I am feeling much more composed and in charge of my emotions than I was a few hours ago, so I'll share with you today's trivial tribulation, expressed in an email written to a friend this morning. It sounds trivial, I know. But it felt monumentally devastating at the time.
"I have to vent for a second, I'm glad you wrote. In a nutshell I had an emotional breakdown this morning, tears streaming and everything. I am so hesitant to do stuff with the twins because there are 2 of them, I can't control as much if it were just one 2 year old, so I never take them places alone without another adult who has free hands. This morning I decided to just suck it up, stop sheltering them, be brave, let them experience something new, and with my other two I always brought them to a local library preschool story hour, I figure just clapping, dancing, read a book or two, maybe some coloring.. I thought we could do it. I packed them up and we drove to the library.
I got there and we went straight into the "reading room", I could see a bunch of moms and their kids swinging and dancing to the music while the young woman led the group in a fun song. The boys went right in, all smiles, and started dancing around immediately.
I've never been there, I don't know the routine. So after the song is over, we all sit down to listen to a story--except my boys. They just keep jumping up and down, moving around the room. I don't know what to do. The other moms each have their child plopped on their lap. I grab the closest twin to me, and try to hold him on my lap for the story. He doesn't sit still for more than 15 seconds, and struggles and whines to get out of my grasp. I let him go and try to grab the other twin, to do the same. But the same thing happened. After 5 minutes she's done with the story, and she says lets stand up and play another song! So everyone gets up, starts dancing and singing, and the twins are happy again.
Needless to say, this repeated. Of course I was embarrassed, I'm very pregnant, and I have two little boys I can't really control. They're not making much noise, they're just not sitting down listening to the story. I'm clearly trying my best, I am not still, I am trying to grab one at a time and teach them to sit during her story (which is not very engaging, btw), but right as she was about to start the 3rd story she looks at me and says, 'if they can't settle down I'm going to have to ask that you leave".
I quickly am like, "ok sure!' with a smile, but I feel the tears coming. This girl is younger than me, probably no kids, most likely no twins, telling me to take my boys out. I was so embarrassed and hurt. I grabbed one boy, who immediately starts to wail, and take him out of the room to strap him in the stroller. I come back in for the second, my face as red as a tomato, and disappear. I don't even make it out of the library before I lose it, I start sobbing.
I'm compelled to write the library and complain about this woman, to write the local paper, how can you say 2-5 year olds are welcome when what you really mean is well-behaved, 2-5 year olds who have already mastered sitting down for a circle time or story are welcome? Or better, 2-5 year olds are welcome, except twins, unless you have two adults to accompany them?
I couldn't decide if I was more angry or hurt. This is exactly why I don't take them anywhere, exactly why they don't know how to do these things other 2 year olds know how to do. I don't have a chance to teach them because I'm scared it will go badly. Now my fear turned to getting embarrassed, called out, or kicked out of a place.
As I'm crying and praying and driving home, I told God I trusted Him to lead me in this, to guide my emotions. I told God I'd do my bible study before calling my sister to cry or whining on facebook. And so I did that. I'm still super upset, but now I'm reminded, and I know this isn't my battle, like Jehoshaphat, I just need to recognize my inadequacies in this, I can't do this alone, I need Him to lead the way, show me how to take my position and stand firm with the twins, but trust that He will give me the answers.
I suppose I will not write a letter of complaint about this woman's tactics. But as far as I'm concerned, she sucks."
It's been a few hours and I've gained control of myself. But when Ryan came home for lunch I was a disaster again, explaining what happened and my frustrations. He knows where it stems from, and who better to sympathize with me than the father of my twins? (except perhaps another mother of multiples) It is a mixed bag. I know it is disruptive to have those two in a reading time, and the other preschoolers were all sitting on their moms, quiet and attentive. I'm VERY SORRY for putting these innocent people through my attempts to teach the twins attentiveness, I truly am, can't you see that in my face as I try to chase them in my flipflops with my 6 month pregnancy hanging in front of me? Can't you hear my erratic breathing as I try to whisper to them to listen to the story? The tears come because I feel guilty that I haven't been the same mom to them that I was to Luke and Juliette. I have failed them, I haven't taught them how to sit still, be attentive, obey my commands, listen to the story. The tears come because I am angry that a stranger would reprimand me in front of other mothers because she can't read her stupid boring story in complete silence. I'm perplexed that this monotone voice coming from her is in any way captivating these other kids. The tears come because I feel alone, very few people can relate to the joys and struggles of having two babies, two toddlers, and now two preschoolers at once. The tears come because I don't know how long it will be before I'm brave enough to try anything like that again. The tears come because I am ashamed that I can be so easily rattled. Where is my peace? Where is my joy? The tears come because the thought occurs to me, this is just a small taste of what other mothers go through with special needs children, trying to mainstream them, give them experiences to help them learn and grow, and they are shunned and shut out at every turn. Who am I to cry over this?
For those who are curious, wanna know what my bible study was today? II Chronicles 20:20...King Jehoshaphat, surrounded by a vast army ready to attack, knowing he had no way to defend his people, fixed his eyes on God. King Joe (I like to think more affectionately known as) fixed his eyes on God, and admitted to his complete inadequacy in finding a way to win. Then God speaks and says "You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you...Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you."
So needless to say, I know I need to take a cue from King Joe and remember where to fix my eyes. Not on my emotions, or that stupid lady who shamed me more deeply than anyone has in a decade, but on Him. I am inadequate on some level with regards to these boys and their self-control, I need guidance and a game plan. And even though I REAAAAAAAALLLY don't want to ever try new experiences with the twins ever again, I will do it. I will not be afraid.
But maybe I'll take a few days to lick my wounds and build my dignity back up.