Lest you think it's all sunshine and daisies over in our hive, last night proved that things are not always so peachy keen. But you all know that, don't you?
Motherhood is hard. Parenthood is hard.
We are one week away from having a full-blown two year-old which means boundary testing, tantrum throwing, strong willed vocalizing, and the like (so I'm told). We have had glimpses and glimmers of this phase for the past few months, but I am sensing a shift in our little universe and some of these challenges are here to stay.
Yesterday was a good day. Until it wasn't. We had a successful outing to Old Navy and Trader Joe's. I know I always push my luck when I try to squeeze in too many errands, but we went early enough and I had a purse filled with her favorite snacks. I am not above bribery. She took a long nap and woke up happy. Her post-nap mood is never predictable. But during dinner, things took a downhill tumble.
I had made a yummy dinner of chicken and couscous from Blue Apron and Paul got home earlier than normal. But some time during dinner, Emma's mood shifted. Suddenly and all at once, she just had to get out of her high chair, she hated everything on her plate, and did not want to see one morsel of food in front of her eyes. That's when the couscous flinging started. I was dumbfounded and she was just so quick.
Somehow she managed to fling couscous all. over. the. place. It was all over the floor, the windows, the curtain, the wall, her hair, my leg, just everywhere.
That's when I lost it.
Call it pregnancy hormones or just good old fashioned motherhood, but I broke down. I had my own fork halfway to my mouth and I just started sobbing. I put my arms over my eyes and just sobbed. Paul went into survival mode and whisked away her plate and any remaining ammunition for the disgruntled tot. And I just sat there and sobbed. Paul tried to be soothing and told me not to look at the mess and to try to enjoy my dinner.
Now it may not seem like a big deal to some and I have survived bigger messes in the past. And I'm sure some of those with multiples would eye roll my reaction. But I could not help it. I was spiraling. I was thinking about life with two and it was stressing me out and seemed impossible. I was picturing this mess but every day and no hands to clean and a nursing baby and a demanding toddler and I lost it over flung couscous.
After I calmed down, we tag-teamed the clean up and after picking up each damn cous (singular?) and doing a quick mopping things seemed a little brighter. A desperate look in my eyes prompted Paul to say, "let's leave the house for a few" and I said, "I need ice cream". So while the floors dried, we went to get my precious ice cream.
Paul adamantly said, "Emma, you don't get ANY ice cream", which made me feel a little better. But at the end of the day this is just a phase (who knows how long it will last) and it is all part of parenthood - the joys, the ups, and the messes, the downs.
I hesitate to call the twos terrible when I know deep down both logically and instinctively that boundary-testing is crucial to development. Learning cause and effect and that one's actions have consequences is a necessary step in the psychosocial grand scheme. But it will probably suck sometimes (or maybe even often times).
So I will just have to cry and take a moment to calm down and maintain some perspective.
It will be tough, but I'm sure I will have many more days that are hard and shitty. But that is life. That is parenthood. That is what I signed up for. I will lean on my husband and my fellow moms. I will hide in the bathroom if needed. I will cry over couscous.
May God give me grace. And some extra grace in the reserves.
And extra scoops.
I am sure the veteran moms of tots have their opinions on the twos and the threes and I'd love to hear any pearls of wisdom...even if your only advice is, "keep the ice cream and wine stocked".