You know how sometimes you'll be walking through a store or a restaurant or something with your child, and some kindly older person will insist on pinching your kid's cheeks or patting their head? This I can actually take. But the worst is when they look up at you with those watery, earnest eyes and instruct urgently, "Remember these times! Cherish them! They fly by so quickly..." And they will be so sincere and so insistent that you just know they must either be suffering from mild dementia, or have never actually lived with a young child themselves. Otherwise, how to explain it?
Whenever I see another mother of a toddler, I feel empathy for her first and foremost, not a burning desire to go remind her that these formative years are crucial and that she must not for one second forget it! If anything, I would approach her slowly so as not to startle her, offer a caffeinated beverage, and say, "Boy, it's a good thing they're so cute, huh? 'Cause otherwise, we might as well be the wardens at some zoo and actually get paid."
Hmm, is it obvious that it's been one of those days? I can't even remember all the actual irritants that have driven me to this point, I just know that at the moment I am unspeakably tired, have heartburn and a headache, and am sore all over from literally wrestling with a twenty-three pound will of iron all morning.
I suppose we screwed her schedule up big time yesterday by trying to attend a graduation ceremony during what should have been her naptime. And believe me, I paid dearly for it. But I figured after her long late afternoon nap and then a good night's sleep that she would be back to normal. Not so. She woke up this morning all fiery, jumping out of bed and running to the door before I could even give her a good morning kiss or change her diaper.
She crashed around the house for awhile, then I finally got her in her seat for breakfast. Which was Cheez-Its, the only box in the cupboard that received anything but a violent shake of the head when offered. Then we went for a morning walk, which was actually fine except for the stupid dog, who insists on marking his territory every five steps. But it was a bit of an ordeal just to get both of us dressed and out the door, me with my knee brace on and cell phone in my pocket, and her with her sippy cup and bowl of crackers and toy, and the dog with his leash, and then I had to get the stroller out of the garage and... So on. There's so much more motivation to go for a walk if all you have to do is put on your shoes and go.
So anyways, we got back to the house around nine thirty, the dog in a frenzy from all the neighborhood dogs and squirrels. I was all itchy and annoyed from the knee brace, and also I of course had a pounding headache, my new constant companion whenever I'm doing anything but lying down. As soon as I get out of bed in the morning it starts, sharp in my temples, and continues on and off all day. Tylenol doesn't really help, nor does extra water or any of the usual remedies other than lying in a dark room sleeping.
After about an hour of trying to make it go away on the couch while Addy ran around the house and played, I finally gave up and put her in her room with the monitor on, then went to my own room to lie down for awhile in the silence. It was blissful... For about five minutes, and then I heard a bang and a second later a wail. I jumped up, sending the headache into full gear again, and ran to see what was wrong. I couldn't tell what had happened, but Addy stood pitifully in the middle of the room, her lip trembling. I assume she had dropped a toy or something, who knows. I scooped her up, as she was still whimpering, and carried her to my room with me. She cuddled in bed and drank her milk while I rested for a few minutes, but then got bored and began to play with the portable DVD player which I have set up next to my side of the bed.
I was in that foggy, all-I-want-is-sleep phase by now, and I could hear her pushing buttons but lacked the will to do anything about it. Finally, she of course stopped the movie that was playing, and then got all frustrated and began hitting buttons like a maniac and yelping angrily. So I had to drag myself up again, turn the whole thing off, and literally carry her, kicking and screaming, out of the room.
I decided maybe lunch would help, or at least a snack. I put some tater tots in the oven, then put her in her play yard with a granola bar and some milk while I checked my email. This went okay, although lots of that granola bar went to the dog. But when I tried to serve lunch!! You would have thought I was serving up a nice bowl of anthrax. I tried to give it to her at the table, then in her play yard, then at the table again. I actually couldn't even get her into the seat, she was yelling and twisting so violently.
I thought I might be losing it, what with the headache and the tired and the heartburn, which had begun as soon as I took a bite of my own tater tots. "Ni-night time?" I finally suggested brightly, and probably a little crazily. "You need a ba-ba and a ni-night?"
Apparently so, although I had to carry her kicking and screaming to her bed because I cruelly refused to let her pull ALL the bottles, sippy cups, and lids out of the drawer to take to bed with her. But when I finally got her into the bed and the bottle hit her mouth, she was done for, and fell asleep almost instantly. Thank God.
I'm pretty sure somebody else wrote about this recently, too, but it always amazes and ashames me how much my perception of Addy's behavior is colored by my own mood. If I'm feeling well and have energy, I can pretty much cope with whatever she throws my way and not get bent out of shape. If I'm tired and cranky and hot and have heartburn, the slightest deviation from her normal, happy self confounds me and sends me into an irritable frenzy. Well, maybe not a frenzy. But I definitely don't think clearly and positively. I am not Nanny Jo. My voice starts to sound sharp and naggy and ragged, and I can feel my forehead knotting into a permanent furrow. I get frazzled and want to call time-out so I can go take a nap and escape from the situation. This makes me feel weak and selfish, for not being a better grown-up. I mean, if the kid's in a bad mood and the mom's in a bad mood, somebody has to step back, right? Take one for the team, suck it up, etc. And I'm thinking it's supposed to be the adult.
At least she's taking a nap, now, so I can just hit publish and then go to take one, too. I will contemplate being a better, happier mom just as soon as I wake up...