Well, today really takes the prize for being the worst day of parenting in my life to date. It was such a spectacular mixture of everything that drives me crazy, with one particularly horrible episode to top it all off. It started off with a disgustingly early wake-up call at 5:45 a.m. Of course this was the morning I had gotten up at 5:30 to meet an important deadline, so within 15 minutes the three-year-old was screaming bloody murder because he couldn’t find his toy bicycle and Daddy refused to turn on the light because it would wake up the baby and he didn’t want to go back to sleep. He didn’t. He raged, then proceeded to whine and cry for the rest of the day. Non-stop. I barely finished my article.
They wanted applesauce for snack, so I made it. I then told A. not to touch his bowl because it was burning hot. Of course he touched it (because he never listens) and dropped it on the kitchen floor. Scalding applesauce exploded like a volcano and covered the kitchen. He needed a full change. I’m still finding blobs of congealed applesauce in unexpected places.
He wouldn’t listen to me at the paint store and kept running off. He had a tantrum when we left, and when I told him to say goodbye to someone, he screamed, “No!” He was put into time-out at home and promptly peed in his pants. He needed another full change. I began making lunch. Baby pulled handfuls of soil out of my potted plant and threw them on the floor. They sat on the doorstep, drumming the new paint sticks on top of the gallon of $75 premium paint I’d just purchased for the living room. It was okay, until A. starting whacking L.’s knuckles with his paint stick.
Just as the sautéing veggies started to burn, A. announced he was going to shake the paint. “No, that’s not a good idea,” I said and went to grab the can. It was then I saw the gallon of “Peruvian Chili” paint flooding the floor of the entrance. Everything happened all at once. The baby was sitting in the paint, joyously slapping his palms into the sea of orange muck. A. sat motionless, scratching at his face once in a while and leaving smears of warpaint. The orange paint seeped into the upholstery of my mother’s antique chaise longue, destroyed my favourite jacket, soaked into one toe of my running shoes, and splattered onto the bottom of my jeans. I stood in disbelief, then fell to my knees and started scooping handfuls of paint back into the can. Handful after handful of orange paint, all over my wedding ring, my sweater, my arms. It was horrible.
Half an hour later, things were more or less under control. The grout lines will forever be orange, but I don’t care. The chaise is ruined, but it was on its way out anyways. And believe it or not, because I recently washed the foyer floor, the paint I scooped up was surprisingly clean. The biggest problem was how I reacted — I completely lost it. I screamed at my kids. I cried. I told my son to shut up. Basically, I put on a display that must have horrified any passersby and is precisely the way I never want to act with them. But I’d just been pushed too far at that point and couldn’t seem to hold it back.
The rest of the day followed in a similar vein: We ate lunch with A. spraying a sea of rice all over the place. Husband came home and said my painting job sucked (not in those words, of course — he was much nicer). Kids continued to whine ad nauseum. I embarrassingly almost fell flat on my face in front of some friends. A. proceeded to break the toy car they’d just given him.
At least supper was delicious: split pea soup with ham and cheddar cornbread. I would have wept tears of despair if I’d had to eat leftovers. At least the kids are both showered and in bed, even if one is wailing for more water. At least I saved that stupid freaking paint that I’ve spent the past week obsessing over.
Why, oh why does it have to be this hard some days?