cordelia puts up a big fight going down for her nap, her teeth are bothering her. a dose of tylenol helps, but its still a struggle. she ran out milk in her bottle for the second time and waved it at me, asking for more. this is a bad sign, this may mean that she skips her nap like she did the day before, i dont get the break i need, and i then have a grumpy over-tired toddler all to myself for the rest of the day again. she threw the bottle on the floor. i feel like smacking her – shes so incredibly rude and unappreciative, and shes going to rob me of what could be my only quiet hour to myself i will get for the next 24 hours. i let her get really pissed before filling the bottle back up and giving it back to her – then that relief from being really mad helped her go to sleep in 3 minutes after that. relief – i thought it would be better when she got up again.
no. she woke up and immediately the crying started. i figured she would feel better if she ate something so i gave her a hug and then set to work on finding her some lunch. she hadn’t eaten much all day because four molars are cutting through and its been painful for her to eat. she wandered around and whimpered, grumpy, while i came up with some lunch. roasted sweet potato? usually a favourite. sat her in the highchair, offered her some sweet potato. she took one mouthful then pushed the rest away, signing ‘finished’. maybe i guess wrong – she turns to the table and points to the bowl of stir-fry that is supposed to be my lunch at some point today (it never was. there’s no time for eating) so i got her some of the noodles out of that. that was okay for awhile, then suddenly, ‘finished’. got her some of the pasta she hadn’t finished at breakfast, which she ate one noodle of and then threw the rest on the floor. i really don’t appreciate her throwing it on the floor so i scooped them all back up again and got some yogurt instead. yogurt is usually a good one cause its cold on sore gums. yogurt lasted for three spoonfuls. i put all these foods on the table and waited. she pointed at them and made hr ‘give me that’ noise, so i went through them again one by one, trying to find which one it was she wanted. not the sweet potato, she waved it away. not the pasta. not the stirfry. not the yogurt. not anything.she pointed again. i gave her a second chance to pick something to eat, but she pushed them all away again. ‘finished, finished, finished’. got her out of her chair, put the food back and cleaned up while she whined. i entertain the idea of hitting her again, running it through in my head and hanging onto the promise that i won’t do it in reality.
i am also supposed to be making icecream to bring to thanksgiving dinner -we are making two batches but they need to be made one at a time. i go back to check the machine, which is supposed to have frozen the icecream by now. cordelia follows me crying cause shes in such a shitty mood. well maybe if you’d eat something. once the icecream is done my plan is to get it in the freezer, clean up a little bit, get the girls in the car and drive downtown to meet jim and some classmates for dinner. to get two babies changed, dressed, packed up then allowing for blaze to stop the whole show to nurse for a while and then get everybody and the stroller in t he van by myself takes about an our. you cant leave either baby in the car alone for too long or else the yelling starts. i cant leave either baby alone in the apartment for too long, same thing. i cant trust cordelia to stand nicely on the front lawn and wait for me while i load blaze into the car, shes just as likely to follow me out onto the road. never mind that i need to figure out how and when to get the stroller. its like that game of can you get the fox, the chicken and the bag of corn across the river without ever leaving them unattended with each other. cordelia keeps whining and crying.
cordelia shoves my legs out of her way, placing herself between the cupboard doors and me and pushing me. i am trying to deal with the icecream, which has not frozen and is adding to my stress because now i need to deal with it in a different way than i would have done if it had frozen and everytyhing was behaving itself and cooperating nicely. cordelia starts hitting her head on the cupboard doors, an alarming habit shes picked up for when she cant deal with her own stress. i offer to pick her up but she angriluy pushes my hands away, swats at me and rune off down the hallway screaming as loud as she can. fine. i hate you too right now. cordelia is standing halfway down the hallway, red in the face and screaming like a banshee. if she knew the words she’d be swearing at me. i tip the not-frozen icecream into a bowl, and the bowl tips up and i loose some icecream across the counter. i start crying. that was the very last thing i could handle. i put everything down and run away down the hallway just like cordelia did. thank god blaze is asleep.
in the bathroom i shut the doors, sit on the toilet seat head in my hands and wait out the need to hurt myself. cordelia stops screaming, shes noticed im not around anymore. if she had kept screaming, i would have done. i text jim that im probably not coming for dinner and that i hate her. im mad at him for having to leave me too this on my own. when i calm,ed down enough that i could trust myself again i left the bathroom and went to curl up on the bed, shut my eyes and slowly counted my breathing. i hear her come up behind me. “ahp”, she says and climbs up onto the bed. i lift her over me, tuck her against my chest and hug her. as soon as i do, i feel the tension leave her and she sighs, loosening, melting right into me. i am still crying but its changed now from anger to relief. she lets me hug her, something she never sits still long enough for. “i dont hate you. im sorry.”we both gradually come back down to our equilibrium again.
jim calls to see how we are.. i put cordelia on the phone first cause i cant gather myself up fast enough to talk to him just yet. he’s stepped out of the seminar, offers to come home early. i say i think i will bring them down for dinner because i don’t think that staying in this space will make the situation better. when jim is gone i blow a puff of air across cordelias hair. she takes the bait and squeals, initiating a tickling game. we go back to working in symmetry again.
i realized then that its not that i cant handle it because of flaws in me that make me unable to tolerate what would be easy for anybody else, its that its actually really hard and nobody could handle it. i totally understand how children get abused – parents get pushed too far into the realm of ‘help i cant do this anymore’ and you just crack. i havent hit her yet, and hope i never do. i feel like i cant risk betraying her trust like that. when people tell you ‘oh they are just doing it for attention, ignore them, it’ll stop’ it sounds so ridiculous. what terribly misplaced wisdom. are you so stupid you cant listen to your own words? of course they are doing it for attention – she is screaming and running away from me because the truth is she needs my help. haven’t you ever pushed someone away in anger when you really need them close? needing them to realize that you’re hurting so they’ll be the ones to approach you when you cant do it yourself anymore? ignoring that just teaches her that i don’t care and shes not important, making her push back harder. but then, yes, you’re right, eventually it’ll stop because she’ll know that im not listening. that must hurt. i know that hurts.
something like this happens every couple days, more when shes teething or sick (shes both right now). im getting through it by recognizing that emotions arent seperate from each other, they arent places you go, they are just part of the rest of the ebb and flow or the whole day, passing through like any other emotion and its usually gone in less than three minutes. ive learned this from cordelia who can swing from one extreme to the other in no time at all. it just feels so much longer while its passing.
kristy told me once that i was only having a baby because i was selfish. at first i was really upset by that, she made me second-guess myself. but now i see how stupid she just made herself look and how much of the power she used to have over me she took away by saying that. you know nothing.