I've had a rough week at the office. You know the kind. There were the eye infections (both kids), colds, tantrums resulting from putting in eye-infection-goop, tantrums of the general variety, nightmares of the Girlio variety (resulting in very little sleep for the mama-worker), and then Girlio got sick and Boy-o got squirrelly.
I texted a friend of mine yesterday to ask them to remind me why I was against corporal punishment. It was THAT kind of Thursday. The littlest little, sick and clingy like a baby koala. The biggest little, cagey and wound up and lippier than I was as a teenager. And I was pretty fucking lippy as a teenager, so that's saying something. (Really, just ask my mom. It's a wonder she let me live.) At any rate - Boy-o and I were not doing well with each other, clashing for the bulk of the day. There was no corporal punishment (in case anyone was worried), but at one point, after I'd asked him to cease and desist one thing or another for the gazillionith time and made my exasperation at his noncompliance known, it came pretty darned close. He turned to me, rolled his five year old eyes in my general direction and said "Mooooom - I think you're just crazy." It was then, after some finding-my-zen-like-inner-calm-deep-breathing, that I said in my deadliest calm eyebrow-cocked-fisted-clenched-don't-give-me-no-shit-if-you-know-what's-good-for-you-child voice that when Mama was getting crazy, he wouldn't think it, he'd know it. He thought about this for a moment, and then very wisely ventured away. As it turned out, he may have been foreshadowing his own fate.
At any rate. It was THAT kinda Thursday. Between the clinging and caregiving and the worrying and the clashing, by the time my 6 a.m. - 8 p.m. shift was rolling to an end, I was fresh out. (As an aside, people always give me the gears about being such a stickler for the kids' bedtime. But I submit, not-so-humbly, that if their regular workdays ranged from 14-15 hours plus nighttime overtime, they'd be sticklers too). Anyhow - no gas in the tank. I'm all frayed at the edges. Bad, bad, bad-assed day at the office. Exhausted, ready for bed myself, yet thinking about all the things I need to do before that can happen for me, and so on and so forth. So the kid's bedtime is feeling pretty darned important to me. Like, really, really, really more-important-than-usual-kinda-important. Which is, naturally, why Girlio, having been too sick for most of the day to opine about anything, chooses this particular juncture to lose her shit. And why, being fresh outta sweetly-gentle-handed-mama-guidance-and-patience, I go right ahead and join her in the shit loss.
And as we are scrapping (no, not literally) in the bottom bunk and I am struggling to get the screaming bambina under the covers - all of the sudden, a five year old head pops down from top bunk and says in the voice of an octogenarian:
"Are you feeling frustrated with Girlio? That's hard. I know, she's very difficult to deal with sometimes...".
Now - the humour of having these words come out of the mouth of my five year old, who is dangling upside down like a monkey, bestowing sage and empathetic advice to me from his bunk bed is not lost on me. Neither is the irony of the words themselves. At this point, I don't know if I started laughing so hard that I cried, or if I started crying so hard that I laughed. Because everything was feeling all of the sudden
really, really funny. And desperately fucking un-funny. Let's just say there was some laughing and some crying. And some wide-eyed staring on the part of the children. At this point, I decide that I need to take a breather from the smalls in order to become reasonably human, or at least a little more, you know, coherent. So I tell them I need a grown-up break, and that I'll be back in five minutes. There was balking. And then I hear Boy-o tell wailing Girlio - "It's ok - I'll deal with this." Momentarily, the brave (or...?) child marches out to the kitchen where I am trying to count myself back into calm, and says: "Mama - we really didn't like it very much when you left the room." To which I respond that sometimes grown-ups need a bit of a time-out, and that it will make me a better parent, and I'll be back in two minutes... or something along those lines. And then, with a nod and a pitter-patter, he returns to his sister and says:"It's ok, Girlio. she'll be back as soon as she sorts herself out." Really. I mean, you can't make this shit up.
So, I sorted myself out. And then I got those little buggers to sleep, an hour late, but unbeaten and reasonably unscathed. (Though I'm not sure the same could be said of me...).