We had just finished cleaning up after yoga class. But the place didn’t really look clean. Oh well. I’ll do more tomorrow. I was starting to feel my back… Danny’s been in the carrier for too long and now he’s waking up.
He’s going to want to eat.
I’m going to need to eat. I can feel myself getting hungrier by the second.
I glanced over at Clare…still playing. Still happy. But she hadn’t had anything to eat in awhile, either.
“Come on, Clare, let’s go home and get lunch.”
“I want to go to a restaurant for lunch.”
Hmmmm… that sounds nice… then I don’t have to make anything or clean anything. BUT, the thought of me in the restaurant by myself with my baby and preschooler was not very appealing. Hubby will be home in a few hours, maybe we’ll go vote and then celebrate Election Day by going out to eat.
I tell Clare this. But it wasn’t what she wanted to hear.
“NOOOOOO! I WANT TO GO TO A RESTAURANT NOOOOOOOOW!”
“I hear you, and a restaurant does sound nice, but let’s wait for dad. He’ll want to come with us.”
I get her in the car, and take a few minutes sitting in the back so I can nurse Danny. She continues to explain to me that she wants to go to a restaurant. “The one down the street from us.”
“NO!” I think we’re headed for a meltdown.
“Romeo and Juliet’s?”
“Yes! Let’s go there.”
“We can go to a restaurant, but we’re going to wait till Dad gets home.”
She screams. But she hasn’t yet hit full meltdown. I get Danny in his seat and she reaches over and holds his hand. She seems tired.
After telling me some more how she wants to go to a restaurant as we drive, she falls asleep.
I pull in our driveway and mentally prep myself because she’s NOT going to be happy when she wakes up and sees she’s at home.
I bring her in the house and lay her on the couch, where she promptly wakes up. Sits up. and starts yelling. And screaming.
Oh boy. Just breathe. And get something in you’re stomach.
I’m so hungry at this point. I just can’t handle this screaming. It’s upsetting Danny, too, and I lay him in his rock and play so I can use both hands. And because Clare is now pulling on my shirt and pants, screaming and crying, and trying to pull me towards the door.
“I’m sorry. We are not going to a restaurant right now.” I stop trying to pry her hands from my shirt.
I grab some hummus from the fridge and thank God we already have cleaned and cut veggies. I spoon the hummus into a bowl and dump some pretzels in there. Clare screams even louder, saying she’s not going to eat that. I’m thinking, then don’t! I will!
She goes to grab the bowl from the counter, starts to tip it sideways. She’s going to throw it on the floor! I feel myself start to snap. How dare she??
I grab the bowl before anything bad happens.
“Do NOT spill that bowl! WHAT are you thinking??” It’s an effort not to be forceful, not to pick her up or grab her arm. I turn her around and with my hand on her back I guide her to the living room. She’s screaming, but goes semi-willingly.
She’s so hungry. And so tired. And she’s now acting exactly how I want to act. I want to scream back at her and throw something on the floor.
“You are not going to throw that bowl on the floor!” I do yell a little. It makes me feel slightly better…like small release. But I stop from yelling any further. It wouldn’t help anything, and nothing after what I’ve already said would feel good. While yelling in general might be nice, continuing to yell at her or in her presence would not feel good at all. For anyone. She’s lost control. She needs food.
I turn back to the counter and she follows me back into the kitchen. She’s pulling on my clothes again. Screaming. Danny’s starting to fuss.
I put the veggies in the hummus bowl with the pretzels and set it over on the breakfast counter. She’s putting all her weight into pulling my shirt. I pry her hands off and she wraps her arms around my leg. That’s actually better. Less uncomfortable. She grabs my shirt again, and again I pry her hands off.
“I will not let you pull my clothing! You’ll ruin it. You can hold onto my leg.” After another several seconds she grabs my leg. I’m getting out bread, and butter, and cheese. I turn on the stove. She steps back from me, screaming she doesn’t want that. I ask her if she wants a slice of cheese. Nope.
I finish getting the sandwiches ready in the pan. She’s stopped pulling on me. She’s stopped screaming. But she’s still crying. Maybe this is my chance to move in. To make a good connection. To help her.
I squat down so we’re face to face. She’s crying that she doesn’t want to wait for dad to get home. She wants to go to a restaurant now.
I hold my arms out to her, and she scowls at me and steps back.
“I know you want to go. I’m sorry we’re not. Can I hold you?” I keep my arms out. She whimpers and says no, but I keep me arms out. She walks into them and lays her head on my shoulder and cries. I hold her tight. But a hug is not necessarily what she needs. She’s so hungry. I lift her up and carry her to the counter.
I open a bag of chocolate pieces and pour them into a bowl. We both need sugar. Our sugar levels have plummeted. I say this, and eat a few pieces. I offer some to her. She takes one.
She points to the grilled cheese sandwiches in the pan. “I want that one.”
“Sure! Want to sit in your chair and I’ll bring it over?” She nods, and I set her down where the bowl of hummus and veggies are. She immediately pulls a carrot and starts eating. I bring over the bowl of chocolate and sandwiches. I pick up Danny, who’s really starting to complain now. Then I join her and we eat.
“I feel better now, Mom.”