Tuesday, February 5, 2008

"Because You're a Mom"

Today was... not my best day as a mom.

All three of my kids were stricken with serious cases of whininess, and by day's end, I was pretty much toast. I took them to the playground and we bought ice cream cones to celebrate Shay's last day of school - school is closed 'til next Thursday because of Chinese New Year's.

When we returned home, I plunked in a movie and ordered Chinese takeout - not usually a big hit in my family, but I was having a craving. When the food arrived, the boys had a fit. Shay said he would order pizza with his own allowance if I would just give him the number. Aidan said I was the Meanest Mom Ever. Kyra ate the Chinese food, but dumped her fruit salad into my water when I wasn't looking.

Finally, I very calmly told them that, while they could finish watching the movie after dinner, they would not be having popcorn because I was unhappy with their dinnertime behavior. I thought that was a reasonable compromise; they thought I was the Meanest Mom Ever.

I left the room. When I returned, they had calmed down and choked down their dinners. They begged me to reconsider, but I stood my ground: after all, I had a reputation to uphold as the Meanest Mom Ever. While they pitched fit #3, Kyra climbed up on the table and tossed her plate to the floor. I picked her up and dumped her on the stairs for the first timeout of her short little life. She got scared and started screaming, which scared Aidan, who started crying, which caused my eyes to glaze over with the sheer misery of motherhood.

I left the room once again, dug out the playpen and set it up behind the couch in the sunroom. I then explained to Kyra that if she continued to climb on the table or toss food off of it, she'd be spending her days in the timeout pen. She just sobbed and held out her arms, crying "carry me," so of course I had to forgive her.

I decided to take them up for a bath. Kyra splashed in the tub with Aidan while Shay showered in the other bathroom. When I took Kyra out to dry her off, Aidan decided to get out, too. That's when he discovered that his jammies weren't in the bathroom - I sometimes put them in there when it's really cold, so he doesn't have to do the naked dash to his room.

Of course, Aidan started hollering for his jammies. I hollered back that I was in the middle of changing Kyra, so he'd have to get them himself.

"I can't, mom," he shouted. "I need YOU to do it."

"Then you have to wait five minutes for me to finish changing Kyra."

"No, mom, I need them NOW."

"Well, I can't get them now, Aidan. I'm only one person, and I can't do it all at once."

"Yes you can, mom, because YOU'RE A MOM."

That one sentence, yelled from the next room, made my whole day better. I never knew he truly thought I could do anything, just because I'm a mom.

But there you have it. That's why this job is the hardest job in the world - nothing short of perfection will do.

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