Monday night was not the finest hour for anyone in the Hammer household.
The kids went to bed at their normal time just fine. I was finishing up my nacho dinner and an episode of Friends around 9:30 when my 21-month-old son woke up very sad and crying. I went into comfort him and his almost three-year-old sister whom he had woken up. I sat in their room and comforted Levi until he went to sleep and Lily quickly followed suit.
About five minutes later he woke up sad again so I shuttled them off to the couch and we all watched an episode of Curious George together before I put them back to bed.
About 10 minutes later he was sad and crying again so I thought I’d try to get them both to sleep in bed with me. I’m sick and I was tired and I just wanted to sleep by any means necessary.
It looked like it was working. He was curled up on me and dozing while Lillian was falling asleep herself.
Then he got sad again, climbed out of bed, and handed me my glasses and phone–his signal that it’s time for me to get up.
I did not want to get up and, in an embarrassing moment, I lost my temper a bit and stormed out of bed, into the living room, and turned another blasted episode of Curious George.
Once the kids were settled on the couch with their sippy cups I called my husband to whine. He works nights and is privy to why I’m calling him so late. He offered to Skype with the kids to distract them for a few so I opened it up on my computer.
The kiddos were happy, chatting with Daddy, and then Lillian said, “Dad, brother was crying and Mommy got mad and now we’re watching George!”
HAHAHA…hahaha… ha… ouch.
While I’m not naive enough to believe that my kids don’t understand the emotions I’m feeling when I’m acting upset or sad, it struck a nerve deep within me that this is how the situation appeared to her. I was mad because Levi was crying.
The truth is that I was mad because I was sick and tired and didn’t want to be watching that stupid monkey at 11 o’clock at night and I was being selfish–something one can’t be when they’re a parent.
But that’s not how it looked.
Seeing life through the eyes of a child can be magical and awe-inspiring. Monday night, though, it was heartbreaking.
It was kind of funny and cute, but more than that it was extremely humbling. I’m not super great at remaining calm in these situations and I’m not awesome at controlling my emotions. However, it’s now vital that I figure out how to respond to situations in ways which will not make it look like I was angry at my son for being sad.
That’s going to be quite the challenge and I’m not sure I’m ready for it. Lucky for me, I have a long track record of being unprepared for parenthood and, so far, I think I’m doing okay. This is just one more step on my journey.