There is something so tiring, somedays, about raising young children. Perhaps it is the marathon of getting them all ready in the morning and getting out the door. I’ve arrived at my car breathless and sweaty just from the morning routine of putting everyone in clothes and feeding them breakfast (this is always particularly ironic if I am headed to the gym to exercise). Somedays the tiring feeling is from sleepless nights, maybe from an infant fresh from the hospital with their days and nights mixed up. I can recall logging hours of pacing the hardwood floor with my two-week baby in the middle of the night. Her eyes were wide-open, almost as if little toothpick sticks were holding them up. I used to pray and plead for her to close her eyes and fall asleep! Surely the God who separated the Red Sea could work a miracle with my sleepless newborn! And I feel like no age tests the stamina of a full-grown adult like a two-year old toddler. It is awe-inspiring to watch a toddler in the throes of a full-blown temper tantrum – their body usually limp on the floor in anxst or stiff as a board in rebellion! It can be exhausting just to sit as a spectactor and watch, muchless actually intervening and trying to reason with such a spicy creature.
Any mother who has ever survived (or perhaps is now slowly dying) through the years of infant hood, toddler hood and the preschool years of “Why, Mama?” knows the feelings. Tired, but never enough sleep. (Why did I hang on to those monitors anyway?) Alone, but never really alone. (Why is it that even the dog knows how to open the bathroom door?) Always doing laundry but never wearing clean clothes. (Leave it to consistency to provide the line of snot at knee level from the toddler constantly hanging from my leg to match the splotch of spit up from the baby drooling on my shoulder – a constant dampness to mock my spiritual dryness.)
Irritable and cranky. (Me, not just the kids.). Desperate for relief from the list of things to do all day every day again and again and no one to really talk to about it. (The Dick and Jane readers my daughter sang from the other room in a staccato voice didn’t help with their monotonous “See Spot run. See Jane run. See Spot jump on Jane. See Mother laugh.”). And the 5:00 daily showing of Clifford the Big Red Dog, followed by Curious George on PBSKids poured lemon juice on a cut as the children were tricked that “curiosity” can be substituted for disobedience if you’re a cute monkey who wears a yellow hat. But dinner must be made, so just watch it anyway. (Can you tell I struggled with bitterness a little?)
There I was in the throes of those early years of motherhood: a four year old, a three year old, and an infant, all with colds and attitudes. I had to get out of the house. But lunch first… Oh wait, no bread, no peanut butter. No! A trip to the grocery store was necessary. Wait, you mean I have to go out?! Drag these three with me? (Can you tell I struggled with control?)
So I found myself with two littles in the front basket of the cart, one little in a car seat snapped to the upper basket of the cart, trying to get through the aisles as quickly as possible as all three were hungry, whining, and running at the nose. Heat was rising to my ears and tears burned as I held them back. Turning the corner into the bread aisle, I almost lost it. I was a volcano ready to explode.
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