I don’t know if I make the disclaimer often enough that my complaints about my kids are generated from the 10% of the time they are (Colton is a) monsters. The 85% of the rest of the day, they’re wonderful, fun, happy boys.
Of course, 40% of that 90% they’re sleeping. Or, I mean 50% of the original, so that’s really…whatever. Never mind. Math is hard.
There are demonic toddlers in the world. Colton is not one of those. He is scarily charming. My French mother says, “He is a seducer. Like Bill Clinton.” That’s a compliment for the French.
And he’s easy to calm. Just pick him up and he’s happy.
Now that I’ve confessed (absolved?) my guilt for his future therapy…let me complain some more.
Over the past year, two metaphors craft my self-image: a lonely pioneer woman and a loser Judd Apatow protagonist.
Wonderful, whiny Colton wants to be held all day long. I can’t and I won’t.
Colton gets upset when he doesn’t get his way. #tearlesscrying ensues if I…fill in the blank.
Stop him from playing in the trash. Impinge him from standing on the toilet to play in the sink. Remove dog food from his mouth.
Whenever I do any of the aforementioned, Colton comes to me, clutches my pants, throws his head back in dramatic agony, and #tearlesscries.
This thrice-daily torture makes me feel like a pioneer woman cooped up in a log cabin with two sniveling children on the windswept plains of Nebraska avoiding coyotes and Injuns. My husband has left the family to pan for gold in the Rockies. His parting words were, “Gavinetta, keep the fires burning and the family alive.”
There I am, desperately alone, sinched into my burlap gingham dress, driven crazy by runny noses and whiny voices. I still need to churn butter, skin a rabbit, chop wood, darn socks, and see if Laura Ingalls is up to mischief in the cow pasture. But my kids (well, the younger one) just hangs on my skirt crying as if HE were the one who has to dig for potatoes.
But, those pioneer women had it easier than I do! They’re struggling for survival in buffalo territory and 9-foot snow-drifts. They don’t desperately need to watch season three of House of Cards. Their ignorance was bliss. Plus, they could just let their kids play with a hammer and a corn cob and no one cared.
I’m the victim in my pioneering nightmare.
When I’m not trying to accomplish necessities like whipping up Bee-Bim-Bop or scanning the Huffington Post for the 47th time that hour, I try to give Ellison some good playtime with his trains.
I’ll sit on the floor, criss-cross applesauce, building new track “set-ups”.
But if we’re still in the 10% monster time of day, #tearlesscrying continues. Only now, it’s eye-to-eye.
While Ellison chants, “Let’s play trains, let’s play trains,” Colton crawls on my criss-cross-apple-sauced shins, holds onto my shirt, and whines a couple centimeters from my face.
Sitting there, feeling beaten down by boring-ass Thomas the Train and screamed at through dry-eyed tears, I feel I’m main character in a Judd Apatow movie entitled, “After Knocked Up”.
Sitting, staring at the floor, seemingly oblivious to the chaos swirling around me, I feel like the poor schmuck suffering for his one-night stand.
In those times, I feel strangely hopeless. Of course I love my life, but I ask, “How did my life end up this way?”
All I need to do is change the scene. Put on shoes and go for a walk, have a dance party, give them a bath. Anything. Just change. the. scene.
But when my spirit is so broken, my soul feels so crushed, I lose all perspective or judgment. I’m just the loser in a Judd Apatow movie.
But will there be a Hollywood happy ending?
I’d settle for sequester in a log cabin in 1857, at this point. Just please let me be without kids.
I’ll even wear a burlap gingham dress.