Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Sometimes the Pancake Mix is on the Floor: Learning to Cut Myself Some Slack

Today was one of those days. The beginnings of a sneaky hate spiral day. Technically, it probably started last night when it took two and half hours to get Liam to bed, but that's a different story.

Today, it began with pancakes. Thanks to Despicable Me 2, Liam has had an obsession with heart shaped pancakes lately. We had heart-shaped pancakes for dinner last night and again, I made them this morning. But, what should have been a major sign to just stay home under the bed all day, was when we had super mega toddler meltdown over the fact that this batch only made four pancakes.

How dare I only make four heart-shaped pancakes when yesterday's batch made six. The unforgivable injustice began the spiral towards not wanting to wash hands, or brush teeth, or gods forbid put clothing on. Preschool?! Though we do that three days a week, Liam was determined today would not be one of those days. Between many tears, lots of screaming on his part, and finally a last-ditch effort on my part to pretend to be dragons, to which I earned a "Mom, you are frustrating me right now," we finally made it out the door. When we arrived -- my hair unwashed, clothing askew, him with puffy eyes and face from crying -- even his teacher asked, "rough morning?"

I, naively, assumed the afternoon would be better. But then, the cat got spooked while Liam was holding him and scratched his legs and face. There was lots of hugging and band-aiding and crying. "I don't like Rory anymore!" Liam yelled at the cat. So, we put a movie on so he could nurse his wounds and I could cook dinner, but movie-watching was filled with randomly yelling "OW!" in between crying over concerns of Toothless the dragon (although he's seen this movie and knows how it ends. *spoiler* Toothless is fine).

Long story short, I ended up burning myself, not getting anything done, haphazardly folding laundry that's still sitting on my kitchen table, and Liam finally, finally being okay up on the kitchen counter with me while I attempted to wash some dishes.

And then he decided to dump pancake mix all over himself, the counter, and the floor.

This was my moment of decision making.

Inside, I wanted to cry, curl up into a ball on the floor and close my eyes. I thought maybe the "under the covers" theory of monsters (if you're hiding they can't be there!) could maybe work with toddlers, too. I wanted to cuss and stomp my feet. I wanted to throw a mom tantrum.

But, I didn't.

I gently took him off the counter and brushed him off. Nicely asked him to be more careful next time with the pancake mix and then asked if he wanted to make some pancakes.

So, it turns out, today was a triumph. Sometimes, I need to remind myself that (especially on days like this) not blowing up on my kid or giving in to my temper means that I've done just fine.

Yes, there are mac n cheese noodles in the carpet and pancake mix on the counter and unfolded laundry in the dryer and trains attempting to break ankles on the floor and the dishes aren't done. But on these days, rather than giving in to the stress or letting it overcome all of my emotions, which I've been known to do in the past, I've just got to think about what I have done...what has gone well.

Despite this kind of day, at the end of it, I've got a toddler cuddling with me on the couch, saying, "thanks for being my mom."

And tomorrow is another day to try and try again.