It's the Season of Hard. It's the Season of Whining. It's the Season of Kneecapping. I know I'm prone to exaggeration with an embellishment of martyrdom, so I'm going to try to say it plain:
I wake up at 5am, hear Isla talking to herself in her crib, go back to sleep. Auden comes to our bed for the second time (first time at 2:30am), but we don't go back to sleep, because soon Isla is yelling and throwing things. I get her and take her into bed, too, all four of us sandwiched on the full-sized mattress. I nurse her while Jason sets up a movie for Auden in the living room. After 20 minutes I pry Isla off me and tell her to go watch the movie with Auden. She doesn't like his movie. It's 5:45, Jason gets up and starts the coffee. I put a pillow over my head and try to go back to sleep.
Auden wakes me up at 6:08. Isla spots me from the kitchen, is ecstatic to see me again, and commences hanging on my legs. For the next 30 minutes I try to go to the bathroom and eat breakfast, cannot do either one without interruption. I try several ways to occupy Isla with toys, and then to mediate disputes about unfairly pilfered toys. Someone invariably wipes their snotty face on my pant-leg. I reheat my coffee. The house is already a mess of discarded toys by 6:30am.
Jason is miraculously already dressed, gets the kids dressed, and is suited up to head off to work. There is a brief display of camaraderie between Auden & Isla as they pretend to go back to sleep in Auden's bed. But then he hits her and squashes her, and she's bawling and I'm trying to go to the bathroom and Jason's trying to get out the door.
Auden doesn't want to go to school, cries and carries on and tries to negotiate our departure time. Spends his "10 more minutes" negotiating for more time. I get dressed. Isla wants more milk. I have the brilliant idea of making a smoothie instead, figuring this will give us all a project to focus on and get some calories into them both. For a few minutes they are content to eat frozen berries while I blend. I pour smoothie into cups with straws, and an unblended blueberry gets stuck in Auden's straw, so he tips the cup up and spills purple glop all over his clothes. Is devastated that he can no longer wear his dinosaur hoodie, and wails on the floor. Isla pulls the legs off a fridge magnet monster that Auden made at school, which adds another layer of injustice and fuels his tantrum.
I completely lose my cool and yell at Auden to STOP IT RIGHT NOW! STOP CRYING! I'VE HAD ENOUGH! THERE'S NOTHING TO CRY ABOUT!
"You're too loud!" he tells me.
"WELL SO ARE YOU!" I respond maturely, sensibly.
We simmer down, he wants me to apologize. I do, and try to explain why I get so frustrated when he whines.
"It's hard for me to keep being patient with you when it seems like you get so upset about every little thing," I say, maturely and sensibly.
"But... but," he says, "I can't find my sword!"
And I realize that I AM THE CRAZY ONE HERE. For trying to reason with someone who is constitutionally unreasonable. Meanwhile, the smoothie sits on the table, mostly unfinished.
I start to hustle us toward the door, but Auden still doesn't want to leave, resumes previously forgotten negotiations. Pokes Isla with his sword, hits her with his helmet. Doesn't want to sit next to Isla while we get our shoes on. Doesn't want to wear a jacket.
I realize on the way downstairs that Jason has my bike key, so we can't take the bike trailer, which I'd told Auden we would. I briefly attempt to alter reality by willing my bike lock to come off.
Auden cries about not being able to take the bike trailer. "Well, we can't do anything about it now." I say, foolishly trying to reintroduce reason.
I get Isla buckled into her seat, but Auden won't get into the car. I put my head down on the door and count to ten, imagining the ways I'd like to physically force him in. Instead I get into the driver's seat and start the car. Auden thinks I'm going to leave without him, which I suppose was my intention, starts crying again, and clambers into his seat. I feel guilty about using fear to manipulate my child. Is that worse than grabbing his arms? Is it worse than hissing commands? I am not capable of anything nice.
As I buckle him, he is crying that he wants to lock the door. "No," I say, mainly because I don't really hear his request and don't understand it. This prompts a fresh outburst. I get into the driver's seat, try to breathe deeply again. I reach back and push the window button, then show him where the lock button is, this seems to appease him and he's finally amenable and chatting happily as we drive to day-care. I look and feel like I've been through the ringer.
Now it's 9:30, and I think I'll go back to bed.