I thought I should add “sometimes” in order to not feel too dramatic and adding “sometimes” to my title would have made it even longer than it should be (like this sentence). I felt like saying *@!#$ but some might get offended and stop reading when hopefully there will be a bit of encouragement at the end of this rant.
I am currently hiding in my room from our youngest and people in general. I NEEDED SPACE ( I know there must be capslock on my new Chrome laptop, I’ll ask techie wizard hubby later). The tears were coming. I am feeling angry and sad and likely other things that I have not unpacked yet.
Just returned from my middle daughter’s play performance. It was outside on the hottest day of the year so far- 93 degrees. It was outside due to COVID. My kids were begging me to find a sitter for our youngest knowing that it would be really difficult for him not to talk and to not talk loudly. He is our real life Buddy the Elf. But I did not want to spring that on anyone last minute. Well it was the night before when we were thinking through the details. I knew it would require a 3 hour block and outside of family I am not sure many have watched him. Plus he has been in a long season of not obeying and listening. So we thought he would be quiet if we gave him a phone to play Crossy Road. He did very well and was quiet. A few months ago we took all video games away from him because he was SOOOO addicted. The straw that broke the camel’s back was when he threw a fit for at least an hour after I said he could not play Mario on the Wii. I know it is not his fault. Gaming, social media etc is all designed to release dopamine in your brain thus making it hard not to crave it. The addictive behavior was so very evident in him. It was an easy babysitter. The colorful/fast moving videogames gave me blocks of quiet where I could actually send an email, take a walk alone, read a book etc. But he was crazy when it was time to turn it off or when we said no when he asked for it. So I had to find other pockets of time when I can do things that require brain power. So knowing that videogames turn him into the HULK we were scared to offer it but felt trapped and needed something so we could watch our daughter’s play.
I purposely did not pack his water bottle or offer any of mine on this lava of a day. I was not worried he was going to get dehydrated. It was like an hour in the shade. He will be fine. I wanted to be able to watch the whole play without him having to go pee. The Arts Council building is locked so he would have to use his green plastic potty inside the van. But the sweet team mom put out a cooler of ice cold water and plastic cups so of course you know he is going to want some plus the lever thing is so much fun to use. So like I could have predicted he had to insta-pee once the water hit his lips. We sat through 20 minutes of other kids acting before Joy was up. It was about midway through her scene he has to pee. He pees in his little potty all the while demanding I don’t look at him. He forgets I bathe him every night and see him in all his glory. I NEVER bathed my first 3 kids daily. It wasn’t until they were looking or smelling like they needed it. But our youngest needs the routine, the time scheduled to chill out.
As he stands up to pull up his chonies he tips over his potty. Mmmmm pee soaking into my minivan’s carpet. We have done the potty in the van a million times and each time I fear the dump over. Today was our lucky day. Thank God over 18 years of mommying I finally realized a full of paper towels is a must to keep in the car. So while my daughter is acting out her Shakespeare heart I am soaking up warm pee.
After the play the drama team is walking to local gourmet ice cream place to get ice cream. I take our literal party of 9 (our 6 plus her 3 friends) to get $4.25 single scoop of Geranium (yes, the flower) flavor and Honey Lavender. Thank God they have real flavors like Salted Caramel and Cookies and Cream.
We walk back after our fancy pants ice cream and load into the van. Youngest is not getting in his seat. 2 of the older ones are yelling about the air conditioner not being set to what they need. I yell. We drive in silence for a bit as we all are fuming with anger. Must have been the over priced ice cream. 😉
I’m mad and sad that I loose my temper. I am sad that we in our raised voices crush our kids and make them cry. It sucks that we treat the ones we love the most- the worst. I know we have grown and gotten better over the years but we still struggle with being human. 😉
The fancy pants ice cream has caused our youngest to crap his pants. I guess it went right through him. So I have to admit I am still wiping my 5 year old’s potty. It is a control thing for me. It is already a battle to have him wash his hands after peeing so the thought of him wiping his poop, not wiping and getting his caca fingers on things is too much for me. I know he starts kindergarten in 3 months and this is a skill he needs but fighting one battle at a time. So I was in the kitchen and I hear the usual, “MOOOOMMMMM!!!” That’s my cue that he needs his butt wiped. I open the door to go in there and he says, “I’m so sorry I pooped my pants.” I stay calm. This is not my first poop rodeo. I literally have earned my doctorate (I had to google how to spell that- I guess I have never typed that word before) in poo and obviously not in English. The amount of hours spent with children’s poo I should have an advanced degree in it. He did not warn me to not open the door much as the door grazes the runny poo pants. I wipe him. He washes his hands. I celebrate each miracle that comes my way. On his way out he opens the door further retracing/smearing more poo. He goes on his merry way.
I sit down on the stool to clean up the mess. It is hard to see the mess through the hot tears as they come. Now I need to figure out how to clean poo off the bottom on this door without taking it off the hinges. I would tell you but seriously what are the odds. Actually the odds are good and you could go to Vegas with these odds. So just in case this is you one day. Get 3 paper towels together flat. Spray them vinegar. Lay them flat. Slide them under the door so there is a there is about equal amounts on either side of the door. Now schimmy them up like you are toweling off our butt like a cartoon. It is a back and forth motion but delicately so as to not rip the wet paper towels. Repeat about 10 times and you should have all the poo off at this point.
This poo mess feels symbolic to what it sometimes feels like to be a parent. You get crapped on. Often no one knows. The rest of my family eats guac in the other room while I rinse poo out of the mesh liner of his swim trunks. Seriously so yum. Often no one knows the hundred times you stayed calm and sweet but they do remember when you snap and scream. Often no one knows how much you sacrifice for them. Often no one knows. But trust me parent, this parent knows and so does every other parent out there. You’re not alone in this struggle. This by far is the hardest thing I have ever done. But it is also the best thing I have done. There is beauty with the struggle. There is sweet with the bitter.
Recently I listened to Chasing Vines by Beth Moore. She shared the idea of fertilizer. Plants need fertilizer/cow poo to flourish and grow. That’s a gross thought to think my tomato plants could use some poo to help them. She encouarged me to see the difficult stuff in life as fertilizer. Those mean words uttered from a friend, coworker, your toddler- let them help you grow.
I was quick to think that I did not let tonight’s poo help me grow. True I was more grumpy than I liked but I was also very patient other times. It is so easy to focus on when we miss the mark that we forget how often we get it right.
Just keep showing up. That is a huge victory all by itself. You are there. You keep choosing to show up. Your presence is a big deal. You can do this. Lock the door and stay in the bathroom longer than you need if you need to do some deep breathing. Tell your spouse you need to tag out. Walk with a friend and share war stories. Write. It is so therapeutic to get this out in written word. Do what you need so you don’t continue in an angry state with your kids. They likely need a break from grumpy you and you certainly need a break from funky butt kids.