lowes run?
Well we are off to a great start with Tot School. I decided that shapes would be a good place to start, especially since we already have so many things that deal with shapes. The midmorning awake time is the best time of the day for organized activities for my boys. The early morning time is too early for mom and the late afternoon is way too late for the boys. As I looked around last night for all the shape things, I was amazed at the toys and general household items to use. We are fortunate to have two different shape sorting toys. I’m working on teaching Lance & James to share, but that’s a slow go for now. Each boy sat on a separate side of me with their sorter. Lance is a pro working those little fingers so I just let him go at it alone for quite a while. After 10min I turned my attention to Lance and started calling out the shape names as he picked them up or I would point to each one. He just had a ball looking at each shape, tasting it, then putting them through the holes. James on the other hand, well lets just say geometry isn’t lookin to be his best subject. I usually pickup a shape, tell him what it is, let him try it a few times before he throws it down in frustration, I pick it back up & put it in his hand and help him place it in the hole. I’m hoping that this one on one time will improve his abilities. I wish I could hold forever the feeling that comes over me when he hears me say good job and his face smiles all over.
Next we are off to the activity table. What a great toy! It has a shapes section that Lance & James both find hysterically funny to push every shape button as fast as they can and to push the same one over and over in rapid fire for more than my ears want to hear. When they calm down from laughing, I point to each shape and call it out. It keeps their attention for a few minutes.
James is my walker. When he heads off to the laundry room, Lance & I are right behind him. I alternate holding up each boy to look at the square detergent tub, the round detergent tub, the round appliance knobs, the triangle cord winder on the steamer mop and the star on the front of the washing machine. By that time, the boys are climbing in the dog’s cage and laughing at each other, swinging on the door and that’s when I knew today’s lesson was over. I think since tomorrow is Friday, we will stay on all the shapes as a group. Next week I’ll pick out one shape a day. The mercy given to me for today was that I didn’t get frustrated when James began throwing his shapes when he couldn’t get them in.
Shapes are no match for me.
Laura Story has a song that I love. There is a line that says “What if the trials in this life are just mercies in disguise.” I’ve been a Christian for a long time now and I can see where many of my difficulties have helped me be the woman who I am today. God promises us in His Word that his mercies are new every morning. That means that no matter what happened yesterday, I can wake up to learn another great lesson, although I might learn it the easy way or take a harder path to get there.
When I became pregnant in 2010, I was excited to see what my family would be and I had dreams of being a fabulous mom. I read all I could, prayed, had a plan mapped out then God dropped twin boys in my lap. No problem I thought, it will just take more energy and determination. Well, when those sweet, little boys came, the post partum depression came too. I couldn’t think creatively, I couldn’t even make half of my plan happen. I needed more help than I could have imagined. I have never prayed so much in all my life & I’m a regular prayer. God has chosen not remove the post partum depression, as of now, but I can see that I’m already more humble and I have to rely on God to get me through the day. Actually, when the boys first came home, I was relying of God to get me through the next five minutes, over and over through never-ending days. Now I’m asking Him every morning to get me through the week. That is a mercy bestowed on me and I can’t wait to see what else I learn as I keep going.
Being that planned & oh so wonderful mommy that has lost all that brain creativity, I count it a mercy that I found Tot School. I’ll be posting frequently about our activities. Now don’t get too excited because as I mentioned, my creativity is amiss right now. I’m trying to piece ideas together from other Tot School moms. Today was our first day of Tot School & I feel like it has given me some direction. I won’t be a blogger that publishes all the great things and cleverly leaves out what went wrong. I’ve heard enough of those stories from other moms. I want moms to know that it’s ok not to be super mom. I want other twin moms to get ideas on how to do this thing called life with twins. If you have twins, God will be raining down the mercies on you & your family in abundance. They may not be warm fuzzy ones, but God will be there to guide your children in the areas that one person alone can not handle. He is a big God, so I say let’s go & let the mercies rain down!