I remember I had to wake up early to get there. I was so excited to finally have some spending money, I didn’t mind if I had to miss out on sleep. I wanted new clothes.
It was a babysitting gig. Three little kids, several mornings a week, while their mom caught up on sleep after working a nightshift. I grew to love those little kids, but I’ll never forget my first morning.
Since the mom was sleeping while I babysat it was kind of a given that I would keep them quiet. From the day I met her, that middle child seemed bent on sabotaging my efforts. I would come home and lament to my mom who would go into hysterics saying something about how what goes around comes around.
She does the same thing when I whine about Coco. Seriously, I WILL give some sympathy to Coco should she have a daughter with this genetic misfortune. But that’s getting off point.
It boiled down to a difference of opinion regarding breakfast. I thought she should eat oatmeal, and she thought she should have ice cream. She must have been about two or three years old. Now that I have two toddlers, I totally see where she was coming from. After all, what three year old doesn’t want to start the day off with ice cream?
We had a face-off with the cupboards. She’d slam one and scream, “I want ICE CREAM!”
I kind of wanted to slam a cupboard, too, but instead I would just answer, “You may have oatmeal.”
“I said I want ICE CREAM!”
“And I said you can have oatmeal.”
On and on it went. As a fourteen-year-old girl, I didn’t know I could just move her out of the kitchen and probably avoid that thirty-minute scream match.
She looked so absurd, standing there frizzy-haired and in her nightgown. A little bundle of wrath, she was.
Beyond the fact that I actually argued with a toddler for thirty minutes, the day was notable because I failed at my job. I was to keep the peace and make sure mom stayed asleep.
The cupboards won. Or I guess she won. No, she didn’t get her ice cream, but she succeeded in making me look bad. Her mom woke out of a deep slumber and had to deal with the both of us.Talk about embarrassing. The girl in the nightgown beat the one with the braces. How was I to handle high school—never mind life, if couldn’t handle a toddler’s tantrum? Funny, I ask myself this same question on a daily basis. High school was nothing compared to terrible toddlerhood.
The other day I had my own little meltdown with a cupboard. The short story is I banged my head on it. The longer story is I KEEP banging my head on the darned contraption. I have so many knots on my head from being clumsy. And you know what? It hurts.
I deal with pain on a regular basis. I never seem to get away from it, and so when a stinking cupboard adds to my misery I get really pissed off.
Like my outrageous little babysitting charge, I lost it. I slammed the crap out of that freaking cupboard. Three times—for good measure. I believe there were also some choice words reverberating off of the rotten wood, but I can’t be too sure. After all, I was seeing red.
Ultimately, the cupboard won. I screwed up my job as a mom because—guess what? The kids witnessed the whole shebang. And bang it did.
I flounced off to my bedroom and promptly threw myself onto the bed, sobbing. I grieved over the absurdity of it all. A stupid cupboard. That’s all it takes to throw me into hysteria? Apparently. How am I going to handle the rest of their lives if something so small can send me into the red zone? This is what I swore I would never do as a mom: I would never lose it in front of my kids. Whoops. Guess I’ve done that.
As I lay there nursing my shame, I realized that while I might not be a silly three year old, I sort of want the same things in life. I do. I’d like for once to just have someone cook, cut up, and clean up all of my food for me. And then I’d tell them I wanted something else. I would like it if I could throw a fit without feeling like a huge failure and wonder if I need therapy. I would like it if someone would childproof the cupboards where I bang my head–the ones my kids can’t yet reach. Also, I would like to dress up like a Disney princess and be barefoot. I would like it if someone would send me off to bed when I’ve had enough.
Simply put, you can keep your oatmeal; I want ice-cream.
I want yummy, easy, and fun. I don’t want consequences. I don’t want to have to think about indigestion or my jeans being too tight the next day. I want ice-cream.
I want life to be easy. I’m sick of being sick. I’m sick of being tired. And I’m sick of seeing other people be sick and tired. How do I get to Candyland?
Slam, slam, slam! Ice cream, ice cream, ice cream!
There. I’m done. Off to go heat up some oatmeal.