You wake up one morning “on your own”, as to say, not by a crying toddler or bed ambush by a preschooler. You stretch, hear the birds chirping, see the sun shining outside your window and slowly start thinking about your coffee when suddenly you hear your toddler crying and your preschooler ambushes you in bed. The day has begun and you are familiar with how it will go but 1% of your certainty says you are wrong… “my children are not my enemies!” you tell yourself as you rub the sleep from your eyes.
The morning goes as usual, you get up because your preschooler is pushing you off of the bed and your toddler keeps saying “ge dun, ge dun” meaning he’s ready to get going quickly. So, you stumble out of bed and head to the coffee pot. You savor the scent and warmth of your cup of coffee mentally drowning out the morning noise to get ready for the day. You make breakfast for your kids, only realizing at noon that you should have made some for yourself, and the mutiny begins. The toddler vehemently and violently throws the sippy cup from his tray whilst pegging blueberries at the dog. Your preschooler yells at the toddler for such behaviors while complaining about the temperature and the fact that you forgot to buy pancakes the day before. You wonder if imposters have invaded your territory. So, you calmly and methodically manage to get the toddler fed and the preschooler taken care of too. You WILL NOT let the highchair tirade or menu issues ruin your morning…since its only 7:00am after all.
Everyone seems settled until it is time to get ready to go to school. The preschooler has been saying “just a minute” in response to your half an hour of saying “time to get ready” until the calm “time to get ready” turns into a yelling “COME HERE NOW!” and your preschooler is crying because “you are being so mean.” You feel that enemy lines have been drawn and you begin to strategize. How can you win this battle? Well, sheer force does not seem to work under these circumstances because the enemy is strong willed and has more ammunition than you are prepared to deal with at 7:30am. The opposition is nudged in the desired direction and eventually, you get out the door.
After the preschooler goes to school, the toddler takes a stand-down knowing that the cuteness and one-on one attention will give him the lead for a while and you know that nap time is coming so you relent to most of the resistance. The toddler takes a nap and there is an official cease-fire. Both parties regroup….until the preschooler comes home from school and the toddler is rested. Then, the preschooler roots through her ammunition stockpile and finds one of her best….the slow and deliberate “MAWWW-AWM” (I hope you can hear the sing song tone). The toddler is bothering the preschooler in every way, most intentional, some not.
The afternoon goes on in this back and forth fashion and you realize not only are they your enemies, they are each other’s enemy too! This is serious warfare now. Which side do you take and when…and do you take either? And if you take neither side..then, where are you? And you don’t have your cohort there to help. You are left to your own devices and the outcome does not look good. The hitting, squealing chasing, tattling ensues. In the midst of all the chaos, the preschooler is picking her nose and saying “poop’” every fifth word. This is her tactic to disorient you. She knows that the nose picking and potty talk will completely throw you off from the mayhem at hand. And she’s right, this is the 5,276th time you’ve heard “poop” today and you might just blow.
Your partner in crime finally arrives in the combat zone and you step back to let the fresh troop take lead. You decide to play with the toddler and attempt surrender when he storms the frontlines with a match box car that impales your eyebrow and blood starts dripping from your face. So, it’s on again. The toddler notices that you are not as worn down as he thought, so he takes a new strategy and kisses you. This works. The evening progresses and everyone relaxes into bedtime.
You take a deep breath, take a long, hot shower, have a glass of wine and rejoice in your motherhood. You remind yourself that your children are not your enemies. You remember that they are beautiful children, gifts from God and that you are blessed. You enjoy talking about the cute, funny things they did that day and the lessons they learned. You feel guilt over the wrong ways you reacted and worry that you are totally screwing them up. But, you go to sleep feeling completely fulfilled knowing that you need to get as much rest as possible because tomorrow is another blessed day on the battlefield but you wear your battle wounds with pride.