As quickly as you can lose your cool, you can gain it back.
Tonight my three-year old gave me a run for my money. She is going through a new stage (don’t those become so obvious?) and she is testing, testing, testing. And it seems as most of the time correction is forgotten ten seconds later. But enough about her, this is really about me…
I was nursing Baby A before bed. I had actually already put Little W in bed and she was supposed to be drifting off to sleep. I heard the door open once and she walked into the living room where I was sitting on the couch. I told her she needed to go back to sleep and she disappeared around the corner. Things got quiet so I assumed that she was asleep. Well, no. After putting Baby A in her bed I saw that not only was little W not in her bed, but she was in our room because the door was closed and the light was on. Just as I was going to leave to retrieve Little W she comes running into the bedroom and jumps into her bed. I talk to her about listening and tell her to stay put. As I hug her goodnight I get a good whiff of something disgusting. Cat Litter. I smell one of her hands. Yep. I grab Little W and carry her to the bathroom, holding her over the sink to wash her hands, all the while trying to keep my cool while explaining again why we do not play in the litter box in our bathroom. I get her in bed, all cleaned up, and then head to our room (door still closed) to see what had been done. The sight pulled me straight down into the deep abyss known as mother fury. All the litter. Everywhere. On a pile of dirty clothes. On the carpet. On the bathroom floor. In the closet. On the computer chair. Everywhere. Everywhere. There was steam coming from my head, I know it. I ran to get the vacuum and started doing whatever I could to get the mess under control. Around the time I was on my hands and knees vacuuming piles of smelly litter from the corners of my bathroom cubby-hole I started getting those dreaded thoughts straight from darkness. You know, the ones that tell you to text your husband at work to tell him that you are losing your mind. The ones that say, “I need a break.” -“I need a yoga class.”- “I need to be able to take a yoga class.”- “My husband should be able to watch the kids while I get away and get some time alone to freshen up.”- “My husband sleeps in.”- “I need to sleep in!” And then, already on my hands and knees, I stop myself from the lies. AH! “Lord, help me! I am weak and I can not go another second alone. You know what I need. Do it!” And just as quickly as I lose my cool, I gain it back. I sit back, fully trusting in the replenishment of my soul, and finish cleaning the mess my child made. I ask for guidance on correction, and the answer comes quickly.
I finish the job and wash my hands. I can still see bits of littler stuck under the wood cracks in the cubby hole. Who knows how I will get those out, but I make it to my girl’s room and sit on her bed. I tell her that we are going to do something different. That what she did was wrong, and that she knew it. But I cleaned it up for her, and that I am sorry for being mad at her. But tomorrow is a new day and we are going to try some new tactics on listening, and obeying, and being patient. She hugs me hard and I tell her goodnight.
Back into the study I go to check my email for the night. A few minutes later I hear her little feet come to the door, the cat in her arms. “The cat was in my bed!” She says with a little laugh. She is our jokester, everything is funny to her. She looks around and pieces together what she wants to say. “Oh MOMMY! The kitty poo on the floor, you cleaned it? Good job, mommy!” She throws her hands down to show emphasis, “Good job!”
I walk her back to bed, kiss her goodnight and shut the door tight to make sure the kitty doesn’t find its way in there again. Okay. Tomorrow.