I opened the fridge, pulled out the marshmallow fluff flavored vodka, opened it, and wrapped my mouth around the opening.
I’d like to say I chugged it.
But I don’t chug. Maybe something is wrong with me. I don’t know. The second the liquid hit my tongue, my gag reflex went off and I managed a tiny, pathetic sip. I could never do shots either. While everyone tossed them back, I sipped mine.
Still. The tiny bit of alcohol I did get seemed to warm my body. I put the bottle away, opened a drawer, and reached for a chocolate bar. I managed to stick half of that in my mouth without gagging. I’m a champion when it comes to eating.
So why was I (attempting) to chug booze and stuffing my face with calories?
Because of the tiny people I had helped create. My daughter started it all when she refused to take a bath. She had been sitting on the living room floor, surrounded by her My Little Ponies. I had warned her that she had five minutes until bathtime. She responded with a sharp nod and continued to play. Then I kindly said five minutes later, “Okay, it’s time for a bath,” and I was met with, “Not yet.”
I’m sorry. Not yet? I was polite and gave her a warning time like all the ‘experts’ suggest for easier transitions. I was not going to put up with “not yet.”
“It’s time for your bath,” I tried again. “I’ll put bubbles in it.”
Natalie shook her head. “I’m playing.”
I counted to five silently and went, “Natalie. I’m the mother and when I ask you to do something, you do it. I’m sorry you didn’t get one of those parents who let the kids come up with their own rules. No, you got a mother who expects to be told “yes mommy” when I ask you to do something. I get that you’re getting older and therefore will test my limits but I’m here to tell you that it won’t happen. If I allow it now you’ll turn into one of those scary teens who think it’s okay to wear tiny clothes and smoke and experiment with drugs. So when I say it’s time for your bath, you tell me “yes mommy.” So let’s try this again: Natalie. It’s time for your bath.”
Natalie opened her mouth and for a second I thought, “Yes, it worked, my speech worked!”
Then she screamed.
And shouted, “I AM PLAYING WITH MY PONIES!”
Clearly, this is unacceptable behavior. So I picked her up and carried her to her bedroom. I explained that she was not allowed to scream and yell at me while she bellowed, “All I wanted to do was PLAY WITH MY PONIES!”
So I’m dealing with one child behaving like what I imagine Amanda Bynes behaved like before she got the help and then Tommy comes rushing out of his room freaking out because he can’t take all the noise. He’s clamping his hands over his ears and going, “Stop, NATALIE STOP, I CAN’T TAKE THIS! I CAN’T TAKE THIS, STOP, STOP, STOP.”
He has autism and deals with sensory issues, so he cannot handle the crying.
I have one little girl sobbing hysterically, I have a boy in full meltdown mode. What I wanted to do was drop Natalie, run out of the house, and go racing down the street. But I couldn’t, because Tom isn’t here, and it’s just me.
I had to come up with a solution. I could come up with a solution. Think. WWOPD. (What would Olivia Pope do? Weird thing to pop in someone’s mind, but I’ve been watching season 2 of Scandal.)
I set Natalie down in her bed and told her she needed a time out. I shut her door as Tommy rocked back and forth in the hallway.
“SHE NEEDS TO STOP! SHE’S THE WORST! SHE’S TOO OLD FOR THIS! IT’S TOO NOISY!” Tommy bellowed.
This is what you have to do when Tommy is in full meltdown mode. You have to look him in the eye, which isn’t easy, because he’s not always a fan of eye contact. You have to grasp his wrists and remind him to breathe, breathe, breathe. Then you pull him against you and rub his back, all while reminding him to breathe.
“It’s okay, it’s okay, breathe, breathe, breathe,” I whispered. “Breathe.”
“I CAN’T TAKE IT, MOMMY! STOP IT NATALIE! YOU ARE THE WORST! Why did you have to have another baby? Why couldn’t I have been the only one? SHE’S THE WORST!” Tommy screamed.
And yes, while he was shouting that, Natalie was still having a temper tantrum.
“Tommy, stop it. Don’t say ugly things, you are better than that. Breathe.” I brought him into his room and shut his door. Natalie’s cries were slightly muffled. I held him close, rubbing his back. “Breathe.” I felt his body began to relax. He began to take deep breaths. I stayed with him for a bit until he was better. Then I said I was going to check on Natalie. As I left, he began crashing against his mattress over and over again. This also helps relax him.
Natalie also was beginning to calm down. She whispered an “I’m sorry” and promised she’d take her bath.
“It’s just,” she sniffled, “my ponies didn’t want me to leave.”
Later, as she took her bath, Tommy wandered over and apologized. “When Natalie cries like that, it feels like I have a million razors stabbing my brain,” he explained. “I’ll try to be better.”
So yes. I have rough days. But every parent does.
It’s why I have a chocolate drawer.