Cute W knows it’s always a bad sign when he arrives home to see me drinking a glass of wine while preparing dinner. We’ve become lightweights, so a glass of wine with dinner is uncommon. If I’m already drinking before he’s home, it’s generally because I’m feeling sorry for myself.
Such was the case tonight. The girls arrived home clamoring for the one treat that they’d specially requested from my grocery shopping trip. Which I’d forgotten about entirely.
Not long after that, it was time to prepare for J’s dance class. Ginny Martin always does a special class for Mother’s Day week which involves wearing the upcoming recital costumes so that we can ooooh and aahhh and take loads of pictures. Which sounds good, in theory. But 6-year-old J found the leggings-costume combination uncomfortable, took a very long time with it, sensed that I was becoming impatient . . . and a tantrum ensued (J).
Also, it appears that she not only didn’t grow, but possibly shrank, which meant that I spent a frantic 4 minutes doing the world’s crappiest alteration job.
Meanwhile, M, who has been quietly resentful of being dragged to this class ever since she decided to drop out because she thought that the children were too babyish, realized that she’d forgotten her spelling workbook. The one saving grace of dance class for her is that it’s the perfect time to do her weekly spelling homework. Recently, she’d forgotten the book and (foolishly, perhaps) we swung by school to get it on our way to class. Today, I was running late, so that was not happening. . . and a tantrum ensued (M).
Into the car we went. J was now costumed and composed. M was still sobbing, bitter, and vocal. Including telling me to shut up. At which point I pulled the car over to the side of the road with a screech . . . and a tantrum ensued (me).
I find the pull-over, when used sparingly, is surprisingly effective. Today I was so enraged that I felt unsafe driving and ready to punch my beautiful, smart 8-year-old who scored two soccer goals last night. Luckily, in that extra two minutes it took to pull the car over and turn on the hazards, I dwindled down to a loud-voiced lecture about respect and promises of in-room incarceration.
By the end of dance class, J was skipping happily, and M had apologized and was hunching against me, defeated-but-affectionate. Later, she even divulged information about the third-grade social scene, which is rare for her. So everyone seemed to recover from our Tantrum Trifecta (okay, trifecta really isn’t the right word, but it’s so alliterative that I can’t help myself) except me.
You know, on those rare days when my children act horrible, I often just go into the Mommy Zone and become extra-super calm, and then at the end of the night, I feel awesome. Like a super-heroic mom. On a day when one child’s wailing and another’s vomiting and I keep it together, I spend the entire evening feeling like I won a battle. Hail the Conquering Mama! But on the days that I lose it, my kids seem to bounce back fine and I spend the rest of the day feeling like the Craptastic Mother of Suckville. With a tension headache. That transforms into an instant hangover.
Well, tomorrow is another day.