It was a cold February morning. A Wednesday. The 24th to be exact. I had been averaging 60 hours of work per week for the previous 4 months and was finally coming to the beginning of the end of my busiest season. It was the day that everything I had been working on up to that point needed to be physically assembled and distributed to the company and it had to be done that day. I was running on 4 hours of sleep and was physically and emotionally exhausted. Naturally, I was already running late(r than usual).
I went into A’s bedroom just like every morning prior. Except this time, she was already awake and was playing with her toys. Sweet, I thought, I won’t have to battle to get her out of bed. Like the true 3.5 year old diva she is, she was wearing her pj’s with a cross-body gold purse that was gifted to her by Aunt Heather. She must have envisioned herself being able to keep it on while getting dressed and so, much to her displeasure, I made her take it off… because you can’t change your clothes while wearing a cross-body purse, obvi.
A decided she would not take her pajama top off and clung to the sleeves with a rigor-mortised death grip. I’m talking about having to physically pry her locked fingers open so I could pull her sleeves off of her arms. Through her crocodile tears and 3.5 year old wails, I managed to get the pajama shirt off of her determined, tantrum-ing body and she psuedo-calmed down… for about 0.2 seconds.
What happened next is kind of a blur. All I remember is she started crying again, I started yelling (I know, not cool… but I was on the brink, y’all) and I had to walk away… multiple times. After what felt like 8,192,748,347 hours of battle, we finished getting dressed and moved into the bathroom to brush her teeth and hair – both things are usually a challenge on a good day and this was not a good day.
So, she’s standing on her old wooden step-stool in front of the sink, mouth-open, crying like she’s being beaten. So I did what any reasonable mother would do; I took advantage of the situation by brushing her teeth since they were all exposed from the incessant wailing. Well, that’s when ish got really real, y’all. Homegirl refused to spit out her toothpaste.
Y’all. She wouldn’t spit out her toothpaste.
I mean, this doesn’t sound like a big deal, right? Wrong. It was bad. So, so bad.
So there she is, standing there with a mouth full of pink bubblegum Hello Kitty bubbles, crocodile crying for reasons she can’t even remember, drooling all over the shirt that I just fought to get on her. Y’all. I lost it. I had to walk away… again.
I came back and she was still at it. I banged on the wall, clapped my hands, yelled some more… I even tried to calmly bargain with her (because I’m not above bribing my children)… nothing could snap her out of it. This went on for hours (not really, but it felt that way). Then I had a thought… maybe, just maybe, her daddy can get her to come to her senses. She’s a daddy’s girl, I thought. She worships him, I thought. Surely he can help us. So, we called him. He answered but had no luck either. There was no reasoning with the evil demon that had possessed my otherwise sweet and loving child. I don’t even think a priest could have exorcised that beast.
So, we hung up the phone and A was sent to her room for timeout (for the third time that morning). After another 8,192,748,347 hours of teeth-gnashing and losing her mind face-down on her bedroom floor, she miraculously snapped out of it and came back to the bathroom so I could do her hair. Jekyll and Hyde, y’all. Jekyll and Hyde.
(Now, I know you’re thinking that I’m a bad, impatient mom… and, that might be true. I’m sure my sleep-hazed rage will probably be something she tells her therapist about later in life. But, we survived and no one got hurt. That’s a victory, right?!)
Our regular morning routine then continued and we headed on to school without incident. First, though, we rocked in her chair and I told her how much I loved her and that I was sorry we had a bad morning. When all was said and done, I was 45 minutes late to work, cancelled a call I was supposed to take during my commute, and didn’t feel my blood pressure stabilize until about noon. She, on the other hand, was as happy as a little unphased clam and we never talked about that dreadful morning again.
Oh, and she never did spit out her toothpaste.