Ever have one of those days where everything just seems off? Like you just can't win? That was last night with Jacob and me. I am well aware that sometimes my plans aren't the most conducive to Jacob's wants and/or needs. It's not that I'm purposely trying to do that, but it's just how things go. I work around his schedule as much as I can for errand running and things like that, but if Jacob had his way, he'd spend 24 hours a day playing hockey and would never want to take a break to eat or sleep. And obviously, that's not good. Life gets in the way sometimes! Life as a working mother provides very little flexibility at times. Sometimes you have to fit in grocery shopping right after work and daycare pickup, which pushes off dinner even later than usual. You can't always spend a full weekend afternoon playing because there are errands that need to be run that have been waiting all week. To maintain your sanity, sometimes you need to get out and do something fun in the evenings, even if it means that bedtime will be a little later than usual...though usually that one comes back to bite us big-time because Jacob is so thrown off the next day, even if he seemingly caught up on his sleep. That was the case Sunday, after we went to the Rhinos soccer game on Saturday night (sidenote: Jacob is already chanting, "Let's Go Rhinos!"). We had a decent weekend otherwise, with some good outside playtime (though I spent most of it trimming our property...yuck!). We also picked up a potty seat for Jacob, not to be confused with his potty chair. We've had the frog potty chair for a couple weeks, but Jacob still seemed interested in sitting on the big potty so I wanted him to have a potty seat as well. Never hurts to have both as they both have a function, and I finally found a potty seat with good reviews, so we picked that up Sunday night. No successes yet with either, but I wasn't really expecting any quite yet anyway.
But anyway, last night was the "disaster" indicated in the subject line. I picked Jacob up from daycare at the normal time, and he gave me his usual resistance when I got there. He never wants to leave and usually just wants to run around and pull out more toys while I'm trying to gather up his stuff. It's often a chore just to get out of the building, but at that point he usually is happy to be outside and will dutifully hold my hand and walk to the car. When we got home, I had to open the garage to bring in the garbage cans. Well, once I did that, Jacob just wanted to play. He wanted to pull out his big wheel, play with the hockey sticks (full size hockey sticks...he kept whining when he'd see them tucked in the corner, and this weekend Craig pulled out one for him to play with), and grab his baseball bat and ball. Of course, it was already 6pm and we needed to do dinner ASAP. I always feel terrible when dinner is late and we're rushing from dinner to bed...it's just as bad as rushing from daycare to dinner! I let Jacob ride his big wheel down the driveway to get the mail, and then told him we'd come back outside after dinner. Still, it was a bit of a struggle to get him in the house. Once we were in he was pretty good about playing with his toys while I cooked. At one point he brought his hockey guys into the kitchen (they're actually the little flat hockey players off Craig's old table hockey game, along with a couple Lil' Sports Brat keychain hockey players, minus their chains) and was playing with them nicely. When I said it was time for dinner, he took them all back out to the living room, a few at a time. Too cute. He ate dinner relatively well (have I mentioned he really likes broccoli? Sweet!), at which point Lori came to visit on her way through Greece. We finished up dinner and eventually headed outside to chat and play. He was pretty good while we were outside, but definitely started getting a little defiant. He'd throw his bat or throw a ball toward the street, which I repeatedly told him not to. When he kept going, it was time to go in, but again I got a tantrum. That lasted quite a while once we were in the house, but just as quickly as it came, the tantrum faded and Jacob happily resumed playing with his inside toys. But shortly after that it was suddenly time to take a bath and go to bed, so once again a tantrum started because he didn't want to do that. I carried him upstairs and put him in the tub anyway. He cried through most of his bath, and then suddenly he stopped and began happily playing with his tub toys. But of course, by now it was getting close to bedtime. I tried to get him to wrap things up, but once again he started with a tantrum when I tried to get him out of the tub. This is where things really started to go downhill. I pulled him out crying, though he started laughing when I put his hooded towel on his head and he realized he could play peek-a-boo. But when he didn't have enough slack to cover his eyes, he got cranky. He was quickly back to a full-on cry, so I tried to just hug him and settle him down while I dried him off. But mid-hug, all of a sudden I felt this pain in my shoulder...he BIT me! It caught me off guard and I inadvertently yelled and sort of dug my nails into him where I was holding him. Oops. That obviously made things that much worse, and as I was hugging him again, apologizing for the clawing and yelling and trying to ask him why he bit me, I felt a little splash on my leg. Yup, sure enough...Jacob peed on the floor. Figures, since he wouldn't pee on either potty before his bath. I don't know if the whole thing scared him, or he was just so out-of-control that his bladder went right with him, but geez. What a disaster.
It wasn't a bright moment for either of us. Jacob has had one tantrum right after the other lately, the second he doesn't get what he wants, and I probably haven't been the most patient with him. It's hard to be patient when everything's a battle. And I'm sure there's probably something I'm not doing quite right that's making him feel the need to have a tantrum all the time. I probably should pay more attention to subtle cues, the ones that indicate that he may need more attention, more sleep, more food or drink, or just more playtime. But it's hard when you're busy and don't get to spend 24 hours a day studying your child. But then again, why can't he just realize that he'd have more playtime (and quality time in general) if he'd just stop crying and relax! Ha, try telling that to an almost-two-year-old! But I think in the end a lot of the problems come down to just not having enough hours in the day. Jacob should be my priority, but yet I have to cook dinner and clean up each evening, which doesn't leave a lot of time for playing. And even when there is time, I'm often beat and it's hard to be enthusiastic. On weekends I'm always trying to get through the to do list that's been building all week, and I'm sure Jacob suffers there as well. Sometimes I don't even have enough time to do normal, easy stuff with him, let alone having a chance to get creative and do really fun stuff! I suppose it's the eternal torture of a working mom, and I get even more frustrated thinking about baby #2 someday. If I'm this busy and this frustrated with one, what will I do when there's two? Is it fair to Jacob or his future sibling? At least they'll have each other, I guess. I just keep hoping that our circumstances will change for the better, one way or another, before that's a reality. Wishful thinking, but you never know. God's provided before, so there's no reason He won't in the future.
Long story short, it just takes one night (or a series of little incidents) to start making you a little crazy and questioning your ability to parent. I try to be patient and I try to focus on Jacob, but it doesn't always work. But tonight is another night...we'll see how it goes...