It had not been a good morning.
I would have settled for “mediocre.” “Rather lousy.” Even “trying.”
Instead, it was ramping up to be a No Good, Very Bad Day of downright Alexander proportions.
Every single thing the girls did was Bad; dunking random things into the cats’ water bowl and the sink and the [open?!] cup of milk, shoving and pulling hair and whining about who was blocking whose view of the [third] TV show, and dumping entire plates of food onto the [newly cleaned] floor.
Susannah spent the first half of the day finding choking hazards and poking them directly into her throat and nostrils. Climbing the tables. Removing her diaper. Slamming things (books, toys, cats) into things (cabinets, windows, cats).
Nora chose the more high n’ mighty route of screaming about Zuzu’s every infraction. Demanding that her sister do things differently. Shrieking about apple juice. And tantruming about the fact that she wasn’t having a tantrum.
|Photo courtesy of Emi Clark. Hooligans courtesy of their father.|
Every single thing that I did was Wrong; yelling and scowling and deeply sighing and loudly wondering why no one was helping me wipe the mustard from the windowsill.
On top of it all, I wasn’t feeling well. At. All. And P.J. was going to be running from work straight to rehearsal that night. Meaning that bedtime was gonna be a guns-a-blazin’, solo affair. (And I knew- I just knew– that wondering about the girls’ bedtime at 10am wasn’t placing me in the running for any Mother Of The Year mugs.)
So I fed them lunch early- ignoring protests and chair requests and that unmistakable sound of milk sloshing down a table leg. I bundled a slightly confused Susannah off to her nap sliiightly earlier than normal (thinking for the first time that morning “She’s contained” and then absolutely despising myself). And I poked Nora in the direction of her room for Big Girl I’m Not Tired Can I Listen To Music Quiet Time.
And I got into my own bed. I pulled the sheet over my ear (half because I wanted to drown out the sounds of my failure and half because I have a very intense fear of bugs crawling into my ear canal). I thought about how sticky and stinky my cluttered house was. I thought about the reviews and posts and blogs for various paycheck-y type things which had no hope of getting done today. (Which would make them roughly a week overdue to begin with.) And I thought about what a god-awful mother I was, how I hadn’t intended to wake up and be a Meanie McJerkyFace towards two of the very people for whom I’d willingly take a bullet. (Thought perhaps not while they were scraping chairs along the floor to lick pieces of bread on the counter.)
And I wallowed (in how stupid my day was being). And I self-loathed (about how good I really had it, jerk).
But suddenly, there was a little hand in mine. A tiny hand, squeezing my thumb and wrist, attached to a small person who had ninja’d her way into my bed and had rested a [tousled, sticky] head on my pillow.
“We can just lay here, Mom.”
And so Nora- sweet, empathetic Nora- and I took a little nap. Holding hands.
When Susannah woke up (all smiles and “WuvYous”), we decided to try again. I won’t lie and say it was cinchy from there on out (I was ready to head straight back to my pillow, thanks to a diaper filled with sidewalk chalk, potting soil, and poop), but it definitely didn’t seem quite as difficult as the morning had been.
And after the second bath of the evening, when we were all cuddled up in my bed with books and loveys and a repeat viewing of Sleeping Beauty, I watched my girls. I smelled their [repeatedly washed] hair and marveled at the sunshine curls of one, the honey-hued ones of her sister. I took in their bright eyes, soft (and still rather babyish) skin, and quiet smiles that had apparently forgiven their harpy of a Mom.
Susannah reached a chubby toddler hand out to me and rested her head back, beaming. Nora clutched my other hand. The three of us just lounged there for a moment against the pillows, listening to the street traffic and dogs barking down the block. Nora stuck a thumb into her mouth; Susannah did the same. I closed my eyes and acknowledged that bedtime could wait a teensy bit longer.
It had been a good evening.