Challenging Patience

Sorry, this is a long one.

Today has been one of those days where I seriously doubt my ability to be a good, patient wife and mother. I woke up on the wrong side of the bed, to say the least. Actually, I woke up at 2am when a bunch of D-bags were talking right outside my window about what they’re looking for in a _______ . I couldn’t quite figure out what goes in that blank, but I presume he was talking about women. Some cocky guy with a stupid southern drawl was trying to impress a ditsy drunk girl but he had to talk loudly over his car engine and his crappy rap music.

It’s one of the many downsides to living in La Mirage Apartments where mostly single college partiers and people in the military live. Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night around 2am when the bars let out everyone attempts to park their cars out on the street and then stumbles around the sidewalks right below my bedroom window, talking in their full outside voices like it’s the middle of the afternoon. I had my days of ignorantly stumbling loudly down streets below people’s bedrooms, so I get it. It’s jsut that now I’m a grown-up. I hate that that’s the case, but it is. The problem with the situation at hand is not only that these kids wake me up, but that they wake the baby up as well and make her cry. Then when I yell at them out the window they don’t seem to hear me. Ugh. We gotta get out of here.

Then Hubby comes home from work shortly after I finally get back to sleep and he snores. It really hasn’t been a problem for a while, but for some reason he kept me up last night. No matter how many times I kicked him, he kept right on going. So I move to the other room where the bed isn’t made. In fact, the blankets and dirty laundry and toys and books and sand from the beach are all jumbled up in one big ball of irritating mess. I crawl right in, bury myself, and get back to sleep around 3:30 or so. Of course, Maysen, other than waking up from the idiots mentioned above, has had a full twelve hours of sleep and is bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and ready to play at 7am. When I sleep in the same room as her I build a little wall of pillows behind which I attempt to hide so as to gain a few extra minutes in Snoozeville. But, you know how if you try to laugh, you suddenly can’t help it? Or if you try to ignore an itch it just gets worse and worse until you give in and scratch it? So it goes when Maysen wakes up and starts calling “mama mama mama mama mommy”. I’m hiding behind my pillow fortress and suddenly realize that my entire leg is asleep and tingly. I have to move, but that also means Maysen will discover the motion, and therefore discover me.

As soon as she realizes I’m there she starts whining and crying. And this is how the day began. I don’t know if she’s getting more teeth or what, but she whined the entire day today. I go to change her and she wants to use the hand sanitizer. For some reason she really gets a kick out of it. I give her a little tiny squirt to play with (I know, I know. Bad idea.) But then she wants more. So she screams, flips over and nearly jumps off the changing table trying to get the stupid squirt bottle. I continue to refuse giving her the sanitizer; she continues to scream, whine and point at the bottle. No, she doesn’t want to play with toys. No, she doesn’t want to read a book. No she doesn’t want to cuddle and make mommy feel better. She either wants to play with hand sanitizer or lie on her stomach screaming, kicking and pounding the floor with her tiny little fists. In any other mood I would find this cute and charming, but today, it’s hitting my last nerve. And it’s only 7:30.

So we go downstairs to start our morning ritual. And my friggin’ Keurig is on the fritz so I can’t get my coffee. I can’t check my emails because the second I sit down, she screams, crawls into my lap and pounds on the keyboard begging for youtube. She eats a banana, but insists on feeding me the chewed up pieces that she has decided not to swallow and throws a fit when I politely say no thank you. And I go to throw a load of laundry in and put my hand directly into a pungent pile of barfed up fruit wrapped up in her bedsheet from a few days ago. And I have to wrap up the bread and scrape freaking PB&J off the countertop with a peanutbuttery knife for the thousandth time this month. And the fruit flies swarm around the dirty dishes in the sink. And toys and noodles and crackers and magnets and shoes and clutter all over the floor. I just need a cup of coffee and one single moment of peace and quiet.

So May and I walk down to the coffee shop. But she dilly-dallies, discovering every bottle cap, cigarette butt, spider web and rock that she comes across. I’ve made a deal with her — once Mommy gets her coffee, we can dilly-dally all day long. But until then, I’m gonna carry her. So I pick her up and she squeals, giving me the noodle. The noodle is when she makes her entire body go limp and squirms in an attempt to escape my grasp. It nearly works every time, but I usually manage to outwit her. Usually. Getting coffee with a toddler is a feat in itself, but I made it through that fiasco, only having to chase her into the parking lot three times. So what if she sticks her hand in some guy’s acai smoothie and prompts him to say, “a little extra spice for me today, huh?” Psh…Sorry, but I can’t deal with your acai now, dude.

So we dilly-dally all the way home. She’s been crying so she has snot running down her nose and onto her lip. She sneezes and blows a bubble, then sticks her finger in it. I have her in one arm and coffee in the other, so there’s nothing I can do but let this happen. Then she takes her snotty finger, rubs a snail trail onto my chest and says, “booby!”

Our walk home, which would normally take 2 minutes for anyone else, takes 25 for us. I have my coffee, though, so I’m ok with that. But we get home and I’m still grumpy. I just can’t shake it, no matter what. May and I play for a while, but when naptime comes, or maybe even a few minutes before, I lay her in her crib and shut the door. I tell my sleeping giant of a husband that I’m going to yoga. It’s not an option.

Yoga, like always, helped significantly. It took me about 50 minutes to finally get to a better place in my head, but I got there. The teacher shared a magnificent quote at the end of class that couldn’t have hit closer to home. I don’t think anyone could have said anything more relevant or helpful to me at the time. Don’t laugh, but it actually elicited a couple of tears during savasana. Of course, I can’t remember what she said, but I’m going to email the studio – Sol Yoga in La Jolla – to ask. Something about manifesting your own destiny, in so many words.

The day went by — lunch, I was grumpy, temper tantrums, I was grumpy, short time at the park with Daddy, I was grumpy, Hubby left for work, I was grumpy, came home, I was grumpy, put Maysen down for a nap at 4:30 and finally had a chance to get a few things done. But I was still grumpy. It was 6:30 before I noticed the time. I went upstairs to check on her…shit. Still sleeping. She can’t sleep this late or she’ll stay up too late and then we’ll start the whole thing over again in the morning. I decided to just let her try to sleep through the night, but then I was really craving a Sierra Nevada and needed a little something for dinner. Should I let her sleep or wake her up to go to the store? Maybe run off a little energy? I seriously struggled in my head and finally went up to check on her again at 7:00. That’s when my heart first melted.

I peeked in her room and she was standing up in her crib, arms crossed and resting on the side rail, head resting on her arms, and she just silently stared out the window. She seemed so peaceful and dreamy. “Psst,” I said. She looked up at me and grinned the biggest, brightest, toothiest smile, and then she reached up towards me and said, “Mama!” with such joy that all of the shittiness I had been feeling all day just melted away. We went downstairs and she ran straight to her pony and just giggled. She was just suddenly so ridiculously happy that she cracked herself up. Sometimes, when she’s in this kind of mood, I just watch her and feel utter amazement that this little creature (er, monster) actually came from me. I created her. (Well, I’ve had a little help, of course.)

Then she looked up at me, sitting at the kitchen table, and ran over to climb up on the chair next to me, like she just wanted to chat with Mama. But she bumped her head on the table edge on her way up. Instead of screaming and crying and throwing a big fit like she would have earlier in the day, she rubbed her head and looked at me, puzzled, and said, for the first time, “Owwwwww.”

And it dawned on me, at that moment, that she is learning from me. She’s picking up everything I say and everything I do. I can’t let all of these annoying little things get to me like they did today. I can’t be so damned grumpy and irritated. I just have to remember that it’s the way I react to the situations that is most important. After all, I have a little monster to raise. And I don’t want to raise her to be the monster I was all day today.

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Mommy’s little monster Maysen.

Hard to believe this pretty little face can make Mommy crazy, huh?

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