Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Let Her Eat Cake (And Buy Shoes)

Tuesday, 2:19 PM Eastern Standard Time:

All right, I'm calling it: today is the Worst Day Ever. I'm currently sitting here blasting my Ipod in a futile attempt to drown out the sounds of E singing the alphabet in a Very Loud Voice as he refuses to nap. This, of course, is after spending an hour making every effort to get him to sleep by honest means.

It all started when E fell in the potty this morning. He decided the other day that he no longer wanted to use his potty ring, and instead perches precariously on the toilet while holding onto the sides of the seat. This morning, in his obstinance over going potty in the first place, and then getting wiped, he lost his grip, and in he went. I fished him out, cleaned him up, and we headed out to the gym. At this point, I naively thought this was a small, somewhat amusing bump in what would otherwise be a good day.

After we got home from the gym, I went into the kitchen to prepare a picnic lunch for a playdate in the park. While I was getting lunch together, E got hold of a red Magic Marker and colored all over a number of books AND his bed. After a time out and some Oxi-Clean, we were on our way to the park. Surely, things could only get better - I'd have a chance to talk to the other moms, he'd get a chance to play with other kids and get some energy out, and then we'd head home for naptime.

Not so. We met some friends for a playdate at a free lunchtime concert. It's a weekly event that attracts lots of moms and kids. While all the other children sat contentedly on the blankets eating their picnic lunches, my kid took a sip of milk and was off and running. He trampled over other people's blankets, climbed up the side of a trash can, and then poured his milk all over himself. He had a run in with a magnolia tree that left him with a huge scrape on the side of a his face and the attention of half the crowd as he dissolved into epic tears over the pain. Once recovered from that, he proceeded to knock over a row of chairs set up for the free concert. The last straw was when he spit on the ground. Fearing that the next step would be for him to procure a massive pick-up truck plastered with Confederate flags, I grabbed him and ran for the car. (A Hyundai plastered with Obama stickers.)

It was the sort of day that left me exhausted and filled with doubt. No matter how hard I tried, or what I tried, I couldn't be the parent I wanted to be. At the end of the day, the only logical response was to let E get up from his non-nap, stick him in front of Clifford The Big Red Dog, and hide in the kitchen to consume jalapeno lime tortilla chips and coconut cake while reading The Atlantic. Just as I'd cleaned up the evidence of my disgusting display (two pieces of cake, it was seriously disgusting), reinforcements arrived, in the form of J, home an hour early from work. At which point, I promptly left the house and went shoe shopping.

It was the worst day we've had in a very long time. Now, from the perspective of the Morning After, I can say that even though I messed up and lost my temper and didn't do the best I could, there were still things I did right. Knowing when to step back. Knowing when to call in reinforcements. And knowing that there are some situations where the only thing you can do to keep it together is eat cake and buy shoes, and in those situations, a couple thousand extra calories and 68 bucks is a small price to pay.


  1. Ah, cake and new shoes... what comfort!

    You have an excellent perspective. You *did* do things right. Great job.

    I hope you and E have a better day today!

  2. I found myself polishing off a piece of cake, hiding in the kitchen last week. I'm glad I'm not the only one. Shoes, that would have been icing on my cake, instead I had to rally because reinforcements were not coming. (Remember the Alamo? That was me that day. Too little, too late on the reinforcement front.)
    Be generous with yourself. Some days just stink.

  3. It sounds like our Es would get along -- not sitting and not napping are his specialities too.
    Good for you for knowing your limits! And for remembering what you did right in midst of a bad day. (or at least in the morning sunrise shining off your new shoes :)

  4. I know your pain. Mr. B is going through a phase. I think boys deal with their "terribles" at three, not two.

    There were some good things about your day. Cake and shoes. I have to say, I don't like The Atlantic. My in-laws get us a subscription every year and the headlines alone just piss me off. No magazine beats The New Yorker.

  5. Oh the stories I could share of days gone awry. Once they start, it seems like the hill just gets bigger and we start tumbling down so fast that it rapidly gets out of our control. You handled it better than I would have.I'm the type that would try to fix it all and then make it worse. Sometimes you just need to leave it alone, step back, have a piece of cake (or two :-) and start fresh the next day.

  6. I would have eaten the whole cake. OK, I have eaten the whole cake! And thank goodness for daddy reinforcements!

  7. Hi Jamie - I had to come back and comment on this post because it's been in my head ever since I read it, especially this morning when my own son fell into the toilet bowl after insisting that he could sit all by himself. Man, how I wish I had some coconut cake in the house!