"BOYS! Keep your hands and feet to yourselves, please."
It was 6:15pm. We had pulled in the driveway earlier that day around 5:40 and while I drug all of the stuff in from the day at work/daycare/summer camp and let the dog out, the boys played outside. In a surprising turn of events, they came in at 6 without a fight when I told them I had to go in to start dinner.
They were both looking exhausted from the day (the heat and fun summer camp activities have been having that effect on them lately) so I told them they could just relax and watch TV while I got dinner started. I flipped on the TV in the playroom and headed into the kitchen. No sooner had I pulled the pack of chicken out of the fridge did I hear the bickering begin. He touched me, he's sitting too close to me, he's making me hot....
"Liam, stop bothering your brother. Jake, use your words and not your hands to keep him away. I just need to get this chicken in the oven and I'll be right in."
Ok, where was I? Oops, oven isn't on. I'll wait for that. What else can we have with this? Do we have any....
My thoughts were interrupted by the sound of a body hitting the floor and crying. I walk in and Jake is sitting on the couch immediately starting to apologize....
"I didn't mean to....he wouldn't stop bugging me....I only pushed him a little....I'm sorry....I'm sorry....."
I wish this is where I would say that I comforted everyone, turned off the TV, and we had a little Full House style family moment where we talked about respect and kindness.
Instead, I yelled. Not just yelled, I reached a level that most people (and dogs) would probably categorize as screeching. I was livid. I was near tears. We hadn't even been in the house for 20 minutes and they were at each other's throats...and while watching TV! How is that even possible? I screeched about how all I needed was 10 minutes and they couldn't even give me that...how they are brothers and they should be able to get along without needing a referee half of the time...I screeched about things I don't even think were related to the actual incident.
Basically, I was frustrated that they are 6 and 3 years old. Should they know better and be able to control themselves for such a short period of time? Yes, they should. But should I realize that not everyone is perfect and that I could cut them some slack for doing what are normal sibling behaviors? Yep. I could do that for sure.
But it's so easy....it's so easy in those moments to forget the good things. To forget that just 10 minutes before that incident, they happily played basketball outside with each other, no incidents whatsoever. It's easy to forget that just the night before, I had been able to get dinner started while they set up a whole Toy Story scenario in the playroom and happily acted out scenes with their figures from the movie with each other, even taking turns with who got to be the coveted Buzz Lightyear. No pushing, no fighting, nothing.
After I cooled off and got the boys separated, I retreated back into the kitchen. As I was digging through the freezer trying to find some veggies, I heard little feet creeping into the kitchen. I turned around to see Jake standing there with his arms open, waiting for a hug. I slammed the freezer shut and picked him up...as we were hugging he said "I'm really sorry that I pushed him off the couch and made you feel so sad."
I have to pause here to say that he has come so far, because I can guarantee you that 8 or 9 months ago, that scene would have played out in a completely different way. Chances are, Jake would have gone off to his room and would have been inconsolable for an hour or so. He never would have apologized on his own, without prompting. He wouldn't have pulled himself back together that quickly. I know some people probably think I'm out of my mind when I talk about his sensitivity to food dye, but I believe 100% that it has an adverse effect on him.
But I digress.
The point of all of this is that I'm certainly not perfect (as evidenced by the scene I just described) and neither are my kids. Neither is my husband for that matter. But we put on our super mom/wife/friend cape every day nonetheless, and we do the best we can. Maybe we do it while repeating to ourselves little snippets of inspiration like, "this too shall pass" or "they're only this little once" or "tomorrow will be better"....but we do it.
I'm preaching these words not only to my fellow super moms, but also to myself because I think we all need a reminder that some days are better than others.