I'll openly admit it- I'm about as high strung of a person as they come. My mind will run away with worst-case-scenarios all day long if I let it and it takes a lot more than a couple of deep breaths to "chill out" after a stressful day (more like a couple of glasses of wine!). I'm positively terrified of flying (I've only done it once, for my honeymoon), That being said- after the day I've had today- I'd gladly call shotgun tonight if there was a shuttle launching to the moon. A vacation on the moon is pretty much what this day calls for and for me to willingly volunteer to go to outer space to "get away from it all" is saying something big.
My son...my son...my son (I'm shaking my head as I type this, let me assure you).
For the love of God, why are some days just so challenging? I thought today I'd be a super good mommy and take Karl and Hana to the library for story time. We'd been cooped up in the house for over a week, both kids with double ear infections and upper respiratory infections and me with a horrible case of mastitis. All of us had run our course of antibiotics and were feeling pretty good today. One of Karl's favorite things to do is go to the library so I thought I'd be scoring major brownie points by taking him to story time. When we arrived all seemed to be well. Karl was cautiously exploring the taupe carpeted story room of the library, as were several other 2 year olds, all ambling about in that awkward, bouncy, not-really-paying-attention-to-where-they're-going gait. Then the story teller lady began to play crazy toddler music through some speakers that sounded like it had been slathered in sugar and then coated in jelly beans. Some kids danced to it, seeming to get a musical sugar rush via osmosis by beginning to bounce and frenetically lilt all over the room while my Karl gazed at them all with a furrowed brow and a skeptical scowl (keep in mind this is the first story time I'd ever taken him to, so his surroundings were quite odd to him). The lady then got out a box of pastel colored mini maracas for the kids to shake and dance with. Oh, boy, if that didn't open up Karl's very own Pandora's box full o'crazy.
The kid is a collector- he boarders on toddler hoarding- constantly walking around with about 6 of his most prized (for that particular moment) possessions clutched in his fierce, filthy paws. When she opened the box of maracas and instructed the kids to take two, naturally, that meant that Karl had to grab and hold as many as possible. Clutching two fist-fulls of maracas, he began running around the room, bolting from wall to wall. The other kids, for the most part (there were the obligatory nose pickers in the crowd that made me feel a little better about my crazed maraca hoarding son cruising around the room) were happily shaking their maracas to the music, giggling and shouting with elation. Karl began to panic when the music stopped, though, and the story lady told the kids to put their maracas back in the box. I led him to the box, where his face was visibly overcome with near hysterics, and instructed him to do as the other kids were and put his maracas back. Like a cornered animal he dropped to the ground, out of my reach and shouted "NO MOMMY! NO! I WON'T PUT 'DA MAWAKAS BACK IN DA BOX! NO!" Then with the swiftness of a gazelle (Side Note: how come two year old's can be so damn quick and slick when they're up to no good but really awful at mobility when it comes to the basics, like moving from the inside to the outside without hitting the ground?) he dashed between my legs and desperately and feverishly grabbed at least 4 more maracas out of the red box. Of course, he knew in that very instant that I was going to demand he drop them all, so naturally, like any red-handed thief, he darted! Among all of the other mommies (who, from my jaded and totally embarrassed skewed memory were all those perfect soccer moms with nice tight butts and big boobs, you know, the kind who look like they picked their kids out at a department store instead of actually growing them inside their bodies), I chased my red faced dinosaur (who was still yelling "NO MOMMY! I WON'T PUT DA MAWAKAS BACK IN DA BOX!") around the room. Keep in mind, all the while the poor story lady was trying to read her damn story to the crowd.
I finally strong armed my little dinosaur and stripped him of his contraband. This only served to heighten the meltdown from the "holy crap, things are about to get ugly in public" level to the "Well, yep, hey folks! I'm that mom with the insane screaming kid" level. I plunked him back down in our double seater crimson stroller and pushed him and Hana out of the library. Kneeling down, so as to be eye-to-eye with my enemy, I threatened Karl in my best "I'm mommy and I mean business voice" - "If you don't cut it out with being sad, bad, and mad in the library we are getting in our truck and going home right now, do you understand me young man?" I do love that when I whip out this particular tone of mommy-mean, you know the kind, the kind where every word is perfectly accentuated and punctuated with a dialect of don't-you-even-try-me that is universal to all kids, that he usually straightens out. Taking in giant,sloppy gulps of air and sucking in his plump bottom lip so hard it looked as if he'd swallow it, he replied "Ok, mommy. I will be good and happy." At this moment I sucked in all of my mommy pride because I knew I'd have to go back into that room and face the silent but annoyed exhalations of all the other moms in the room ("Oh,look, they're back again, yippee...").
All was well upon our return for about one solid minute- until the story lady had to go and pull out another friggin' yellow box, this time, full of bean bags. Each kid was to get one of those. Karl dutifully did as instructed this time, having played his hoarding hand already and lost. He brought his bean bag back to me and began to plead with me to "OPEN IT MOMMY! GET DOSE FINGS OUTTA DERE! OPEN IT UP MOMMY!" He wanted me to open up the friggin
bean bag. Needless to say, the friggin' thing doesn't open and there was no way I'd open it up even if it did because of the apocalyptic size mess that would create. I had to quell that meltdown quick, and by this time I was functioning in survival mode, so I don't even remember what it took to calm him down. Finally, a storybook movie was just beginning, so he settled into my lap to watch it, when the story lady switched the lights to the room off.
Oh, sweet Lord, I just could not catch a break. Karl immediately began to whine "WHAT HAPPENED TO DUH WIGHTS, MOMMY? I WANT THE WIGHTS ON! TURN DEM BACK ON! TURN DUH WIGHTS ON MOMMY!" He then sprung from my lap like a greased pig and ran to the wall and began searching for the light switch. This left me to get up and chase him around the room full of cheap plastic furniture in the dark (as if it were a breeze to do in a fully lit room). I finally wrangled him in once he'd reached the second wall in his quest to find the light and whispered in his ear "That's it,we are leaving, now!" in a tone so sharp it could have cut his ear lobe. I marched him hurriedly back to our spot to get him in the stroller, when PING! the lights came back on and just like that, story time was over.
I don't remember what the stories were about but I do know that story time was the catalyst for a particularly challenging day. For some reason, acting out in public usually unleashes Karl's inner T-Rex, a'la The Incredible Hulk, and he has a difficult time containing himself afterwards. Lunch time consisted of filling my dining room table's cracks in with tuna salad and painting its varnished top in watermelon juice (these are both crimes for which he has previously been punished). Nap time consisted of bartering over going to bed and having to go wee-wee on the potty (and I quote) "Just one more time, mommy. I haf tuh go wee-wee just one more time before my nappy." To top it all off, his nap was only an hour long and he woke up yelling from his dinosaur sheeted bed that his foot hurt and he had a bad bad boo-boo. This was then followed by an HOUR AND A HALF LONG (yes, it really was that long, and yes, I do believe I began to twitch) plea/demand/beg/bribe/sob for Cheerios. Every time he asked I told him my answer was no because I was making dinner, but still, he managed to ask, every 10 seconds... for an hour and a half (see,there's the twitch!). I think Karl has a future in interrogation and torture- he's relentless. Finally, at bed time, he had a coughing fit that rivaled any 60 year old emphysema patient's which then led him to barf all over his daddy and I. Gee, thanks kid- that was the perfect ending to a fully rewarding day.
I'm worn out. I'm exhausted. Take me out back and beat me like a rug. No,better yet, please, someone, get me on a spaceship to the moon and just let me sit there, in peace and quiet for a bit. Let the stillness of the void of space settle my brain and allow me to recharge before I have to do this all again tomorrow.
For days and nights like today, I really do try to keep in mind how very thankful I am for bedtime and how, no matter how long and unrelenting the day is, bedtime does always come...well, for the most part (please stay asleep please stay asleep!).
Until next time folks, call me the "mommy on the moon."