Tuesday, August 9, 2011

if I judged you, I am sorry, or, why every mother of a toddler needs to learn the football carry

Last night was a particularly trying evening with our new little guy. We have been having a fair number of these trying times lately. It is normal, I think. Not that I am an expert on the behavior of newly adopted toddlers or anything but it seems to me that it is normal. He is coming into his own. He is very comfortable in his new surroundings. He is bonded with his forever family. His every need is now, finally, being met, and he feels safe. Now is the time for him to try out his new found independence. Bundle that independence up with the language deficit and communication struggles, toss in teething pain and an an occasionally jealous older brother and you have got a recipe for disaster.

I woke up a few times throughout the night last night thinking about my boys. We have certainly had our share of trying times these past few weeks. But we have also had our share of really great, really chaotic, really fun times. And it made me think of all those harried moms I have seen out in public, and all those thoughts I have had, mainly along the lines of "I would never do that!"

To all those moms I unknowingly judged in the past - I'm sorry.

Dear Moms:

I just have to say I am sorry.

I am sorry for judging when you speak tersely to your children in the WalMart parking lot. First of all, WalMart will make anyone cranky. And second of all, I now know what it's like to carry a screaming two year old like a football under one arm while trying to hang on to a four year old's hand, all while carrying slippery plastic shopping bags and attempting to stop the four year old from jumping that puddle up ahead and soaking me from the knees down.

I am sorry for those toys I bought your children that had ink pads and stamps in them. Even if the box said they were age appropriate. Oh dear God, I am sorry! I know you have no reason to be nice to me now, but if you have a secret for getting little inky stamp shapes off the bathroom floor, please, I beseech you, tell me!

I am sorry for looking at your children and thinking, "I would never dress my kids like that." Even as a toddler my oldest son had very definite fashion ideas. And most of them clashed with the Land's End and Old Navy looks I expected any child of mine to be sporting. And now, thanks to the joys of hand me downs, my youngest son will be sporting the same trends that I didn't like the first time.

I am sorry for being disgusted when you took your child out in public with a wet cough. Oh how little I knew! If we stayed inside until the four year old's cough was gone we would spend eight straight months trapped in the house.

I am sorry for thinking you looked disheveled and judging your stained shirts and wild hair. I did not know that a clean, fresh shirt could become wrinkled and stained within thirty seconds of putting it on. I swear, the shirt is clean when I walk down the stairs in the morning. By the time I sit down at the breakfast table every substance in the room has found it's way to my shirt. And don't even ask me about my hair. The two year old won't let me shower without throwing open the door and pushing his way into the shower with me. And his constant tugging at my clothes and pulling at the hair dryer cord while I try to dry my hair makes for a quick dry job. And I have no clue where my mascara is. I did find a tube of Burt's Bees lip balm under the car seat the other while trying to dig out the pacifier, so there's that.

I am super sorry for buying your child any toys that had small parts. Why on earth do all of these toys come with tiny swords, tiny animals, whole tiny villages complete with tiny trees and tiny villagers who, I swear, are mocking me from the toy box. All of my Tupperware is now in the toy box holding Lego's, board game pieces, and other miscellaneous toy pieces that I don't think are even an integral part of the playing but that my son would notice if even one tiny tree got "lost". I have nothing to hold leftovers. Nothing.

I am sorry for thinking, "when I am a mother I will not tolerate those crazy kid behaviors." I open that bathroom door every time the two year old is out there crying and banging on the door. I let him climb in the shower with me. I watch my four year old occasionally roll, yes, I said roll, all the way from the classroom to the door at day care pick up.

I am sorry for judging you when you let your child watch a DVD or play a handheld video game at dinner out. My family was going to sit nicely in their chairs and talk about their days. Right. My family knocks over drinks, drops countless matchbox cars on the floor, throws sippy cups across the room. One time, when Matthew was a toddler, he actually threw an entire piece of buttered toast across a very crowded restaurant. True story. I would consider letting my kids watch reruns of "Oz" if it meant I could sit quietly and talk to my husband while eating my dinner when it was actually hot, without having to fend off flying tiny cars.

And, lastly, I am sorry for thinking you were crazy for not wanting to leave your child, even for a night out with the love of your life. I had no idea how hard it would be. No. Idea.

I'm sorry for thinking my little blessings would be different. Turns out, they're not.

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