Some say patience is a virtue.
OK. I need some help and a teensy bit of affirmation here. The past couple of weeks have been fun and rambunctious, with all the festivities and all. As Philly said to someone last Monday, "I stayed up til twelve the other night." As an understandable result, sleeping routines and general temperments are challenged. Extremely challenged.
Every night from 7pm until 6am, I have to lie down with one or the other. I am scratching backs, giving warm milk, nam-namming, negotiating, hushing, singing, or telling stories. Once one girl's eyes are just about to close, the other will call out for me. Raph will try to run to the rescue, and he'll be denied access. "No! I want Mommy!" The almost-sleeping girl will wake up and cry. The other one will cry, too, waiting for me.
There are other pressures: not sharing, pulling hair, refusing to walk, refusing to bathe, wanting to stay up, throwing cheerios, asking me three consecutive times when I'm doing something else, wailing "Mommy!" as if everything was an emergency. I am starting to crack.
Yesterday, when Philly was whining about not wanting to take her lunch bag out of the car. I told her, "I won't pack you a lunch tomorrow if you don't bring it into the kitchen." When I say things like that, I try to keep my tone noncholant and matter-of-fact. She started to wail: "Mommmmmyyyy!!!!" The whining continued. It hurt my ears. I yelled at her: "PHILLY!" I followed with some general long grunting, moaning, and some low-level growling. I needed to let out some steam verbally: "AAAAAAAAARRRRRHHHHHHHH!" Philly stopped. She said, "Mommy, you're scaring me." Being as calm-voiced as I could, I said very, very sternly, "PHILLY. Bring. your. lunch. bag. into. the. kitchen." I honestly can't remember if she brought it in or if I did.
Then, last night, Tati had her usual early morning wake-up. She cried for me, I ran to her, I nursed her. At some point, I tell her, "No more nam-nam." She cried so hard!!! "Mommy PLEASE!" Her eyes looked at me so big and I felt like I was committing child abuse, but - still - I said, "NO MORE NAM-NAM." We do this dance for a long while, all the while with her pleading, "Mommy!!!! Just a li'l bit! Nam-nam! PLEASE!" I think I did the same grunting growl last night. I was so fed up!!! I am so fed up. This morning, Tati said to Raph, "Daddy, is Mama angry?" Raph tried to explain how we need to sleep like big girls, no more nam-nam, go to bed with no crying.
Today, I feel like a bad, bad mama. For losing my patience and taking it out on them. I know I need to give myself a time out. I know that this, too, shall pass. Children will be sleeping like saints soon, for 12 hours straight through the night. Like the old days. But, what I really want to know, is how can I best say to them, "I'm sorry for losing my temper" but also try to explain myself?