Just after watching an episode of Supernanny, and determining to be on my best Mom behavior, I completely lost it tonight.
As I was getting Katrina ready for bed, I called to the boys to get ready for their bath, and they mostly ignored me. After repeated asking, demanding, countdowning, flat-out ordering, and lots of rude and defiant talk back ("you can't order me around Mommy -- now STOP it" -- from Julian!), I picked Gabriel up and stuck him on his bed, hard, and he kicked me in the stomach. That earned him a hard smack on a conveniently bare bottom, and it all went downhill from there.
The low point came when the boys were shouting that they hated me and were demanding that I leave, and I lost my patience and did exactly that. I picked up a surprisingly calm Katrina, told them "Fine, I'm leaving then," and stalked downstairs. They followed me downstairs, naked, bawling and screaming and begging me not to leave. I'd gone too far, again. I knelt and started to hug them both, and was about to explain that I'd never leave them....and in the pinnacle of a turnaround moment, Katrina hurled ALL over -- all over her pajamas, my shirt, pants, and the floor. I had to drop everything and do some basic triage on the mess, with the boys still beside themselves. Great.
Later, I was trying to rinse shampoo lather off Gabriel's face, Katrina was working on a diaper change, Julian was sitting on the toilet crying for me to hold his hands, and I still had spitup all over me. Major overload. At times like this, I fall back on a most unlikely source of guidance: my first MSF (Motorcycle Safety Foundation) class. Separate your hazards. Prioritize your immediate risk. Be aware of all potential threats, but deal with them one at a time.
So when all four of us need something, I have to pick one first, quickly. That's why I spent at least half an hour with my clothes clinging to me with spitup.
And Supernanny? Out the window. So much for my resolve not to lose my temper, not to react when they laugh at me, not to shout when they ignore me, not to scare them. Maybe I'll do better tomorrow.
At least we had a nice time reading before bed, and then I made sure to tell them both that I'd never ever leave them, because I'm their mommy. A lofty title I'm not sure I deserved tonight. (The movie line rings in my head: "...and don't give yourself pious airs about motherhood....why, a cat is a better mother than you!" Ooh, harsh.)
I had this afternoon alone with Gabriel, who went straight outside after we got home after I picked him up. I saw him sitting by his bicycle on the grass, and figured he was toying with the kickstand. A good half hour later, he was still there, hadn't budged, and was still staring at the fence.
I went outside to talk to him, and all he said was that he thinks we should paint the fence blue. Is this what keeps a 5-year-old's mind busy for over half an hour?!
Here's what kept him busy yesterday, a drawing of a train. These drawings take him a long time, as he is very meticulous and careful to stay within his own lines. But the fact that he's been drawing pictures at all is a fairly new, and intriguing, thing for him.
This day deserves to be retired.