Saturday, July 10, 2010
I had an awful week. I don’t say this to complain, or to solicit sympathy or well wishes. I say this as an explanation and an opening for the following story.
I don’t think I am the only person to have weeks where it seems your two year old has been body snatched by a very nasty alien, your baby has suddenly developed multiple personality disorder - and the current personality is intolerable - your hubby is absent due to over-obligations, and it seems there is a universal law they forgot to teach you about in high school physics class (much like the law of inertia) called “the law of absolutely everything you attempt must fail.” And then you begin to feel sorry for yourself. You can only focus on everything that is going wrong and THAT makes you feel guilty. And feeling guilty makes you feel like a horrible mom which makes you even crabbier which makes you feel guilty, and the vicious cycle continues. (At least, I hope I’m not the only person to have weeks where everyone in the house seems to morph into Mr. Hyde. Because if I AM, I should maybe check the furnace for monoxide or that crazy gas the freaky scarecrow uses in that batman movie.)
Therefore, I will take it for granted that you all know exactly what I am talking about when I tell you I had an awful week, and will skip the “oh poor me,” pitiful details.
Suffice it to say that mid-week, I was already operating on an extremely short fuse. Knowing I still had three more days to go before another (hopefully nicer) week began, was enough to make me want to throw in the towel. I hope it isn’t revealing too much to tell you that I really didn’t want to get out of bed for the rest of the week. I know, in far too many posts I seem like an incredibly crabby mom. You must wonder if I EVER have good days! Hopefully you know I do... (I guess my most teachable moments occur when I am defunked.)
bug and I weren’t getting along. mini refused to sleep and cried continuously. We fed off of each other’s feelings and the crabbiness built and built. Finally, yesterday, I completely lost my cool after bug flung his cereal all over my front room and painted the table and floor with his milk. (This while I was trying to change the baby.) I’d had it. I ordered him to clean it all up and when he refused I sent him to his room. He wouldn’t stop screaming at the top of his lungs and absolutely would NOT close his door, so I closed it for him. His tantrum escalating exponentially, he tried to open the door. I wouldn’t let him leave his room until he calmed down. I wanted to spank his little hiney, I was so worked up, but instead I shut his door once more and walked downstairs. I got a broom and started sweeping the sticky cereal... and as I tried to brush it all away, I cooled down enough to realize how difficult it was - the gooey cereal was stuck to everything.
All bug had needed was a little help... maybe if I had been more understanding in the beginning we wouldn’t have had such a foul fight.
Suddenly I heard a tiny little sniffle on the stairs. I turned quickly, planning on telling bug he could come downstairs now, and he recoiled rapidly - flinching. FLINCHING. I felt awful. I hadn’t raised a hand to strike him, and yet he was still afraid of my anger.
How I loathed myself.
We made peace, cleaned the floor together and wiped up the milk. We played and read books and went out for lunch with Lise, K, Oma and great-grandma.
All the while I fretted and worried over that recoil. I was convinced that bug would never look at me the same way again. He would never again run to me and give me sticky hugs. He would never say, “I love you!” in his small voice. He wouldn’t want me to kiss away his owies or comfort him when scared. All he would ever do is flinch away from my touch...
When we got home, I put mini down for a nap and readied bug for his. I took him to his room. I turned on his music. I led him to his bed.
And then a miracle happened.
“I want a kiss, mommy!” he said. And so we kissed. Then he wanted another. And then another... so, soon I was giving him raspberries and tickling and I heard the BEST sound I’d heard all day. His laugh. When we calmed down, he wanted another kiss and then he took a nap.
And I sat for a moment in relief that he did not hate me. Even at my crabbiest. Even at my most unreasonable. Even when I have high expectations and no sympathy for his limitations. He still did not hate me. In fact, I think maybe he still actually LOVES me.
By far the most important lesson I have learned from BOTH of my children is that of unconditional love.
It’s something I learned the moment I saw their wrinkled faces and held their tiny helpless bodies and heard their first cries. It’s something I continue to learn day after day. Not only my capacity for unconditional love of them, but also their unconditional love for me. At least in this stage of their lives, the feeling is mutual.
And I hope I can, over time, have fewer blunders and more successes so I can be worthy of their unconditional love.