Yesterday the kids just about sent me jumping from a bridge. Miles, who is four and a half, will not stop talking. Jack, the two year old, is learning to push my buttons. He is a quick study.
We ate lunch this afternoon and were playing Hot Wheels. I got a phone call and went into the bathroom to get away from the grating chatter of Miles’ mouth. It was Thomas, calling to say he missed me this weekend, how were things going with the kids, can we get together on Tuesday morning? He was in his car, so our exchange was brief; maybe 3 minutes.
I hang up and come out. Miles is quick to run to my side.
“Momma, look what Jack did in the kitchen!”
An entire box of Cheerios (And you KNOW I mean the giant box; not the regular-sized box that your gramma buys…) had been poured out onto the kitchen floor. Jack was sitting in the middle, tossing Os into the air and letting them rain down around him. When attempts to get him to clean up his mess failed, he sat in time out. Eventually most were swept up and tossed into the yard for the birds.
A few hours later, I was washing stinky heads of preschoolers' hair in the bathtub. Jack went first and sat in the tub while I washed Miles’. As I was soaping, Jack took a big plastic cup, filled it with water and poured it onto the bathroom floor.
Never has a kid gotten taken out of the tub so quickly. I handed him a towel.
“Wipe up the water, Jack.”
“I am going to tell you once more what you need to do. If you say ‘no’ to me again, you will sit on the naughty stool. You do not speak to people like that. Now, take the towel and wipe up the water you poured onto the floor.”
I pick him up and swoop into the kitchen where the stool awaits. I sit him down and set the timer. Miles has basically finished his bath and takes it upon himself to mop up the floor. I tell him to stop; that Jack made the mess and he needs to clean it up when his timeout is over. This Jack does, after apologizing to me for pouring the water.
Dinner. They are sitting, eating their pasta and salad. Miles asks for more milk. I go to the fridge to get it, and hear the sound of liquid falling onto the floor. Guess who. Jack had taken his full glass of milk, brought it to the center crack where the table leaf goes, and poured it along its length. Milk streamed from the tabletop down through the crack, onto a chair and finally the floor.
I didn’t yell. I barely whispered, my voice half-cracking:
“You are finished with dinner. Go to your room and look at books until I come to get you.”
I didn’t have the energy for discipline; I could barely contain my frustration. They both went into the bedroom and closed the door. I sank to the floor and cried over spilled milk.
Bedtime came early. I brushed teeth, read books and tucked in. Breathed a sigh of relief.
I have just poured myself a drink.