Last night before bed I thought, “I should really try to update my blog.” I had some vague, thoughtful thinky thoughts about the kids and parenting and fell asleep for about eleven minutes before I had to pee and then my son had a nightmare and came to sleep on my face, and then wet the bed and peaced out without telling me, and then I woke up and rolled into a chilly urine puddle, and then he got up again at six. And I thought, “I should really not update my blog today,” because nothing spells bizarre introspection like sleep deprivation.
Yesterday in the car, in response to having a privilege taken away because he opened a bag of food at the grocery store, my son said, “When I am a parent, I won’t yell at my kids. I will politely ask them to go to time out, and if we’re at a store, I will tell them that when they get home, they need to go to their room, please.”
I drove with white knuckles on the steering wheel. I’d murmured to him at the store, calmly informed him that it was my fifth time telling him to behave, and that he was losing his video game time.
“You yell all the time,” he said. “You’re not a very good mom.”
And I said, “Well, nobody’s perfect. I make mistakes, and you make mistakes too. All we can try to do is be better, all of us.”
What I wanted to say is that I do everything I’m supposed to do (sometimes), I set reasonable expectations (generally) and I establish reasonable consequences (mostly) and in the face of those consequences you lose your shit (constantly) and act like a rabid screaming monkey for an hour and say things like “I’m not your son anymore!” and in general just abandon the ship of rationality. And it kind of sucks. And then I yell. And then I feel like an epic dickhead for yelling and we’re in a cycle of fail.
“It hurts my ears,” he says. “It hurts my throat,” I say.
It hurts my heart.
And kid, kid. Sometimes I’m working and you come into my office and hug me and kiss me on the cheek. Or you ask for cuddle time and we just sit in silence. Or you read to me with your tiny voice, hardly stumbling at all, and I see you stretching into this boy-shaped thing and I can’t understand how this goes so fast and how it’s so easy and so hard all at once.
And the little one, god. He’s still cherub-shaped, sleeping in diapers, but on the cusp of little boy, and soon there won’t be any more diapers and I won’t be able to pick him up because he’ll be long limbs and scrubby knees—and he’s already stinky feet and so stubborn.
Lately my head has been in the clouds, writing my own stories because their stories, these stories, are terrifying. They’re stories of not good enough and too fast and moments of blinding perfection that pass like a flashbomb, before I can get out my camera or pop off a tweet or remember to remember, please remember forever.