Add to all of that the fact that I wasn't feeling 100%. Which is a whole other issue I need to figure out. I usually get a little sick when the big four and a half year old brings gunk home from school, but since the little one has joined the family I have been outnumbered. And so now when they bring that gunk home it is doubly potent and I don't just get a little sick. I get full blown sick. So I was fighting something.
I think we also have to add in the possibility of my hormones being slightly off balance. I know there are opposing views on the long lasting effects of fertility drugs, but I am landing on the side of yes, they do push you into perimenopause early. I am only 41 years old and I have been experiencing some sort of slight symptoms of this since I first took the drugs, back in my mid 30's. Raising small children while your hormones are making you a little crazy is not easy.
So, to recap:
- feeling unappreciated for all the thankless work that goes into being a mother.
- saying no, get down, stop hitting your brother, don't put that in your mouth, STOP HITTING YOUR BROTHER!, over and over and over again.
- living through the "IloveyouIhateyouIloveyouIhateyou" sentiments from my newest family member.
- being sick. again.
- hormones making me crazy. oh my god, so crazy.
For some reason this chaos really bothers me. I can ignore the thousands of toys on the living room floor. I can look the other way when my oldest son kicks his pull up off every morning, giggling as it hits his dresser, or the window. I don't mind the water on the bathroom floor during their shared tub time. I cannot ignore the dinner chaos. This, it seems, is my battle ground. So I try very hard to create a calm dinnertime experience. I plate the food before I call everyone to the table. I turn the lights down. Sometimes I turn on Vivaldi or Mozart. I reward my big four and a half year old with a sticker on his responsibility chart for good mealtime behavior. I take the time to research, plan, shop for, and prepare meals I think the whole family will enjoy.
Sunday I made a roast. which I knew the two year would not eat and wasn't sure if the four year old would eat or not. I calmly explained to my older son that he needed to taste the meal, at least. If he didn't like the meat he didn't have to eat it.
One bite, which wasn't even swallowed, and which was followed by "that is gross. I don't like this." deep breath.
The plate full of yogurt and fruit the two year old was presented with wound up on the floor. deep breath.
Demands for more ketchup, more butter on the bread, more drinks, more fruit. deep breath.
Toddler standing up in his high chair, attempting to fall on his head. deep breath.
Recently freed toddler climbing onto the table pulling forks, plates, food onto the floor. deep breath.
All hell breaking loose, again, at the dinner table. Piled on top of everything mentioned above. No more deep breaths. This mama lost it.
I believe I said something along the lines of: "I plan for these meals, I cook these meals, I try to make them nice and NONE OF YOU appreciate ANYTHING I do. DINNER IS CANCELLED. You can all eat cereal for dinner this week."
My husband, God bless him, had the presence of mind to keep his mouth shut. He just sat there, calmly grabbing things from the tiny toddler's sticky little grasp. I got up, grabbed a trash bag, starting clearing the table, throwing the food away, all while telling my little family that there would be no more cooking. Cereal for everyone, all week. I was totally out of my mind.
My big four and a half year old asked to be excused and ran out to the living room to play. A few minutes later he was back in the kitchen, where I was still man handling the dinner dishes but at least had stopped muttering about cereal.
"Mommy, tomorrow night, after we eat our cereal, it will be time to go trick or treating, right?"
My point had been totally lost on him. He just accepted the fact that mommy was going to force cereal on the family every night. My sweet little boy, so trusting. And best of all, he made me smile. He made me see how totally ridiculous I was being. I am not the only mother to lose her mind every so often. And this too shall pass. Before I know it I will have grown up boys busy with sports or band or after school jobs. Getting the family to sit down together for a meal might not be so easy. I should appreciate what I have. And I will.
Side note: we did, in fact, have cereal for dinner last night, just like I threatened. But that was only because we had to get our costumes on and get out there trick or treating. I do plan to make dinner tonight. One of my big four and a half year old's favorite meals, in fact. I am such a sucker.