Some days are better than others. Most days leave me feeling beaten and looking bedraggled. I am constantly at the mercy of my two toddlers, as their disposition often sets my day.
I know, this is a deplorable state to be in. After all, what self-respecting Black woman allows a 2 year old to determine her agenda? The very idea is blasphemous! If no one else, a Black woman should be able to keep her child in line, right? Are we not renowned for ruling with iron fists and steely gazes? The truth is, all the bravado Panther and Tiger Moms exhibit in public is only attributed to long, hard years of struggle at home…the beginnings of which are spent lying on the ground in a fetal position, wailing in defeat.
My day begins much like other mothers’ around this nation, if not around the world. I wake up, put on a robe, and head to the kitchen to make breakfast. Notice, I have not washed my face or brushed my teeth yet. My first concern is getting my kids their breakfast. Once the older two are safely off to school, I am free to turn my attention to the younger two. In the olden days, I would drop the big kids off so that my husband could have more time to groom himself and possibly sleep in a few minutes longer. Unwashed and smelling like sour bread (and looking just as palatable) I prayed that my car would not stall or run out of gas on the way. That all ended when my husband caught sight of me coming into the house one morning. He compassionately offered to drop the girls off before heading to work, and I happily accepted.
This of course gave me more time to deal with Fric & Frac, also known as Stone & Liya.
Most people don’t know what I have to endure to pound out a single blog post. This morning for instance, I have just emerged from the shower and am typing from a secure location – sopping wet. I have ten more minutes before the children come looking for me. I have to think and type quickly.
Once they have their paws on me I will be at their mercy for the remainder of the day; or at least until they’ve fallen asleep at noon after a morning spent tormenting their mother.
Since she wakes first, Liya generally sets the tone. At 22 months, she is entering a phase that closely resembles a temperamental teenager. She’s moody, aggressive, and unpredictable. Like many teens, she is a poor communicator, so I’m never certain what she wants. I find myself wiping spills of water when all she really wants is milk.
Oh Jesus. My sister just called me and pilfered valuable writing time! after a hastily whispered conversation, she informs me about some new shoes she’s wearing to work. How marvelous for her. I wonder if I’ll get to wear shoes today. My days are often spent barefoot in the kitchen…or barefoot outside retrieving my little darting darlings. Stone, whose body bears an uncanny resemblance to his name, is the hardest to coral. I generally have to bribe him with a cookie, which only adds more girth to his frame. It’s a vicious cycle.
Back to what I was saying.
One of the biggest battles between my children and I is over food. When their requests for bites of my hastily assembled meals are refused, they go from polite insistence to unrepentant seizure. Helplessly watching four hands pluck the choices bits of meat or sweetest fruit from my plate, I can’t help but wonder if this is what a villager feels like when a marauder comes into their camp. I feel so powerless, held at bay by their double sided imp and cherubim faces.
My children undress me in public. I have lost track of the number of times I’ve had a skirt lifted or a nipple exposed while speaking to a cashier or teller at the bank. In the beginning I was horrified, but since my dignity and self-esteem are in the garbage, I hardly take offence to public nudity…especially not my own. Still, I am aware that I have a duty to society, and try to use the drive through wherever possible.
“Oh! Your children are so adorable! Would they like a lollipop?” asks the bank teller from the safety of her desk and monitor, 20 feet away.
“Yay! Yoyipop!” they cry in unison.
Refusal will only bring a meltdown, so I relent. Sometimes it’s just easier to say yes.
“Yes please,” I say sweetly to the teller, cursing her inwardly as she sends the candy down the plastic chute. The whore either has no kids, or has forgotten what it’s like to have toddlers hyped up on sugar.
As we drive away I cannot open the plastic wrappers fast enough. My only consolation is that I will gain three or so minutes of silence while they eat their confections before becoming bored with them and abandoning them altogether. I will find the discarded yoyipops, a month later, covered in lint and floorboard dirt. I will then curse the teller all over again.
Sometimes I am overwhelmed by it all, and the pressure forces me to the sofa. Maybe if I take a moment to collect my thoughts and reinvigorate my spirit, I can carry on? This, of course, is not to be tolerated. My children do not like to see me resting. They make their displeasure known by clambering all over me, at times pulling or beating me, occasionally sitting on my face and often passing gas on the object on which they are sitting. I want to cry sometimes. There’s no point hiding. They always find me. And when they do find me they scream, irritated that they had to come look for me in the first place. Indeed they are better at crying than I am.
So what am I to do? The only thing I CAN do I suppose: Endure. They are so young. Surely they do not understand the pain they are causing their mother? Deep down, somewhere deep, deep, DEEP in their little hearts, they love their mother, and plan to repay her for months of lost sleep and weight gained.
Okay gotta go! Here they come!!!
Happy Friday, one and all.