Photo: My absolute favorite Fall treat, by far, is pan-roasted pumpkin seeds. Olive oil, salt and pepper, clean pumpkin seeds and a cast iron skillet is all it takes to make this awesome, awesome snack. Deciding to have pumpkin-baked oatmeal this morning, the bonus was these seeds to snack on all day! Yay Fall!
The two little boys think it is hilarious to wrestle in the living room. Still a little overwhelmed, I’ve been letting the boys veg out to Nick Jr while I make dinner. Major, especially, is pretty grateful for the opportunity to decompress. Minor, on the other hand, is jazzed because big brother is home. All he wants to do is play.
So, inevitably, one child crosses the room to jump on the other and the match is on! I’m whisking something in a skillet and I hear the laughter, followed shortly by shrieks of joy, followed very shortly after by shrieks of pain and anger. Next thing I know, I’m stepping into the living room to see one shoving the other (at best) or one punching the other (at worst).
Every night for the last handful of nights, I’ve made it clear: “We’re not wrestling and if you want to play rough and noisy, go to the playroom, please!”
They say, “ok,” and then they go to the playroom. Temporarily. It never takes more than 10 minutes for them to return to the living room, shrieking and jumping and being ridiculous.
Well, somewhere around 6:30 yesterday, I’d had it. “Mommy shouldn’t have to repeat the same three sentences over and over and over again! Why does it have to be this way every night!?”
They shrugged and said nothing.
“You say you don’t like it when I yell at you! But then you do what I ask you not to do multiple times a day!”
Tears from the babies. Little balled fists. Mean Mommy… I’m always the mean one.
Finally, Major points a little precious finger at me. “Well, you make me sad all the time! You are the reason why I’m angry and sad!”
Wow… really? “How am I making you angry by asking you over and over again not to do something? I didn’t say that you can’t be noisy when you play. I’m just asking that you be noisy in the playroom, the room that is dedicated just to you and your stuff!”
“Well, you’re being mean! And you’re yelling! And I don’t like it when you yell! You’re mean, and you are why I’m sad and mad all the time.”
Minor wasn’t totally complicit with this. Matter of fact, he wandered away, making his way to the dinner table. Major dropped his bombs and then jutted out his cleft chin at me. “Can I have some dinner now?”
“If you are going to say those bold statements to me, then you need to back them up. You need to prove what you’ve said. Tell me, was I mean when I drove you to school this morning?”
“When I did your laundry?”
I went through the entire list of things I’d done for that child, just on that day, a good eight direct services I’d done for that child. He said I wasn’t mean when I was doing those things.
“But when I ask you, for the fifth time tonight, to be in the playroom instead of wrestling and fighting in the living room, and I yell because I’m frustrated, I’m being mean?”
“Yes. And I’m mad and I’m sad all the time.”
I don’t know why it hurt my feelings so much. He’s 5 and we know that he has had the ability to weaponize his language for a while now. Yet still, it hurt. Maybe because it’s so freaking unfair–Motherhood is so damn thankless. Especially now as the three men in my life enjoy the fruits of all my labors while simultaneously enjoying their own accomplishments: crafted lunches every morning, lots of carting around to different activities, lots of parties and playdates, oh, and not to mention my new gig as Classroom Parent in Major’s class (“I’m planning and coordinating the big Halloween party for your class on Monday! But I’m still mean!?” “Yes.”). It’s an unnamable (yet challenging) feeling watching them thrive thanks to your hard work, as you struggle to find any sort of traction in your own projects and pursuits (why yes, I did get another literary rejection yesterday afternoon).
Anyway, I say all this to say, this is totally not what I need right now.
And yeah, I brought it on myself. I should have stopped asking questions. He’d firmly stated his position and there wasn’t anything I was going to do to change it. He’s five. He’s stubborn as hell. And yeah, he’s a little bit mean. I should have walked away from him. It was my ego that got in the way–I just wanted to be right. I wanted him to know why he was laying blame at the wrong feet.
The Husband scolded them, eventually put them to bed, gave me a kiss on the forehead. “Tomorrow will be a better day,” he reminded me. He was right, of course. Both boys apologized this morning. We were off to the races, as ever.
This, too, shall pass. All of it.
See you Friday for Quiet Thoughts, Dear Reader. Stay safe and warm out there.