Last night, while supposedly clear headed, I said to myself: “I should wrap this present for the birthday party tomorrow.”
But because apparently I am a glutton for punishment, I followed that up with the thought that, “No, I’d like my son to be a part of this present wrapping since it is for his friend.”
So I waited until today, because it seems I thought attempting to instill a spirit of giving and a love of generosity into my child through gift wrap seemed like a better idea than maintaining sanity.
In hindsight, getting a preschooler to wrap a gift wouldn’t be my greatest decision on a good day, but it turned out to be a particularly bad decision today, as today turned out to be the polar opposite of a good day.
I woke up in a FUNK.
This happens to me occasionally, usually due to lack of sleep, but there are some days when I just can’t snap out of it.
Instead of waking up, getting dressed, and ‘getting to it’ with making breakfast and going about my day, I wake up, drag myself downstairs, turn on the TV for the kids and bury my head in my phone, perhaps hoping that if I don’t look at anything real it will all just sort of go away. And inevitably, ‘it’ (the parenting thing) doesn’t go away, and I just have to choose to wake up and make the best of it.
Except some days I just can’t. Some days, I can tell myself to ‘choose joy’ til I’m blue in the face but all I really want to do is murder a puppy.
Today was one of those days.
The kids watched a half hour of TV while I mindlessly scrolled Facebook, but that little break didn’t help and the morning ‘funk’ didn’t magically dissipate.
I read my Bible at breakfast, hoping that perhaps there would be a verse to inspire me or snap me back to my regular self, but it was hard to concentrate while the baby poured his cheerios all over himself and the 3 year old splashed his milk everywhere while claiming to be ‘pushing the cereal into the bowl’. So breakfast ended and I felt even worse.
A full belly and some distracted devotions didn’t help, but surely some fresh air would do it, right?
I got everybody dressed and ready to take the dogs out – 3 year old on his bike, baby in the stroller – but even the great outdoors did nothing to lift my mood.
And it was in this “I don’t want to deal with life or parenting and my patience is actually non-existent and I am just a tired, angry monster thinly disguised as a human” moment that my most terrible decision of all was made.
I said to myself, “Now is the right time to ask a 3 year old to wrap a present.”
I do not know what kind of mad drugs I was doing but they must have been potent. ESPECIALLY because instead of waiting 15 minutes for the baby to go down for his nap, I decided we could just do it at the table while he toddles around.
First of all, that kid doesn’t just ‘toddle around’ if you are in the middle of doing something important. He refuses to be left out of anything, so of course he was immediately clambering up on chairs and even directly onto the table to get right in the middle of it.
This meant that my attention was mostly on getting the scissors, tape and wrapping paper out of the baby’s hands, and not on what the 3 year old was up to with the tape and scissors and wrapping paper.
Paper got ripped. There was a giant hole in one section of the piece we cut out, plus because I allowed my 3 year old to cut the piece of wrapping paper, there was also a giant cut mark across the whole thing, despite my encouraging, “Ok, make sure you’re pointing the scissors that way.. nope, up a little, ack…no no no cut right beside the roll…. Here let me help you… ahhh, stop. STOP!”
So I decided to just tape it up, but because I’m a moron and he asked to help, I let the 3 year old tape it up which meant tape got stuck to the wrapping paper and made more rips and tears.
At some point during the incessant removing of things from children’s hands, and the repeated lifting of the child OFF the table, I was very close to the edge. I begged them, “Please, PLEASE just listen, the present is almost wrapped and…”
At that moment the older one ripped the paper ON PURPOSE.My first impulse was to throw either the present or one of the children against the wall, but obviously neither of these options is a particularly good idea. Instead, I actually started clapping and dancing in the middle of the living room floor, singing, “MOMMY’S GONNA LOSE HER SHIT!! MOMMY’S GONNA LOSE HER SHIT!”
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, you read that correctly.
Taking a step back from this, it is obvious that a) I should have never let myself do something that requires patience when I was in such a horrid mood and b) If I let myself do it, I should have then been able to recognize the disastrous nature of my decision and stopped what I was doing when it started to unravel. But neither A or B occurred, and so instead my kids laughed while I danced like a monkey and swore in front of them.
Dance completed, rather than stopping, thinking, and moving on to another activity, I instead removed all the chairs except the one my 3 year old was on so that the baby couldn’t clamber up and destroy anything else, thinking then I could just focus on helping my 3 year old wrap this thing properly. But all it did was cause the little guy to climb up on the chair his brother was already on, and get his arm stuck in the slats. I heard him protesting loudly for awhile before I realized he probably needed help to get down, and only realized he was actually stuck when I tried to lift him down. Tug. Tug… oh you’re stuck. Wiggle wiggle. Hmm. You are REALLY stuck. Wiggle squish tug tug… freedom! His arm was bright red and he was screaming in pain.
Present wrapping was then put on hold so I could breastfeed him in a bid to get him to stop crying.
Due to the delay, the 3 year old got tired of the present wrapping and wanted to read a book. Perfect. I continued on my own, hopeful that our efforts to that point could be somewhat salvaged and that I could at least wrap the second portion nicely.
Except that then the baby started screaming because his big brother had a book and he wanted one too. (And because of course he was tired since by then he should have been down for a nap already).
Ok. Baby on lap with his book.
I will wrap this darn present if it kills m… what the heck is this now?Somehow there was a smear of banana on one of the Hot Wheels cars, so either I failed to wipe the table down after breakfast (possible), or the baby found some banana on the floor somewhere and thought it would be a welcome addition to this gift (probable). I wiped that crap off, wrapped the present, and took that baby to bed.
It was then that it occurred to me that it was only 9am and I HAD THE WHOLE DAY LEFT TO LIVE.
At this point I came to the computer because typing it out often helps, and perhaps THIS would work to finally snap me out of my funk because Lord knows auditioning for the first episode of Present Wrapping With Preschoolers sure didn’t do it. Of course, being on the computer focused on writing means I was only vaguely aware of what my son was doing:
So this will be fun to clean up.Ironically, it was the crazy mess that finally defunked me. I looked at the 3 year old.
“Um, so what happened here?”
“Look, I’ve been sorting everything!” was his earnest reply. And so I laughed (because I had already done my losing it dance for the day), and said, “Sorting usually means putting like items together, so let’s gather up all the art supplies, shall we?”
And so we did, and for whatever reason, the fog lifted, normal mommy came back, and we “re-sorted” his sorting and then had a snack and a cuddle.
And tomorrow will be a new day, hopefully one free of the Losing It dance, though truthfully, the kids seemed to love my moves. Lucky for them, I will probably be dancing again in the not-too-distant future, because some days that’s just how it goes.
Do you have a tried and true trick for not throwing presents or kids at the wall? Let me know in the comments what happens when your kids push you too close to the edge.
This post is linked up with some other awesome parenting blogs so be sure to check them out: