Monday, August 28, 2006

Nam ego illum periisse duco, cui quidem periit pudor. - Plautus, Bacchides

The demonic, helllish postcard I posted previously was in my Italy scrapbook, from my honeymoon. I went looking for a photo I wanted to send to a friend, and came across the postcard. I'd really like to say it's unusual for me to notice stuff like that - because I don't want you all to think I am more freakish than you already suspect - but the truth is I am more than a little intrigued by demons, hell, and all manner of weird, torturous, and grotesque things. (One of my favorite artists is Hieronymus Bosch - also, I dig Brueghel (Pieter the Younger). I often feel that in some bizarre way I can relate to all those weird creepy creatures cavorting their way around the infernoes.) I personally think that depictions of hell and purgatory were a way for artists of the time to work out their doubts and fears about religion, in a sanctioned manner. Or perhaps they were crafted by the stay-at-home moms of the 13th century, whose names have been obscured in the mists of time.

Today was just, in the words of the inestimable Alexander, a "horrible, terrible, no good, very bad day."

If I weren't so ashamed of myself, I could probably laugh about most of it at this point. Most of it, not all. It's never the big things, is it?

It's the banana smashed into the carpet, followed by the gazillionth temper tantrum over nothing and two brothers bickering nonstop all day, inside and out, upstairs and down. It's the toddler peeing all over the bathroom floor even though you'd just said, "Please go pee," and he'd sworn he did not have to - screamed it at you, in fact. It's trying to clean up the mess before the baby circumvents the gate - which you have to re-set up because your husband likes it configured differently even though you are the one home the most - and plays in the pool of pee. Then having to head the baby off again while you bathe the toddler. It's trying to be a nice mom and offering mac-and-cheese for lunch, and being greeted with screams for PB&J sandwiches. It's realizing that YOU. CANNOT. WIN.

It's taking the kids to the grocery store where you anticipate dropping them at the daycare and having a peaceful shop with a cup of coffee in hand, and the daycare is closed for refurb. It's having the rain come pouring down just as you pull up to the house to unload all the groceries, and then the baby refuses to nap, and the house is ten degrees hotter than outside but still the entire city is so hot it feels like a disgusting fishbowl, and kinda smells like one, too. It's having your husband's company's new spam filters filter out EVERY email you send him. It's screaming at the kids so loudly that you KNOW the neighbors have heard and then you are embarassed when you see them outside. It's feeling guilty for buying ice cream, but not guilty enough not to eat the entire pint. It's buying a huge piece of fresh fish only to get halfway home and remember it's the kind of fish your husband does not care for. But of course, then it's also not really giving a good goddamn what your husband cares for at this point, since you KNOW he doesn't care for you and you certainly don't care for him right now.

It's having not one single fucking sippy cup stopper fit any of the goddamn sippy cup lids which then leak all over the place and make everything and everyone smell like sour milk. Also, it's having the hall carpet feel perpetually damp underfoot, so that you are sure one of the stupid cats is peeing on it ... Of course, you could put shoes on, that would solve part of the problem, and also the part where it's stepping on every stray Cheerio in the entire house and what the hell are Cheerios doing in the upstairs bathroom ANYWAY? It's having the baby drop his new favorite metal race car squarely on the bone on the top of your foot - and don't mention that the race car happens to be your toddler's and is one of his favorites too so you spend all day trying to get him to let the baby have it for "just a little bit" so the baby will stop squalling, please, just for five minutes.

It's closing the bathroom door so the baby doesn't crawl in (WHY are babies so fascinated by dirty, wet bathrooms?) and then putting the baby to bed but then your five-year-old needs to pee and you've forgotten to open the bathroom door - which sticks. So he kicks it and kicks it and bangs it and then is scared when you come storming out of the baby's room screaming NOT TO WAKE THE GODDAMN BABY, FOR CHRIST'S SAKE, and throwing some stuffed animals and board books around, and then it's realizing you have just scared the absolute piss - figuratively speaking, thank God! - out of your poor children including the baby whom you of course have woken up because YOU ARE SCREAMING.

And it's crying and feeling like an absolutely, abysmally, terrible mother whom your children would be so much better off without, and perhaps you'll just get in the car AND DRIVE AWAY. But you love them so much, it's not THEIR fault they make you nutso. But then your five-year-old apologizes, and you really feel like shit.

Perhaps ole Demonface up there was a *TAD* melodramatic, but I was totally feeling like the dude who is sticking halfway out of the demon's mouth. You can practically see his thought bubble, possibly coming out of his ass: "Shitfuckdammnitall. What now?"

And that is PRECISELY how I felt today.

A very good friend of mine once told me that there's a good reason that children don't really remember anything before the age of four or five. I can't remember what her really good reason was, but today is mine.

I think I will go to Australia.


Sarah Louise said...

What a fun idea! I love the lit twist with your last line--you and Alexander in Australia...

So sorry about the day. Momma said there'd be days like this, (except my momma didn't, it was my dad.)

delta said...

Dear Lord God, woman, this is SO NORMAL it makes me want to laugh and cry and dance the jig all at the same time. And give you a great big giant hug. I KNOW it seems like the horrors of hell to you and that you feel like some demon personified, but what you just described sounds so totally NORMAL to me and my own experiences as a mother of young toddlers and babies that now I am starting to think.... whoaaa. Wait a minute. Wasn't it like this for EVERYONE???? At least some of the time??? I mean, it like TOTALLY was for me. And I only had two. So, I am sure it is WAY more stressful with three. But still OH, OH, OH SO NORMAL. This is normal. This is real. This is the way life is. I get how it SUCKS sometimes. Some days. Believe me, trust me, I have been there. ALL that you described. My heart goes out to you. And I want to give you a hug. At the same time, I want you to know that you are not alone. This is SO TOTALLY NORMAL. I might even give you some chocolate, too. And some rum. Sailors used to get a ration of rum. I think mothers of toddlers should get a ration of rum, too. Jack Sparrow seconds the motion! A toast... a toast to a brave, fearless, amazing mother of toddlers (and babies and young 'uns), oh my!!!!

Rogue Librarian said...

Oh dear God that was a bad day. I have nothing but sympathy for you on that day. I swear if I were still in the States I’d drive out and watch the kids for a day so you could spa it or something. I’ll tell you what someone once told me after a God awful day working in a disaster zone. He said, “You made it through the day without going completely bat shit insane… I say we call that a win.”

Paula said...

What Delta said. It's happened to all of us, almost exactly like you desribed. And the one thing your friend left out is, you won't really be able to remember it either. Be sweet to yourself and stick that gate up your husbands ass. It'll help really it will;)

MsCellania said...

Oh my very dear bb.
I remember vividly the days of very young children.
I could relate dozens of story of very Bad Mothering. Complete with slamming doors, screaming and mumbling excuses to neighbors. OH WAIT! That was just last week...

You are not so very different from all of us. Including the part about the husband and not liking him much. Quite honestly? At times, they just add to the chore list. And quite honestly? They need to get out of the do-for-me line at this point.

But if I may make one tiny point; I just did the toileting bit with a boy who functions around the 3 year level. I made HIM responsible for all his toileting - including changing clothing down to his sox if he wet himself, AND cleaning up any pee messes he made. 2 days of that and he was pretty much toilet trained. He has a bowel movement first thing in the am. so I just left his nighttime diaper on 'til he did that, and then switched to thick, cotton trainers. Hannah Andersson. He still loves them and wears them all day.

So, hand that job over to Seggie. Hand him a pile of training pants, a pile of shorts and a pile of sox. Tell him he is responsible for this now. And never ask again if he has to pee (unless you are going out the door - then don't ask, just say "We will leave for X as soon as you all use the toilet." And don't say another word. Rattle the keys.

Joke said...

Wow. Today like was something Alanis Morissette would have blogged about if she had kids.

Feel better!


Badger said...

Duuuuude. That is a super sucky day. I will take a month of my Mondays over that any day.

And also, I would not go back and re-live those baby/toddler days for all the money in the world.

And furthermore, the boy child's first grade teacher way back when had a quiet area in her classroom with comfy pillows and stuffed animals and whatnot and she called it Australia. It wasn't for punishment, but for anyone who needed a break. The boy child spent HUGE amounts of time in Australia.

lazy cow said...

Sweetie, let me tell you, it's no different in Australia. Sorry :-)
Sounds like a v. crappy day. I'm sure tomorrow will be better. I HOPE tomorrow will be better. Here's hoping for some peace and quiet and a good book tonight.
Sending big hugs.

lazy cow said...

And PJ your comment made me laugh :-)

Sarah Louise said...

I would agree on the "this is normal" bit. While I have no children of my own, nor a husband, I was a bad older sibling to the sibs when they were 3 and 4 and I was 15 (I swore then that I'd never by choice be a single mom) and all of my friends with kids have days like the one you described. Even my dear mother has told me stories of how when she had mono she swore she was going to divorce my dad because he wasn't helping. Anyways, enough with the long comments...just know I'm in your corner if you need me.

Jenn said...

I can so completely relate...however, I only had one small one at a time, so the level of chaos and absolute frustration was not NEARLY the same level.

A glass of wine after the kiddos are in bed will do wonders for a mother's aching back, tired head and frustration level.

EveMaryBD said...

There must have been something in the air (well global atmosphere even - as I am in Northern Ireland) but I too ranted at both of mine yesterday morning so much so that the hubby told me to leave off..I felt crap for the rest of day - especially as I had taken the day off work to spend with my two (aged 3 & 1). I was inwardly berating myself all day afterwards [bad Mammy] but they recovered just fine and I have had a really good day with them today! Like my Mam said its okay & normal to scream at your kiddies sometimes as long as this is balanced with plenty of hugs kisses and positive attention at other times. Its life I suppose - some days are crap, some people are cranky sometimes and the little ones are learning that this applies to their world too!

Crashtest Comic said...

Hold me--I'm scared!

Caro said...

Oh my, I hope today went better.

I was torn between sympathy and laughter.

Sometimes the poop rolls downhill all day long, doesn't it?

Suse said...

What everyone said. It is NORMAL. When Son #3 was born the other two were 3 and 5 and we had some bad bad days. And like EveMarie's Mam said, it's important to balance it with lots of hugs and kisses and apologies (on ALL sides).

I too get embarrassed when I see my neighbours sometimes. They hear the screams and slammed doors, but they don't hear the kisses and I love yous. Anger is so dreadfully loud, while love is quiet.

Suse said...

But yes, come to Australia!

Undomestic said...

I totally get this..because I live it, too. And I think it's incredibly scary that delta says it's so normal!!!!! I medicate with wine..a glass or two or more every night. Something to look forward to.

momslo said...

Been there-done that-all of it-you my great mother, are not alone- so I know this- you deserve a "do over"!!!!
I like Badgers idea of soft pillows in a quite spot, preferably cat pee free, where you can call, your Australia-yea, that sounds good!

Come to think of it- i could use my own Australia too. Take care

Sorry your day was so hard on you-hope tomorrow is better

TLB said...

I'm sure you're a very good mother who had a very bad day, and your children know they are lucky to have you.

And I love the Baptistry in Florence. Truly impressive.

Poppy Buxom said...

Oh, how very familiar this sounds.

And now I'm in the tween years, heading into teen years.

People are always talking about how horrible teenagers are, but as sullen and acne-ridden as teenagers are, they do not crawl straight for a puddle of pee. And you don't have to work around their nap schedule. And they're toilet trained.

I hope today is better!

Bec said...

I was going to write what Suse said, but she said it first and better. So I think I will just add an extra PS to Suse's PS and say come to Australia pretty please. And if you wish to bring your three to fight with my three that will be just fine. We shall sit upon my verandah, admiring the parrots in the grevilleas, sipping gin from our coffee cups so the neighbours don't know.