August 4, 2009

Love and Other Odors

I was on vacation last week. I started an entry that was going to be a funny day-by-day diary-like account of the week, but by the entry for Day 5 I was too depressed to make it funny. Vacation is freakin’ hard. If you don’t have kids, you won’t get this, but if you do, you know what I am talking about.

The 10 days I was off of “work” were the longest 10 days of my life. Why, you ask? Because daycare was also closed for those 10 days. I had 10 consecutive days with Max. TEN. And while I love that little munchkin more than life itself, he is demanding, irrational and sometimes just an ass hole.

I spend, on an average work day, a lot of time alone. Max goes to daycare at around 8 and I work alone, at home, usually until 5pm. Then I pick him up. Although I talk on the phone with people, it is not unusual for me not see another human being all day. And frankly, I like it that way.

This vacation meant all day, every day was spent with my shadow right next to me. He slept with me, he whined at me, he hit me, he spit at me, and at one point, I believe it was Day 8, I locked myself in the hotel bathroom to cry with the sounds of him on the other side of the door whining “Mommy.”

I now know why and how people snap. I get why some mothers just one day pack their bags and walk away. I am not saying I am going to do this, but I now completely understand why some do. My mother stayed at home with 4 children. And we were whiny and lazy and unappreciative. I don’t know why she stayed.

It seemed that the more miserable I was, the clingier he got. He could sense that I was fading, vanishing from existence with each day of vacation. I tried to be happy, I suggested pool visits and games, but he knew I was faking it and balked every step of the way. He whined for his pacifier (which he only gets at night) all day long, he whined that his stomach hurt (which it did because he held his shit in for 4 days) he whined that the pool had closed (which it was and it was moronic because who closes a pool when there is a clap of thunder 25 miles away) but when he started whining for me to hold him when I was already holding him, I snapped. I cried. I cried because I do not like being a mother right now and I cried because I missed my own mother and I cried because I will not be free for a long time.

I will be tied to this little boy forever and for the first time, I was saddened by that.

He can sense this in me and he does not know what to do, so I am hugging him more and telling him I love him. I do love him. Very much. But right now, it is hard to like being with him. He is irrational and willful. He makes outrageous demands and is willfully disobedient.

Last night we were lying in bed and he was singing to himself. I held him tight and told him I loved him. He stroked my hair and snuggled in close and said, “Mommy? You smell good. You smell like pizza.”

From a three year old, there are no sweeter and more poetic words of love than those.

And, I know this phase will pass. He will get over his bizarre toilet hang ups, he will eventually enter the age of reason and one day, he will not want me around all the time. He will be embarrassed to be seen with me and will make me drop him off 2 blocks away from his friends.

But for now, I have a tiny tyrant in my life and he smells like hot dogs and urine.


Laura Ferry-Jimenez said...

I almost emailed you today asking when you were going to post again! geez, now ya got a demanding cousin, too! haha.

loved this post because I can honestly say that I feel your pain. times two. ;) it's times like that I question my desire to adopt some more! haha.

tricia booker said...

I read this from an oceanfront condo. The rest of the family is having cocktails on the beach. My 4-year-Pterodactyl is passed out in the other room, exhausted from a mythic tantrum he threw while my husband was trying to take him go-carting. He didn't like the car he was supposed to drive.
I know your pain, sistah. Hang in there.

Anonymous said...

This post saddened me greatly and I'm not sure what is worse - the fact that you would call your own toddler an asshole or the fact that you are so self-absorbed that you can't even tell that your farmed-out child needs a mother with a bigger heart and the sense to know that perhaps she is the one who is irrational.

Children need good discipline, training and love from stable parents and brokering them out to daycare won't accomplish that. Your hell week was nothing more than you being shown the ramifications of piss poor parenting and the need for self-sacrifice. If you wanted a life of ease and solo-love then you should have stayed single and tied your tubes in a tight knot.

Perhaps one day you'll see, but by then your little 'asshole' will just be someone else's problem.

Fish Out of Water said...

Dear Anonymous-
My guess is A) you don't have children and B) you don't actually know me, so I can see why this post upset you.

If you knew me and my beautiful boy, you would feel differently.

Lighten up a bit and you will see that life is actually funny, even when it is not perfect.

Anonymous said...

Actually I have four children and have many friends with many children and know the pains of parenting well.
It is, next to marriage, the single most demanding and important role we ever fulfill.

Forgive me if I was too harsh in my retort. I will admit that your writing was humorous to a point. I suppose the thing that gripped me so hard, compelling me to respond, was my belief that since we've sub-contracted parenting out and have just about lost all discipline with children (ask any school teacher what garbage they have to deal with )children suffer.
And somehow we call that raising our kids? It's a shame.

I know it's the new norm, and I know that for you and your friends it has become the acceptable norm, but it is still defective and our families are a mess because of it.

Love suffers long and it sacrifices, but in our current culture love loves convenience and self. It is the same struggle I've had for over thirteen years raising four children, trust me I know. But I'm older than you and come from another era where those things meant more.

I did read this entry a second time and admit that I did miss the good stuff on the first reading. For that I apologize.

Yes, I do know you by the way, though not intimately. I hope you will take these words in the spirit that they are intended.

I appreciate your irenic response and Mary, I'm not Republican or Democrat - I'm a Libertarian who actually believes the Constitution is good and has even read it, if one can imagine that.

But that is another discussion entirely. Hug Max for me...

Fish Out of Water said...

Dear Anonymous-

I wish I knew who you were so we could get to know each other better. I am 40, I have a beautiful son (who really is VERY good and he adores the wonderful woman who runs the small daycare he attends) but I lost my mother 3 years ago and have struggled with being a mother without the guidance of a mother.

My mother was wonderful - kind, patient, loving and, most importantly, very funny and smart.

Max was only 6 months old when my mom died, but she told me that she was proud of me and all I had accomplished personally and professionally. It meant the world to me.

I admit, when I read your response, it hurt...a lot. I wanted to write back mean things, but the hurricane and the aftermath leveled me. I now realize that everyone has a story and that life is hard. Instead of being mean, I instead just wished I knew you and that you could meet Max and see that he is loved and cherished and that I know with all my heart that the only one with the problems and the fears is me and that I would never place that blame on Max.

Raising Max may be the hardest thing I've ever done, but it is best thing I've ever done too. I would give my life for him.

Perhaps you can tell me who you are and we can meet for coffee some time? Don't be afraid to post under your own this point in my life, I want to react with love, not fear.

And please, go back and read the other entries....Max does lead a structured life that is filled with love. Vacation was hard because it was unstructured and a break from our routine. He is like his mama, he likes everything to be the same and predictable! Amd we can't poop when away from home. :)

Again, I am sorry the post struck such a hard chord with you...but I totally get it, my brand of humor is sometimes hard to swallow.


Anonymous said...

I just might do that since I have not seen you in ages. Sorry to hear about your mother and I relate to the heart changes that Katrina brought about.

Perhaps we will get that cup...

Elizabeth Ferry Pekins said...

I love your honesty. I think I told you once shortly after my Claire was born that I didn't expect to have feelings of anger after giving brith and having a child I so desperately wanted. I thought it would be all sunshine and happiness. It's amazing what lack of sleep and isolation can do. I was surprised to be so angry at things, people, my sweet daughter and loving husband, etc. I actually could now understand child abuse and how people can snap. And when I think that most parents use alcohol too although it might be recreational for them, I'm SO SO glad that I'm a sober mommy so I know that I won't actually kill someone I love in a fit of raging blackout. I might lock myself in the bathroom and cry;but, today, I won't kill anyone(including myself!) Thank you GOD!

Kim Phillips said...

Dear Anonymous,

Please get off the Cross, it is such a doubled edged sword you swing. The idea that you have parenting all figured out not only for yourself but for everyone else just blows my mind, you are so closed minded. I'm a Dad who has raised 4 kids with a wife, who all went to daycare, with many many vacations from hell I'd like to add. Even though my wife and I were not natural born parents like you, it was such a relief to be honest with friends and family about how hard it is at times. Please stop listening to Dr. Laura and work on your self esteem issues, and stop blowing out other peoples candles so yours shine a little brighter, it's not a good role model for your kids.