The cute weather-girl story notwithstanding, my mommy performance tonight was less than stellar.
I started out OK this morning. We had a fine, fine cuddle, I snuggled and kissed her like a baby, her head on my chest, and rocked her side to side like a mommy rocks her wee one. The little girl seemed to soak it in happily. I had to rush off to work, which meant showering and dressing and cooking eggs, and telling her I didn’t have time for the fashion show she wanted us to have.
I worked a little late and met her and her daddy at the park around the time we should have been leaving the park. I felt tired and impatient. We played a little while, I carried her half the way home before my back told me to let her walk — she wanted me to carry her the whole way — and we had a semi-chaotic dinner, with a little of this and that, in the living room, with the end of an episode of “Noddy” (gah), then “Caillou” and “Frances.”
She needed to go to bed then, as it was close to 8, she’d been awake more than 12 hours with no nap, and well, she just needed to get to bed! She went from dinner to nightgown to tooth-brushing to bed in a matter of minutes, not the best pacing. She was being a sweet girl — and restless, very restless, and maybe stalling a bit, and the less patient Mommy was, the less patient Mommy was with the sweet little girl’s antics. She requested a reading of “Miss Spider’s Wedding,” not my favorite — sorry, Davd Kirk — as it’s a long book with fancy, flowery verbiage for a kid’s book and a shrewish beetle and a very scary mean he-man spider and a saccharine spider love story. Every sentence or two, the little girl asked a question: Does he want to marry Holley? How are they stuck there? Does he think he’s the boss of everyone? Who’s that?
These are, of course, adorable, probing questions from a sweet, adorable girl. And it drove me slightly mad. I mean, the book is long, with lots of paragraphs on each page. It can take a while to read through these pages of thick verse. With five questions per page, it could take hours to get through “Miss Spider’s Wedding.” I put the kibosh on the questions — not something a mommy should be doing. “No more questions!” Nope, not good mommying.
When she tired of my impatience and my refusal to let her leave the room a second time to kiss her daddy goodnight, she asked to have her daddy come in instead of me. We did this, and it was not a great scene, as she really wanted me there. So as I sat on the sofa in the living room and tried to relax, the little girl would emerge every few minutes with her soft, cozy velvety pink blanket over her head. And again, impatient mommy would carry her back to her room, barking occasionally. When I was too barky, she’d tell me to leave, even though she wanted me there. I told her if she left her room again, there’d be a consequence — no tutus tomorrow! That should be a big consequence, because she loves her tutus, and it’s big for us too, because she’s happy and very cute in them, and now we have to round up and hide her tutus to show we’re following through on the stupid consequences. Anyway, when we threatened this consequence, the little girl said, “Good. I like that consequence.” Oooh, she’s quick.
Finally, after carrying her back in there for at least the third time, maybe the fifth, I asked the little girl if she wanted me in the room. She nodded. So I told her daddy to skeedaddle and soft-barked at the girl to get her whole self on the bed and there’d be no more foolishness and it was after 9 and so forth. There was some tossing and turning, some conversation, some guilt.
“Mommy, do you know why I kept coming into the living room?”
“Because I wanted to kiss you.”
She at last snuggled into the place she calls her “home.” I sang goodnight songs to her. She asked for another sip of water! I barked and gave her her cup. I said goodnight to her toes and fingers and such the way the monkey does to herself in “Goodnight Me.” She exhaled at the appropriate time, when the talk turns to breathing, which seemed to relax her. She drifted to sleep as I sang prayers to her. Then I kissed her and told her I love her and apologized for being grumpy. And that, my friend, is what’s known as falling short.