Please excuse this very stream-of-consciousness blog post because my brain is full and I just need to vomit out the roller coaster of a parenting day that I had yesterday. Thanks for sticking with me.
Sunday night Eliah and I went to Birmingham to see Kinky Boots as part of a Christmas present I gave him. It’s the first time we’ve done something like that in awhile – and it was SO MUCH FUN. I know they tell you to “savor them moments” as children because they “grow up too fast” but please know this: There are plenty of moments worth savoring when they’re adults too. Like when we were talking about season ticket holders who end up at this kind of show because it’s part of the season and he said something like, “Maybe there will be transphobic people whose hearts will be changed because of this show.”
SAVOR THAT DAMN MOMENT, Y’ALL.
It was just a great night and a great morning as we laughed at his weird tea at the coffee shop we went to and he drove us home in the rain while we listened to his favorite true crime podcast. It was simply the best.
And then back to reality.
We got a new puppy (which was GOING to be what this post was about until my day from yesterday needed documentation for therapy) and it was supposed to be his first day home in the crate while we were at work but Nikki was sick so Donnie let her stay home alone as she’s old enough and this was his first official day back after the holidays and he needed to NOT MISS WORK. This was unfortunate for me because that meant I needed to work as fast as possible to get my “must be done” stuff done at work after already going in late and starting behind from last week.
(I do not resent that his job comes first. He has a higher position at his company so his presence is much more important than mine at my company.)
I got in a few hours but she kept texting me asking when I’d be home and reminding me I needed to pick up some modge-podge and her photos for her science fair on the way home.
I GOT SMACKED BY REALITY WITH NON-ADULT CHILDREN VERY QUICKLY.
So I left work after only a few hours (STILL behind) and I went to get her supplies (she was sick enough not to go to school but not sick enough to not stress about her science fair project) and came home after only being gone for about 29 hours and OH MY GOD. It was like a bomb had dropped. There was a huge pile of laundry in the garage from the puppy stepping in poop and then hopping up on Nikki’s bed. The sink was FULL of dishes which I assumed was because no one felt like unloading the clean dishes in the dishwasher (which is usually the situation) but GUESS WHAT? The dishwasher hadn’t even been run yet! Not to mention the general disarray of the life we live on a GOOD day.
So I start stressing out and getting the house kind of cleaned because we were going to start working on science fair stuff and I did NOT want to add that chaos onto the current chaos. I was also irritated that Nikki seemed fine (Why did I leave work early because you kept texting me to come home!?) but trying NOT to be irritated (She NEVER misses school) and also trying NOT to yell at her about the house because it wasn’t really HER fault and really was it anyone’s fault because lord knows I leave a sink full of dishes some days.
I don’t know…I just entered the Bubbling On The Edge Of A Panic Attack And Anger Storm phase VERY VERY VERY quickly and I upset Nikki who was being so understanding (“I know part of this is my fault I just feel like I’m getting all of your anger because I’m the only one here.”) which honestly made me ANGRIER (because I’m Mom of the Year) and then we finally started editing her typed parts of her science fair project which she did 95% on her own (I was needed for the parts that involved driving and adults asking permission for things) and she used the phrasing, “I did this…” a lot and then she got REALLY angry and upset that I was correcting her on that and then I got even angrier that she wanted my help but was getting pissy about it all and…AND…AND…
Wes wasn’t even home yet.
We also ran into some complications of messaging about the science fair project from the teacher and this made matters a LOT worse and I suddenly had to shift gears to calm HER down because it was suddenly a situation where SOMEONE SHOULD HAVE TOLD HER THAT HER SCIENCE FAIR PROJECT WAS NOT GOING TO FIT THE REQUIREMENTS and she was OBVIOUSLY panicking (She could not start over!) and so I had to drag myself from ANGER/ANXIETY CODE BLUE to MOTHER OF AN ANXIOUS CHILD and fill the role to help her deal with her anxiety and panic and that was rough because it didn’t seem like she had really dropped the ball in any way (she does her school work 100% on her own, we don’t micromanage her at all) but there was still stuff to be upset about and so it was hard to be like, “Yeah…this sucks…but I don’t think it’s your fault entirely…” because that doesn’t really help a panic attack when there’s no source to target and resolve.
I got her calm and told her to take a break and veg out while I went to the grocery store and picked up Wesley. And then it turned out Wes had a not-so-great day at school with one specific shitty action so I had to deal with the consequences of that and he was getting really shitty about sleeping arrangements and copping a major attitude with me and I left him to his anger in his room and told him to come get me when he was ready to talk and he decided he was ready AFTER squirting paint all over his desk on purpose.
Now, in his defense, he immediately saw the error of his ways and cleaned it up before I saw it BUT STILL. PAINT ALL OVER THE DESK ON PURPOSE. And as he was treating me so terribly I was trying to be patient by cleaning the kitchen and Nikki entered into the mode she always enters into when he’s having a bad fit towards me and her mode is, “MAKE MOM OKAY,” and she starts helping me clean and showering me with affection and I was just thinking about how much I wanted to thank her for being amazing but you have to be REALLY careful with that kind of messaging for so many complicated reasons. When you have one child with anger issues that acts out a lot in shame and frustration and another child who compensates by turning on the BEST CHILD IN THE WORLD charm (which is VERY common) you have to make sure the Angry Child does not see this as a spotlight on him being THE WORST IN THE WORLD because he already constantly fears he’s the WORST IN THE WORLD and also I know her well enough to know it’s not 100% altruistic, she loves being a savior, so I’m trying to navigate 100 different parenting pathways when my gas tank is down to fumes and let’s just say that I give myself accolades for not dropping any major curse words or raising my voice too badly.
But I sobbed over the sink uncontrollably which might be worse.
The jury is still out.
Donnie finally got home around 9pm (he had a work thing after regular work) but Nikki was already asleep and we’d already worked out sleeping arrangements (Wes is still scared and wants and adult and they BOTH want the new puppy) so he missed all of the drama and he was wired from watching the first half of the championship game at work and ready to settle in to watch the rest here and he was not in the mode to ask me about my day or trip which was probably good because I was in the mood to kinda shut out the world and plug in my headphones and try to sleep the most extreme day of highs and lows away.