Ok, I’ll admit it—I am not a perfect mother. You’re shocked, right? Truthfully, nobody is perfect but I do pride myself on being pretty darn patient with my kids. And trust me, when my 4-year-old has made 100 inane statements in a row, ending each one with “Riiiiight???” and expects a response each time, it gets tough to be patient. It is tougher still, when my 2.5 year old acts as if she can not go on another minute without her blankie—which she normally carries around and sucks on and integrates in to all of her play but that we have recently tried retiring to the bedroom during non-sleeping hours, and throws herself on the floor, weeping and carrying on like we killed her puppy. Still, I maintain.
I feel like I can handle most anything that comes up during the day. As evening falls though, it becomes harder and harder. My breaking point is always bedtime. I have no patience at all for the bedtime routine. I often find myself half-wishing that they’ll forget that they need to pee and brush their teeth, because I just don’t think that I can handle going through it for one more night. Invariably we do it though, and I stand in the bathroom with a forced smile on my face, willing myself to just.deal.with.it.already.
ED: I want the Spiderman Toothpaste
CA:I want ED’s toothpaste! NO, I want yours!! Wait I want MINES!
ED: (after 10 seconds of brushing) DONE! Didn’t I do a great job??
CA: (after 3 seconds of brushing) DONE!! DONE!! DONE!!
I bark at them “Nobody is done!! Brush your teeth the right way!!!”
They are finally finished and are now fighting over the cup of water.
“ED give the cup to your sister and go give kisses to Daddy and Grandpa. DO NOT DUMP THE WATER!! DO NOT DUMP THE WATER!! ED!! (dumps the water) GO GIVE KISSES!!!!!”
Ca insists on rubbing her toothbrush on the underside of the faucet as she is rinsing it off.
“Could you not do that???”
She sucks the water, and anything that was lingering on the faucet, out of the brush. She hands it to me and fills the water cup herself. I’m starting to feel like this was planned all along. Of course, she makes a mess all over the sink.
“JUST GO TELL DADDY AND GRANDPA GOODNIGHT!!”
We are finally in their room, and they are playing musical beds.
“Everyone in the right bed, right now. RIGHT NOW!!”
They scramble and kiss me good night. Choruses of “I neeeeed to be covered” are heard for the next 5 minutes.
I give in and cover them.
It happens again.
I cover them again and say “The next time I hear a sound, I am shutting this door and taking the light! I MEAN IT!!”
This usually works; the prospect of a dark room and a closed door (I mean, how horrible is that??)—ED may wander out to ask me a question after CA is asleep, but usually, it does work.
I don’t know why I get like this. Maybe it’s because I’ve had a long day and time for myself is…right…there—I can see it, I can taste it, but I just can’t get there. Or maybe it’s all the stress of the day building up in to these last few minutes that I have with the kids. Like the balance of the universe rests on them being asleep on time.
I always make sure the last thing I say to them is “I love you”.
But I sure do hate it that the end of our time together every night, is marred by my harshness—I mean, God, they’re just being kids. Still, I behave like a lunatic.
This my friends, is my confession. I am not perfect. But I can keep trying.