Memos from the Middle

Smack-Dab in the Middle of Living

Mommy’s Tantrum


In the words of Fiona Apple, “I’ve been a bad, bad girl.” I hit the roof and started screaming like at banshee at the pirate for something that, in retrospect, is really minor and, probably, my fault. As if that weren’t bad enough, I totally regressed to toddler mode and went on a diatribe that used the word “mine” 847 times within a span of approximately 7 minutes. Now, I’m lying here in bed, typing this, and wondering how in the hell I can make it up to her tomorrow because, of course, only a crappy mother (I know it’s not true, but I feel like it right now) would spaz out on a three-year old like that.

Bear with me as I explain what happened.

Okay, when I bolted out of bed this morning, running full speed to the bathroom because I was having the toilet dream that almost landed my husband in hot water, I inadvertently woke up the pirate from all of the banging and bumping I did because of the mountain of toys, many of which with tiny wheels, piled expertly between my room and the flusher. Of course, it didn’t matter that it was 5:15; I’d woken her up, and she wasn’t going to miss an opportunity to interact with Mommy without the annoyances of a big sister or a daddy vying for attention. Limping back to the bedroom to grope around the dresser for my glasses, I resigned myself to the fact that doing the homework I was too tired to do last night would have to wait until I arrived to the parking lot of my school. I began ironing my clothes and told her to sit at the table and draw me a picture.

A few moments later, my dad called to give me directions to an event I must attend tomorrow night. Yes, he did call me a full 36 hours early, and yes, he did insist that I look at a Google map to “prove” to myself that he had given me appropriate directions, and yes, he did refer to himself as the human GPS, and yes, I did have to extol the blessing of having such a wonderfully geographically inclined man as my father! As this conversation was taking place, my focus was keeping the pirate away from the hot iron, so I’m sure I sent her away with some vague “go play until Mommy gets off of the phone” directive.  After my Where in the World is Carmen San Diego moment with my dad was over, I immediately went back to ironing. As I put away my the ironing board, it dawned on me that the pirate was totally unmonitored, which in this house is an assurance of disaster. I immediately went on a man little girl hunt. It wasn’t long before I found her standing on her tiptoes on the stool in the bathroom with contact solution in one hand and one of my contacts in the other as she had her eyes bucked wide open for an apparent, impending emergency room visit.

“Get down right now,” I said forcefully but not angrily. She dropped everything, hopped down, and immediately began “I’m sorrying” as I walked toward her.

“You don’t play with that. It’s not a toy. You can hurt yourself.”

“Gimme kiss, Mama,” she crooned as she puckered up and closed her eyes very tightly.

“No,” I said. “You’re not going to kiss your way out of this. You don’t play with that.”

“Huggy-huggy,” she sang as she stretched both arms out and smiled hugely.

“No, D., this is serious. You’ve got to listen. You cannot play with this stuff,” I scolded as I pointed dramatically to my things.

“Mama, can I just say something?”

“No, D. I want you to listen and understand what I’m saying to you.”

“But, Mommy, I just have to say something. Can I say it?”

“What is it, D.?”

“You’re my best friend.” By now, her manipulations, and the facts that I was running about 20 minutes behind schedule and hadn’t eaten anything for breakfast, had started to wear on me, so I just resigned myself to a quick, “You may NOT play with the things you find in the bathroom, okay?”

“Okay, Mommy,” she said, running out of the bathroom toward her room.

“Honey,” I called to my husband, “you gotta get up. D. is awake and I’m running late. I still have to get in the shower.”

I waited until I heard him groan, a sure sign that he was unhappy and, therefore, awake enough to process what I had said and keep eyes and/or ears on the pirate.

Fast forward to this evening: I’ve picked the kids up from my dad, and we’re winding down for the night when the princess informs me that D. has “broken my lamp.” Panic races through my heart because a) it took me months to find the perfect lamps for my living room that appropriately matched the decor and didn’t offend my husband’s masculine sensibilities, and b) those lamps sit on glass tables that are no longer made, and c) D. has a penchant for getting glass, metal, and wood jammed violently into her hands. I get to the living room and inspect the child and the lamp and realize that for once, thank God, M. has her facts wrong. I tell the girls it’s time for bed. M. goes directly to bed with no problem, but D., of course, makes a desperate plea to go to the bathroom. Because denying her a final potty break has, and could potentially again, result in me having to get up at 2 AM to wash and change linen, I decided to let her go. Plus, she’s a bit lactose intolerant, and we had ice cream as a desert. I didn’t want my frustration to write a check I wouldn’t want to cash later (you lose your stomach for kid poop on sheets when your kids are potty trained longer than 30 minutes).

Giving her the benefit of the doubt and totally forgetting my early morning battle with her, I reclined on the bed to check my email one last time. Realizing that I’d begun watching YouTube videos without hearing her go to bed, I got up to see what she was doing. Not only had she NOT used the bathroom, but she had poured all of my hair product down the sink (and we all know you don’t mess with a black girl’s hair or the stuff she uses to do her hair with), drawn in purple marker (the one I use to take notes during my Bible study)  her family on the sink, and dripped water from washing her hands profusely with my bar of soap, the only bar of soap I have left in the house, mind you (tomorrow morning will be interesting in the 99 degree weather) all over the floor. For the piece de resistance, my contact solution was opened and lying on its side on the toilet. As soon as she saw me, she said sweetly, “I’m so sorry, Mama.”

The sight and her fake apology and the exhaustion from a long, hot day working IN THE SUMMERTIME made me lose it. I bounded toward her, grabbing her arm and standing her dramatically in front of item after item in the bathroom, screaming “This is MINE not YOURS. Don’t touch it.” Then I took her to the living room, repeating the refrain in front of vases, knick-knacks, lamps, tables, chairs, throw pillows, mirrors, vents (yes, vents), statues, and slipcovers. Then I dragged her to the kitchen, screaming at the top of my lungs as I positioned her in front of the blender, juicer, can opener, stove, utensil drawer, refrigerator. Then to my room to the PS3 (not mine, daddy’s, but I’m sure he’s okay with me letting her know it was off limits), the TV, dresser, bed, curtains (I had lost my mind, right?). I finally took her to her room and told her that this is where the stuff she could touch, play with, and break lived, and that now it was time to go to bed. I put her in the bed and told her that if she even thought about peeing or pooping in that bed that she would stay in it until I felt like cleaning it up, and the earliest that would be was dinnertime tomorrow.


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11 thoughts on “Mommy’s Tantrum

  1. Pingback: song: I can’t wait to waste some time with you again (Stay with me) « power of language blog: partnering with reality by JR Fibonacci

  2. Pingback: Smell It! « Memos from the Middle

  3. you did much better then I would have….but look at it this way you got a great story out of it 😉

  4. Yes, you have been a “bad, bad girl”…we all have, but that’s what memories are made of 🙂 Think about it this way…we’re always reminding them to wash their hands…now you know she’s listening!!!!!

    • You’re right, I guess. I am always telling her to wash her hands. The great thing, though, about kids is that they are so forgiving. When I apologized this morning, she hugged me and said, “That’s okay, Mommy. I love you, okay?” Maybe next time, I can just keep my cool. I rarely lose it, and when I do, I feel like such a horrible person.

  5. I feel you…been there…

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