In the morning, Charlotte demanded milk and she bit me. Last week she lost her balance near me while I was bent over and she grabbed my nipple to steady herself. For a brief painful eternity, my nipple was literally dangling thirty pounds of toddler.
My nipple is still tender. I was not pleased about her biting me. And that set the tone for the rest of the day.
- ran outside into the backyard after I had just told her no, it’s naptime, you can go outside later
- found a green sharpie after her nap and colored her hands, her feet, her belly, her nose, the footboard of the bed my husband and father crafted, and every sheet and blanket on our bed
- peed on a book not thirty seconds after she told me she did not need to use the toilet
- grabbed a cat by its tail and dragged it in a full circle around the house while it yowled and I ran after her imploring her to drop the poor creature
- threw four full-blown fits with kicking and screaming and tears (one even included throwing wood building blocks at the wall)
- intentionally ripped an unopened envelope in half, presumably to see how I would react
- said NO more than any other word
- intentionally upset an entire bowl of loose peas on the kitchen floor because she wanted noodles (they weren’t finished cooking)
In the afternoon, I set Charlotte down on the bed and I told her that we needed a break from each other. I gave her a toy with which to entertain herself, something she hadn’t seen in awhile. I explained that the bedroom door was open so if she needed something she could come get me, but otherwise I would be back in five minutes.
I came THIS close to calling Donald in frustrated tears during our so-called break. But I kept imagining how it must feel to be two-years-old and have an off-day and hear your parent, your whole world, complain about you on the phone. So instead I sat on the couch and felt like a shitty parent and wondered what I was doing wrong and how I could fix it.
In theory, I know that everybody has these days. I remember reading a blog one time where the writer joked that you aren’t truly a parent until you’ve sat on the couch while your kids tear apart your house and really, honestly not given a flying fuck – and suddenly that makes a lot of sense. I know that children have bad days and that every parent has moments when they look at their kid and think dude, I love you, but you’re driving me out of my ever-loving mind.
I know this.
But somehow, when it’s me and my kid, it just doesn’t feel okay.
My mother-in-law has this great story from Donald’s childhood. (Correct me if I get the details wrong, Carolee!) He was three or four years old and everything imaginable that could possibly go wrong went wrong. He couldn’t do anything right all day long and Donald and his mother were at wit’s end.
Then something happened and she looked back to scold him and she noticed how dejected and upset he looked about what had just occurred. And she thought about how little he was and how upset he was and instead of scolding him, she just took a deep breath and asked him if he wanted a hug.
I think about that story constantly.
Yesterday, I thought about it all.day.long.
I also thought about today. And how today would be a new day. And how we could start all over again, Charlotte and me, like yesterday never happened.
Today we’re going walking with the trees. I may never know what went wrong yesterday or what the right solution to it was, but at the very least I know there sure as hell aren’t any green sharpies in the wilderness.