I’m the wicked witch.
Pick up the balls please.
Pick up the balls.
Evan, I told you pick up the balls.
Pick up the balls right NOW.
Good Lord, child, pick up the balls!
Ok, how about you pick up the balls or go to time out.
My voice cracks. It goes up a few octaves. The tone is like nails on a chalk board. It reflects my desire to be somewhere else, any where else like getting a root canal or watching my mom try on a dozen dresses as I sit in the boyfriend’s set dreaming about the ice cream shake I deserve but won’t get. Basically I sound like a nag. I hate it.
Pick up the trains, please.
Pick up the trains.
Evan, pick up the trains.
I told you to PICK UP the trains.
Keep picking up the trains.
If I come back in here and the trains aren’t picked up, you’re going to time out.
I sound like my mom, a broken record. I sound harsh, unforgiving. I sound angry, hateful, bitter.
Obviously I’m not doing this right.
Evan, get your shoes on; we’re going to Grandma and Papi’s.
I start out nice, respectful, often polite.
Get your shoes on.
Then it comes out like a command. I move away doing something else, dealing with Sean, cleaning, brushing my teeth.
Evan, where are your shoes? Get THEM.
Then I start to get angry.
Evan! Get your shoes on.
Then I bark.
Get your shoes on now or you’re going into time out.
Then I threaten. Usually he does what he’s told to at this final moment; sometimes he does not.
But I find myself muttering a phrase I heard in my past.
How many times do I have to tell you to do something?
Then I know I’m channeling my mother.
That frightens me. She had horrible PMS when I was growing up. You know the projectile-vomiting-fire-breathing-head-turning-things-flying-bed-levitating-dear-god-where’s-the-holy-water kind. She had an excuse. I do not. Or maybe three children just constantly pressed her buttons (and God knows what my dad did, i.e. last post) that it would send her on a psychotic tail spin once a month.
Because I see myself heading that way.
Maybe I need to throw him into time out the first time he doesn’t jump to do what he’s told. Maybe I’m too soft. Maybe I should have stronger consequences. Maybe I should just send him to a military school. Maybe I am my mother.
All I know is I want to be the peaceful, patient, kind, loving mother all the time. I don’t want to be the snarling, screaming, tired, frustrated mother that is starting to pop at several times a day. I hate her. This is just one child pressing my buttons. I’ve got Sean pressing the terrible twos, and I look at him, thinking didn’t Evan put away his juice cup at that age, I didn’t let Evan get away with hitting at this age, shouldn’t he have learned by now to throw his temper tantrums in his room.
This job, this household, heck, their childhoods would be infinitely more pleasant if they would just do it on THE FIRST TIME.
Really, is that so hard to ask?