The other day my son fell and skinned his knee. He stood there, red-faced and howling, tears welling up and clinging to his ridiculously long lashes and slipping down his still-round cheeks. And here's what I said to him, my poor hurting little boy: "Didn't I tell you not to jump off that rock? Didn't I? I can't believe you didn't listen to me."
Boy, things have changed since the days when I would rush to their side over every bump and bruise, that's for sure.
Now, I'm not saying I react with frustration over every injury, or that I bark at them to walk it off while they're spurting arterial jets of blood. My youngest broke his collarbone a few months ago, and I thought I was going to have a heart attack on the spot.
But I have to be honest, I'm often more impatient than sympathetic -- because holy crap, kid, how many times did I say not to do that or you'll get hurt? A MILLION BILLION FRILLION TIMES, THAT'S HOW MANY.
Eye-rolling boo-boos isn't my only parenting shortcoming as of late. Oh, sometimes I feel like all I do is heave reluctant internal sighs over the most basic, everyday tasks that are hardly above and beyond the call of motherhood duty.
My 4-year-old, for instance. He loves to talk. God, does he ever love to talk. (Well, unless he's around someone new, then suddenly he assumes his Native American persona, He-Who-Silently-Hides-Behind-Pantleg.) He talks and talks and talks all day long in his high-pitched little voice and he has this habit of cheerily verifying information over and over -- "We're going to pick up Riley from camp? We're getting Riley? He's at camp? We're leaving soon to go to the camp? To get Riley?" -- and sometimes I feel like the sheer relentless amount of Preschooler Chatter echoing around and around in my skull and I just want to drop to my knees and shriek, "OH MY GOD PLEASE JUST SHUT YOUR NOISE-HOLE FOR THIRTY CONSECUTIVE SECONDS BEFORE YOU GIVE ME A BRAIN TUMOR."
I don't, of course. Because then my 6-year-old would pop out of nowhere and say, "Brain tumor? What's THAT mean?" since he says that about a thousand times a day. I can barely get through a sentence without him interrupting me, fixing me with a penetrating gaze, and saying, "Dish disposal? What's THAT mean? Lawn fertilizer? What's THAT mean? Erectile dysfunction? What's THAT mean?"
(I'm kidding about the last one.)
If by chance I get a break from the chatter and questioning, I'm being assigned errands like their personal Gal Friday. "I'll take a juice," one child will say airily, not even bothering to look up from his book. From the bathroom, another child's voice echoes down the hall, "Mommmmmm! I need heeeeeeellllp! ... With my BUTT!"
More milk! I can't find my Ninjago guy. Can you unbuckle my helmet? Where are my scissors? We want to watch Looney Tunes!
Peace and quiet? What's THAT mean?
Oh, and you know what else has been driving me crazy lately? When I am coloring with one of my kids and he wants to draw on my page.
My brain: "ABSOLUTELY NOT BECAUSE YOU CAN'T STAY IN THE GODDAMNED LINES AND YOU'RE GOING TO RUIN EVERYTHING AIIIEEEEEEE."
My mouth: "Sure, honey."
So basically I sometimes feel resentful about helping my children with their injuries, listening to them talk, explaining things to them, assisting them with nutrition and personal hygiene, and engaging in bonding activities. I know, you're probably wondering how I got to be such an amazing, selfless parent. It's like I was born with a magical gift.
Do you ever find yourself mildly horrified at the things that irritate you as a mom?
Image via Linda Sharps