Have you ever had this thought? If you’re a mom, I’m sure you have. Today was my day to ponder this. Actually, I was more wondering why I even bothered getting my kids dressed today. Here’s the story….
My two year old daughter is a little bit shy and withdrawn in larger social settings. On her own or in small familiar groups she does great but whenever I take her to a public place, with lots of kids (playground, zoo, library, etc.) she pulls into a shell. She stares at the other kids like they are freaky aliens and refuses to leave my side/lap/arms. In an effort to help her break out of this shell I’ve been trying to expose her to more activities. Last week we went to the library’s story time. I loved it, I loved the books, the silly songs, and watching the other kids–she didn’t. Oh no, I will not sit on the rug with the other kids! Oh no, I will not do the hand motions to the songs. Oh no, I will not take a shaker and shake it with the song…okay I will take a shaker but I will NOT put it back when the song is over. I’m sure you can picture how our story time went. All the while my adorable, laid back four month old sat sweetly in the stroller, never making a peep.
I was not deterred, however by last week’s theatrics. And so this morning I got us up and dressed and with books in bag we returned to the library. I had studied my enemy (newness) and prepared a strategy this time. We arrived early, perused the books and got comfortable with the surroundings and the other kids. Jennika was doing great! I was so excited as story time approached.
Then, it happened.
Not two minutes before story time started, my little man filled his pants…man style. I didn’t have time to check out our books, run out to the car with both kids in tow, and change him. So I made the fatal error of hoping his diaper would hold until story time was over. Thirty minutes, just thirty minutes, please God!?! In we strolled to story time, Jennika still smiling, though a little uncertainly. She didn’t sit on the rug and didn’t do most of the hand motions, but she did listen to the stories and was having fun. Somewhere into the second story Korban started fussing. I tried distractions and movement but he wanted out of that stroller (who wouldn’t when they are sitting in their own poop?). I undid the buckles and scooped him up…then I almost dropped him as my hands felt icky, sticky poop all over his pants.
What to do? I glanced at the clock on the wall, still a good 15 minutes before story time was over. I glanced at the exit door and all the children and moms I’d have to weave through to get out. What to do, what to do. Well, some of you may frown and shake your head and I know I’m not going to get nominated for any Mother of the Year awards after this admission; I put him back in his stroller. For the next several minutes I distracted him any way I could, short of holding him. Korban handled his poopy pants like a champ…for about five minutes and then he was done. There was nothing I could do in that little library room to make him happy. So I apologetically pushed my stroller with screaming, offensive-odor-emitting child and carried my disappointed daughter through the sea of little hands, feet, and big mormon mama purses.
In the car, as I cleaned and cleaned and cleaned all that was poop-covered I wondered, why do I even bother? Why does it have to be so hard? Why can’t we go to the library for an easy relaxing story hour? Had any experienced mother sat me down before kids and told me just how hard, exasperating, and humiliating being a mother would be, if she had really and truly told me all, not sparing any of the gory details, I think I would have signed up sterilization that day. But no wise mother did, because she knew that the joys and the love wash over those moments when we want to pull out all our hair and scream. That those moments when we think we would willingly sign up for chinese water torture in exchange for just a few minutes of a normal life without food on our clothes and sleep-deprived circles under our eyes are really just one bitter drop in the bucket of all the sweet experiences we have with our children.
So though I am frustrated and discouraged, I will not give up. Next week we will go back to the library. And next week I’ll have better studied my new enemy (poop) and will have a strategy for victory (pants fashioned from plastic bags:-) ).
I have to go now…Jennika is standing on Korban’s tummy. 🙂