The following is a rundown of Evie’s and my Sunday morning:
1. Evie wakes up to a beautiful, sunshiney day. She hops out of bed and, for the first time, opens her bedroom door all by herself. From my bed I can hear her little bare feet make their way down the hall. She opens my door, grinning from ear to ear, and crawls under the covers with me. We snuggle for a few minutes while I tell her what the day holds for us. I ask if she wants a scrambled egg for breakfast. She gives an enthusiastic “Yeah!”
2. My envisioned location for our breakfast is downstairs. Today, however, Evie wants to take her morning meal in bed. We are not on the same page. I try to change her diaper and get her up to go downstairs. Evie lets me know in no uncertain terms that this is unacceptable. A small fit is pitched. I ask Evie not to start the day like this. She is unmoved. Literally.
3. I go downstairs to make Her Majesty’s egg and my coffee. I take her breakfast back up to Evie. She eats a little less than half of it.
4. While I indulge in a long, hot shower, Evie cheerfully reads her library books, watches cartoons, plays with her stuffed animals, her Disney princess kitchen and her dollhouse. I listen in and hear her tucking her ballerina bunny into bed, reading it a story and singing it a song, which is our exact bedtime routine. She comes into the bathroom to tell me ballerina bunny is taking a nap and that we should be very quiet. The cuteness level rises sharply, and I have to sit down for a moment.
5. After showering, I sit down to put on my makeup. Evie walks up and asks if she can help me. I tentatively agree and hand her one of my makeup brushes. She asks for makeup. I say no, that I don’t want her to play with my makeup. A medium-sized fit is pitched. I ignore it and eventually Evie gets bored with her tantrum and decides to work on a puzzle. I begin to realize that this may be a difficult day.
6. Time for me to get dressed. I hand Evie one of my belts to play with. She proceeds to “fish” with it over the side of the bed and catches a mermaid. We reach DefCute Five, and I steady myself against the side of bed. Then I smell poop. I sigh and begin to quietly recite my mantra: “I am the Mommy. I am the Mommy.”
7. Time to change Evie’s diaper. She doesn’t want to change her diaper. We have a tense discussion about it, and Evie finally concedes that she doesn’t want to get poop in the water when she takes a bath. I pinky-swear with her that I will wipe her bottom as gently as possible. Crisis averted.
8. Bathtime. Evie happily plays in the water. We sing songs, blow the soap bubbles around and talk about where the water goes when it drains out of the tub.
9. After shampooing Evie’s hair, I begin to rinse her head. Evie’s shrieks can be heard from space. A large fit is pitched and water goes everywhere. My clean clothes, freshly-applied makeup and newly-coiffed hair are all now very damp.
10. Evie is distracted from the trip to the ninth circle of hell that is water getting in her eyes by singing the theme from Scooby Doo.
11. I’m feeling a little testy as I get her out of the bathtub to dry off. Humming a few bars of “Scooby-Scooby Doo, where are you?/ We got some work to do now!” takes the edge off.
12. Evie wants to watch Scooby Doo. I think that would be a fabulous idea — right after she gets dressed. She wants to watch it NOW. A small fit is pitched, and Evie slips on the wet bathroom floor, falling flat on her back and banging her head pretty hard. We travel back to the ninth circle of hell.
13. Hitting her head must have dazed her a little because she becomes very subdued. She lays her wet head against my shoulder (previously the only dry part of my outfit) and sucks her thumb as I carry her upstairs.
14. As I rub lotion on her, I sing a song from Cinderella and talk to her in soothing tones. She hugs me over and over again very tightly, and I hold her little damp body very close to me. It’s one of those moments you hope your brain will hold onto forever.
15. After getting dressed, she wants to play with “the angel”, which is a lovely figurine of a mother holding her child my sister gave to me when I was pregnant with Evie. I keep it on my vanity, and Evie has always admired it. Sometimes I let Evie hold it and tell her that Auntie gave that to me when she lived in my belly. I always get the biggest smile out of that.
16. I ask Evie to put the figurine back on my vanity where she got it. Amidst the chaos of this hellish morning, my feeble brain thinks now would be a good time to teach Evie a lesson about respect for others’ things. I am insane. Evie refuses to put the figurine back. I am shocked. (Not.) I take it away from her. A very large fit is pitched. Our terrified cats board a Greyhound to Houston, their trembling paws clutching prescriptions for PTSD medications.
17. I gently pull Evie up from the floor and explain to her that I will let her play with almost anything I have, but she has to put it back when I tell her. She nods her head in agreement and hiccups. I think about just going back to bed and starting over.
18. Because Evie has recently been sick with an ear infection, I’ve let some things slide for a couple days, including brushing her teeth. Because I don’t want Evie’s teeth to fall out, I insist that we brush them this morning very well. Evie prefers to look at the squirrels running around outside. This is kind of cute, so I take a minute and let her show me how funny they are, running around all crazy-like on the tree branches and looking for nuts. “See?” she asks, chuckling to herself, “See, Mommy?”
19. I am shocked again when Evie doesn’t want to transition from Squirreltown USA to brushing her teeth. She grabs the toothbrush away from me and tells me she had it first. I take it back from her and try to make her open her mouth. A medium-sized fit is pitched, and Evie throws herself, once again, to the floor.
20. Whatever it was inside me that was attempting to hold it together, to be patient, to keep trying, dies. It’s over. I’ve had it. I reach under Evie’s arms and pull her very determinedly to her feet. Even before I tell Evie that she won the grand prize of reaching the limits of my patience, she knows it. There will be no more fit-throwing today.
21. Evie takes my hand, and I march her down the stairs to the den, where I tell her to sit down. She’s in time out. She crawls up into the chair with Elmo very quietly and sucks her thumb. I go about gathering up our things to leave for the day, slamming doors, drawers and stomping around the whole time. There is not a peep from the chair in the den. I stand in the kitchen for a moment to cool off, calm down and gather my thoughts. I realize that I’ve just thrown my own fit, which I’ve never done with Evie.
22. I take a deep breath and go into the den. I tell Evie that her behavior so far today is unacceptable. I am not happy with her at all. I ask her if she is ready to be a good girl. She looks sideways at me and softly nods. I do not ask her, I tell her to get down off the chair and come into the kitchen to take her antibiotic. She does so quickly with no protest. She doesn’t even ask for a Hershey Kiss afterwards. I give her one anyway.
23. While eating her Kiss, Evie asks where the kitties are. I tell her that since she’s been screaming and crying for three solid hours, they probably got scared and went to hide. Evie considers this for a moment. She then looks up at me with big blue eyes and says, “I’m sorry, Mommy.” (She is completely forgiven.)
24. I drop Evie off at her Mimi and Big’s house while I go do errands for several, several hours. Before I go I give Evie a big hug and kiss and tell her I will see her soon. The speed at which I go in reverse down their driveway almost sends me back in time.
26. I do my errands. I get a break.
27. Mimi drops Evie back off at home at 5pm and tells me she was good as gold. Evie runs up to me and throws her arms around my legs. I look down at the sweetest face in the world looking back up at me and have no doubt.