Tears & Tortellini

Made my shamrock cookies today. Yeess!

Actually, I lie.  I searched Meijer for a shamrock cookie cutter and couldn’t find one.  Still, I pressed on and mixed up some sugar cookie dough with the help of my two year old sous chefs.  Alas, being the crafty challenged momma that I am, I couldn’t figure out how to make shamrocks out of the dough.  Should I use a butter knife and cut the shape out? Should I use my heart cookie cutter and smush it around a little?

Pathetic, I know, that I couldn’t figure it out, but luckily for me, pseudo mom was in the house and came to the rescue. In case you are wondering who pseudo mom is, she is my cousin-in-law who happens to nanny for a little girl the same age as my eldest.  We hang out a lot, attempting to tired out the girls enough for some peace and quiet and coffee for ourselves. She also happens to be exceptionally crafty and creative.  She always has a Kleenex on hand and in true Mary Poppins style, can fit diapers, wipes, and a complete outfit change into a tiny compact purse.  Thus, I have dubbed her pseudo mom.  In some ways, she is a better mother than I, which is slightly embarrassing at times.

Like today. When pseudo mom had the brilliant idea to make the leaves out of cookie dough balls, and add the stem.  In technical terms, smush two balls together for the top, add one at the bottom so it resembles Mickey Mouse, and then shape a stem.  Why I couldn’t think of that on my own, I have no idea. But there it is.

I was glad today was a good day.  We made cookies, played outside, and had a nice relaxed day.  It was really great, because yesterday…was…not..a..good..day. At all.

Eldest child Ada didn’t really start out doing anything majorly wrong per se.  I was really stressed out with work and it was just one of those days when I felt like I couldn’t take a single more second of her whining.  One of those days when every little thing she did just grated my nerves.  She has a slight cold, so her boogers are everywhere.  She has taken to the annoying habit of just tapping her fork/spoon/utensil of choice on the table with every meal, waiting for the moment when I explode.  She has an abnormally small bladder and has to pee every two seconds, usually at the exact moment I sit down to feed Mya. She wants to do make-up. She wants me to paint her nails. She wants to go outside. She wants to go in the basement and play, but not alone, I have to go with her.  She has to pee. She wants to watch cartoons. She has to pee again.  And so on and so forth.

So I wasn’t in a great mood to start out with.  Maybe I was a little short with her. Maybe I irrationally snapped at her to stop banging her spoon or I would throw it in the trash.  Maybe I sighed in exasperation when she had to pee for the billionth time that morning. Yes, maybe I contributed to what was about to happen….

It all started with some noodles.

Ada has an obsession with tortellini noodles. I keep a bag or so handy, finding it to be a nice and quick side dish for dinner.  They take literally minutes to cook and make me feel fancy. Plus, they are frozen,  making it easy to stock up when they go on sale.  What started out as a side dish with our steaks one night morphed into an all out obsession on Ada’s part. Every day she wants tortellini noodles for lunch.  Most days, she even asks for them for breakfast.

That day, I happened to know that there were only a few scattered noodles left in the bag. Not enough for a full lunch, just enough to leave the monster hungry for more. Being the naive mother that I am, I thought I could outsmart Ada and suggested she have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch instead.  She protested.  She cried. She kicked. She screamed.

“There are no more noodles left, Ada” I said smugly, crossing my arms and feeling pleased with myself.

Before I could stop her, she whipped open the freezer door and extracted the noodles from my not-so-clever hiding place behind the hamburger.

Crap.

The details get fuzzy after that.  All I can vaguely remember is that there was much screaming, much crying, that somewhere in the midst of all this, Mya woke up with a poopy diaper that had exploded, my work phone started ringing, and I totally lost it.  At one point, I had to lock Ada in her room and I sat on the steps outside of her room, holding a crying baby, listening to my toddler throwing the tantrum of the century, and all I wanted to do was run away.

I knew that I was not being in control. I knew that I was just being impatient and irrational to start out with.  I knew that I could have handled things way better than I did.

And knowing all that just made me feel worse.

I wish I could say my guilt and realization made me snap out of it. But it didn’t. Even after Ada calmed down and finished her lunch (yes, she ate the noodles, don’t judge me) I continued to be grumpy.

Do you ever watch those shows or hear those stories about people doing amazing things, like chewing off their own limbs to survive or lifting up cars to save a trapped toddler? You think…yeah, I could do that. If it really counted, I could be heroic.

But you know what’s really heroic?

Someone who can keep their cool when they are trapped at home with small children. Someone who will not get sucked into arguing with their two year old over tortellini noodles.  Someone who will not sigh when their toddler has to pee 700 times a day.  Someone who can always answer “Why Mama?” kindly and patiently.

One of the hardest parts about being a mom, especially a stay at home mom, is that you really get to know yourself.  There is no one to blame but yourself, no one to rely on but you.  Alone all day with no other adults, you come face to face with you–in all your weaknesses.  And that can be a very scary thing.  To realize that all it takes is tortellini to break you down into a screaming, crying, loathsome mess.

And then there was tonight. When I tucked my daughter into bed, after a day of playing and cookie making, and she hugged me close and said “I wuv you Mama. I never leave you in the whole wide world.”

Tomorrow I will do better.

And buy more tortellini.

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5 responses to “Tears & Tortellini

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