Just kidding. Their door doesn’t have a lock. But they don’t know that.
My lovely, sweet, darling children are on my nerve today. I say nerve, singular, because that’s all I have left. This is either pre-premenstrual syndrome, a manifestation of some unknown anxiety (tomorrow’s checkup at the doctor, perhaps?), or plain old grumpiness. But it’s been going on all day. And I’ve finally lost it.
This morning started out okay. DD1 woke up at some ungodly early hour and tried to wake me up to nurse, but I managed to fake unconsciousness well enough that she settled herself and fell back asleep. But I fell back asleep, too, and therefore didn’t get my usual recharge session this morning. I’m talking about that blissful hour in the early dawn when the kids are still sound asleep, the coffee’s hot and fresh, and you have the house to yourself. Well, not today.
Things seemed to go downhill from there. The kids were unusually busy, doing things like unfolding the folded laundry (my fault for leaving it in reach, perhaps?), knocking things off the tables, bickering with each other, coming into my quiet room and bothering me while I was in the middle of something very important online (like a sudoku game), dragging toys all through the house and leaving them there, dumping out the toy bins, ripping pages out of books, sneaking food and trailing through the house with it, etc. And then came the maraschino cherry topping: DD1 came into my room with a branch from my Chinese evergreen, the plant I bought myself upon first moving into my first house, which I am nursing back to health after a bout with New Baby Syndrome. (For the uninitiated: New Baby Syndrome involves a hiatus from virtually all regular tasks, resulting in neglect of otherwise cherished items. My cat is darn lucky to have avoided it.)
Well, let me just tell you that the waving green leaf of my darling plant, clenched as it was in the grubby fist of my first offspring, was enough to send me over the edge. I saw red, then black, the green of my plant, and then more red. I must have made a terrible face, because both my daughters stopped dead in their tracks, the smiles and giggles sliding off their faces like the chocolate pudding I won’t let them have. And then, the yelling began.
“WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU??” I shouted. Yep, I put the H-E-Double-Toothpicks in there. That’s just how angry I was. “WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS?” Grabbing the leaf in one hand and DD1’s arm in the other, I asked the (mostly rhetorical) question again. “WHY?? WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS TO MY PLANT?”
As if on cue, both girls began to cry. DD1 sniffed a barely audible “I don’t know”. I turned away, sputtering with barely-checked rage. I was angry about the plant, for certain, but it was only the proverbial straw on an already mountainous pile of crimes committed throughout the day. I was also angry with myself for having an overwhelming need for solitude that had precluded me from supervising them more closely, thus facilitating the mounting list of transgressions.
After verbally venting, slamming a door, and then crying with my children, I decided we all needed to get some air. But being Ohio, the weather was lousy. So we pulled on sweaters and socks, piled into the van, and went for a drive. Within 20 minutes, both lovelies were conked out in their carseats, and I enjoyed a blissful respite from the chaos that had been our morning. We got back to the house at 1:30. I parked the van, cut the engine, and read for a few minutes until DD2 stirred. When she started complaining about her seatbelt, I opened the van doors and let her out. DD1 woke, much smilier and more chipper than when we left. It looked promising for a better afternoon.
I was oh, so, so wrong.
More antics. More chaos. More yelling. More tears. (Me and the girls.) It all came to a head when I chased my children out of the forbidden master bathroom, where one had completely unrolled the toilet paper into a billowy white heap while the other painted my vanity cabinet with toothpaste. They beelined for their playroom, taking refuge there while I sputtered about which disaster to clean up first. I gave up, and decided they hadn’t heard enough about just how angry I was today. Stomping my feet to let them know I was on the warpath, I stormed into the kids’ room.
As usual, the room was a disaster, and this only heightened my anger (and probably my blood pressure). But, hey, at least the commotion is contained in there, right? And I can close the door. Wait a minute….I can close the door! Why hadn’t I thought of that?! So I summoned my Mother Voice and proclaimed:
“This room is a disaster! Look at this mess! I’m going to close this door, and you girls are going to stay in here and clean it up.”
And close the door I did.
There was a brief silence, followed by both girls bursting into tears. Mom had never done this before. I nearly lost my resolve and went in to them, but I held firm. And it worked.
It worked! Wooo hoo! There was a little bit of sniffling, to be sure, but then I heard the *clink!* *clunk!* of Duplos going into their bin. This was amazing. Never before had I used the Mother Voice and the Room Banishment. No wonder my own mother had been so fond of them both.
This lasted a whole thirty minutes, maybe a little longer. When DD1 crept out to find me and tell me she loved me, I hugged her tight. She then showed me how she and DD2 had picked up all the Duplos and put them in their bin. I told her how happy I was. The room was still messy by my standards, but they’re three and one. I’ll take what I can get.
Next time, though, maybe I’ll just lock myself in my room. I don’t really mind if I can’t get out for a while…though that might spell disaster for my favorite house plant.