Well, once again I have destroyed my chances of winning Mother of the Year.
I really hate my days off work during the week. Since I work part time at the gigantic downtown library and they don't have the budget to hire full time people, I have every Tuesday and Wednesday off of work. Tuesdays are nice because the Kid goes to preschool in the morning until about 11:30 and it gives me time to get dressed and plan something for the rest of the day to occupy her so that she doesn't just whine and harass me all day. Yesterday we hit the Barnes & Noble where she played with the trains (way more fun that the set we have at home for some reason), then played on the stage (she sang and danced for no one in particular), and then we went home where Netflix had sent us Lilo and Stitch to keep us occupied for much of the afternoon. This also afforded me a "relax" time on the couch (go ahead, applaud my fantastic ulterior motives) and after that we only had about an hour before Daddy came home to entertain her while I made dinner.
But Wednesdays are always another story. Sometimes, Lila cries to go to Grandma's (where she spends the days when I work) and I have NO PROBLEM calling my mother and letting Lila plead with her to let her come over. But most days, it is up to me to make magic for her.
Luckily, Wednesday morning is story time at the local branch library. Unfortunately it's at 10:00 which for some reason seems to come too early for us. But Lila loves the storytime. It's a small affair with 3 to 5 kids at a time and a wonderful older childrens' librarian who Lila is attached to. You see, we used to live on the same block, right up the street, and so last year we spent A LOT of time taking walks to the library and hanging around in there. But since we moved, it isn't really walking distance and so we need to take a car rind and in the winter that means a little longer to prepare.
Since Lila is going through her phase of freaking out any time I tell her its time to do anything, I had to warn her a few weeks ago that if she ever threw a fit when we were getting ready to go anywhere, we simply would not go. But since I also desperately NEED to take her to storytime in order to have a little time to space out, I really need to make it happen.
Well, today I told Lila I the plan. "I am going to go upstairs to get showered and dressed. You need to play nicely for about 15 minutes and then you will be getting dressed, cleaned up, and ready to go to storytime." She didn't throw a fit. She said "okay". So far so good.
I went upstairs to get my clothes together and Lila came up behind me and went into her room to play. This is also good because then I can listen while I shower. I heard her getting frustrated with something and when I went in she told me she needed some help getting her notebook and pen from under a stack of coloring books. "I am pretty sure you can do this yourself," I said, but I took the notebook and pen out and she went to put it on her little princess table. I walked out and took my little stack of clothes into the bathroom.
I heard more sounds of frustration (namely, the notebook being thrown on the floor and a grunt). I went back in, now half undressed. "What's the problem Lila?"
"I can't make my pen work..." OK. I went and hunted for another pen. "Problem solved. Give me 10 minutes."
Then I heard a loud crash and a whiny scream. Lila had overturned the table in her room and started a mini fit. I told her to take a deep breath. She did. Then I asked her to show me what the problem was. She started yelling at me that she didn't want any help from me. "Fine," I said. I am getting in the shower. Please play good for like 5 minutes and I will help you when I get out."
Somehow, this was too much for her and she threw herself onto the floor screaming. I attempted to EXPLAIN that story time is starting at 10:00 and if she wants to go, I have to get into the shower NOW. "Play with something else for 3 minutes, and then we can talk. She continued to scream and yell at me telling me that she doesn't WANT to play with anything else and that she needs me to fix her table NOW".
I told her I was giving her ONE MORE CHANCE to knock that shit off and then we weren't going. At that, I turned to walk out of her room and got into the shower. I heard her stomping the ground and screaming. I soaped up as quickly as I could while she continued to cry and as I did this I felt my blood begin go boil. "OK. YOU WANT TO BE A HUGE BRAT TODAY? NOW WE DON'T GO TO STORY TIME."
At this, her tone changed and she started the truly upset broken-hearted crying. But FUCK HER. I tried to be nice. Why the hell was I going to take a kid who is clearly just being an asshole to storytime? She was not throwing a fit because she wanted me to hang out with her. She was throwing a fit because she has a temper and even though I tried to talk her through it she threw a fit anyway.
As she continued to cry, I yelled at her that she OBVIOUSLY had decided that staying home and breaking her stuff was much more fun than storytime and so she should go ahead and break all of her stuff so that I can throw it away and she won't have any toys to get mad about anymore.
And I yelled and yelled and yelled and she just kept on crying and telling me that I am a Mean Mommy. And then I started being a real asshole. "Boo Hoo Hoo..." I said. "I am being a brat and now I can't have what I want so I am going to be a bigger brat...BOO HOO HOOO!!!" I was mocking my 3-year-old child.
I admit, looking at that now, it was probably not nice to do. It was childish. I am the adult, right? I am supposed to remain composed and calm, right? So why does my kid have the ability to make me fucking insane to the point of wanting to strangle her? I actually had to go into my bedroom, shut the door, and scream into a pillow until my throat started to hurt so that I didn't totally lose it. I considered calling her father and telling him to come home so that I didn't traumatize her emotionally for life.
Then I started to feel guilty because I KNOW that my behavior is no more acceptable than hers, and I AM NOT THREE. I started to think that I am setting a shitty example and now she is going to think it's okay to be an asshole to someone when they are upset.
About 20 seconds later, Lila came in with a pack of candy that she got from her Valentine's Day party at school, as if NOTHING EVER HAPPENED and asked me to open it. I said, "You know we're not going to storytime right?" "Yeeeaaaah." she said sadly.
"And you know that it's because you threw a fit for no good reason, right?" "Yeeeaaah." she said.
"Then why would you be allowed to have a candy treat when 5 minutes ago you were acting like a total brat?" I asked her, trying to be the stern Mommy. She gave it to me and I told her we were going to save that for later.
Then she said, "I want to tell you something very important."
"Oh yeah?" I said. "What's that?"
"I'm really sorry that I made you mad and sad." She said matter-of-factly. "You don't have to take me to storytime when I'm being bad."
And that's when I realized that I have a really fucking good kid, and that as a mother, I totally do not deserve her.