In this story Madeleine is the Road Runner and Luke is Wile E. Coyote; He’s always conjuring up ways to sabotage his angel-faced sister. She’s always batting those lovely lashes with a (dare I say) devilish grin.
Luke was off from school today and it was just the three of us. Brother and sister spent the entire morning at war as I attempted to make beds, do laundry and wash dishes. I said “attempted”, not “completed”.
We narrowly survived a trip to the grocery store where I battled Luke to stop riding on the shopping cart and then deftly caught him and the cart as it was about to tip over. With Madeleine in it. Back at home, if she wasn’t sneaking over to his trains to steal a piece of the track, he was running after her, roaring like a monster so that she’d run away and shriek, as she tried to steer her doll stroller without crashing into the wall. At this point, my head was in the fridge so I could figure out what the heck that smell was, and I still had to finish the pile of breakfast plus lunch dishes in the sink.
The day was a blur of to-do’s and it was suddenly 5pm.
Madeleine threaded the removable, pink, foam potty seat over my foot and up my calf. (By the way, the Minnie Mouse potty has become somewhat of a tripping hazard, more so than a vessel in which to make pee-pee.)
“Here, Mommy,” she said. “So pretty.”
I sat down for a moment to read a page or two from the new issue of Martha Stewart Living. Clearly, I must have been crazy to think I’d get through even one paragraph. I thought the kids were done with whining and attacking each other for the day since they seemed to settle down when I took a seat on the sofa and turned on Dino Dan. (For them, not me. I prefer Peppa Pig.) As they snuggled into both sides of my ribcage, I was truly savoring them. The hair on their heads smelled sweet and felt soft against my cheek. Then they started elbowing each other, then kicking each other and the whining and crying followed. I could feel my heart throb in my temples. Then a headache. Were they not tired of fighting for the day? My throat was sore from all the yelling that had ensued earlier. (Over here! It’s me. The Absolute Worst Mother of the Year.)
Dinner was cooking while all this “magazine reading” was going on. I ordered them over to the table and served them those Free Bird dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets and steamed broccoli. The deal was that if they ate all the broccoli they could also have tater tots. The bargain worked and I thought things were chilling out a little, so I went into the bathroom for a nano-second to run their bath. It was then that I realized that toddlers are masters of time travel. Or is it that they can freeze time long enough to do very bad things?
“Mom! Madeleine turned the stove on!” Luke said.
Our house is tiny, so for me to get back to the kitchen from the bathroom requires about 4 steps.
Was it premeditated?
One of the burners was alight in blazing blue flame. I had rested the tray of tater tots on that particular burner, since I sometimes use the stovetop as an extension of our limited counter space.
I can just imagine my son doing his first Show-and-Tell presentation…“This is my mom. She’s dumber than a bag of grapes.”
My instinct was to, of course, turn off the burner and immediately find my daughter. (Ha! Take that, bag of grapes!) She was playing dead beneath the table.
“Madeleine! No! No! No! Bad! Very, very bad!” I scolded her.
Her bottom lip quivered, “Mommy, you scare me!” She ran to the living room and threw herself onto the sofa, squishing her face into the pillows.
As awful as I felt for yelling at her I also felt it was important to instill fear in her so that she would not be tempted again to play Julia Child. Still, my heart ached to see her so upset.
Days like these leave me feeling that I must be doing something wrong. These little creatures are just so powerful! They can evoke great, passionate emotion in me that I didn’t know existed. It’s the kind of frustration that makes me want to cry, Why can’t you just stop (please choose one of the following)…
- unraveling the toilet paper
- peeing all over the bathroom
- banging the covers to my saucepans together like Animal from the Muppets
- “rinsing” your toothbrush in the toilet (Madeleine)
- wiping your chocolatey mouth on my white duvet cover (again, Madeleine)
I’m just realizing how funny this is (at least, to me) but after this most trying of days, I went for a run when Michael got home. (Get it? Like mother, like daughter. Haha.) He was late getting home and it was getting dark (I try to avoid running in the dark) but tonight I didn’t care. At all. In fact it was a very satisfying run, albeit a short one. Makes me feel lucky that I have that outlet, to sweat out the frustration of the day. Now it’s almost midnight, which means I must really like all of you to sit here and chatter away when I should be snoozing away.
Meep, meep. I mean, good night.