There is a reason I start my day like this.
Ah, having toddlers. When the world reminds you that even dumping the laundry basket into the washing machine is no longer a luxury you have in life, evident by the dinosaur that I discovered in my daughter’s hamper tonight. At least, I now know to check before listening to it mysteriously clunk through the laundry cycle. I’m glad I caught on to the ‘toys in my hamper’ trend before it turned into ‘dirty diapers in my hamper.’ What would have happened if I hadn’t found that before it expanded beyond capacity with soapy water. Ugh. The horror.
Nothing is easy.
From birth on, even the things that were seemingly easy at first sneak attack you when you least expect it. Then, they learn to move, talk, run away, and negotiate. Hard. Harder. Harder still. Hardest.
“Don’t put the dinosaur in the hamper, Lauren. He’ll get wrecked in the washer and dryer.”
“NO! I WILL PUT HIM IN DERE, MOMMY,” she retorts back…toddler misspoken vocab and all.
“No, you won’t,” I calmly reply.
“NO! DON’T SAY THAT!” she tells me.
“Lauren, you’ll be so sad if your dinosaur get’s ruined…..” and then I have to check myself.
I’ve been had. Sucked into another mind-numbing toddler negotiation. It’s like a Jedi mind trick! I find myself calmly and rationally trying to reason with them over the dumbest things…only to end up in a frustrating battle of wills…me trying to ‘out calm’ my child, as they jack the volume up on me.
That’s toddler life, in a nutshell. Let’s run down just today…
This morning, my 4 year old took 2 hours to begin to get ready for school. “Do your morning chores (which are go to the bathroom…brush your teeth, make your bed, and get dressed. Not rocket science. ) and then I’ll turn the TV or you can play before breakfast. Repeat three times before my morning run. Get back…she’s in her PJ’s playing Barbies. Nothing is done. It took a straight half hour of nagging to get ready for her to actually get ready. Then repeat to get her to eat breakfast. Repeat again to put her shoes and coat on….all the while trying to coral her 2 year old sister, who acts like I’m tearing her skin off when I remove her jammies in the morning. Goes totally limp. No help at all. Dressing a squirming baby was way easier than this.
We are late for pre-school 99% of the time. Morning shenanigans.
While Brianne is in pre-school, I spend the majority of the morning trying to explain to Lauren why she can’t play with Brianne’s toys, or in Brianne’s room, when Brianne is not here. Or, we’re running errands, which means I”m then convincing her why it’s unsafe not to sit down in the shopping cart, and choosing to stand get’s her buckled. Screams of “NO MOM! DON’T SAY THAT!.”
Already, at this point in the day, I question why I try to calmly break things down for them instead of just smacking their butts and moving on with my morning. OH….then I remember why…because I HAVE GIRLS. Really dramatic ones, and the nuclear fallout of a spank sucks up a lot more patience than calmly breaking it down…time after time after time after time.
Pre-school pick-up, I spend a lot of time explaining to Lauren why she can’t stay at Brianne’s school (not retained from drop off), and wait for her to walk down every single stair by herself without help or she freaks out and screams. Then we spend the next half hour waiting for them to be done playing on the treacherous cement handicap ramp with the hose at the bottom in perfect place to trip over. I hope they are this sad to leave school when they get older. Almost always at least one kid in tears when it’s time to go. If not mine, someone else’s.
And on it goes…it’s too exhausting even to write. Lunchtime, my daughter wants to eat something we either don’t have or I know she won’t eat. Her younger sister eats nothing and opts out for naptime after a couple of bites.
Naptime, the older one wants to negotiate the length of the nap…long or short? Little rest, or big sleep? Doesn’t matter, she’ll sit and read the whole time most days anyway, before walking out of her room in her best “I was just sound asleep” impression.
And on it goes…through the bike ride down to the beach (Lauren had some tricycle drama), playing down at the beach (Lauren had some keep-your-shoes-on drama), Cross Country practice, dinner, bath time, bed time….it’s all out one massive string of negotiations.
By the end of the day, I’m so exhausted I find myself either wanting to laugh at everything or just cry right along with
them. “I hate disciplining! I just don’t want to anymore!” Wouldn’t that be nice? Maybe lay on floor and kick my feet up in the air. Or, when they talk back, yell “DON’T SAY THAT!” Or, maybe we could all just have a nice laugh about it and move on.
I’m making my kids out to be terrors, but they really aren’t. In fact, my kids are completely normal, really adorable and totally awesome…but they’re still kids. And, they’re 2 and 4. And, more often than not, we end up in st
itches of laughter before bed-time…all totally drained from what we’ve put each other through all day. Just slap happy.
I’ll take it. When you stick with someone through all of that, everyday, you form a bond for life. And, THAT, is why all I
ever wanted to do was be a mom. All of the sacrifices…the degree shoved in the back of my closet…the career on hold…the dreams of being a full time writer…the goals of training for a marathon…ha-or even just a 5K…selling the boat…
The gain is exponential. Me and my girls (and Daddy and kitty, as Brianne would add…)are best buds.
Always there for each other. Tell each other everything. Listen to each other.