Some days are good, great, fun, exciting and energizing as a mother. Then there’s today.
As I sit here, I am listening to Carter whine and cry in his room. (The door is open…he’s not locked in there or anything. No phone calls to the authorities, people) I’m hearing drawers slam, him rolling in the floor, books hitting the floor. But I dare not go in there for fear of scaring the child to death from my anger and frustration. I’m “taking a moment”.
You see, he’s 21 months old. He likes his food to be the perfect temperature and texture and color and size. He likes the world to move at his command and only at his command. He likes to do things on his own.
He woke up exceptionally early this morning–before 7 AM. The problems all started when he asked for a “bar” for breakfast. Sorry, but I don’t do granola bars or cereal bars or whatever bars for breakfast. Even though I buy the healthiest ones available, they are still a snack food and are not to be eaten as a meal or in this case, a replacement for a meal he didn’t want to eat. A few days ago I made some very healthy homemade muffins (from the Deceptively Delicious cookbook, if you’re familiar), which Jeff was eating before heading out the door to work. Carter was interested, so Jeff got him one and he was happily climbing up into his chair to eat. Then, Jeff asks him if he wants to him tear it in half WHILE he is tearing it in half. I whisper, “I wouldn’t do that if I were you…” and just as the words have left my mouth the meltdown begins, complete with back arching and the UUUUUUUHHHHHAAA sound which I have come to dislike very much. Before the food throwing begins, I unhook him from the booster seat and lay him on the floor to “fit it out” down there. I move on with drinking my coffee and eating my breakfast while he works it out. He stops crying, but he does not want to get back in the chair to eat. I’ve learned that there’s no need to force it.
Because he’s gotten up so early, I have to turn on Sesame Street so that he won’t hurt himself while I go take a shower. For this one hour all is calm and I am able to get presentable. I also dress him while the show is going so that I get no resistance. I know, lazy parenting. I decide that we’ve got to get out of the house, so while I’m putting my shoes on to go to the park, Carter reaches the muffin on the table and is sitting in the floor eating it. But, something about it sticks in his mouth and he crumbles it and throws it. Joy.
As he cries, I try to comfort him whilst trying not to scream about the food all over the floor. (Is there any wonder why we had a gazillion ants???)
I pack a lunch. We go to the park. It’s really hot, so that lasts about 30 minutes. He drinks some juice, but doesn’t want to eat. He falls asleep on the way home.
I’m thinking he’s going to nap a LONG time since he got up so early. Wrong. He wakes up about an hour later in the same mood as this morning, but I try to push past it. For non-working stay at home mothers, this means less “me” time. For me, it means I can’t get work done. I’m thinking maybe he’d like to reconsider the whole ban on eating, so I cut up some cantaloupe (not in his presence of course, since that leads to screaming and throwing) and make him a piece of cheese toast that I cookie cut into little hearts. I’m hoping the extra touch will penetrate the grumpiness. Wrong again. The cheese (apparently) stuck to the roof of his mouth. Same routine from breakfast.
That brings me to right now. The “UUUUUHHHHAAAA”ing has lasted for about 30 minutes and nothing I do seems to make a difference. So, he walks into the kitchen and is able to reach the nearly 1/2 gallon of sweet tea leftover from Wednesday night and pulls it over on himself and into the floor. As I was writing, I could hear the glug, glug, glug of tea going all over my kitchen floors. I go into the kitchen to find Carter, screaming, standing in the middle of about a 1/2 inch of standing sweet tea on my hardwood floors. Stone faced, I pick him up out of it and deposit him into his booster seat. I strap him in and walk away to deal with the water feature in my kitchen.
I’m mopping, wringing, mopping, wringing, mopping, wringing and I look over and see Carter EATING HIS LUNCH. When I finish, I sit down and he tells me, “Cheese, cheese” (meaning he wants some more cheese toast). I encourage him to eat the cantaloupe and HE DOES. He cleans the plate. I give him high 5’s and hugs and kisses and tell him he’s the best boy in the world.
Every day as a mom is filled with ups and downs. I pray that over time there are more ups than downs for both our sakes. I pledge to go through the downs without freaking out and, when the ups hit from out of nowhere, to celebrate them with no regard for my mood or our present circumstances. Carter, in all his confusing toddlerish glory, deserves that from me.
Here we are at this very moment. WE SURVIVED!