Monday, June 25, 2012

If You Don't Yell at Your Kids, You're Not Spending Enough Time With Them

it was one of those. couldn't get those two in bed fast enough. their bickering. their whining. their questions upon questions upon questions -- all nearly did me in.

and i lost it. not sure what it is or if i ever really had it.  if i did, it definitely not only fell by the wayside last wednesday, but exploded then crashed and burned in a fiery blaze leaving me a pile of ashes.

all over sorry. as in the board game.

i could feel my shoulders slump and my body cave as my middle child asked to pull it out. i was already in, shall we say, not the cheeriest of moods so the thought of playing a board game with my 4-year-old  -- who may go down in history as the world's poorest sport -- felt like being asked to eat a shit salad.

but, there we sat. with our men. i got to be red and yellow. he was blue and green. he decided, right off the bat, that his men should start at the "home" spot -- where you're supposed to finish. fine. let's start at home. but just so you know, that sucks. and it's not how the rest of the world plays the game.

i picked a card and moved my men from the home spot down several spaces toward "start."

"you're cheating!"

what? not only am i forced to play a boardgame in a world where rules and common sense don't exist, i am also playing with a human being who believes the only way i'm not cheating is if he is winning. 
if i was in any sort of giving, nurturing state of mind, it wouldn't have mattered. the kid is 4. he just learned to wipe his ass a year ago. and he's still not that great at it.

but, things didn't play out like they should. like they should if you're kinda, sorta the one who's supposed to be the bigger person?

still, instead of doing what was going on in my head (something like me flipping the boardgame and letting pieces fly while yelling at the top of my lungs, "cheating?!? how do you feel about cheating now? want a piece of me?!? now go practice wiping your ass!"), i decided to excuse myself and let him play the game on his own.

it really was the kindest most loving gesture i could have made in that very moment because if i had to start at "home" again and then listen to how i was cheating just by picking a card that fortuitously moved me forward in the game, i was doing to implode. as in explode inward.

plus, i had to make dinner. so, baby in toyroom; oldest kid (who had earlier been banished for insubordination, excessive whining, excessive tattling and excessive excessiveness) in her room writing why she was mad so we could discuss it later in a calm, rational way (yeah, right);  and middle kid playing army men with the little plastic pieces from sorry boardgame in dining room, blissfully unaware that he had nearly witnessed his mother exploding from the outside in.

oh, and p.s., husband was not going to be home until 8 p.m. score!!

i started to make tacos. all i wanted was to get through our tacos so we could go get ice cream. it was in part an effort to bring some levity to a day that we were all slogging through. but truth be told, i was the one who really needed that scoop of vanilla ice cream with extra chunks of butterfinger. it was really the only thing that got me through the morning. and then the afternoon. and then the late afternoon. and then the early evening and then the evening. promise of ice cream.

glorious ice cream.

i was finishing up the tacos when i asked jack to please clean up his game because we were getting ready for dinner. i was sweaty from cleaning up off the floor the 100 water bottles i had bought from the grocery story earlier in the day, the contents of our tupperware drawer that had been splayed across the kitchen floor, and the innards of a full bag of pretzels that now littered the foyer area where the culprit -- my 1-year-old -- sat cheshire-like amidst his "creations."

oh and icing? my oldest in and out of the kitchen giving me "you're a mean mommy" dirty looks punctuated by "but mama! but mama! whyyyyyyy can't i play on the i-pad?"

shoot me. immediately. and while you're at it, take this sledgehammer and kill all ipads and iphones.

i finished the tacos and asked my 4-year--old to paaalease clean up his game...again. but this time, i prayed. actually more of a pleading. a sacrificial offering to the gods on mount olympus to puppet my preschooler into cooperation.

"why do i have to clean it up? you're the one who got it out. you should clean it up."

the gods obviously weren't listening.

i walked calmly over to my child and proceeded to lose. my. shit. salad.


i don't yell like that much. i boss for sure, but yelling? not so much. when i do, though, man is it scary. those kids hit the ground running. and although i feel bad because they are freaking out, it can be a rather effective and briefly satisfying way to get shit done.

needless to say, that sorry game got scooped up right quick.

but it wasn't over. next up? the oldest. she came down with her drawing of "feelings" so we could talk about it. and there it was: a picture of a pig's head with "mean mommy" scrawled next to it and a big "NO!" under it.

it actually was not an inexact likeness based on the swine-like scream i had just emitted over the uncleaned boardgame.

and ladies and gents, we have round 2:


not a shining moment for any of us, but considering one of us is an adult...well...

tears, tears and more tears. chaos, chaos and more chaos. mean mama, mean mama and more mean mama. and the baby in his highchair, the only one eating tacos (i somehow managed to feed him while losing my noodle -- a  sign not of a good mother, necessarily, but a real one) right in the eye of the storm -- laughing and smiling at the madness of it all.

i got dinner on the table. marley actually set the table. jack actually helped. we all actually sat down. and ate tacos. in silence. after we finished, i said this:

"you guys, i am sorry that i screamed."

i really wasn't.

"it's not a nice way to tell you i'm mad. sometimes mamas get super-tired or in a bad mood and throw temper tantrums too. but i should have given myself a time out before i started yelling."

they both looked at me with wide eyes.

from the 4-year-old: "i'm sorry i don't like cleaning up. it's really boring."

and from the 7-year-old: "it was not a pig."


"the picture i drew. it was not a pig. it was just a mad face because i was feeling mad. did you think it was a pig because the nostrils were big? I made the nostrils extra big because that's how they get when people are really mad."

sigh. hug. sigh. long hug.

"let's go get ice cream. i love you guys. i'm sorry."

we left the mess behind us (literally -- the kitchen and dining room were a wreck when my husband got home) and ate ice cream.

when we got home, even though i was exhausted from the day and just wanted to put them straight to bed,  i read to them. it wasn't perfect ("mama. why are you reading so fast and your voice sounds like a robot?"), but it bookended the day.

i kissed them goodnight and promised them that although today was rough, tomorrow was a new one.

and if all else fails? there's always ice cream...

2 comments: said...

Love, love, love it. I've been there too many times, but you capture it perfectly.

taraneh said...