the days

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These are the days, they say. The ones we will look back on in our later years as the best memories. The snuggles we receive daily will fade slowly until one day we yearn for the smell of their baby shampoo. The nights we smoother them with kisses will be replaced with sneaking out and slammed doors before we know it. We will beg for the simplicity of time outs and forced apologies. They say.

Right now, it seems those days will never come. I love my little gems more than life itself. Yup, I’d take a bullet. I’d gladly walk through fire if it ensured their eternal happiness. I also could do without the jack in the box bedtime routines, crap in the underwear, and bipolar episodes that rival some the best Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde moments.

When you are in the troughs of toddlerhood, it is very difficult to see the big picture. Sure there are no shortage of open letters written to pluck at our heart strings and give us the guilt we need to do one more glitter craft, but what about the days you just stop giving a fuck about glue, playdoh, and boa feathers? Those days when you just can’t muster the strength to pull them apart one more time over the Elmo doll? The days when they go to bed less than shiny because the energy needed for bath time was gone before lunch. Does that make us bad mothers? Ungrateful for these days?

The internet has made us think so. The perfect pictures of these wonderful moms that always seem to have it together, that contain endless energy, and shit rainbows. The glimpses of smiling faces destroying their mother’s kitchen with shaving cream activities and crayon doodles. The documents that scream you should meet your child’s every whim within seconds or they will turn into serial killers and take you out in your sleep. But the internet lies. It holds back the truth; it shows only the highlights of life. It shows only, the days.

It doesn’t show the ten minutes of screaming before the snapshot. It neglects to show the mom profusely cursing under breath as she scrubs the bathroom floor for the fifth time cartoon-1082114_960_720after her son can’t seem to find the huge hole that is the toilet. It doesn’t allow you to see the haggled, stain-ridden t-shirt you are rocking for the third morning at school drop off. It doesn’t show you the real effects of the days.

I don’t want to seem unappreciative of the time I get to spend with my boys. I understand the new role in my life is not a chore, but an amazing gift with which I have been blessed. With every fiber of my being I will work to raise beautiful, rule abiding, caring, well-rounded men; but, I also understand that these days will get better and only in hind-sight will they seem magical.

Some of these days we will tour dinosaur exhibits and museums evoking hours of childhood play. Some days we will get through two hours of school work and learn how to count without help. Some days we will go on exploratory walks discussing books we enjoy. Some days we will gather with friends and family and laughter will never end. Some days the boys will collect fireflies from the skies and revel in their awesomeness before releasing them hours after bed time. Some days we will go on vacations. Some days we will paint, and glue, and create masterpieces. Some of the days will be amazing.

Some days we won’t get out of our pajamas. Some days will be a TV marathon. Some days the kid will play with an empty popcorn bucket and paper coffee cup, despite the various toys at his disposal. Some days we will be in time out forty times and still push our brother over the toy train. Some days I will feel like I’m in negotiations with a terrorist over peas. Some days we will leave the supermarket with our pride in our pockets screaming all the way to the car over a bag of goldfish. Some days I’ll secretly snack on bonbons while playing “Hide and Seek.” Some of the days will suck.

Years from now I will look at the boys I have grown into men and will sigh in gratitude for all we have gone through to get to that point. I will reflect on the wonderful days that comprise my memories. I know those days will not just include the magical moments that made me seem like supermom; but, I also know in time all the non-magical, cleaning up messes, scrubbing off poop, lazy Tuesday’s will start to fade. I will let go the days that seem like hell. I will forgive myself for feeling embarrassed that this is my life. I will forget the open letters I’ve read that have shamed me into feeling less than stellar. Over time these days will be the days.

But for now, right now in this trench of toddler-hood, in the hardest, bloodiest fight of my adult sanity, I resolve to go to bed every evening feeling successful knowing my children had food in their bellies (not that it was all fruits and veggies), played with toys (maybe not the top market), and had clothes on their backs (sometimes several-generation hand-me downs). Some days will create our memories, and some days I will struggle to forget.

While I appreciate hearing from someone on the other side of this battle that these are the days, currently, as I struggle leaving the park with my screaming toddler, fail at my attempt to sneak a shower in during their ten-minute nap, stare longingly at my husband while scarfing down my meal at the kid-friendly restaurant, I don’t need the reminder. I don’t need to be told how I should savor the moments, create better memories, strive to be a better mommy.  I am already painfully aware of these days and if I am being honest, some days, I can’t wait until they are the days.   


So, I took on the supermarket today.

Have you ever taken both a toddler and a preschooler to the food store? Now add in all the last minute shoppers for the coming holiday, a ton of great deals on processed food, and it being 12 noon (an half hour before lunch). Oh, and lucky me, I arrived just as the local retirement community shuttle was dropping off their clientele. I swear, I can’t even make this stuff up.

So here I am entertaining Bugga with all my ramblings of the interesting items I am swiftly plucking from the shelves, (you will never appreciate the entertainment value of a kiwi until you have a 3-year-old) and supplying a miserable, molar growing, shell of my Handsome with water and every toy I have at my disposal, and I have to pee. Are you kidding me, Bladder? I’ve literally been in this store for five minutes. Peeing is not an option. So in true Mom of the Year (MOTY) style, I squeeze my legs, pray to the potty gods, and muster on, trying to remember the last few items on the list that Handsome had apparently deemed his chew toy a minute ago.

Anyway, so here I am gathering the canned goods for our Church baby-985942_1280program (I’m looking for ways to make up last week’s tantrum riddled service to the parishioners, ladies) and Handsome is in no way quietly telling me he is no longer having the food trip. I do a
quick glance of the cart, scan my watch. As I had expected, it had been ten whole minutes of semi-blissful shopping. I had to reach for the emergency, I need five more minutes before you blow your gasket, everyone is watching and I want a hole to open up and drag me down, stash–the lollipop. Only, I still needed a lot more time from that freakin’ life saver.

Of course Bugga also had to have one, we wouldn’t want to slight him of anything, and so began a few minutes of quiet, albeit sticky, shopping.

Then, Handsome dropped his pop, needed a new one immediately, and this set off the water works of a preschool. The irrational, hiccupping, my-life-just-ended, sobbing. How dare his brother receive a green pop, and he not also be given one–regardless of the fact that 30 seconds ago he was sucking on that thing with pure excitement, it was now poison.

Remember when I told you the Golden-agers where shopping with me today? This tantrum, that I was quickly trying to defuse and ignore, was like a homing beacon, and I was the horrible Mommy that just didn’t appreciate all this wonderful time that was so quickly passing me by. As each octogenarian walked by cooing my children and awwing me, I lost a bit more of my cool and the need to end this disastrous shopping trip was imminent.

We developed the sharing game, and the two swapped spit with pops until Handsome, thank god, became interested in the kiwi (which is now squished beyond use) and left Bugga to enjoy his new pop; me having lost the battle, but having won a quiet remainder of a shopping trip.

I’m not so sure why it is human nature to want to offer a criticizing word, or a tad of advice, or a sympathizing nod of the head when we see someone in the thick of a situation.  I suppose we inherently want to interject, but in these moments, in my moment, unless someone had a magic wand to wish my shopping done and me in my house during nap time, I really just wish everyone would have ignored us, as I was desperately trying to. I’m not sure anyone at the market wanted to hand me my MOTY award today, in fact I’m sure some placed me in the lowest tier, but, I did realize that sometimes to get the job done, you don’t have to win, you just need to survive.  And this Ma got everything on her list (well the part that wasn’t eaten, anyway).

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