Sometimes, I just hope that God isn’t watching me too carefully. (Yeah, I know He is, but just humor me for a minute or two. It makes me feel a bit less guilty.)
It’s Day 5 of my current illness, a strange conglomerate of sore throat, cold, cough, and sinus issues. I am tired, still sick, and generally very irritable. I want to sleep, and sleep some more, but I can’t breathe when I sleep, so it’s often an exercise in frustration and futility. Mostly, I want quiet. And I have an almost-4-year-old who won’t stop talking. So, quiet has not been had.
And today was my talkative darling's Valentine’s Day party at preschool. I had made invitations, he had helped, we’d taped SweetTart hearts to them, we’d gotten fruit and veggies to take into his class, etc. Mostly, I couldn’t wait to drop him off so I could come home and sleep a bit. In silence. Sitting up in the comfy chair so I could take in breath while sleeping. Ahhhhhhhhhh. Doesn’t that sound nice?
Until it all fell into jeopardy; my son told me his stomach hurt this morning. He visited the bathroom upon my recommendation, had success, said he felt better, and voila, we were on our way with bags to preschool. Except. Then his stomach hurt again. Then, as we drove, he wanted to not go in, and to just return home and play.
This is where it gets ugly, folks. This is where I’m hoping some lovely angel was singing to God really loudly and drowning out the honking, sniffling, crabby voice that emerged from my mouth as I had a little “talking to” with my kid:
“Okay, now you understand, if you’re sick, there’s no rowdy playing. If your tummy hurts, you will act like a kid whose tummy hurts, and stay still, and lie on the couch, and NOT jump off the stool 50 times. Because Mommy really needs this time to get things done.”
“Okay, I know. I won’t jump off the stool.”
“That’s right, because sick kids don’t jump off stools. If you’re well enough to play hard, then you’re well enough to go to preschool.”
“Okay, I know.”
We drove to school, every void in the car filled with his happy little voice; then we dropped the things off at school, and I gave him another chance. Still he complained about the tummy. I reminded him again of the stark truth of illness: “Remember, this is not going to be special play time with Mommy. Mommy is still sick too. And Mommy needs to get things done. Okay?”
We left the school parking lot, on to the library, and I parked and slid our books into the book drop. We started to drive away. And then he blindsided me: “I think I feel well enough to go.”
“Now you’re just playing head games with me. Are you trying to make me angry?” Yes, I really said that to a 3 1/2-year-old. I did. And it gets worse. He said,
“No, Mommy. I can jump off stools now.”
“So what do you want to do?” I asked this, as we were driving in the opposite direction, still not far from the school, but moving away from it. (I didn’t ask it in a very nice voice, I’ll admit.)
“I want to go.”
“Are you SURE?”
“Yes, I want to go.”
“Fine.” I turned onto a side road, into someone’s driveway, redirected the car, and started back in the direction of the school. And then he said,
Well, people, I freaked. I said, “Don’t you ever tell me to hurry up, you ungrateful little child! I don’t ever want to hear those words come out of your mouth, especially after you’ve been playing mind games with me!” Without a moment’s hesitation, my sweet little boy burst into tears, of course, and they rivuleted their way down his soft cheeks, and at first I was righteously indignant and enraged, and then I felt bad. And then, worse. He probably did have a stomachache. It probably did stop aching. Even if it didn’t, I shouldn’t have yelled at him like that. And mostly, I'm ashamed to say, I thought Oh CRAP, what are those teachers going to think when they see his little reddish wet eyes? I almost turned around and made him come home anyway, but the thought of him wailing about missing the party and me being sick and irritable and a wretch in general was too much to bear. We drove back to school, and I was calm by then: I gave him one last option out in case he was still feeling ill. But the poor kid was probably terrified at the thought of being home alone with me—he opted to go in. So I walked him in.
And I drove home, once again wondering what in the world God was thinking when he gave me this innocent little soul to ruin and rankle. Good grief, I’m not cut out for this.
There, I’ve confessed my ugly moment for today. If there are more to come, I’ll confess them in private and spare you the pain of bearing witness.
The worst part is that now, I feel too awful to nap.