Thursday, March 31, 2011
Crying it out
Warning: annoying venty post about the realities of screaming 2 year olds.
The car ride to work this morning was ripe with screams of two year old terror. Lots of it. Luke tried to help ease Ellie's frustration as best he could and nothing I did was anything she wanted. She wanted her dad and he was driving. She screamed and I yelled. I opened the window to try to muffle her and hoped the fresh air would bring her back to reality. It didn't work. The screaming was carried over from the night before and I had really reached my breaking point. The more she screamed the more I yelled and vice versa. Luke just looked at us both with eyes as wide as saucers in confusion as to what was unfolding before him. I told John to drop me off at the coffee shop rather than work, I needed to collect myself with a good cup of joe before my day really began. I looked at the kids and just said goodbye, I didn't blow them kisses or tell them I'd pick them up at the end of the day. I just slammed the door in their faces and walked away. John yelled, "I love you!" out his window and I just raised my hand in the air, barely acknowledging him.
Honestly I wanted to just run away. The previous night Luke threw up in the tub because the water wasn't warm enough. Seriously. And Ellie created this demand with John the second he got home that had both kids vying for his attention and both of them looking at me and yelling, "No mom, I want dad, not you. Go away mom." There were so many tears. Ellie went to bed without any books and cried herself to sleep, at one point she asked for her trains, and feeling guilty I brought them in to her but she threw them at me and yelled, "Get out Mom. I want Dad!" To be clear, this scenario has been happening day and night for the past week or so.
Tonight we came home to a toy riddled living room, do you know what it's like to walk into your house and be hit with nothing but visual chaos from the moment you cross the threshold? It stresses me out. I made them dinner, Luke asked that we turn the tv off so that we could talk during dinner, because he knows that I like that best. Swoon, score! He said grace as we held hands and I nearly melted, with him as my anchor. Bathtime went relatively smoothly and just as I was getting Ellie into her favorite pajamas John was home. She wanted him of course and was just done with me but we had a plan and we backed each other up. Normally he would come running in literally saying to her, "oh sweety darling, are you okay?" But tonight we put her in time out and then I wrestled her into her pjs, I felt as if I was going to break her arm she fought me tooth and nail, literally. I decided we were going for a walk. We left the house, she in only a pj top and a pull-up and me in a tshirt and sweatpants. She cried for her dad. I told her the more she cried the farther we were going to walk. Half way down the street (we were on the sidewalk obviously, just so you know) she pulled herself together and as a car came flying down the road she whimpered out, "please don't put me in street mom". Pretty melodramatic for a 2 year old, right? She said "sorry mom" through her hyperventilating tears of mass destruction and I felt a small piece of victory granted to myself and wondered why I had waited so long to take control. We walked back home, I finished dressing her and she just clung to me like a koala bear for the next 5 minutes.
I know this is normal two year old behavior. I know that we will be tested daily in some way or another as parents. I know that I am in control but there are a lot of times where I don't feel in control and feel overwhelmed with what is on my plate. I wonder, if we only had a bigger house with a play room that would solve the cluttered toy problem, or if we had two cars John would get home earlier, or if I worked part-time our weekends wouldn't be all about errands and cleaning, or if we had a mudroom all of the bags and coats and boots and shoes would have a better place to live...and maybe all of those things would help but those things aren't what make a family.
Also, we haven't had a vacation since last May and we're supposed to get 8-12 inches of snow tonight, cabin fever is at an all-time high. I am Debbie Downer in search of spring laughter.