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July 5, 2016

Yesterday was a terrible day


Yesterday was a terrible day, and I didn’t post any photos on Instagram. I don’t know which comes first, the bad day or the no photos. If I didn’t take photos because I wasn’t looking hard enough for things to see, and that is where it all falls apart, And so this morning I took a picture of sunlight falling on a table at the Starbucks at College and Euclid. Although things were shaping up already. Iris and I were meeting my friend Julie while Harriet was at bike camp. And yes, Harriet is at bike camp all week, which sounds ridiculous and first world and all the things that magazine writers like to scoff at parents for, but the fact of the matter is that our attempts to teach Harriet to ride a bike have ended in abject failure and abominable behaviour on my account, and so we’ve decided to outsource, and the sixteen-year-old girl whose very first job EVER is teaching Harriet to ride a bike is doing a stunning, enthusiastic job and hasn’t called her terrible names once, and so we’re already ahead. Except that bike camp isn’t altogether convenient. If Harriet actually knew how to ride her bike, we’d zip along the street and get there in no time, but as things stand, we have to take the bus. With the bike. And Iris. Which is kind of ridiculous, but it’s just for a week and if Harriet learns to ride, it will be altogether worth it. But it also means that Iris and I have to linger about for the mornings and there is not so much to do around there. We went to the library yesterday and it was okay, but by the time we got home for lunch, we were all tired and exhausted and still getting over our weekend away, I think. I put Iris down for her nap, but she refused to go, and I went absolutely ballistic, because the plan this summer is that I write 1000 words a day and Iris isn’t going to nap, how will that ever be possible? I actually wrote the words anyway, after my complete and utter tantrum, which didn’t do anything to improve Iris’s behaviour, never mind the no nap. She continued to be a monster for the remainder of the day, at one point actually finding and getting into actual rat poison (ok, it was mouse poison, but rat poison sounds more dramatic) just to keep things interesting. And then I was threatening to feed her rat poison, and Harriet who was overtired didn’t think that was funny and became hysterical, and it was just terrible, terrible from every angle. When the children went to bed, I was so so relieved. And when I went to bed I slept so well, which made everything seem much better today, as I had a friend to meet and took the photo of sunlight on the table. And then we took Iris to the park where we ran into her friend from playschool who goes to that park every day, which means that for the rest of the week I can take her there and read my book while they play.

The bus-ride home was good, and there was no expectation of Iris napping, so I would not be caught off-guard. I set her and Harriet up with respective movies, there is a tupperware tub in the kitchen full of the kinds of processed package snacks I won’t buy during the school year, and I had a pot of tea brewing. I told them, “Leave me alone for 1000 words.” And they did. And so did I.

And now we’re heading down to the wading pool at the park, which is everybody’s reward.

5 thoughts on “Yesterday was a terrible day”

  1. melanie says:

    Ugh. I hate that feeling. The feeling of “but I promised myself you were going to nap today!” feeling. And you know your child is being unreasonable and that you are being unreasonable and there is no way to stop the awfulness. I’m pretty sure this post characterizes years of my life. My girls all gave up napping pretty early but I was unable to break myself of needing them to nap for a looooong time. Plus they all got up at 6 a.m. for years (this hasn’t stopped but sometimes it is 7 a.m. and now there is school to contend with so it’s not as bad) which didn’t help my mood. ((((hugs))))

  2. steph says:

    I don’t have kids, as you know, but I imagine what would make it worse is not just how much you really could get done if they would only nap, but also how much YOU value a nap and would now like one very much too. I fight naps because I work so inefficiently, but there is truly nothing like that drowsy feeling just before you close your eyes. It’s bliss. If only they would see that and know that one day a nap will be the luxurious thing they want most! It is BLISS. Except when you open your eyes after a minute or two and find you’re not at all editing what you thought you were; you were dreaming instead WHILE your fingers were still moving on the keyboard.

    ANYWAY. Just reading about your terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day made me feel so many things at once, not least admiration for you (your kids are still alive; I KNOW they are precious and you love them very much, and it’s so so worth it—but in that moment when they make you feel murderous and like you’re really going to lose your shit…well, you don’t do anything they won’t survive) and thankfulness that I have never wanted kids. I hope that’s not offensive of me to say.

    1. Kerry says:

      I think I have said this to you before—that you and I are both lucky to have certainty as to our life choices or the things that we wanted in life. Because yes, if you didn’t want kids, having them would probably be kind of abominable. They’re definitely an entire package! PS Have spent the rest of the week working while they watched movies. It has gone extremely well. And no nap means she goes to bed without trouble, so there is that!

  3. Rohan says:

    Oh, I’m sorry. I think all parents have had terrible, horrible, no good, very bad parenting days like that. I remember the panic I felt when it became clear that each child in turn had outgrown napping, which I relied on so much for work and just for my own peace of mind — because I always found I desperately needed a break from the endless vigilance and minutiae of being with small children. And now that they are teenagers I still sometimes have just that kind of tantrum, though over other things! I take some comfort in knowing that when I ‘fess up and tell them I know I fell apart and I’m sorry, I am showing them that there’s some grace in self-awareness, and that maturity doesn’t mean being perfect, just taking responsibility.

  4. Shawna says:

    So much here. It’s terrible and yet funny. And wise. Wise to have the summer snacks, and to outsource. And I know rat poison isn’t at all funny, but you know, totally funny. Hope you get much reading in at the park!

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