We’ve had a few rough afternoons lately. Sassy mouths. Crying fits under the kitchen table. Rude remarks.
I’d blame it on the full moon, but that’s already passed. Is it the promise of an insane amount of candy in a few days? A sugar high from the vapors escaping from bags of it hiding in the pantry? Whatever it is, it sits, pent up all day to the point of boiling, until 3 o’clock when the kids release this energy like a mad teapot.
Yesterday, I felt pretty proud of myself when, after a day of back-to-back-to-back meltdowns, I actually didn’t lose my cool, managed to handle my kids without yelling, and sent them to their rooms for a very long time to calm down.
I relayed the events of the afternoon to my husband only when asked, and it was the short story, not the long version.
He then told me that when he pulled up to the house after work, our daughter was standing at the front door crying. I wondered what she could have been crying about. Oh, green beans.
“I didn’t know whether to just keep on driving,” he said.
He didn’t. He asked her why she was crying and she pointed to the green beans on her plate. All four of them.
I was upstairs telling my son, Mr. Hyde, why we don’t talk to adults that way as I bit my tongue hard not to mouth at him in return. It was difficult, but I was good. I deserved an award, a trophy for Mother Who Kept Her Mean Thoughts to Herself. They have those, don’t they?
Just when it seemed everyone had kissed and made up, those damn green beans ruined everything. Withering away on my daughter’s plate. I had told her to try them. She was going to make it difficult. While she screamed at my husband in a way I have rarely seen her do (no doubt picked up from her brother a few hours before), I hung over my plate laughing and fighting back tears in the same sad breath because after the day I’d had, I really didn’t know what was about to come out of me.
Bedtime can never arrive fast enough on days like these. But no matter what has happened or how infuriated or exhausted I am, I take a breath, march into their rooms, read to them, and tell them I love them. Then I skip out of there as fast as I can and hope tomorrow is a better day. And that Jekyll is back. And that I don’t forget that I will not be serving green beans for a while.