I haven’t had one of these days in a while… the kind of day where I longed for Paul to get home so I could swim in a bottle of wine. But, alas, today was one of those days. Ginger3’s teething has made him cranky and unbearable– why in the world had I wanted his teeth to come in in the first place? While he cried incessantly, Ginger1 became an overstuffed bag of emotions after running on empty from the weekend. Our trip to the grocery store was the worst I have ever had since kids— while Ginger3 screamed, Ginger1 threw herself in a heap when she’d request something and hear the word “Not this time.” Ignoring her, and leaving her several feet behind (aisle after aisle), my slow shopping trip became a limping sprint with this stress-fractured foot to get what I could from my list. I couldn’t get out of the store soon enough!
In the ball of confusion and embarrassment, I found some clarity. Ginger1 is old enough to spend time in her room when she has these kinds of meltdowns. Her apology did not fall upon deaf ears, but rather my lips simply didn’t know how to respond constructively to her melting heart. I wanted to tell her how disappointed I was, but she already knew that. I knew she didn’t mean to hurt me when she pushed the cart as hard as she could and jammed it into my back and heels. As we approached the house, wet-eyed, drowning in Ginger3’s wails, she climbed out of the van, into the house, up the stairs, and into bed for a much needed nap.
I feel like a horrible mother when I can no longer console my baby or control my four-yr-old’s meltdowns. I feel helpless when my days spiral out-of-control. In truth, it has been some time since the last bad day, so I guess I can be grateful for that, but somehow knowing that was no consolation.
I am thankful for my neighbor who agreed to get Ginger3 out of bed (where I resorted to putting him during one of his episodes) after dinner. He just wanted to be held for awhile, or that is what seemed to calm him in the midst of the neighborhood Power Wheel parade that surrounded him as he watched tearfully from her arms instead of mine. In that hour of time, I had the break I needed. I stood back from the action, shed some tears, gathered myself, and eventually garnered the strength to be a mother again.
I have great appreciation for my friends’ surrogate mothering when I am in a dark place of parenting despair. I hope when things settle down here, I can be that person for another mother trying to get through a rough day.