Can I just say, first of all, that this is the first night of the entire summer that I have been HOT? Yes, I have a house surrounded by very tall trees and we don't get a lot of afternoon sun and I'm not sure it will EVER be hot on the first floor of my house, but most of the living is done on the second floor and IT IS HOT. Sweat sweat sweat. (Sorry, Texas. I know. We are up to what? 80 degrees?)
So anyway, this weekend I was an excellent mother to BOTH of my precious children.
First there was Jack, at my parents' house, being kind of a twerp. He's often twerp-like but I think I'm especially sensitive to the twerpiness at Grandma and Grandpa's house because, well, I worry that my twerp tolerance level is a little higher than theirs. ANYWAY. I don't even remember what he was being awful about, but I was getting embarrassed and I followed him upstairs to their play area so I could chew him out in private, and in so doing I grabbed his arm and perhaps yanked? twisted? a little too hard. He looked up at me with his giant puppy eyes and just started to BAWL. And I felt like CRAP.
All of a sudden it was clear to me that 1) even though he HAD been twerpy downstairs he WAS following directions UPSTAIRS 2) the thing he'd been whining about was actually for real, when both my mom and I thought he was making it up and 3) my embarrassment caused me to act out more than was necessary. I just felt horrrrrrrible. It wasn't that I should have been NICE to him, but I just went too FAR, and not even FAR in the right direction. It was just a pointless gesture that ended up hurting my kid and I sat there holding him and apologizing and feeling like I would never get over it. I don't think I have much longer (or any time at all?) to reassure myself that he won't remember this when he's older. I'm sorry, Future Jack. I really am trying to do right by you, kid.
And poor Molly. The potty training issues continue to drive us around the bend. Phillip and I will both swear up and down that she knows exactly what to do and when to do it, but there are moments when she Just Doesn't Wanna. Or it doesn't appear to be IMPORTANT to her. Or something. So a week will go by without an accident and then BOOM. We're washing all the sheets. Or mopping up the kitchen floor. Or, in the case of yesterday, finding some pimply faced kid at Target to mop up for us.
I was already upset. I'd taken the kids out so Phillip could have some time to do this wiring project in our house, and the entire time we were out, Jack was demanding a toy. And I would say, "Not if you talk to me like that, you're not getting anything, ever." So he'd be quiet for a while, then he'd ask to go to the toy aisle. Or we'd go to a different store and he'd ask for a toy all over again. It was never QUITE snotty enough for me to, uh, go berserk on his arm again. But I'd HAD it and by that time I'd told him he could forget Christmas and MAN. Do these kids not know that I'm DYING to buy them stuff and I'd love to buy them something EVERY SINGLE TIME and I LOVE to spoil them in the Target dollar section but NOT IF YOU'RE GONNA ACT LIKE THAT I'M NOT.
So I'm angry. But it'd subsided a bit, because he'd apparently got the point and was being sweet and cooperative again, and we're happening to stand in the way back of Target where there are baby pools on clearance for, like, ten bucks or something. This was going to be a super hot weekend and our baby pool is a little too small and boring and I thought something new (and cheap!) would be fun. The kids were playing with these little outdoor toys across the way while I'm standing there deciding. Then Molly looks up at me, with a toy in her hand, and says, "Mommy, I need to go potty."
I'm ready to drop everything and race to the bathroom, but no, she meant NOW. So WHILE SHE CONTINUES TO PLAY WITH THE TOY, a little puddle forms under her legs and I'm just standing there like WTF DO I DO?
I'd just switched out my purse that morning, so I had no wipes, no pull up, no extra pants, no Kleenex, NO NOTHING. All I had in the absorbent category was a clearance summer outfit in the cart. WHICH I CONSIDERED USING. I just stood there IN HORROR watching the pee puddle up. I could not think of what to do. Seriously. I just stood there. So did Molly. Like, "No big thing, Mom!"
A Target aisle is not an appropriate place to have a break down or scream at your kid or rail at God or anything like that. Thank goodness she was wearing a dress, so you couldn't TELL that she wet her pants. But I had to go FIND SOMEONE and CONFESS. (I considered just leaving. Oh yes I did.)
We left, and the whole time I am asking Molly, "What were you thinking? WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?" This kid wears underwear all the time except at night. She has accidents, but usually they're at home or at a friend's house and lately they've been few and far between. We were starting to be hopeful! And she's never wet her pants at a store or a restaurant or anywhere PUBLIC. It was my mistake in forgetting to have her go before we went out, but still. We have used the Target bathrooms before. SHE KNOWS THEY ARE THERE.
We got to the car and I'm buckling them in and I'm just on the verge of tears. I was so tired, so frustrated. I was furious with Molly for not appearing to be sorry or embarrassed or ASHAMED. I wanted SOME reaction out of her. Anything except, "Whatever." To my credit, I didn't yell or anything like that, but I did start crying while buckling her into her car seat. And I made sure she knew exactly what I was crying about. And then SHE started to cry - and not because I was being mean, I don't think. It was more like she was sorry that she made me cry. Awesome. It's one thing to want your kid to feel ashamed in your head, it's another to SHAME THEM ON PURPOSE. And for what? An accident? WHAT IS MY PROBLEM?
So I bawled all the way home. I was still bawing when I unbuckled them and I was bawling in the entry way as they took their shoes off and Phillip came downstairs all, "Um, is there a problem?"
I had to go sit in my room. I had to, I don't know. GATHER myself. I wasn't just crying about a puddle I couldn't clean up in Target, you know? There are just moments when I feel so out out my league and so out of whatever resources I need to do this parenting thing properly. I feel ashamed for not being able to control MYSELF. Up to this point I've just felt like: people have three kids and they survive. They have MORE than three kids and things are FINE! I will too. People are not perfect. There will be hard spots and we will fail, but we love our kids and we love each other and Things Will Work Out. But now I'm like... HOW AM I GOING TO DO THIS? HOWWWWW?
Then today... today they were happy shrieky and amenable to cleaning things up and not picky about their clothes and didn't mind when we kept changing plans on them and ate their dinners and right before it was time to go to bed, Jack yelled at me to come look at him and "Do I look like an airplane, Mommy?"