I want this to be funny. I want this to be funny so you'll be entertained and I'll feel like I have my shit together. However, screaming, not once but twice, at my children in one weekend, especially when it's the only time that I really have to enjoy them, has not been my shining hour as a parent.
"I am so angry right now!" I yelled when my second born, by three minutes, poured a full glass of pineapple flavor Simple Truth sparkling water, spiked with fresh lemon juice, down the sink, congratulating himself on having done it. After yelling at him I explained how it was wasteful and unkind to have thrown away mommy's juice, and that mommy should not have yelled and I was sorry to have done so, but that it was very frustrating because it was the last of the fresh lemon juice, then I left the room to have "a time out."
The spankings that ensued tonight when one after another I was told "No" or blatantly ignored about bedtime routine tasks until I finally announced, "That's it. I've had enough. Everyone get in bed." The fervor that erupted could have felled an elephant, so vehement and emphatic was it. The fits and starts. The tantrums and repetitious strings of words that filled the house, made me want to run away to the front porch and wait it out. Which I did, after I managed to do "Love. Love. Love" - our good night hugs and kisses bedside dance of adoration. This after having waited out the highest of the decibels from the dining room table, shaking my head and counting down the requisite 15 minutes of something - I still don't know the scientific research behind the 15 minute wait-it-out. Then going back in their room to indulge them in a lap-time "Lullaby" before sneaking out, thinking it was in the bag, only to be met with "I pooped" over the monitor.
I should be glad that they are almost potty-trained, so much so that the nightly excuse for not going to bed, now, when it's time to go to bed, is either "I pooped. I need to go pee in the potty" or "I peed. I need a clean night diaper." And this, they must know instinctively, is the one thing that you cannot ignore, even though you know that once they are un-diapered and sitting on the potty, it will immediately turn into a jabber fest of questions and observations and remembrances from the day, like so much confetti left on the floor after a surprise party gone awry.
This is the thing that breaks the camels back. This is the thing that gets on my last nerve. And so I come undone. This time from behind an icy, cold, detached mask of anger, hurt-feelings, exhaustion and fear [that my children are becoming ass-holes because of something that I've done or haven't done;] this mask is well-known, if you've been unlucky enough to see it, so I should not be surprised if out of the mouths of toddlers who've only known this side of me for a year or so, comes, "Mommy! Are you happy?" and "Mommy! Talk."
I try to shuffle them through the pre-sleep-second-night diaper-change-must-poop-on-the-big-potty as quickly as I can, until, again, the youngest, by three minutes, cries out, "No, Mommy! I have more poop." However, when he sits back down he merely commences to ask me what every single item is on our shower/bath caddy, [nary a poop in sight] holding each one up for inspection, having the audacity to say, "No, that's not shampoo" to something I have just called shampoo, wanting so badly to think his own thoughts, to own his own moment of stolen wakefulness; to be his own little man.
I break. I snatch him up from his "Elmo-potty," lay him on the changing table, while he screams at me, "I've got to make a big poop!" I put a clean diaper on him. I put his pajamas bottoms on him. I lay him in his bed and I escape to the front porch, where I can just barely hear him, (enough to be safe) and begin deep belly breathing. Just now, I remembered that what I should have chanted to myself as I belly-breathed was, "I am prepared for whatever turn my birthing may take," as if birthing a child begins when the surges start and doesn't really ever end, as each step along the way you are birthing them, forming them, giving them space to be their own person. Whoa! Where was this patient, full of grace me, an hour ago?
There is this thing that I've always held to be true and right: never go to bed angry. I remember knock out, drag out, fights with my dad (not physical, except maybe once I did hit him when, during an argument, he tried to comfort me in that clear-headed, quiet, Daddy way, by squeezing my shoulder; I smacked his hand away.) Yet, during those very heated fights which we had from the time I was two years old, we never went to bed angry. Or at the very least we would hug and say I love you. We'd share how we were feeling about the argument itself, even if not the actual details of the disagreement, meaning that even though we often went to bed without resolution, we always went to bed with peace.
I'm channeling Daddy memories right now probably because my youngest, by three minutes, brought out the two year old in me, this evening. So, remembering that we will all sleep better if we have peace, I went back into their bedroom, wearing my very soft and snugly bathroom [AC is a blessed thing]; I brought each of them onto my lap for their own time with mommy sitting on the edge of their transition toddler beds, hugging them and patting their backs in a regular rhythm I've found that soothes them [and me] while rocking and every so often touching our cheeks to one another's, until each one pushed back from me, after a natural amount of time, crawling from lap to bed, pulling up their blankets, tucking themselves around their pillow, making those last wakeful adjustments before drifting off to sleep.
I'm Kimberly. Single mother by choice. Soon to be wife. Holder of space. Maker of place. Mom. Mama. Mommy. Mitch. These are my thoughts, reflections, ideas and random observations about raising twin sons.
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