Thursday, February 28, 2008

And the "Worst Mom of the Year Award" goes to...

Me. Ugh. I had an awful day with Aiden today. It started out VERY early--like 1:30 AM. Last night, Aiden shuffled into our bedroom in the middle of the night, blankeys in tow, wanting to crawl in bed with his Daddy and I. I walked him back to his bed and crawled under the covers with him, cuddling him until he went back to sleep. I tried to then sneak out of the bed and back to my own, but apparently I'm lacking in my sneaking skills, because Aiden woke up, asked me in the most pitiful voice where I was going, and then demanded I "take a nap with me for minutes, Mommy." Ugh. FINALLY, I managed to slip out of the bed and trudge my way back across the house to my own bed. And then just when I started to doze off...Brad started snoring.

Needless to say, I woke up exhausted and in a grouchy mood this morning. Aiden, oblivious to this, thought it would be a great idea to push my buttons all morning. Realizing Aiden hadn't yet gone potty since he woke up, I reminded him to go potty, and that if he kept his pants dry all day, he would get jelly beans after dinner. Aiden, whose pants I just checked and were dry, pauses, looks at me, then asks me to get him some new pants. He had just peed, right there in front of me, after I just told him to go potty! Deliberately!! "Why did you pee in your pants?" I asked him. "Because I didn't want to go to the potty," he replies. So, I meanly tell him, "No new pants, you can wear those for awhile, I don't WANT to get you new pants right now." After 30 minutes or so, I relented and changed him, but my blood was still boiling.

After that, Aiden decided to spend his morning pulling out every toy he owns and dumping very one of his toy bins on the floor. After several heated debates about clean-up and trips to the naughty spot for refusing to listen (he has inherited his father's "selective hearing"), I get tired of the battle and turn on the TV and DVD player in his room. Yes, I plugged him in. And I know, it's lousy.

While he's lounging and watching Robots, I try to frantically clean the house. Every few minutes, I'm interrupted by a very hateful, "Mommy! Mommy! Mooooommmmmmyyyyy!!! I want a SNACK!" which I try to ignore, because he knows that unless he asks nicely, he doesn't get anything. However, he is persistent in his demanding and shrieking, and finally I march back to his room and yell at him to "Stop yelling at me like that!" Yeah, I know, smart move mom--yell at your kid for yelling at you. Geez.

I make his lunch and warn him that it's almost nap time. He, of course, has to complain about the food I fixed him and demand something else. "Tough" I tell him (I'm no short order cook, and I know he normally loves fish sticks--this is a power play) and he sulks through his meal.

Nap time comes and, of course, he decides to do battle, but this time he uses a better technique than brute force and demands--he tries to be cute. He snuggles up after reading his books and tells me he wants to pat me and sing to me. Then he asks me 500 million questions about death and dying and going to heaven. I swear, this kid has a radar for "the best questions to ask to get out of taking a nap." Finally, he settles in to go to sleep, I dash out to frantically finish my grocery list, get dressed and shower, and do some work on the computer for my job--and he takes the shortest nap in the history of the world.

So, I plug him back in front of the TV and try to get dressed--I've abandoned the idea of a shower at this point, knowing that he'll spend the entire time with his face pressed against the glass yelling, "Mommy! Come out of there!" I finish my grocery list, print off his photo grocery list (the only way I can get him to cooperate in the store), and dash out the door. We stop by Blockbuster to FINALLY return "Monster House" and pick up something for the weekend. I spend the entire time saying, "Aiden, don't touch the movies" "Aiden, get back here! Don't run off!" and "Aiden, stand up! Stop that!" (as he collapses his legs since I am now holding his hand through the store). We get to the front, and now I have to suffer through the begging for all the candy and toys that Blockbuster strategically places at 3 year-old eye-level.

We walk next door to the grocery store. "Mommy, I want to drive a car." Ugh. These are the worst inventions on the face of the earth--grocery carts shaped like cars. The buckles are ALWAYS broken, so Aiden can crawl out at will and run off at break-neck speed down the aisles. The thing turns like a freaking 18-wheeler, they are impossible to navigate through the aisles, and the cart part, where I need to put my groceries, is TINY! I can't fit half of what I need in there! Luckily, the one car that is available is broken, which I tell Aiden, and this news sparks a tantrum that rival Kanye's after the VMA's. Finally, I get his kicking legs into a normal grocery cart--and the real fun begins. He writes on the me, the cart, and my purse with his marker that he's using on his grocery list. He throws the cap to the marker down 5 times and throws a fit when I take it away. He pretends to shoot at people in the grocery store, and when I remind him we don't shoot at people, he tells me, "I shooting at aliens, Mommy, not people. That's an alien, right there!" (pointing to the man standing behind me at the meat counter). He begs and pleads to walk, so when we get to the last aisle, I agree to let him walk, but remind him of the rules before I set him down: no running away, no touching things on the shelves. What does he do? He immediately runs away and starts pulling stuff off of the shelves! AUGH!

I pick up his mess, drag him to the checkout line, and ask him to help me put groceries on the belt, usually his favorite part of the trip. He helps with one or two items, then runs over to a display of basketballs and begins throwing them around. I have a line of people behind me at this point, the cashier is waiting on me, and I stand there unloading my cart and yelling over at Aiden:"Put those away and come back here now, please!" Seeing my helpless state, he of course chooses to ignore me. I march over, grab his arm, march him back, stick him in the cart, and proceed to pay while he shrieks at me and cries. Then I realize that there is no room in the cart for Aiden and the bagged groceries, so I lift him out, threaten to take all his favorite toys away if he runs off, and manage to get half-way to the door before he bolts. I keep my cool until we reach the car, but then I get in, he screams at me while buckling him in, and BAM! It is the last straw, and the floodgates open. I get into the car, turn around to look at him, and tell him how disappointed I am in him, how naughty he has been, and how I am not proud of his behavior right now. I read him the riot act, yet I still manage to keep from yelling. But then, my lovely child with a death wish decides to jut his chin out and tell me, "Don't talk to me like that, Mommy. That's ugly."

"NO MORE TALKING! NOT ANOTHER WORD! YOU WILL NOT TALK OR WHINE OR COMPLAIN OR SAY ANYTHING UNTIL WE GET HOME!"

"But I want to talk..."

"NO! I DON'T CARE WHAT YOU WANT RIGHT NOW! STOP! NOT ANOTHER WORD! I DON'T EVEN WANT YOU TO BREATHE LOUD!"

My son, now stunned to silence, bursts into tears as soon as I begin driving, and I feel like the lowest, most disgusting piece of pond scum. Ever tear breaks my heart, and I instantly wish I could take back every yelled word. I feel awful for the whole day--my lack of patience, for sticking him front of the TV, for yelling and rushing him and just making him and I miserable. I had planned to bake and frost a cake with Aiden and go to the playground in addition to our trek to the grocery store, but here it is 6:00, I'm just headed home from the store, my house is still a mess, dinner still needs to be cooked and Aiden and I have spent no quality time together, and I've just yelled at him.

Except for his tears, he stayed quiet the rest of the way home, his only act of obedience all day. When we pull into the driveway, I apologize for yelling and for losing my temper, tell him why I was so mad and explain why it is important that he listen to me. We hug and he smiles and kisses me, but he runs back to his room to play when we get home, and I can't help but feel like he's trying to get away from his mean ol' mommy.

Of course, I spend the rest of the evening beating myself up for our horrible day. I feel guilty--Aiden and I only have Tuesday and Thursday together anymore--I work Mon-Wed-Fri, and the weekends are all about Daddy, since Brad isn't home much during the week. I know I shouldn't expect perfection of myself, that these days are going to happen, but I can't help but feel guilty and horrible.

But the miracle of Aiden is that a few hours and hugs later, all is forgiven. He still loves me, he still wants to cuddle and tickle and play at bedtime, and when he asks me later that night if I'm his best buddy, I make sure I answer with an extra-emphatic "YES!"

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