I am not even going to pretend that this story is anything other than an admission of guilt for my crappy parenting. Today is one of the bad days. I’m sure it’ll be funny in hindsight. But right now, I’m just reeling from that horrible feeling of imperfection that we all sometimes feel.
Dex and Dan are both done with school for the summer, and Chester goes to daycare every day because honestly… I can’t handle all three of them. Chester on his own is crazy difficult. I don’t know what it is, but the kid is like five kids in one! Anyway, today I decided to be the awesome mom and take the kids out to breakfast. Instead of taking Chester to daycare right away, we dropped daddy at work and I took all three with me to our local IHOP.
Three little boys at IHOP. I’ll let you guess how it went.
Dex and Dan ended up needing the toilet, so for the first time EVER I let them go alone. Five minutes later, just as I was starting to wonder if I should brave going into the Men’s Room, Dan came out screeching because an old man had tried to help him wash his hands. Then when Dex was taking too long, I sent Dan back in to get him, and it took them another five minutes to come out. Dex was just like, “Oh, I was just pooping.” Then Chester got mad because HE wanted to use the toilet (he’s not potty trained), and he stood up in his high chair and started screaming at the top of his lungs, “I HAVE TO POOP I HAVE TO POOP I HAVE TO POOP!” My face was SO red.
Then the older two wolfed down their food super fast while Chester insisted on smothering his pancake in every kind of syrup AND ketchup, and was screeching at the top of his lungs, while I was trying to get the check so we could leave. He proceeded to pick up his ENTIRE PLATE and hurl it across the room. He hadn’t eaten any of it. Oh, actually, I take that back – he had chewed up a huge bite of scrambled eggs and then spit it out everywhere.
I was running around trying to clean things up, while trying to keep the kids quiet and get the bill paid. After paying $37, the waiter finally told me to leave it and just go. Ugh.
Then, out to the car to get the kids in, and Chester saw a guy washing windows. He ripped his hand out of mine, ran over and kicked the guy’s bucket over so that all the soapy water went everywhere. By this point I was spitting and swearing, while apologizing to anyone and everyone.
I grabbed him up and tried to force him into his car seat… but you know how strong a 2 year old can be when he doesn’t want to do something, so he kept clawing and slapping me and screaming like he was being murdered, and I was just crying and praying no one was calling the cops on me.
Finally I got him in his seat, and I immediately drove him to daycare. As soon as we pulled in, he started crying and begging me not to make him go. I got him inside and to his classroom, and he was clinging on and just sobbing, “I want mommy. Please mommy. Please mommy.”
So I’m sitting there feeling like the worst kind of parent, but I was also feeling like I was about to pass out from stress and pain, and so I just kind of rocked him for a few minutes until the teacher finally stepped in and took hold and reminded me that he cries EVERY day but stops as soon as we are gone.
I went out to the car and started for home before realizing we have no food in the house, so I was going to have to run to Target to buy some groceries. I figured without Chester it wouldn’t be so bad. Got Dex and Dan into the store, both promising they would be EXTRA good because they knew I was having a tough morning. We got through most of the grocery shopping without incident, and then I remembered I needed to buy some Pull Ups. Chester is preparing for that big leap to potty training, so now that our last box of diapers is gone, we decided to move forward with the actual Pull Ups.
The wonderful thing about the diaper section is that it’s RIGHT NEXT to the toy section. And with a four year old and six year old, you can’t skip the toy section if you don’t want a meltdown. I told the boys in no unspecific terms that we were NOT buying a toy today, but that we could walk past if they promised not to ask for anything.
Seconds later, they had both jumped off the sides of the cart and ran off in separate directions. I chased after one only to hear the other one screaming from two aisles away. I ran in the other direction and found Dan screaming… with laughter. He was playing with a toy of a dog that poops, and it was the funniest thing in the world. “Can I have it, mommy?”
Twenty minutes later, after two tantrums and my own mini meltdown, (and after agreeing to buy them each a water cannon) we headed to the front of the store. Of course there was only ONE check-out lane open, and the line was long. After waiting twenty minutes and dealing with two bored boys running around grabbing things off shelves, I nearly just walked out. And of course, as soon as I got to the front of the line, three other lanes opened and the lines dispersed. Grr.
The lady rang everything up, and Dex and Dan were perfect little gentlemen helping to load the groceries in my cart and acting like they had never even heard of bad behavior. Meanwhile, I was so light-headed I thought I was going to faint. Pregnancy, eh?
I got the car loaded and warned the boys that they would not get their water cannons until after we were home, and I was sure they’d be good. They were perfect angels all the way home. I told them to let me go open the front door, and then they could help me bring in the groceries.
I went in, set my purse down, went back outside and found them having jumped into the trunk of our van from the back seat so they could get their water cannons. In the process they had broken 18 eggs and exploded a carton of cottage cheese.
I’m sure the entire neighborhood heard me screaming and carrying on, swearing that they were grounded for eternity and telling them I was going to burn all of their toys in a huge bonfire to teach them a lesson.
Finally, after getting everything inside and put away, I sat down to let out a breath. It had only been TWO HOURS since the day had started, and already I was done.
And god help me, I have to get to the doctor’s office at some point today so they can take some blood. I just don’t see it happening.
The worst part of all of this is that I’m going to be adding a FOURTH baby to this nonsense. I can barely cope with the three I have, and here we are adding another. I can’t even…
Of course, in all of this story, I fail to mention that this day was a HUGE exception to how things usually are. My kids are generally really well behaved. They are little boys, and that entails a certain level of mischievousness, but for the most part, I can usually count on them to make me proud. Similarly, most days I can hold it together a lot more easily. Pregnancy hormones are taking over at the moment, and it’s really easy to make mountains out of mole hills. But man alive… when a morning like this one happens, it’s enough to make a mom feel like she’s the worst parent on the planet. I’m sure there were people who saw me in action today who were probably thinking, “Jeez, lady. Why did you have kids if you can’t handle them?” Probably others were thinking my kids were the spawn of Satan. But the truth is somewhere in the middle.
God I love my kids. Truly. But sometimes I have to fight the urge to punch them in the face. (And yes, that was sarcasm. Don’t go calling CPS on me.)