Yesterday was… one of those days. One of those days where when my head finally hit my pillow I was so glad it was over, so glad that when I woke up in the morning it would be a different day, one where I wasn’t a horrible mother, a bitchy wife and a bad employee.
It started out like all the other days – I coaxed Simon back to sleep at 6, got up around 6:20 to say goodbye to my husband, dicked around on Facebook until Louisa got up and then fed her breakfast. I wrestled myself into my workout clothes and the kids into the stroller and set off on our daily walk. I bathed Simon, plopped Louisa in front of Elmo and bathed myself. I fed Louisa lunch. All was well. All was normal. There were a few moments of silent screaming on my part when Louisa deliberately ran and hid from me or Simon was extra fussy, but nothing I couldn’t handle. Hey! Look at me! I’m really getting a grip on this whole two-kids thing.
Then I went to put Louisa down from her nap. Because I was pregnant when we were sleep training her I never extended the training to naps. Instead I would lay down with her on my bed and fall asleep too, thus ensuring a luxurious nap for myself as well (ahhh, those were the days – delicious delicious sleep). Now, however, it’s just a giant pain in the ass because I have to lay with her and try to coax her into sleep while Simon is in his little bassinet next to us. Sometimes I get her down before he wakes up, and sometimes not. Yesterday? Not. A resounding NOT. As I lay there with her he began to fuss. No problem. It happens. I grabbed him and proceeded to feed him with one hand while using the other arm to rub Louisa’s arm/head/back as per usual. Only… Simon was in a really bad mood. He wouldn’t eat because he wanted to scream. And scream. And scream. Thirty minutes later he finally stopped long enough for her to drop off to sleep and me to escape with Simon.
I dragged him into the living room with me thinking I’d have my usual small window of time to myself, whereupon I usually either nap or typitytype on this blog. Buuut, no. Simon was again screaming. And screaming. And screaming. Which meant I had to hightail it to Louisa’s bedroom and close the door so that he wouldn’t wake her up. Another 30 minutes and he finally dropped off again. And stayed there for roughly 30 minutes. And then started screaming. And woke Louisa up.
For the rest of the afternoon I chased around a willful toddler with a screaming baby in my arms. He would settle for a few minutes and then fuss/scream/fuss/fuss/screamsomemore. Louisa took my preoccupation with him as an opportunity to run around the house causing mayhem – getting into cupboards and throwing things on the floor, getting into drawers and throwing things on the floor (I’m sensing a pattern here), jumping on my bed, pulling the cats’ tails etc. ETC.
Finally I was sitting in my office chair with Simon on my shoulder patting his back. He was slowly calming down. I was beginning to feel relieved. And then I heard water splashing and I knew that Louisa was once again playing in the cats’ water dish. She stuffs her entire head in and proceeds to drink out of it. It’s disgusting. It was funny the first time but not so much after you’ve been telling her for months NO, DON’T, THAT’S NOT YOURS, STAY OUT etc. etc. et al. I usually put the dish up on the counter because I hate fighting with her about it and I know she isn’t going to listen. My husband’s philosophy is that she needs to learn not to play in it but I refuse to get into a battle of wills with a toddler especially when I am in charge of an infant all day who is, you know, sort of demanding what with not being able to do anything at all.
I don’t know what it was, the heat? the baby’s constant screaming? her being a turd all day?, but I lost my shit. I put the baby down, marched into the kitchen and started screaming. I grabbed her and forced her to look at me while I yelled things – who knows what things – stop it, I’m so sick of this, why are you such a little shit etc etc – honestly it’s like a car accident, I can’t really remember. But then I spanked her. Before you get all crazed and start hollering child abuse, don’t worry – I feel like an ASSHOLE. I am not a spanker. I never planned on spanking. I don’t think it’s a real behavioral deterrent and figured it wouldn’t be part of our arsenal of disciplinary tactics. Plus, it didn’t even phase her. She gave me her mischievous toddler face and ran off to her room to attack her toys.
It did, however, phase me. I shakily sat down on the couch to have a good cry and wonder what in the hell my problem was.
Jason came home. I told him what happened, he reassured me that I was not the world’s worst mother (maybe third or fourth worst). And then… something set Louisa off. I forget what it was but she threw tantrum after tantrum the rest of the night. She didn’t want to be in her high chair, she didn’t want to eat, she didn’t want to eat THAT, she didn’t want to get down, she didn’t want to blah blah BLAH. She would be fine for a second and then flip out. And Simon kept screaming and screaming. Of course, I was hearing all of this through my headphones while I tried to listen to dictations because I was working by this time. And crying yet again because I had gotten a bad QA report by someone who misunderstood my comments (I know that doesn’t make sense to most of you – it’s sort of like getting yelled at by your supervisor for something you didn’t actually do, only, it’s not in person so there’s no way to really rectify the situation other than to send emails to the parties involved or ping them on Skype and after sleeping on it (ALWAYS ALWAYS SLEEP ON IT) I decided it wasn’t worth it) and it made me feeeeel baaaaad.
And then at some point I stormed out of my office to shrew at Jason about his parenting skills (because clearly, I am WINNING at parenting). Sigh.
I have to wonder if there’s still a level of hormonal emotionality (is that a word? emotionalness?) involved in all of this. I know having a baby is hard, the first year of their life is basically a waking nightmare (sorry, but it’s true) – aside from all the cuteness, of course, but really – with the sleep deprivation and the being responsible for keeping them alive it’s just… hard… And on top of that I have a 2-year-old! But still. I’m either still hormonal or just losing my mind.
Anyway – then there are days like today. Fed up with the coaxing her to sleep on my bed while crossing my fingers that Simon won’t wake up I just said “to hell with it”, stuck her in her crib at nap time and told her to go to sleep. She pitched a tiny fit, threw all of her bedding out of the crib (which she does every night as well) and then fell asleep in 15 minutes. And, might I add, she is still sleeping an hour later. So for today, I win.