Whoops. Disregard previous post.
I've been at this motherhood gig almost 5 years. You'd think I'd know better than to note publicly when things are going well, but alas. I don't. I never have.
I don't know if it's the stress of the arrival of our HHE, or a general loathing of me, or a genuine developmental issue, but it's been a rough few days for Boy and me. My Like-A-Boss-Ness has devolved into tantrums, writing/drawing/smearing inkpads on the wall, and other infractions that would so embarrass Teenage Boy that I won't mention them in a public forum. Girl, for her part, is generally well-behaved but still easily influenced by her big brother, whom she naturally worships, so when we went to Target and both of them took off in opposite directions for a game of Hide and Seek (only I wasn't playing), I thought I was damn near losing my mind.
Today my aunt, uncle, and teenage cousin came over to help with the last of the heavy schlepping. While Uncle R assembled a tool cabinet, I moved empty boxes from Garage 1 to Garage 2 (yes, 1890 sq ft of house and two entire garages...makes total sense). Girl wanted to help, so I asked her to drag a giant, fairly flat box from the garage at the side of the house to the garage at the back of our long yard. I didn't expect she'd make it more than a foot before running off to play T-ball with Boy. I was shocked when I came back in the yard to find her masterfully walking up the steps to Garage 2 backwards, hauling this large cardboard box. She continued on that way, holding one end of more cumbersome boxes while I held the other. I may have done most of the lifting, but certainly not all of it. She wouldn't finish until all the boxes had been moved, and even then, she requested "Moh boskes!"
I found myself caught between lavishly praising Girl and asking Boy to stop swinging the baseball bat at us, or to stop pouring water on the bathroom floor, or to stop sitting on the cat. I was cuddles and compliments with one, pure scolding with the other. I wouldn't want to be scolded all day, and I saw Boy descending deeper into a defiance I'm sure I too would embrace in his situation. I don't write on walls or swing a cat by his head, so that's one difference, but in a four-year-old's perspective I'm sure Mommy the Meanie looms larger than his own transgressions.
He's told me, several times, that I am a mean mommy, and I need to work on being frustrated.
I feel like a mean mommy. I want each moment to be a fresh start, but I turn around to find him engaged in an example of the World's Worst Judgment. I recently outlawed television, except for in the 5 a.m.to 7 a.m. hours (because come on), in hopes that that would force more creative and physical play and, in turn, a more exhausted and contented Boy. We'll see if it works. In the meantime, I find myself crawling into Boy's loft bed, smushed tailbone and all, to whisper love and forgiveness and regret in his sweet little ear. He nods quietly, his eyes too heavy to keep open, absorbing the flaws and missteps of his mother. In the end, I can only hope he remembers me not simply as Mommy the Meanie, but as Mommy the Human.