Friday, March 22, 2013

On the other hand

Daniel has caught himself a nasty cough and cold. In an effort to keep the germs confined so I don't catch it and cough out this baby prematurely, and to keep his coughing from waking me up during the precious few hours of sleep between pee breaks, he's been sleeping in Sam's room, and Sam's been sleeping either on an air mattress in the baby's room or in my bed. Whichever place strikes her fancy the night before. I'm not normally this loosey-goosey with sleeping arrangements, but I figure we kicked her off her turf and she was really nice about it, so in exchange, I'll give up a little control (if it kills me, which it might).
That how we got to last night, with Sam sleeping in my bed. Until about 4:30am, that is, when her eyes popped open and suddenly she was all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. I was unfortunately already awake with my mind racing about random stuff--as my mind tends to do. From 4:30 to 5:45, she giggled, and wiggled, randomly patted my back, turned her dream light on and off so my room was alternatively filled with stars and dark, and tried unsuccessfully to fall asleep.  Just before six, Daniel had to wake up to get ready for work, so things got really bad. She heard him come in and announced "Don't get scared mom, it's just daddy, getting in the shower before work."
"I know. I know. First of all, I've been wide awake this whole time, and second of all, this is what happens every morning. I know the drill." Of course, by this point I had to pee again, so Sam wanted to know why dad could be up, and I could be up (apparently however much I wished I wasn't didn't matter to her), and she couldn't be up! Then I heard rustling and talking over the baby monitor, even though it was still dark outside. Apparently this was going to be a party for the whole fam-damily. Peyton is usually pretty good about playing in his room until a reasonable hour, so I turned down the monitor and Daniel headed out the door telling Sam that if she couldn't go back to sleep so Mommy could get a little rest, she could go back to Presley's room and lay there until it was time to get up. Even though I'd told her the same thing 15 minutes before, threats from Mom means zippo next to threats from Dad, so she clammed right up and fell back asleep around 6:30. Peyton quieted back down too, meaning he had either gone back to sleep or found something other than his pesky toy hammer to occupy his time (the hammer being an early hour favorite!), so I could finally fall asleep again too.
But this was a school day, so the peace was not to be for long. When 8:00 rolled around, and the alarms went off, there were two very exhausted ladies who wanted none of it. I told Sam she had to get up for school, and the kid who was so gung ho about her alert state of mind at 5:00am was mean as a snake. "I don't want to get up! I don't care if I miss show and tell! Why can't I sleep longer?" You get the idea. At one point, when I tried to do her hair she cried because there was a cotton ball on the floor in front of my sink, and she didn't want to step on it because SHE WAS AFRAID OF IT. I kid you not. She cried and told me she was afraid of a cotton ball. That pretty much sums up our morning. We were running late because everything was a huge battle, and she was moving so slow because she was exhausted and the emotion roller coaster was on full speed.
She yelled at me because I had bought some of those moist wipes for the bathroom to help keep the kids a little cleaner, and she informed me that the wipes "make me poop more often and then I have to use the wipes more and I DON'T like them!" So of course, she couldn't brush her teeth in time because she had to take time to poop, which was my fault anyway, because I brought in the poop-inducing wipes. Again, I am not making this up. Maybe those things should come with a warning "Note: the mere presence of these wipes in your bathroom will alter the digestion of certain sensitive family members." I should sue.
That's how it went. We all have days like this from time to time, it happens, its hardly the end of the world. It's frustrating, but what are you going to do? For me, I just feel bad dropping Ms. Crabbypants off at school to be someone else's problem when she's like this (I also simultaneously feel incredibly grateful for the break, but who can blame me?), so I always apologize in advance if she's cranky. Last time she had a day like this and I warned Miss Carly ahead of time, when I went to pick her up, Miss Carly (who is a super sweet and wonderful teacher) informed me that even when I say Sam is having a bad day, she never misbehaves at school, so not to worry about it. She has never had a bad day at school. She has never been in trouble or had to sit in the cool down spot, or anything like that.
My mom reactions went something like this, usually in this order:
On the one hand: I'm glad she behaves at school. Really, I am. I don't want a bratty kid who can't control her emotions in public. I'm proud of her and proud to be raising a kid others can stand to be around.
On the other hand: What the heck, Sam? You can pull it out for your classmates and teacher, but you can't shake off the stink attitude for your mom and people who love you and have to spend all day with you? Can't you cut me a break!?
On the other hand: I get it. When I'm in a bad mood, do the young women I volunteer with deal with the fallout? Do my friends? Do the clerks at Wal-mart? No. My husband and kids do. If I'm spending all my energy trying not to lose it, I'm gonna exert that energy in public and when I come home and I feel safe around the people who love me anyway, that's when the guards come down and crap hits the fan. If I'm gonna sulk, no one is usually privy to it but them. I'm not going to tell some stranger he bagged my groceries wrong, no matter how flat the bread ends up, but you're darn right I'll point it out if Daniel if I find plastic dishes in the bottom half of the dishwasher, chances are I'll do it in terms far worse than the crime, to make up for my frustration about the bread. It's not fair, but in some ways, we all do it.
So, when I go to pick up Sam today, and Miss Carly tells me she was good (like she does every day), and then Sam gets in the car and pitches a fit about something insane, or cries at the drop of a hat, I'll try to remember my first reaction. I'll be glad she was able to hold it in for a little while, because I know how hard it is.  I'll be her soft place to land when she needs to erupt a little bit, because I do love her no matter what, and I can be there through thick and thin like her classmates won't. I'll remember that she is sleep-deprived today, just like me, and we're bound to bug each other a little bit.

Sam is just a person with a lot going on. Just like me. Just like everybody else.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Trials of Two

Just now, I heard Peyton burst into tears in the hallway by Sam's door. He was yelling "I locked OUT! I locked out!!!" through his tears.
Well, I'm hardly surprised by that turn of events. Sam was in there cleaning her room, and even at four (almost five!) she certainly understands the purgatory that is trying to clean with a two-year-old around. He seems to intuitively know how to most efficiently destroy your efforts, even though he doesn't mean to.
I went over and picked him up, gave him a hug, and said "I see, you are locked out, aren't you?"
Just then, Sam's muffled voice yelled through the door "I told him he could come visit for a minute, but I was cleaning, and after he stayed a while, he was messing up stuff and wouldn't leave when his visit was I had to do it!"
She thought she was in trouble, but I totally understand. We've talked to Sam before about how her room is her space and it's nice to play with her brother in there sometimes, but we understand that sometimes she also needs and wants her own space and that's okay. She also needs to respect Peyton's room as his own space. The problem is Peyton's room is upstairs and hers is right by the family room so no one seems to want to wander off to Siberia (if there's such a thing in a not-so-large-house) to play in his room. Besides, her room has all the good (read: easily choked on) toys he finds so irresistible.
I'm just feeling a little bad for my buddy-boo. It can't be easy to be barely two. You want to be in on everything. You think you are big enough to do everything, you talk a lot more than you could before, but you aren't big enough for most things and you can't communicate everything you'd like to--thus the tantrums. Plus, all the stuff you find to be the most fun, like throwing things, breaking things, shredding paper, is labeled "dangerous and destructive" by other people who clearly don't understand how satisfying loud crashes actually are!
Don't get me wrong, I know first-hand what a pill two-year-olds can be when you've got stuff to do. Yesterday I tried to iron with Peyton insisting on being underfoot and if that isn't a special form of psychological torture, I don't know what is!
But just for today, I guess, I'm feeling especially empathetic to my little guy who doesn't quite understand how little he is. Even though as I type this, he's sitting next to me picking all the sequins off Sam's homemade tambourine, and I know when Sam does finally emerge from  her room, it will get ugly in here. Can't blame the kid for wanting to explore and dismantle his world, can you? If it were my tambourine, I'd probably feel differently, so at least I'm feeling empathy for Sam too.