Our good friends down the street had a birthday party for their three year old daughter. I had to go to this party without Mad Dog because of his work commitments (I know, that’s a shocker). I have to do stuff with the boys by myself all the time so that isn’t my issue. My issue is that at birthday parties, my children lose all ability to control themselves and wind up dangerously close to clinical insanity (or maybe it’s me).
I’m not sure if it’s the new setting, the almost tangible party excitement or the fancy cupcakes that set them off. We were there for three hours and I think I had one, five minute intelligent conversation with another adult in that time frame. The rest of the time I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off meeting the needs of my children, making sure that the other children were safe from them and making sure my friends’ home and their many possessions remained unharmed. It was exhausting.
T.Puzzle of course was defiant and spewed out a few screaming ‘no!’ tantrums. He also managed to lock his teeth on his brother’s hand as they fought over some toy. As I placed him in time-out he threw himself on the floor in kinetic desperation. By the time the party was over and I corralled my boys home I was drained and openly hostile with Mad Dog (who had arrived home a few short moments before we did). My hostility multiplied when Mad Dog questioned its existence. I’m sorry but three solid hours of stress will tend to make a Mom cranky.
This evening and all its stress melted away and brought us to our morning. T.Puzzle had a dry diaper after almost twelve hours of slumber! As soon as I realized this I raced to get him to the potty. As soon as I put him down he starts protesting in screaming wails. How on earth could anyone after TWELVE hours not immediately pee when placed on a toilet? I argue with him for a couple minutes. Then I take a figurative step back and realize I don’t really want to be locked in a power struggle over the potty. Our day would start off pissy if we did. So, I give up and leave the bathroom to pick out his clothes for the day. No sooner than my foot crosses that threshold, he pees. He was being stubborn. No way was he going to pee in front of Mommy. That would make her too happy. He wasn’t having any of that.
Despite its frustrating beginning our day goes pretty well. The weather has finally shifted. It’s not the normal thousand degrees with a million percent humidity. There is an actual chill in the air. Who knows how long it will last but it is delicious.
Part of my project for this fall-like day is to make eggless cupcakes for Full Speed’s mini-birthday celebration tomorrow. I go to the bother of driving to the not-so-convenient store to get the eggless mix because I want little brother T.Puzzle to feel included. Who knows if he will even actually eat them?
Once they are baked and cooled (they smell awesome by the way), I ask Full Speed to help me decorate them. I frost them in chocolate and give him the bottle of colored, candied sprinkles. In a flash he has it open and dumps almost the entire contents on one cupcake. I lose it. Mad Dog intervenes which makes me lose it more. I’m upset that Full Speed is wasteful for sure, but ultimately I’m upset because I told him to stop when he first started the dumpage and as soon as I turn my back, he continues to dump it all on one, defenseless cupcake.
The tension subsides after the cupcakes are more or less decorated and then I offer to read a chapter of ‘Inkheart’ to Full Speed out on the lanai. He is happy to do so. We snuggle under a fluffy red, blanket and pick up the story where we left off from yesterday.
Soon we have an unexpected visitor bust through the door and jump up on the chaise with us. T.Puzzle beams a smile at us and shouts, “I BACK!” Full Speed and I crack up. I say, “Well, T.Puzzle, we didn’t even know you had left,” and the laughter continues. Then the laughter takes a life of its own and we giggle and guffaw over funny faces and who knows what else.
Sometimes the pendulum of motherhood swings in your favor, sometimes it swings against you. Your job is to hang on and coast with its motion and when the laughter of the small moments finds you, embrace it with everything you have. Sometimes that’s all a Mom gets to get her through the day.