Some days with a two year old are sort of like being held prisoner. Some days it's like having the world's worst boss who is never happy with you, who never likes what you do, and who routinely screams "I AM SO MAD AT YOU!" while you scramble around trying to figure out how to get someone else to take over your job. Not all days are like this because some days involve happiness, hugs, coloring done in coloring books, and reading and snuggling. But some days are like being a prisoner of war.
The cruelest part for Gigi and me is that she has to have these 2 year old meltdowns which are a part of growing up BUT she occasionally has them (GUYS: skip to the next paragraph please!) when Mommy has PMS, or as our Queen's English friends call it, PMT. I rather like PMT which changes the "Syndrome" out for "Tension" because it really is tension, not a syndrome as far as I'm concerned. When the two cycles align both of us end up yelling and crying and stomping off in either high heels or tap shoes. I realize that one day her PMS/T will correspond with "the change" so we'll be back in the same boat. Mothers and daughters never get a break when it comes to emotional breakdowns. The good news is that neither of us is alone in a breakdown, we have someone there on the other side of the slammed door feeling just as crappy. There is some comfort in that.
Welcome back to our male readers. So today we're going to have a bad day. And I know we're going to have a bad day because she told me so on the way home from dropping off Will.
"Mommy, I'm going to have a bad day today."
"Oh, but Mommy really needs you to have a good day today." And Mommy could use some caffeine, some chocolate, some mac n' cheese, a heating pad, and some kleenex...
"No. I'm in a mood." She stares resolutely out the window. And I realize her mind is made up and we're going to have a bad day because she's "in a mood". I can feel the pressure building on one side of my head as we drive home. I feel the urge to cry because it's only 7:30 am and I know it will be a long day. My back hurts. I'm going to have a bad day too because I'm quickly getting "in a mood".
"Gigi, it's not too late. You can still have a really good day. We can have a great day singing and dancing and coloring and snuggling. You can choose a good day." Please, please choose the good day! Don't go to the Dark Side!
"No. I make bad choices today."
Poop. I'm stuck. The thing about Will is that if he's "in a mood" he will exile himself and I won't have to be a part of the bad day. Gigi demands audience. She holds court, as it were, in a bad day mood. Not only will I be witness to this bad day, but I'm going to be the supporting actress in the drama.
"WHERE'S LUNCH?! I WANT MY LUNCH!" She's in my face now. I move away from her and say, quietly that's it's only 8:45 am and lunch isn't served until 11:30. She throws a fit. I know what you're thinking but I assure you proper lines of punishment were followed, but when she's declared herself "in a mood" we are talking emotional terrorism here. War has been declared on Mommy.
The day involved a toothpaste mess, a coloring mess on the toy chest, the destruction of a perfectly organized bookshelf, the wrecking of several child safety locks, numerous toy casualties, a two hour fight about the definition of "naptime" and several nasty comments about my cooking abilities.
At 4 pm I was enjoying my first chance at silence. And then, I looked up. She had a crayon and she was scribbling on something. "Oh well, she's not screaming at me." I thought. But then, you know, I got curious about what she found to color in the living room... I looked closer and found her going to town IN MY BIBLE! Is nothing sacred?!
She got into a lot of trouble. I separated us. I gave us both "time out" because after the Bible incident we were both needing Jesus. Neither one of us was a good woman at that point in time. The Proverbs 31 woman ran from our house, giving both my daughter and I up as lost causes. It was ugly at our home.
A few hours later I went to my Ladies Bible Study. Several noticed that I looked like I'd been in combat during the day. I shrugged every time one of them asked if I felt ok. My answer was always "I've been with an angry 2 year old girl all day." They understood. Our Bible Study got underway and I was really struggling to overcome my exhaustion from the day of combat. I opened my Bible to the Psalm we were reading in our Study only to discover that Gigi had gotten there before me. I was angry at first that she had destroyed a Psalm, but then to my amazement I saw the one she'd colored over.
Psalm 139. I won't write the whole thing for you but I did stop suddenly and choke up at the part she colored with the most effort: verses 13 -16:
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
How special and how beautiful that God knew Gigi's days - even the worst ones - before I even knew she was forming. How special to know that even on these days Gigi and I aren't in it alone. How awesome to get this word from God through the crayon of a child that just a few hours earlier I'd had it up to here with.
I hope you have revelations like this with your kids even on your worst days.