We start the day prepped and confident we're going to be a good Mommy and then it all comes crashing down the minute your toddler emerges from their bed.....or did it start at midnight when the smaller toddler woke up from four molars making their rude introduction along with a left ear infection?
Last week I started one morning by giving myself a refresher course on the first 100 pages I had read of Sal Severe's book, "How to Behave So Your Preschooler Will Too."
I was psyched for the day feeling confident that I was equipped for any situation that was going to come my way. (Enter screeching halt here).
The day began promising when I loaded the kids up for our regular Monday beach date and we arrived five minutes early. (Point for Mommy! Anytime you arrive early you are bound to have a good day.) When our friends arrived we played on the playground and enjoyed a tire swing ride with our friend Alex.
We had not been at the beach twenty minutes when my normally sweet son hit an unassuming little girl who was innocently playing with the playground bells at the beach.
I immediately asked the girl if she was OK and apologized to the nanny before I took action with my small Mike Tyson. Less than a minute later Hunter hits the girl again and, after ensuring she was OK, I turned to tell the nanny that I was very sorry and it was "something we're working on" to which she grabbed the girl and curtly says, "C'mone Emily, let's get out of here." (Enter deep pang in the pit of my stomach.) I had one of those Mommy moments where I felt defeated and embarrassed.
(Yes, I'd be smiling too if my son was acting like hers did that day.)
(Owen was being a little camera shy.)
After a short bout of self talk, I picked Hunter up and explained to him that if we hit again we would have to leave the beach. I then tried to distract him towards another area of the beach to which he slapped me on the face. I tried to hold back tears and the voice inside me that was telling me to just overlook it because I really wanted to stay at the beach with our friends. I tucked my tail between my legs, packed us up and watched as people who walked by passed judgement on why I was letting my 14 month old scream her head off in the stroller. (Answer: She is used to this whole game of big brother getting disciplined at the expense of her abruptly being scooped up and interrupted from a fun activity combined with her Mommy has listened to this cry since midnight last night and it's just all starting to sound more like talking to her at this point.)
The rest of the day included a favorite toy thrown at Sissy before it broke into six pieces but sounded like sixteen,
two diaper rashes, a potty that was tripped on as we were exiting it which led to pee all over the floor and our favorite lovey (I'll spare you visuals), multiple thrown sippy cups, hitting a child on a different playground, falling off a picnic bench, diarrhea, crawling out of the crib, Mommy being hit three more times, and poor Sissy who was pinched, hit, kicked and rolled on more times than one would care to count.*
But, the day also ended with Hunter giving me a huge hug and saying he loved me, kids in bed on time, that cold Corona, brie-topped-with-fig crackers (thanks Barbara!), chocolate chip cookies, and lots of time to spare for reading.
(I put a DVD on for the kids so I could get a few minutes of peace. They ate their dinner like little angels.)
That night I chose an Agatha Christie and pushed Sal to the side because I hoped that something other than a parenting book would get my tomorrow started on a better foot---and it did. Besides, there isn't anything Sal can tell me that will fully prepare me for what real life experiences are going to teach me.
Yes, that day and many days start as one of those days but they usually end as one of those days. I thank God and my wonderful husband every day for giving me the gift of being able to stay at home with my kids. Although it can be terribly challenging at times, I know I will one day see the fruits of my labor and that makes me smile.
*I'm pleased to report that since that day the rocket ship has been completely repaired, the diarrhea subsided and, although we are still dealing with toddler hitting, we continue to live--and live happy.
"The fundamental job of a toddler is to rule the universe." - Lawrence Kutner
Thank you Hunter for reminding me that my goal is to raise a curious, creative, strong human being.