Well, I can't tell you how taxing the last two and a half years have been. These two last kids have been very difficult! Wes, because he has been my worst sleeper as a baby. He only slept though the night 4 times in the first 11 months. He did a little better the next year until he learned how to climb out of his crib before he turned 2. Then it was impossible to put him to bed or give him naps. This is the first kid that hasn't had consistent naps at this age so I don't ever really get a break. Not only that, but he learned how to take off his diaper and clothes so he would run around naked, peeing and pooping wherever he pleased. We tried so many things, like backwards pajamas, onesies and duct tape around his diaper, all of which helped for the time. He is doing a bit better, but it is not uncommon to find him naked, especially outside... in the front. That leads me to another difficult phase, he can open any door so he goes out front all the time (where he could get hit by a car). We have to watch him constantly! He also likes to go knock on all the neighbors' doors, with or without clothes. He is a very active, brave kid so he climbs on everything and jumps off high things (like my dresser the other day). He is constantly doing things to give me a heart attack. So between all of his crazy antics, being naked and not sleeping or going to bed at a decent time, he has really been the most difficult baby we've had. I guess that's why Heavenly Father saved him for last. We may not have had so many kids otherwise.
Hallie has also been kind of a nightmare for the past two years. While she was a fine sleeper and napper as a baby, she has been the worst sleeper by far at this age. She is up the latest out of all the kids (her and Wes), but refuses to sleep in her bed or even her room. She has been sleeping on our floor for the past year or so. Jared and I are so tired that we just don't even care where she sleeps as long as she sleeps somewhere. But it is always a constant, nightly battle. The older kids go to bed when they are asked. Maybe it takes a few times of asking, but they go and they stay in bed. Hallie needs to be tucked in about 4 times and still gets up saying she is scared, or hungry, or not tired, or lonely, or wants to sleep on the couch, or whatever. Between 11 and 12 is usually when she finally goes to sleep. And then she is the first kid up. What the heck? It just makes me feel like the worst parent. How is it that we have not been able to figure this out after all of the other kids? What is wrong with us? What is wrong with her? We have tried everything! Sharing a room, having her own room, sharing with a new sibling, being nice, yelling, putting a lock on her door (which only makes her scream bloody murder until we unlock it)... We are at our wit's end with her. Every night she gets yelled at, unless by some miracle she falls asleep on the couch. But then we almost assuredly have Wes awake due to an untimely nap he takes. Hallie has also been the worst at this age (the 3-5 age). Marissa was really whiney and Connor had a lot of anger at that age. They were both really challenging. But Hallie is both whiney and angry! She is very, very demanding, just constantly wanting things, asking, talking, crying, screaming, being mad... not happy very often. She probably acts even worse because she doesn't get the sleep she needs (see above!) It has been awful! Again, I have tried so many tactics, but ultimately, she is disobedient and unhappy and I feel like a constant failure.
That is why things have been so difficult for me kid wise for the past two plus years. The bad part is that I don't even see it changing for another two years. I dread the next two years, and I hate that feeling. Next year she has three days of preschool, 2 hours at a time. That will be a good break from her, but I will still be dealing with Wes. The next year she will have 3 hours of kindergarten... again, a nice break from her but I will still have Wes. He'll be better by then, right? I seriously pray that he will not give me as much of a hard time at age 3-5 that Hallie has. I don't know if I will survive that.
Anyway, it's just been an exceptionally busy month. June always is. I try to make each person's birthday special, but it is a lot to ask of me in a two week time span (4 birthdays and Father's day). I feel responsible for the success of all of them. Let's do something fun, let's give them breakfast in bed, let's let them choose what dinner they want, let's make them a special cake... overwhelming. On top of that, it has been baseball season for two kids. Last week we had 5 games! It is very time consuming, but they love it. I have fun watching, but I get so exhausted doing all of this. Also, it is the Parade of Homes right now and there is nothing I love more. The bad part is that I only have 4 days to go to it due to busyness and vacations. I have also been doing a 12 week course called uncluttered. I really feel like I need it in my life. I feel so stressed with all the demands on me! All the time! I also feel smothered by stuff. I have been going through stuff room by room and getting rid of a ton of it. But then there are times that you just hit a roadblock. You just can't do any more. It is emotionally exhausting. It is also demoralizing to feel like you have a space pretty good, and then you go back a week or two later to find it trashed. Somehow, because I didn't take out everything, they found a way to make a huge mess. I don't know if I'll ever have a clean uncluttered home/life. I mean, living with kids that is.
On top of all of this, I keep getting asked to help people with different things. I want to serve others, but a lot of times those are the things that are really the straws that break me. One week I was doing things for people every day. Can you help me build something? Can you help me design some graphics for the book I'm writing? Will you make dinner for someone (which by the way, I hate)? Can you help me do a photo book? Can you help me design a bunk bed? Can you help me cut something out on your cutting machine? Can you help me design a poster? How about design a basement? How about teach me how to build something out of wood? These are all things I love to do, but honestly, it is really stressing me out to the breaking point. In addition, I just got a new calling as the YW advisor as well as YW camp director. I love the girls and being in there with them, but again, it is a lot. I did an activity which took hours of prep work this week, I'm having to deal with camp stuff, I have to teach on Sunday, and I am supposed to find a suitable camp location for next year. Yes, I can and will do these thing. But man, I am on the brink...