My morning began with a fierce competition between the girls fighting for my attention. It's like cracking an egg and trying to split it perfectly down the middle because if one daughter gets a drop more, I'm screwed.
Everything was unfair and God forbid, one of the them stole the other's chair while one went to put something in her backpack. "I can't believe you stole my chair! You knew I sitting there, why would you take my chair? WOW, I can't believe you did that."
We have plenty of chairs and none of them are missing. Nothing was stolen except a front row seat to me making breakfast, 10:00 snacks, and lunches (which by the way, gets a little old day after day making three meals before I finish a cup of coffee, but that's another blog).
Then Parker requests that I look at her recorder music which prompts Paige to immediately ask if she can read her book out loud and asks for help with a word. They were both speaking at the same time with increasing volume and frequency.
I said, "You guys, listen. I love you both the same regardless of who's getting the attention. You're not loved less just because I'm listening or speaking to one of you at a time."
That didn't work.
Putting on boots proved to be a challenge because apparently Paige's butt was too close to Parker's face while she leaned over to strap on her boots. After a lifetime of groans, yelps, grieving sighs, and a million tattles on each other we were out the door.
As we ran for the bus, Parker announced she forgot to put her shoes in her backpack, Paige needed her homework folder, and I was having a nervous breakdown.
I shut the door and said, "You two are acting like idiots this morning. How about we kick off the day with you scratching each other's eyes out? Sound good? You can just rip each other's faces off and save us all from the headache of listening to you verbally attack each other."
Paige said, "Well, then I would get a down arrow on my rewards and consequences chart."
Nevermind that her sister would be missing her fucking eyeballs. She's worried she won't be able to cash in her points for a "Movie Theatre Madness" reward.
We got to the garage and our wussy garage door opener stops halfway up if the temperature dips below 40 degrees. This requires me say "Shit!" and lift it as the automatic motor tries to push it up. It's like hauling a dog's fat ass up into a truck because he can't do it alone.
My tirade lasted the entire trip to school. "See how negative energy is contagious? I feel like going to a gas station and yelling at the clerk for spending more time with the customer before me. I could explain how unfair it is that she talked more to the other person in line than she did to me and she must love that other person more than me. Then that clerk could go home and scream at her kids because now I spread it to her and her kids will kick the dog..."
I capped it off with explaining that they were acting like a couple of jerks this morning and I couldn't wait to drop them off at school.
Parker said, "I'm feeling really mad that you called us idiots, jerks, and you can't wait to drop us off at school."
To which I replied, "I'm sorry I called you idiots and jerks, but you two were acting like imbeciles this morning."
This got a smile on everyone's face, including mine. I said, "Look, I'm not proud of the way I behaved. I wasn't responding with an open heart and it's never okay to call anyone names, much less a mother name-calling her own children. I'm embarrassed and I'm sorry. You two are great kids, I just want you to treat people with respect, and that includes each other. I certainly wasn't doing that myself ten minutes ago, so I understand how difficult it is."
And it is difficult. Containing another person's anger is hard work. It takes skill and practice to stay neutral while someone rants and raves. It's so easy to jump right in, strap on the boxing gloves, and take a self-absorbed swing. It takes strength to stay out of the ring and remind them that you love them.
After all, no one remembers what was said during a fight. They only remember how you made them feel. I'm guessing that instead of making my girls feel secure and loved, I made them feel like jerks. Isn't that the exact opposite of my role as a mother? I certainly didn't hold them as newborns and stroke their cheeks and say, "I hope one day I make you feel like a complete imbecile."
Intentions and actions sometimes get tangled up. Life isn't a straight trajectory with a constant move toward higher evolution. We trip, stumble, and apologize. This morning was definitly a false start with a fumble on the sidelines. All I can do is be accountable for my actions and kick off a new game when they get home.