There are days when the fight just isn't in ya. Days like this morning, when I just didn't have one more syllable left to negotiate with my three-year-old.
It's been a rough patch. Owen has been testing his limits and forgetting his manners. I'm feeling a bit emotionally abused. I mean, seriously, who talks like this? "Mommy, you need to listen to me right now or I will throw your coffee into the trash can!" or "Mommy, stop talking to me. Not. Another. Word."
I can't imagine where he gets this. (Kettle, meet Pot. Screw you, Pot.)
And, the noise. Oh, Good Lord, the noise. We're working on getting dressed by ourselves, because it's time. On purpose, I swear on purpose, he puts both legs into one pant hole, then screams "HEEEEEEEEEEEEELP! HEEEEEEEEEEEEEELP! RIGHT NOW MOMMY!"
I feel bombarded. Add to the mix, Joel. Joel has opinions. Lots of them. Unfortunately, he has next to no expressive language skills, so EVERYTHING is a "Unh-UNH!" followed by his one word: "THIS! THIS! THIS!" He moves his hand in the squeezing sign for milk and points in the general direction of whatever he wants. Often, it's whatever I have. For example, he'll have a waffle in his left hand. He'll be frantically squeezing his right hand and panting, "THIS! THIS!" wanting the waffle in my own hand.
It's relentless. The phone rang this morning, and my friend wanted to talk about health care reform policies. As we attempted to talk, Owen was screaming "HELP ME!" with his underwear around his neck, Joel was standing on a kitchen chair, attempting to grab my yet-eaten toast, saying "UNH-UNH THIS! THIS!"
My friend, the mother of two boys herself, said, "Oh my God, I'm never having kids."
And, y'all, this isn't even the worst part of my day.
We went to the doctor for Joel's fifteen month check-up. I asked Dr. S to look at Joel's scrotum, because it looked weird, a bit swollen. Paul had told me that it was probably nothing. Since I don't have balls of my own, I defer to the original owners in regards to All Things Gonads.
Alas, my suspicions were correct. Joel has excess fluids in his scrotum, and will require surgery. This makes, in his short life:
1 stay in the NICU, including intubation
1 surgery to correct his funky Eustachian tubes.
1 set of beautiful blue glasses to correct his eye that likes to party.
1 super-size scrotum, thus ANOTHER surgery.
He will have three specialists AND will have been treated at least three different hospitals.
And believe me, I know how lucky I am. These are all treatable childhood ailments that are not connected to a larger umbrella disorder. I am blessed, believe me, I am blessed.
But, COME ON.
One of my favorite authors, David Sedaris, writes:
"When a hurricane damaged my father's house, my brother rushed over with a gas grill, three coolers of beer, and an enormous Fuck-It Bucket - a plastic pail filled with jawbreakers and bite-size candy bars. ("When shit brings you, just say 'fuck it,' and eat yourself some motherfucking candy.")"
Today, I opened up my own proverbial Fuck-It Bucket and decided that I just wasn't gonna fight anything. I didn't have it in me. Owen wanted to go to Panera. We went. He wanted to go look at the animals at Petco. We went. He wanted to go the library. We went. Owen steered the ship; I just held on.
At the library, I ran into some friends. I told them about Joel, and started crying because I'm worried about my kid and it's troubling to hear that he has to go under the knife. So, I boo-hooed, and they were wonderful as only fellow mothers and friends can be.
Owen saw me crying and got very alarmed. He put his hand over my mouth and said, "Please stop crying, Mommy. Don't cry Mommy." He looked like he was about to cry himself, so by an act of will, I pulled myself together. Once again, I let him steer the ship.
We came home, and because I had out the Fuck-It Bucket, I ate cake for lunch. It was orgasmic. I'll write about it tomorrow.
As I put Joel down for his nap, I let Owen play with the vacuum cleaner. It was humming noisily, and I heard Owen screaming over it. Screaming. AGAIN. But yet, he was screaming pure poetry: "HEY! Hey! Hey Mommy! I LOOOVE YOU! I LOOOVE YOU!"
Once again, I forced myself not to cry as I replied, "I love you too, Buddy."
He turned off the vacuum and toddled upstairs. He touched Joel's head gently and showing me that he picks up more than I think, said, "Let's pray that Joel's penis gets better."
Since this was neither the time nor the place for an anatomy lesson, I simply swallowed yet another wellspring of tears and held Owen's hands as he said, "Dear Jesus, please help Joel get better. Amen."
With all the nonsense of the day, I've got this: proof that my son is developing empathy and a relationship with his God. My son knows, already, how to build up a fortress of love, protecting those he loves, providing shelter and security.
All things considered, not too bad. Even for a Fuck-It Bucket kinda day.