It was a grueling day of mediation, tempering and negotiation. With my three year old daughter. It was a trying day of intervention, redirection and comforting. With my eleven month old son.
Every task brought a challenge. For every challenge there was a rechallenge. I came close to boiling a few times but managed to stay fairly calm even in the midst of:
“Mommy, don’t feed Henry all the black olives.”
“Abby, relax, I have another can.”
“Mommy, he’s going to eat them all!”
“Sweetie, I have another can. Relax. Finish your movie.”
“Can you pause my movie?”
“Abby, I promise you I have more black olives. No worries.”
(Three minutes pass.)
“Ok Abby, here are your black olives.”
“I don’t like them.
“I don’t like black olives any more. I want cheese. I want cheese. (Crescendo) I want cheese!!!! WAAAAAAAAAAAA! I WANT CHEESE!”
For the first time I realized that windows may have been invented to silence and keep IN the embarrassing screams of one’s children rather than my initial understanding of keeping the bugs, mayhem, pollution and dirt OUT.
I rationally explained (hindsight proved this was my obvious first mistake) that after she finished what she had requested, begged and pleaded for, she could have cheese.
I’ll spare you the rest of the tantrum’s dialogue.
Meanwhile in Henry-land…
“Da da da da.”
TV volume goes to MAX.
“Henry, let’s play with something else.”
Wipe the constant stream of bodily fluids from nose and mouth.
Repeat four times.
When I’d truly had my fill of havoc, noise and complete insanity, I called my husband so he could reinforce that I chosen the right path on the latest installment of dinner-time theater. I had to leave both screaming children in the house and make the call from the front porch swing so I could think and breathe. And I remembered. What is rational to a three-year-old is not rational to a thirty-four year old. My rational is not her rational. I went back inside to mayhem land.
Once all the tears, drool and snot stopped flowing, I suggested a ride on the front porch swing. A cool, Arkansas Spring evening greeted us. Henry on my lap. Abby to my left. And we rocked. To and fro. Interesting dialogue resumed. My sweet, inquisitive, rationale and intelligent daughter returned. Henry cooed. I breathed. In. Out. Back. Forth. We’d found our own little oasis of nirvana. On the front porch swing.