7:04am: I wake to the sound of Luka crying. It’s not a hurt cry, just an I’m unhappy cry. His brother has stolen his toy, or he can’t quite get his whole self up onto the couch. I come downstairs and say good morning to everyone. The Hubs is making breakfast and has gotten a cup of coffee started for me in the Keurig. (He’s amazing, FYI). It’s a sunny day, and I’m feeling pretty good about how it’s going to go.
8:30 am: The Hubs has left for work. I’m cleaning up breakfast, and Luka is crying again. I run around the corner quick to make sure he’s not hurt. He’s not. He’s just grumpy. He spends the seven minutes it takes me to rinse the dishes and put them in the dishwasher clinging to my leg. I speak to him soothingly, and ask him what’s going on. He just looks up at me with his face all scrunchy. I quickly dry my hands, and pick him up for a little cuddle. Lets play in the playroom, Mateo says. Great idea.
9:15 am: I’ve printed out some colouring pages – Remembrance Day poppies, a giraffe for Mateo, an elephant for Luka. There are markers and crayons all over the floor. Luka is crying again, because I won’t let him eat the crayons, or the markers, or the paper. He walks over to the desk, and starts pulling on the cords for the computer and the modem and the router. Another No, Luka sends him into another meltdown. This is getting annoying. Time for a change of scenery.
9:45 am: We are upstairs now. I decided it was time to get dressed for the day. The boys are changed, and busy with books in Mateo’s room, so I decide to take advantage and put away the mountain of clothes I folded yesterday. I’m about three socks in when Luka starts crying. Again. What is going on with you today?
10:03 am: We are outside. I was certain the kittens and the outdoors would put Luka in a better mood, but instead it’s made things worse. It’s not as warm as it looks, and it’s windy. Luka wants to be exactly 3 inches away from the kitties. Any further and it’s too far. Any closer and it’s too close. I just want to go back inside, but Mateo is having a blast on his bike, and it’s not really fair to him to pull the plug on the outing so quickly. I grab some water and teething gel from the house, and give both to Luka, just in case. He’s not interested in either. He grabs the bat, and is content to carry it around…for 45 seconds. Then he drops it on his toe, and starts crying. Oh brother. I’m still feeling pretty optimistic about the day. I text the Hubs to suggest a post-kids-in-bed date night. I’ll plan it! I tell him. Looking forward to it! he responds. Out of the corner of my eye, I see Pumpkin break the 3 inch rule. Luka starts crying. It’s beginning to grate on my nerves.
11:00 am: Back inside. Luka is crying. Mateo wants to bake. In a moment of weakness (read: guilt over how much attention Luka has been getting all morning), I agree. I set Luka up with a few chocolate chips to keep him busy. Bad idea. For the next 15 minutes, he cries incessantly for more. I waver between telling him no, and then caving and giving him a few anyway. This is terrible parenting, I think, but I’m really done with the crying at this point. I quickly check him over to make sure there are no injuries I’ve missed, put a little more teething gel on his gums just in case, and grab a few toys to keep him busy while Mateo and I finish the muffins. Quickly. Deep breaths, I tell myself, Count to ten, and deep breaths.
11:35 am: Epic meltdowns are in full force. For any and every reason. Luka’s ball rolls under the couch. The world ends. He gets up but trips on his own feet and falls on his bum. Armageddon. He runs at me with such force that when he makes contact with my leg, he ends up bouncing backwards and lands on his bum again. There is much weeping and gnashing of teeth. I realize, as I roll my shoulders again to try and ease the tension, that my head is starting to hurt. I need to start getting lunch ready. I start calculating the numbers of minutes left before nap time. Maybe we should reschedule date night. Deep breaths, deep breaths, deep breaths.
11:50 am: Deep breaths, deep breaths, deep breaths. I’ve counted to 300 already. Twice. I’m losing it. In a last ditch attempt, I start singing fun songs, dancing around the kitchen, as I flip hotdogs and chop cucumbers. It doesn’t help. Luka is still crying.
12:04 pm: Any shred of patience or grace left in my heart gets tossed out the window as Luka walks into my leg for the twelfth time and falls onto his bum. His crying intensifies. I’ve only been awake for 5 hours. I. Am . Exhausted.
LUKA, JUST STOP CRYING FOR ONE SECOND!!!!! I yell. And he does. For one second. There is quiet. For one second. Both boys stare at me in shock. And then they both start crying.
12:05 pm: I’m crying too now. I’m looking at my beautiful boys. Tears stain their faces. Luka’s nose is dripping with snot. Their eyes are sorrowful. I hurl accusations at myself that only I can hear. I sink down to the floor, and open my arms, and, mercifully, they both come running. Because they love me, because I am their comforter, because I am their safety, even when I lose it. We sit on the kitchen floor for a long time. Their tears have ended, but mine have only begun. I’m sorry, I say, again, and again. I’m sorry.
The moment is healing. There’s something about that close physical contact. About just sitting and being for a little while. No one says anything. We just sit, and breathe each other in. And when we begin to pull away, the tension begins to ease. Why didn’t I just do this sooner? Maybe we all just needed a little time out. I get too busy with stuff. They just need me sometimes, I think. I berate myself for a while. Jesus, help me to remember this next time, to just stop and do this before it gets to that point, I pray.
12:30 pm: We are eating lunch. The hot dogs are a little burned but nobody seems to care. Luka is crying. He wants to clink glasses for the millionth time. My head throbs in sync with the banging of his cup on his tray. One hour left until nap time. Five hours left until the Hubs is home. I seriously consider locking myself in the bathroom. Just for five minutes.
This is real life. It’s not all pinterest crafts, and fun outings, and new kittens. It’s hard. It’s raw. Sometimes it’s beaming smiles on sunlit porches, and sometimes it’s sitting on the floor, hair in a bun, un-showered, no make up, crying your eyes out with your kids on your lap. This is motherhood. In all its glory. And it is so worth it.