bad days, forgiveness, love, motherhood, parenthood, patience, toddlers
I got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. No real reason for it. I mean, yes, I had started the morning at 5 am when a little hand smacked me excitedly and a tiny voice announced insistantly (and proudly) “PEE! PEE! PEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!! PEE!” until I eventually mumbled,
“Goo’feryou. Thanksfor tellin’ me.”
I rolled over. The same small hand grabbed my nipple, and the teeny voice said “mush? MUSH? PEASE?” and a needle-teethed lamprey re-attached itself to my breast at a bizarre angle.
It was my usual start to the day.
If anything, it was a slightly better start than some other mornings, because after forty five minutes of:
- sitting on my head
- running around the room
- trying to open the door to the dog’s crate
- demanding help to get back up on the bed with me
- and insisting on “mush” whenever I tried to roll over
…Owl actually went back to sleep and I got an extra half hour shut eye.
But I still woke up with a big black cloud over my head. I blame the rain, because there was a lot of it, and I really didn’t want to walk in it.
Every morning I offer Owl the chance to choose his footwear and coat for the day.
It usually goes like this:
“Go get your shoes.”
“Do you want to go for our walk?”
“Then you need to put on either your boots or your shoes.”
This simple logic always convinces him and he grabs one pair or the other. We have the same conversation over his coat.
“Which coat do you want to wear?”
He invariable chooses his raincoat, but then resists when I try to put it on him.
“Okay, we’ll stay in,” I always say, and start to hang up his coat. This makes him change his mind instantly and he cooperatively holds out his arms for the coat. Then we leash the dog and go outside for our walk.
Today, though, it was pissing rain, I was running a little late due to the sleep-in, and I was not loving the idea of trying to convince the dog to poop in the rain while Owl soaked his pants in the puddles.
Everything went wonky today.
I told Owl to get his boots. He didn’t budge. I set out his boots and he said “no.”
“Well, pick either your shoes or your boots,” I said, laying out the options for him. He stared at them and dithered and dithered while the time and my patience began to run out. So I made an executive decision.
“Okay, you’re wearing your boots.”
I pulled his boots on him against his will while he flailed and wailed. When I finished he sat on the floor crying and pulling desperately at his boots. Within seconds he had them off again. Rather than re-enter that battle, I moved on to coats.
“Which coat to you want to wear?”
“Owl, which coat?”
Most mornings I would have dealt with the shoe issue and then revisited the coats afterwards. But for some reason, today, my patience was still upstairs in bed, cuddled under the duvet.
“Okay, fine, no walk today.”
I put the dog out in the yard while a horrified and protesting wail went up behind me. Owl spent a couple of minutes throwing his “soos” at me, but quickly allowed himself to be distracted by his toys while I took a moment of deep breathing.
Skipping the walk put us back on schedule for time, if Owl didn’t dawdle too much on our walk to the car. I contemplated just carrying him to the car, but that didn’t seem fair – he should get at least part of his walk. I brought the dog in, put on Owl’s “soos” (pick your battles) and he cooperatively chose his raincoat and put it on without a fuss.
When he saw that we were leaving the dog behind, though, he realized that he had missed the morning walk, and that we were now headed right to school. He immediately began to whine.
“Nooooo! Da! Wa? Mama!!”
“Well, we couldn’t go on our walk because you wouldn’t leave your boots on and you wouldn’t pick your coat,” I snapped. “That’s what happens.”
I waited irritably and self-righteously for the tantrum. To my surprise, he just held up his arms and said “up!”
So I picked him up, and when his face was level with mine he studied me carefully. Then, gently, with a little smile, he leaned forward and gave me a kiss on the lips. Then he let me carry him out of the house, to the car, and into his car seat without a single complaint.
My son is 24 pounds and 30 inches tall, and he is a bigger person than I am.