Monday, July 20, 2009

An inauspicious start

My first day alone all day with both children did not go as well as I hoped. And Mount Vesuvius caused a little bit of property damage.

It started out so well. B was working late tonight, so I dropped him off at work at noon and decided to take K out to lunch. It was going just fine - Alec slept angelically, I got K a cookie as a treat and she happily ate her lunch,* and we made plans to go to the park and feed the ducks and play Pooh sticks. But then I got up to get K more to drink, and I'm not entirely sure what she did while I was gone, but by the time I got back, she had woken Alec up. I was displeased, to put it mildly.

I packed us up in the car, and amazingly, Alec went back to sleep. This was K's cue to keep playing with him - putting her hat on him, tickling his feet - no matter how much I told her not to, until she woke him up again. I was livid. But then, miraculously, Alec fell asleep again. Only to be woken up a third time by his hellspawn of a sister.

Fortunately, we were very close to home, or she may have gotten punted out a window. Instead, we arrived home, and I got our stuff and Alec to take inside and opened K's door so she could get out. At this point, she decided to pull her supremely annoying trick of climbing into the back of the car instead.

I know the solution to that trick is to just open the back to let her out and she'll stop thinking it's a great trick to pull. But when I'm already angry it's very hard to do that. However, I held it together and just left a door open while I took a howling Alec inside and changed his diaper. I was a bit calmer when I went back out to get K out of the back of the car, when she told me she had wet her pants. Which of course wouldn't have happened if she had just gone in the damn house instead of fooling around in the back of the car. At that point, I hauled her out of the car and growled at her to go in the house and change her pants. I was working up a lecture on the theme of not fooling around and leaving her brother alone when I told her to as I closed the back door a bit harder than normal.

It wasn't really that hard, but since I wasn't paying much attention to what I was doing, I had my hand on one of the panes of glass in the window as I closed the door. Which then proceeded to shatter.

Thankfully, K was about ten feet in front of me, so she was nowhere near the glass. I was able to stay surprisingly calm, as I told her to stay back and checked Alec for glass shards (none, thank goodness), then carefully brushed myself off. I went upstairs, put Alec down and went to deal with the small cuts on my hand.

The one positive aspect of this is that the breaking window cowed K into obedience. So she readily obeyed when I asked her to go play in her room for a while. Then I put Alec in the sling where he calmed down quickly and sat down for a few minutes while I contemplated dealing with the broken glass. Then I asked B to come home. And ate K's cookie.

So I made it about three hours on my own with both kids today. K has blessed, wonderful preschool tomorrow so I have a day to recover before I face the gauntlet again on Wednesday. I've been thinking about how I can start the day better so hopefully I can deal with the horrendous behavior K's been favoring us with lately** with a bit more grace. Things like getting dressed as soon as I get up and making breakfast for myself before I give Alec his morning feeding, so I don't find myself still in my pyjamas and starving two hours later, feeling trapped and unable to cope. As for K, I'm hoping a combination of working really hard on keeping my patience, ignoring the button-pushing and mainntaining firm consequences for the defiance will help. And of course, a cattle prod could work wonders too.

*Behold the power of not restricting sweets: K took one bite of her cookie, then demanded my apple and happily ate it all. This is because cookies aren't anything special to her, so she doesn't feel the need to gorge herself on them when she gets one.

** I never thought I'd say this, but oh my hell, I've found an age I hate more than 21 months. We've seen a return of the same delightfully piquant blend of hair-trigger tantrums and oppositional defiance, only now she's smarter and has a better vocabulary, so she can press our buttons with fiendish accuracy while mouthing off and hurling insults when she gets mad. Ah, the wonder years.

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