Highs and Lows of Parenting

True story: On Saturday I came home from running an errand to a sobbing Julian. I asked him why he was crying but couldn’t get a coherent answer, so Jeff filled me in. Julian was missing his new friends Jack & Kate, so he decided to draw them a picture. Then he looked at it and realized he missed them even more than he thought. And he cried.

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This is so totally my boy.

(In the end he couldn’t part with the “original drawing” so we had to make a copy and send it to his friends. He might be a good and loving friend, but selfless…maybe not so much.)

Jeff left yesterday afternoon for a week-long trip to California. Then he’s back for a week, and then gone again for two.

I thought I’d ease into solo parenting by throwing a party in Mama’s bed. After dinner the boys and I got cozy in my bed with popcorn and a movie.

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It was sweet. At 7:45pm no-nap-Arthur was out. At 8:30pm Julian requested I turn off the movie because he was tired. Such party animals!
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I went and binge-watched “House of Cards” in the living room and binge-drank some wine. Then I snuck back into bed, which I remembered as cozy and sweet, but instead my throat was killing me and I was hot and then cold and the children were making me even hotter, and then Arthur kicked me in the back and then the head and then stretched his limbs all across me.

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I grabbed my pillow and tried to lie down in Arthur’s bed at 2am. He came to see me at 2:05am, because mother where are you, I must kick something right now and air does not suffice. So we cuddled for a moment in his bed, and then I snuck out and back into my own bed where I continued the “Party in Mama’s bed” with the other child who was slumbering peacefully.

Today I woke up feeling hungover and like someone had kicked me in the back. Then, I took the boys to the Children’s Art Museum in Manhattan.

Highlights:

Crazy chairs, as Arthur likes to call  them.

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Also, art.

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Low point-then turned medium point:

Clay Lab. Last time Julian went to the museum (with Papa), he made a rat out of clay – his total pride and joy. Today’s theme was “First Day of Spring” and the children were encouraged to make a garden. We had to wait 45 minutes for an available spot at the Clay Lab because every goddamn other parent in NYC had the great idea to take their kids to the Art Museum on a Sunday. Bam. So we killed time with more art, even though we were kind of arted out and hungry at this point. Then it was Lab time, and Julian froze. Pouty lip. “Mama, I don’t want to do this.” I told him to sit down and shape up. We didn’t wait here for nothing. Go make your garden and ENJOY IT!

After a brief period of pouty lip and young-boy-attitude he warmed to the idea and had fun in the end. As it always is. Here is the result:

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Garden with roses, water, a giant ant and a bird that looks like a hen. He was proud, and so am I.

Then we left, fully starved and over-tired (because SOMEONE spent all night kicking their mother in the back). And yay! No downtown 1 trains today! So we had to go uptown and then downtown, and oh man. So the latest thing with Arthur is the most typical of all toddler problems ever:

INSANITY.

Mama, my cup is the wrong color. I wanted that plate. I wanted to put on the tooth paste myself. I didn’t want these shoes. I wanted to sit in the other spot that’s already taken by a STRANGER on the subway. These are all real-life examples from this morning. The last one, acted out in an Oscar-worthy performance by my second-born son on a crowded subway car. The seat he wanted was not available. Next best option: Screaming. Throwing himself to the filthy subway floor in utter despair. More screaming. Hitting his brother for no reason whatsoever. Kicking a stranger (by accident). Sweating sweating sweating and some rage-y red cheeks. Oh, son.

I held him and kept my cool. Actually, I restrained him. It was a great workout. I spoke very quietly to him, and then I didn’t talk at all and just let him scream. I couldn’t look at anyone at all on the subway. I had no idea what people were thinking. What a spoiled brat? What is wrong with him? Poor woman? She’s a failure of a mother? That’s happened to me too? I don’t know. No one said anything, and I felt like I was in an awful, scream-y vacuum. One stop from our destination Arthur was so exhausted he almost fell asleep. He promptly put himself to bed after inhaling a sandwich once we got home.

Oh, boy. (Picture from happier times.)

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