This did not just happen, by the way, this is my life, day-to-day. Small scenarios just like this one. Today, I felt like documenting it.
It is unfair, I tell you. One minute they were fine, the next bruised and stinking up the vegetable cabinet. The house, being closed up all day, incubated that stink so that when I came home and opened the door – booyah! I was hit with the most horrific smell that I could remember. I felt like retching. I felt like running. I felt ill. Why potatoes, why? Was it my fault entirely? I thought I left you enough air. I bought you with great intentions for mash, or to fry and even bake but you turned on me so quickly.
And such is my corny life. Moms, who work, need to – no make that, MUST blame other factors when things go wrong. On the one hand, everything is our fault but on the other, if I am to blame for one.more.THING I’ll go mad. Yes, I will. Legit mad, not like, oh, I broke my nail after a manicure, *sob*. Like red-faced, dragon-breathed, holy-cow-take-cover mad. And then just like that we’re back, smiling and having found inner peace/our happy place. As a newly married woman I recall a phone conversation with my sister-in-law (Please forgive me, I love you). She was pleasant – then crazy, screaming at one of her 10 (at the time) children, then back to pleasant. I thought her behavior was absurd – so Jekyll and Hyde. Then I had children and completely related. I remember having a conversation with one of my best friends deciding whose house we were going to commiserate at since our children were small and misery loves company, when I looked over and saw my 2 yr. old poking my baby’s eyes. So I started screaming something like, “that’s naughty – stop that right now!” (Yeah, like a 2-year-old cares – negative attention is just as good as positive at that age). 3 seconds later I came back to the conversation as if nothing happened – when it was her turn, “no, no, NO – do NOT spill the milk on my carpet!!!” And then she came back to the conversation with, “Anyway, so how fast can you get here?”
I often find myself wondering when something goes wrong, (oh, and by the way? that’s like every other five minutes). Was it me? Was it something I said? Or did? Or felt? Or thought? A look I gave? I look I tried to hide? Was it my breath? Did I even brush my teeth today? I often get distracted (not that I don’t think dental hygiene is extremely important). But, as you’ll probably connect here, moms NEVER get any private time. If I had more private time I could probably be more organized and avoid having things go wrong, Alas, it’s almost inevitable, the second that bathroom door shuts? Someone is wailing or whining or crying or banging or begging to see you. They NEED you. They have to have that conversation right at THAT moment.
Take 2. Children are such a blessing. They make some trouble for us entering the world and until they figure this life-outside-the-womb thing it’s a bit rocky, but then when all things have calmed down, they bring absolute joy to those lucky enough to be around them. Their cherubic angelic faces brighten the day with their toothless gummy grins and smelling like vanilla or lavender as we rub our lips over their precious fuzzy heads. They make us laugh when they try to stand and fall with a plop and slow-mo roll-over mid-air as their weight pulls them down. They lift our spirits when they make up words like “agaza” and you’re supposed to know that it means ceiling fan. Their make your chest swell with pride when they finally get down the hill on their bike without falling or getting the solo in the school concert or graduating or offering to help when no one asks.
And then, someone touched someone else. Heaven Forbid. Should THAT ever happen, here is the method I generally subscribe to and am convinced that until there is physical contact in a non-playful way – it’s a must use. It’s called conflict resolution. It’s something I learned in a particular college course, in one of the many business classes I took for Business Management that taught the topic of supervisor-subordinate mediation but works as well peer-to-peer. (I know that sounded super smart – sometimes I use the old noodle for more than remembering to make dentist appointments). I learned that wherever choices exist there is potential for disagreement. Throw kids in the mix, well – you’ll get sibling rivalry a lot! Knowing how to deal with a given situation when a disagreement occurs is a life lesson worth teaching. He did not HAVE to touch her – but of course he did. She did not have to have ketchup-breath, but of course she did. And this is how it begins, a he-said/she-said scenario with escalated voices and flushed cheeks leading up to an inevitable shove or push or kick or imaginary swipe of a fake light saber in the general vicinity causing tumult and wreaking havoc. (And breathe mommy, it’s almost bedtime). After giving these children an opportunity to sort out their differences in a safe and non-partisan area, using indoor voices, I promised French Fries to all who made amends. And it was quiet. Was it bribery or a reward? – Do I consult my last copy of Parenting circa 2010? All I knew is that it worked. And it was quiet…until I opened the cabinet and remembered there were no more potatoes. Dammit.