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Monday, February 20, 2012

Musings of an Embarrassed Mama

I’ve quite literally barricaded myself in my home office, placing random boxes, linens and canvasses in front of the door, thus assuring that small people cannot push the door open & find me. I’ve put a rolled towel at the bottom of the door to block light and any evidence that life exists on this side of the door.

I can hear them two doors down, both in their beds, chatting away. Content. Please go to bed! I need a glass of wine but I’ll settle for a cold glass of soy milk. I’m actually trapped, a prisoner. If I leave this room, they will hear me, jump out of bed, and, in unison, scream, as if thinking, “I wonder if I can break mommy’s glasses with this pitch.” Then two hours later I will have them asleep, in my bed. No fun.

I need some space from, as I now call her, “THE TWO YEAR OLD.”  It has been a rough few days. Tantrum after tantrum, kicking, screaming, running wild.  The worst was Saturday night & in public.

Have you ever been so angry and embarrassed that your face burns? You are not sure where to look and can’t bring yourself to make eye contact with anyone in proximity. I was so embarrassed I wanted to crouch down in a corner, suck my thumb, close my eyes and think of a “happy place.” Had H not been with me, I probably would have done so.

I had the bright idea to take them to Saturday’s 7pm mass, as opposed to our usual Sunday 10:45am service. BIG MISTAKE – Well, kind of. You see, THE TWO YEAR OLD has a very rigid schedule. Up at 7am, nap at 1pm, bath at 6pm and bed at 7pm. If anything interferes with that schedule tragedy occurs and heads will roll.

We went to mass, having missed the afternoon nap, and the unexpected change was not welcome in her little head. She wanted her bath, her pjs, a glass of milk and to go to bed. To make matters worse, at mass we sat with other similarly aged children who behaved impeccably well. My daughter was randomly screaming, running around, laughing, stealing pens, pushing and refusing to apologize for her naughtiness. You’d think she needed a fix. Heads turned to see who was causing the commotion and I actually thought to myself, maybe if I take two steps sideways ...

We survived & handled the situation as best we could. We took turns taking her into a back room, explaining to her what she had done wrong, and asking her to behave. I also let her just get it out of her system for a couple of minutes.

I blame myself, not for taking her out of her routine, but for instilling in her such an inflexible perspective on life. This “routine” she is now on, I started when she was 6 weeks old. And none of it has really changed. It was great for the first year. It kept me sane and assured me my evenings and nights free from 7pm. But then C came along, and over the last year I have realized how this family tends to walk on egg shells around A’s life and her routine. My 1 ½ year old is not like that. She can fit into any schedule, and any circumstance. She has had to since day 1 of her life and is therefore is very much a free spirit.

I worry about A for this, because in life, things are not always going to be perfectly laid out and adaptability is so important. So while I will maintain some sense of routine in her life, I am going to challenge myself to take her out of that rigid life perspective so that as she gets older, life’s hiccups don’t hit her with such a shock.

I’d like to say that I don’t hear anymore chatter. But I do. So I am going to rest my head on this desk and hopefully drift to sleep until it is safe to leave.

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