Mother’s Day started off like any other day, waking up to a Great Dane’s tongue inside my mouth at 5:15, with a Daniel Tiger song stuck in my head. Luckily I was able to fall back asleep after Pippa’s wakeup call, and Eric got up with the kids so I could sleep in. Which — after 364 consecutive mornings of waking up at 6 or earlier — meant my body clock woke me up at promptly 6:03.
It was only uphill from there — my kids were so sweet to let me do some of my favorite things, like wipe their butts and administer eye-drops to a two-year-old … a task second only to pilling a cat in its degree of difficulty.
Actually it was a really great day — Eric let me do some of my actual favorite things, like eat ALL of the chocolate covered strawberries he got me and read an actual book for two uninterrupted hours. I didn’t even have to repeat a page once.
We went out to breakfast so that some other poor soul had to clean up after our spawn, and where onlookers heard a lot of questions like “Evelyn why is your shoe on the table?” and “Alex what is your hand doing in your diaper?” The place was filled with other mothers and one mother-to-be — the mothers of older kids looked at us with knowing and pity, and the mother-to-be looked at us with a mix of judgement and dread.
This year we were especially smart and let Evelyn dip whole pancakes by hand into her syrup instead of cutting them up for her, because we were looking for a way to use up all of our wipes and I was hoping to perfect a way to comb syrup out of hair without tears.
We rocked Mother’s Day. In fact we Mother’s Day’d so hard that Evelyn woke up at 4:00 this morning because she was so excited to do it all again. My saint of a husband got up with her, and when I woke up a few hours later I found him sleeping on the floor of the toy room wearing a headlamp while she played at the train table. (The real reason she woke up is because the power went out, hence the headlamp.)
The power going out meant that her nightlight turned off, which somehow woke her from a deep sleep and prompted the immediate shouting of demands and inane questions.
“It’s too dark in my room!” “Turn my nightlight back on!” “I need a snuggle!” “Is it eight fourty-teen o’clock?!” “When is going to be Halloween!?”
This child has been on a streak of early wake-ups for the last two weeks and it’s about to drive me completely insane. I’m a morning person and it’s not that I mind being up early … it’s more about the ridiculous behavior I know is about to follow. By 9:45 she’s dragging, by 11 she’s passed “tired” and is on her way to “overtired”, and by the time I pick her up from school and put her down for a ‘nap’ at 1:30 she is so overtired that she’s either arrived in Meltdown City or has detoured to Hypertown. She’s either on the floor sobbing because the polka-dots on her pants are too small, or she’s attempting to leap around her entire room without touching the floor once.
Neither scenario spells out “good nap”, and so she ends up boycotting that as well, and by the end of the day she has turned into such a crazy mess that I’m wracking my brain trying to remember if at any point in my life I made a deal with the devil in exchange for giving him full control of my firstborn.
Up until a few weeks ago, Alex was my most difficult. Then one day he woke up and decided he’d be my easy one. Evelyn was quick to volunteer to take his place as difficult child.
Playing with Alex is easy — first I get myself into Childs Pose, and then I tell him that my back is a construction site for his diggers
He proceeds to drive Muck and Scoop up and down my back for a half hour while I scroll through Instagram or pick my nose or do something else equally productive.
And when he melts down, it’s directly related to an obvious cause. He’s hungry. He bumped his head. He’s thirsty. He’s hungry again. He’s hungry. He’s still hungry. His emotions are relatively simple.
With Evelyn, on the other hand, everything’s emotionally charged. The back talk has also started, which is a real treat.
Me: “Evelyn, I don’t like the way your voice sounds right now.”
Evelyn: “That’s because I don’t like what you’re saying right now!”
Me: “Ev, you need to zip it.”
Evelyn: “No YOU need to zip it!”
Or my favorite,
Evelyn: “Mommy I want you to do ______ right now, and unless you do what I say you will not get ANY treats.”
I haven’t a clue where she picked that last one up. The fact that I say that to her at least once a day is one theory.
Then there are moments when I can’t tell if she’s being deliberately naughty or if we’re just waiting for a few more pieces to connect upstairs. Like this morning, when I told her she could choose one small toy to bring in the car, and she chose:
Anyhow … the backtalk has to be part of the stage. (“It’s a tough stage” has been my catchphrase since she was 4 months.)
The rest of the attitude … who knows. Maybe she’s like me and has completely given up on the end of the school/activity year. “Finish as strong as you started” will get me through any workout at Burn, but I’m waiting for the perfect moment to apply it to the rest of my life.
For example, Evelyn’s dance attire is strictly “Pink Leotard, White Tights, White Shoes.” Well, today I sent her in this:
With two more dance classes to go I just can’t. I’m done forgetting to wash the white tights and then hunting through the laundry pile to find and frantically clean them Monday morning.
Given her own level of participation tonight, it seems Evelyn shares my sentiment:
Oh, and also she’s wearing borrowed shoes because hers have gone missing.
They’re probably with her white tights somewhere in the whopping pile of laundry that I didn’t get to yesterday, because it was Mother’s Day and I was on strike from such Motherly duties. I was busy basking in the judgment from that soon-to-be Mom, looking on in horror as my child palmed a saucer full of syrup.
I was her, three years and five months ago, back before I had any kids but I did have all the answers on how to raise perfect ones.
Now some days it feels like I’m raising actual dragons. I think I even saw Evelyn breathe fire during her last meltdown.
But man, I love those dragons so much, and I’m so glad they made me a mother. And next year I hope to celebrate it in exactly the same fashion, with maybe a little less syrup.