Sometimes I feel like the world's crappiest mother. By the time he went down for his nap this afternoon, I was on my last nerve, and it's pretty well shot just like all the others.
In the course of the morning, Daniel tried my patience in the following ways: Drew on the coffee table with his crayons. ... Crawled up on a dining room chair while I was on the phone in the kitchen and removed all the tulips from the vase, breaking off several of the heads and throwing others on the floor. ... Kept trying to crawl into the bathtub while I was going to the bathroom, despite my persistent "Feet on the floor, please." ... Threw a tantrum when I ushered him out of the bathroom. And, he's started hitting me when he doesn't get his way. Each time, I felt my blood pressure boiling, and my patience flying right out the window. Of course he was curious about the flowers. He didn't hurt himself, so I shouldn't be so upset about a bunch of flowers, right? (The fact that he's not allowed to climb up on the table is a separate issue, but he's only started doing it in the past few days, so it's still new to him, and he doesn't quite get what his limits are yet. Not that we're not trying, but this boy is stubborn.)
Then, the coup de grace: After being ushered out of the bathroom, he went back into the living room and began banging on one of the windows with his wooden hammer as hard as he could. That's when I just about lost it. Envisioning the bloody, shardy mess that could ensue if my son succeeded in breaking a window, I yelled in a panic from across the room, "Daniel, stop that!" Over and over I yelled at the top of my voice, and that boy did not stop, did not even turn around to look at me. It was as if I wasn't even there. I could have sworn he was acting out because he was pissed off at me for ruining his fun in the tub, and that made me even madder. (You see? I react. It's not healthy.) Finally, I reached him (it took a while because I didn't have my cane) and grabbed the hammer out of his hand and told him, still yelling, that it was not OK to bang on the window. He got pissed off again and threw his pacifier on the ground. I started crying and fell onto the couch, and then he started crying, and then we were both staring at each other, equally distraught, and I came back to him and picked him up, and he clung to me like a scared little boy.
Then I pulled myself together. We sat back down together on the couch, and I explained to him in the best, calmest language I could that I used my loud voice because I was scared when I saw him banging on the window because glass can break and be very sharp, and he could get hurt. "Mommy was scared," I said, and he nodded. "Mommy scared." He seemed OK after that, and when we played with the hammer again after lunch, to pound some balls through holes, he said, "Bang window," in the way he does when he's reflecting on something that stuck in his mind.
I'm sure he's bored stiff with me these days. We rarely go out anymore — I just don't have the energy to take him anywhere except play group or places with Steve. (So we do go out at night sometimes.) Sometimes I don't have the energy to do anything but play with him from the edge of the couch. I live for the couple of hours a day when he naps because then I have my time to myself, and I feel free. I just don't feel like one of those natural mothers sometimes. I certainly don't keep the house as clean as I wish I could. It feels cluttered and dirty in here, and all I do is sit with my big belly hanging out and look at it, wishing for magical powers that would let me move things into place with my mind. Maybe it's exasperated by the fact that it's been snowing all morning — that heavy, March snow that comes down hard and wet. Heart attack snow is what they call it because it's so heavy to shovel. So it feels all the more clausterphobic to be stuck indoors.
I know I should cut myself some slack, being so pregnant and all, but on days like these, I wonder how on earth I am going to take good care of two kids, let alone one. Daniel demands so much focused attention. What is it going to be like to tend to him him while also nursing, changing and holding an infant? I can't even imagine. Am I really ready for this?