Yes, I Have My Hands Full. Thank You For Pointing It Out.


I need a cup of tea.

I haven’t decided if my kids are utter brats or if I’m a horrible parent.  Depending on how the day goes I lean one way or the other.  If I can manage to handle yet another crisis without screaming (whole cup of black tea dumped on the carpet, one kid gives the other a bloody lip, all three kids run in different directions at the same time, etc) then I’m guessing it’s not my parenting.  I don’t know anymore.

We went to Lowes the other day for what should have been a fun trip.  We were planning another project – a marble run – and we were researching funding options for the upcoming Maker Faire thing.  More on that later.  Anyway.  It wasn’t a fun trip.

Why can’t it ever be a fun trip?

I would cheerfully give up any sort of shopping trip these days if I didn’t worry that I was scarring my kids for life.  After all, life won’t adjust for them so they have to learn to cope.  Right?  Somehow it doesn’t quite feel like they’re the ones coping.

If I had a dollar for every time someone commented “You sure have your hands full!” I could hire a babysitter to come with us for these outings.

I’m going to be bitter, resentful, and just plain irritated for a minute:

Yes, I have my hands full.  You have no idea.  Do you want the long version of what living with 2e is like, or the short version?  I’ll make it simple.  It’s hell.  I want to sink into a hole and die most days when I go places with my kids.  I worry almost every outing that someone will call CPS on us.  Do you really want to talk about this or did you just want to give your judgement a voice?

I swear, things would be easier if I could just put all three of them on a leash.  At least that way I know that no one will run off into the parking lot…or lumber section…or into the woods…or vanish into the clothing store.

Now, a lot of people are probably thinking my parenting is the issue.  Heck, I even think that most days.  But every time I read yet another parenting book it becomes a checklist.  Yup, tried that.  Yes, we do that every time.  Yes, we’re consistent.  Yup, we do that.  Then I finish the book and realize it’s a giant mess of check marks and I didn’t find anything new to help with the situation.

Why can’t my kids act normal?  How on earth did I manage to screw them up this much?  Because it’s my fault, right?  I did this, somehow.  That’s what everyone at the store thinks (and shows they’re thinking it.)

I’m starting to think there’s something wrong with my voice.   It’s the exact wrong frequency and their little kid receptors are skipping over it.  Otherwise how else do I explain why my three-year old keeps walking away from me as I tell her “come back, I need you to come back to the cart, you need to stay with us, COME BACK HERE NOW!” and everyone for 3 aisles over can hear me.

It used to be the Engineer was the only behavioral problem when we would go out.  The other two were either holding my hand or confined in the shopping cart.  Well, the Princess has decided that she doesn’t like holding my hand.  So if she runs away, which she does every time, she has to hold my hand.  Hysterics ensue.  She screams “stop hurting me!” at the top of her lungs.  She stages a sit-in (thanks for teaching her that, Engineer.)  She sprawls on the floor sobbing.  If the Engineer is textbook Intellectual Overexcitability, then she is textbook Emotional Overexcitability.  Yay.  Another gifted kid?

Just a second, I think I need some chocolate to go with that tea.

As we tried to check out at Lowes, I watched the mother at the cashier opposite us.  She had two small children with her and her dog.  Holy crap, she brought her dog too!  And the entire bunch was well-behaved.  Sitting still.  Not screaming.  Not trying to climb out of the seatbelt harness like mine.  (I watched her because the Engineer wanted to pet her dog, and I didn’t want to end up at the ER with a dog-chewed kid.)

Honestly, I’m not jealous.  I’m tired.  I want what she has – I want her kids for a day.  I want kids who know how to behave.  Kids who don’t try their best to get themselves killed.  Kids who listen.  And I want to stop feeling like a horrible parent because my kids do not act like hers.   It’s nothing she did or said.  It’s that everyone around us was comparing our two families.

I want my kids to act normal for 5 minutes.  Is that asking too much?


  1. Yes, I can definitely relate! I’m homeschooling two kiddos, one 2e and caregiver to elderly parents. When I take my parents to the doctor, I have my two kiddos in tow. I have to leave my kids in the waiting room because I had past experiences in allowing my 2e into the examining room and of course he had to touch every single thing in the room & tries to distract me while the doctor is talking to me. At one doctor appointment, my son is walking around the waiting room and down the hallway. A woman comes up to me and tells me what my son is doing, then tells me that I should bring my children into the examining room with me. I told her that my son has ADHD. I asked her if she knows what that is. She has this blank look on her face. I tell her that he’s hyperactive and will not sit down. She tells me again that my children should go into the examining room. I responded, “No,” then turned and walked away. I decided that she doesn’t live my life and I don’t owe her an explanation. I know my child is fearfully and wonderfully made and isn’t doing anything to harm others. I’m doing my best to deal with my unpredictable child. We have to come to terms with our children’s uniqueness and be less concerned with what others think of our parenting skills.


    • Sounds like you have your hands full! (sorry, couldn’t resist!) Why is it that people feel a need to meddle? I never did get that. On a side note, it’s so awesome that your kids get to spend that kind of quality time with grandparents. Kudos to you for standing up for your kid! Thanks for dropping by 🙂


  2. Cyber hugs being extended to you. I get it. Completely. Was in the midst of this tonight, actually, because I thought we might be able to handle running out to a store for literally 7 minutes (I set the timer on my phone now and tell my kids how much time they’ve got!) to pick up some bones for our dogs. Ha! Spent about 15 minutes in the parking lot just trying to get my 2e kiddo back in the van! And just how are we supposed to respond when people say, “looks like you’ve got your hands full” ?!?!


    • I can never get up the nerve to respond the way I think (I’m a smart aleck) so I usually smile, assuming I’m not chasing an escaping kid. And what’s with people wanting to talk in the middle of a problem with the kids? Good grief! I like the timer idea, I’ll have to try that!


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