discovery – i give up!


{a preface of sorts: I am recovering from the mastitis I woke with Sunday morning…this is one of those posts for my fellow momma friends to laugh at, thank their lucky stars that they are a wiser momma, or to realize that they are not alone in the rewarding, yet challenging task of motherhood…or it is for my siblings and parents-to-be friends – to shed some light on possibilities that may lie ahead!  :)}

It is a good life.  A very good life.  I love it.  And I love my kiddos. 

Motherhood has been challenging but oh so wonderful.  One child was good.  Real good.  A new challenge, but not really that hard.  It was good…so good in fact, that I was ready for another when the builder was 6 months.  Even two kiddos, though challenging at times…was wonderful, manageable, and oh so much fun. 

But for some reason…perhaps it is that they are so close in age…or that they are 3 kiddos, 4 years and under…or it is their innate personalities…more than likely, it is the imperfections of their momma…three has been hard…perhaps I need an extra hand (two is never enough)…definitely a brain buster! 

Don’t get me wrong…they do wonderful lovely things each day: the builder is my mop expert, the dancer loves to help with the laundry, and the explorer is so sweet with his kisses for thank yous when he is not intent cooking in the kitchen or emptying my dishwasher.  (Still wonderful, oodles of fun in all of it’s intensity, but at times: hard.)

So I give up. 

Not on life.

Not on motherhood.

No…just on going to the Library with all three kiddos.

It is a decision I’ve been contemplating.  I’ve tried my best.  Had preparatory talks the 10 or so minutes each morning before our arrival.  I’ve tried to wear my wisest hat or my patience cap….but I am ready to admit it:

It is too hard to do Story Time, let alone a normal visit to the Library with my 4, 3 and 1 year old!

I didn’t want to admit it.  I wanted to figure out a way. 

“I am a mother,” I would tell myself…”Mothers are amazing…they can do anything.”

But like all mothers.  I have reached my limit.  It is too great a task for now.  I feel bad taking away something that they love so much.  But it is just too hard.  Perhaps we go on sabbatical for a few months until we have all matured a bit more (me included).  Then we can try again.  Till then I think we’ll keep going to museums, gardens, and field trips of all sorts.

Like I said.  It has been coming.  It seems like every time we go to the Library there is a disaster or a series of disasters that I cannot avoid or plan for. 

The kiddos love to be independent.  Independent of each other as well.  They love to explore alone outside of our home.  Usually I can keep up with this, but when there are large crowds of kiddos and mommas everywhere…its just hard to see them. 

A few weeks ago, the explorer had finished playing with the toys, pulling as many books as he could from the shelves, and was done with me holding him.  (Did I mention that he is also done with the stroller at the Library?  He is so comfortable there that he thinks it is like home.)  I couldn’t possibly hold him while I was pulling out books, fiddling for my library card, and packing the books into our bag.  I put him down. 

He was satisfied.  In the two minutes it took to check out, he had managed to get out of the children’s section, out of the library, and out the front door.  Yes, that was me…frantically looking for my wandering baby.  Asking friends if they had seen them…and then a lady came back into the library with him in hand.  She wanted to know whose he was.  I thanked her and assured her that it only takes a minute…that he is too fast.  She thought I was crazy. 

And there was last week:  we were there on a Tuesday (non-story-time day).  Everything was done quickly and smoothly and the kiddos were happily waiting for me to go when we tried to leave and set off all the alarms. 

The librarian needed to see our receipt to see which books had cleared and which had not.  The dancer is in love with receipts.  She would not let us see it.  I pleaded.  Nothing.  Never demand something of the kiddos…just not wise.  Careful explanation for non-traditional actions is always needed.  As I tried to convince her that momma needed the receipt.  The boys began tearing through the library.  The explorer was trying to escape, the builder on his heels.  They were loud. 

Finally the librarian saw my desperate state and began reprinting my receipt.  But it was too late.  I asked the kiddos to sit quietly for I couldn’t watch them all over the library.  But they were having too much fun.

On our way home that day I cried as I drove and explained that, “momma can’t check out books when they are not listening and obeying.”  I told them I was afraid we couldn’t go to the library together if we couldn’t listen and obey.  They seemed to understand.

Yesterday, as we were driving again to the library we chatted about all the things that have ever gone wrong at the library before.  We went over expectations.  But as I learned long ago…sometimes you just can’t plan enough.

The first session seemed to go fine.  We missed most of it but were happy to do the craft.  Thankfully the builder and dancer chose to do their craft at the same table (this is not always the case).  The explorer, however picked up a large pair of scissors and when I tried to trade him for some paper leaves, he would not have it.  So I traded him for some kid scissors.  It seemed to solve the problem for the time being.  Though it was hard to keep an eye on him wandering and climbing on everything and everyone. 

The dancer had a hard time every time a little person took her “leaf wreath” she was working on….or that “got in her way.”  But it was too much for me to protect her wreath from toddlers and keep an eye out on the explorer and his small scissors.  See she is a focused creative soul who does not like interruptions while she is happily creating.  I think she gets that from her mom…

A thoughtful mother tried to take the scissors away from the explorer.  She looked up at me and said, “You don’t want him to have these do you?”  Well, no, I don’t, yet it wasn’t the battle I was going for at the moment…I’m just trying to help the other two finish their crafts so that I could find something else to entertain the explorer.  I asked if her son was her first.  It was.  I explained that with three I am in survival mode.  She seemed to understand.

The builder’s glue wasn’t working, and he was being patient, but he needed more help than usual.  So I tried to find another.  When I returned 15 seconds later, another mom wanted to take away the scissors that the builder was carrying around.  Once again, I explained that I wasn’t worried about it, she seemed pacified, and went back to helping the older kiddos.

But a third concerned mother began lecturing me.  My assuring words that he was ok was not enough to suffice the woman who, “used to be a doctor.”  She went on to explain their danger and how she had seen a child in her office that had poked himself in the eye with them.

“Believe me,” I thought, “we don’t play with these at home, and I’m just doing the best that I can, but if you take them away you’ll hear screaming, and see a royal fit…and that might be when you see the scissors fly and become dangerous.”

Thankfully, about this point, the builder and dancer finished their craft.  The builder ran along to listen to the second session of Story Time with our beloved Miss Sally.  The dancer was scared to go with him but was not wanting to wait while I tried to get the explorer to put the scissors back “himself,” which, btw, is the only way I know how to get him to give something up…unless you trade him…we have seen this every week at Music Together with Miss Kristi.

He willingly put away one pair of scissors but immediately picked up another.  After more coaxing I offered him some colored paper.  He accepted one for the other hand but wouldn’t trade it for his beloved scissors.  Finally I gave him a crayon (knowing of course, that it would end up in his mouth and most likely some part of it, in his belly…but this seemed better than the scissors and the busy and intent scissor monitors that were in abundance…no offense meant if you are one…I’m sure I was at one point in my life)!

We joined Story-Time…the dancer found a spot, but I couldn’t see the builder.  He was crying softly next to a book-case.  A mom came and told me that he hadn’t wanted a “D” placed on his shirt.  Of course I thought, this has happened before.  (Now this comes from my family I think…but he needs it to be “his idea”…and thus the story goes).  We solved that problem and we happily joined the other children and Miss Sally. 

But the explorer was not content, as he usually is, instead, he stood (something they aren’t supposed to do), and was intent on climbing on the fireplace (another no-no at story-time), even worse, he was getting under-toe of Miss Sally…and that was when we moved to the back and I got out the BabyHawk. (my fav baby carrier/wearer)

The dancer glanced behind and saw us standing in the back.  The explorer seemed okay for a little bit, but the story began and his patience was gone.  I moved and pointed out items of interest.  Then I thought of the mini board books in the children’s section.  The other kiddos were engaged, so I went and got a stack. 

I walked around the back of story time, passing books over my shoulder to the explorer.  Soon he had read them all.  Miss Sally was beginning a second story.  I went back for another stack.  That was when a cute mom (can’t remember her name) came and told me the dancer was crying. 

Yup, she was.  She had lost sight of me for a moment, sweet soul.  I took her and we chose a book and movie for her to check out.  Story-time was over.  We made it out of the library, with only one item setting off the alarm.  It was a nearly painless exit. 

But it was enough.  In the car, I didn’t cry this time.  Rather, I calmly admitted to the kiddos that momma will have to go to the library by herself for a while.  “Will you get books and movies for the kids?” asked the builder.  “Of course,” was my reply.  And they seem ok with it. 


Maybe its just me.

I think we’ll go to the art museum next week. 🙂

***have you ever had to give up something good in your life because it was just too hard?***

14 thoughts on “discovery – i give up!

  1. If it makes you feel better, I only go to the library when Gavyn is at preschool now. You are very patient, and it was great to hear your story! I feel like I avoid doing things because I am all to aware of the outcome….. I feel like there are many things that have been given up (shopping, going on vacations….) because I have a free-spirited child that loves his independence a little too much, so once that phase is over, I feel we will be able to do a lot more things. But maybe it will just start on over when Jarom hits that age….. You are great to do as much as you do with 3 kids, what is my excuse with only 2?

  2. Yes. It will not last as long as you think. You are doing wonderfully truly, I don’t think you realize just how patient you are. You will be so glad some day that you took the time to put this story down in writing. My ♥ goes out to you.

  3. i have a friend who is always trying to do too much, and i always tell her to always do what she can without getting stressed. taking a break form the library sounds like a good idea for now. your story was fascinating i have to admit. it feels like you set down – typed it away – and stopped when you were done.


  4. Three is harder. I agree. Lately I have been attempting the grocery store at night when all the kids are in bed with Matt at home. It is quite peaceful;)

  5. My head hurts reading this! You’re a saint! I only had one and about went crazy!!! I think I’m going to go cry buckets for you now!

  6. I laughed reading this, in a good way. My husband and I attempted the library a week or so ago on a Friday night. (“What are your big plans for the weekend?” “Oh, I’m taking my wife and kids to the library.” Oh the excitement!) Even though I have older children that are theoretically better behaved, and we had two adults for three children, my heathens were still running back and forth between the sections of the library and took great delight in stomping up and down the metal stairs. And while I was upstairs seeking out a book to make me a superior parent, I could hear the baby screeching his happy screech from the bottom floor. So yeah, I hear ya.

  7. Oh Katrina…you are a saint! You are brave even attempting that! You are such a good and patient mommy. I think once Carston is in school this enjoyable outing will be easier, the kids will be older and you will only have two of them with you. And hopefully you will not feel guilty for going with the younger kids, without Carston. I used to feel guilty for taking Riley without Liam but I had to realize that Liam had his time to go when he was younger.

    Yes..I know what it is like to have to give up something like this. I had to give it up when I realized I was too busy while going to school. Now, I haven’t been able to start going again because I have been too busy working. 😦 Hopefully soon I can resume this and maybe we can tackle it together!

    Thanks for this fun post, you are amazing!

  8. Wow, thx for all your support and suggestions! They have definitely given me that lift I needed this morning. 🙂 As for Miss Tali: you nailed my catharthis writing style…I really did feel better after I’d written it all down! 🙂

    luvs to you all

    p.s. when the designer came home i asked if he’d read my crazy post (which he had) and he noted it was the longest post i’d ever written…not sure but i thought it was funny.

  9. delightsgal, you are an amazing mom! Just take this opportunity to 1. give yourself a round of applause for taking 3 kids to the library all by yourself for the time that you did, and showing as much love and patients as you did, and 2. to give yourself a break : )
    Amazing mom’s need breaks too : )
    I have thought about taking my kids to the library for story time, but I know how it goes in nursery at church every week with my kids, so I have yet to venture there. lol
    I think it would be realy fun for the older girls, but I don’t know if my 20 month old would realy enjoy it. I am sure she would have more fun, pulling books off the shelfs and getting into things. : )
    I enjoyed your story. It sounded all to familiar to me. I have had some lovely (and similar) experiences with just taking kids to the grocery store. : )
    I loved the conference talk on consistency. I think Brother Bednar gave it.
    He talked about the greatest lessons learned are by consistency. Not meaning that you need to continue taking them to the library just to be consistent, but just keep loving them, and show it consistently by spending time with them. Learning that you love them by consistency doesn’t require you to take them places that might make you crazy at the same time. : )
    Museums and other places you talked about are wonderfull, but most of all just being with them, even if it is only doing story and craft time at home with them for a while, and getting movies for you to watch at home with them.
    I think you are a wonderfull mother, and whatever you do with your kids they are going to realy benefit, because you are dedicated to them. : )

  10. hi Tina,
    I was reading all the other comments and i started feeling bad that I wasn’t more supportive. then as i was reading your comment “as for you tali” i was thinking – oh no indeed… – then i finished your sentence and i wasn’t that worried. i want you to know that i know excatly how you feel. we all have days like this. when we think we can handle it, but some times it gets too much and the fun just disapears. the challenge of being a parent is beyond imagination.
    thinking if you

    • Oh Tali, I luved what you wrote…especially how you told your friend to not do things that can cause stress! After talking with a friend this morning about the post I thought I need to do a follow-up post and I was planning on including what you said…if that’s ok. 🙂 hugs, trina

  11. Trina, I am constantly amazed at all you do with three little ones. I don’t think I would attempt half of what you manage to do beautifully! So don’t feel at all bad about taking a break from the library. You are an amazing mom and such an example to me. I would love to be more like you. Hugs!

  12. I loved this post! I think it is such a reminder to me that there are things that we can accomplish with little ones in tow and things that we can not and it is O.K. not to do that which we can not.

    My nod to your post is a confession that I have been feeling overwhelmed/discouraged lately. It stems from our stake president asking us a few weeks ago to read the Book of Mormon by the end of the year. It means more than five and a half pages a day to accomplish that. I am one that can’t say no, so I started doing it. It was literally wearing me out to stress about getting all the reading done. Then I would miss a day with getting five pages read and then twelve or more pages of reading were falling into my lap the next. I was discouraged. Then I just happened to have a stewardship interview with my Bishop yesterday for my calling. I admitted to him that I was discouraged by the Book of Mormon thing. He told me that it is okay that we can’t do certain things at certain times in our lives. The valuable piece of advice that he gave me that is my new mantra is when he told me “your kids are going to remember that mom sat down and colored with us not that she read five pages in the Book of Mormon every day.” He literally gave me permission to say no I can’t do that right now. I will still continue to read the scriptures like I always have, but I am just not going to get caught up in the five pages a day thing.

    This story is a bit different that yours, but I think it still has the same theme. Do what you can when you can. You are one great momma who is inspiring this momma to just say no, not right now!

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