Today was a bad day. I have no pretty face to put on it. It goes without saying that I am grateful for all of the good in my life. But that doesn’t preclude the shitty day.
Baby V has her first ear infection and is on antibiotics for the first time. The smell of the cloyingly sweet bubble gum flavored medicine jolted me back in time to my infancy and early childhood. I was desperately ill as a baby. I had tubes put in my ears when I was nine months old and my adenoids removed at 18 months. I took so much of that bright pink liquid antibiotic as a kid, the smell of it has an effect on me not unlike a PTSD flashback. I opened the bottle and had to fight back the urge to sob and throw it on the floor.
Luckily, Baby V’s reaction was “Pink yummy! MORE!”
The eye drops? Not so much.
See, she also has an eye infection. If I thought that holding her down to use the bulb syringe on her snotty nose made me feel like a monster, imagine how much horror I had in store for me when I attempted to put eye drops in her sweet brown eyes, and she screamed, “Mommy, NOOO! Please, Mommy, HELP ME!” I thought I was going to lose it for real. And, yay, I get to do that to her three times a day for four more days.
I know that all mommy blogs eventually turn into the old clichéd “mommy complainer blogs,” and I really try to stay away from that. I love the mom stuff. I laugh at the poop. Having spit up on my shirt and in my hair never bothered me. Since I rent my house, when it would hit the carpet with a hearty “splat,” I simply shrugged. Among our three frequently puking pets, we lost our security deposit long, long ago. Sure, I bitched about the screeching phase she went through, and I bemoan my formerly spontaneous and athletic sex life. But I have nothing to complain about. Being a mom is the best thing I’ve ever done.
And I’ve acted with Kirk Cameron, Paul Rudd AND Brad Pitt.
What gets me is when she cries out in anguish. It triggers something in me from long ago, and I feel panicky and despairing. The sound of her voice when she said “Help me.” I get heart palpitations just reliving it here. Sometimes, it haunts me for a long time afterwards. It’s an ongoing challenge. When you become a parent, you know joy and love like you never imagined. And fear and pain like you never wished on your worst enemy. When people would tell me this before I had kids, my response was inevitably, “Then why the hell do you crazy fuckers do it?” Because you get through it, I guess. Even the really bad days.
We’re all sick here, chez Odie. It’s the common cold, becoming increasingly more common since Baby V waded into the virus swamp known as preschool. Odie stayed home with her because I stayed home on Monday, so it was his turn. We have ten sick days each this year, and I’ve already used four. And it’s October. I left my house this morning sad to leave them, but happy they were home together and I didn’t have to worry about them.
My classroom was in shambles from yesterday’s sub. The students had an assignment due today where they had to print a student journal for their reading books from the textbook website. That was the assignment. Click and print. I gave them four days to do it. Eight people in block one did it (out of 31). Twelve people in block two did it (out of 33). I felt deflated and defeated. A girl in my first period class had her head down on her desk, sobbing. I knew exactly how she felt. I was happy I remembered from our “Love and Logic” workshop not to ask her “Are you okay?” What a stupid question, right? I said, “Let me know if there is anything at all I can do for you. And feel free to get up and leave if you have to.” I said to her what I myself needed to hear. I hope it helped.
A coworker wrote on Facebook she thinks maybe teaching isn’t the job for her. I felt that way too, when halfway through my lesson block one, a boy loudly whined, “This is boring.” And later during second block, when my students just wouldn’t listen to me, I lost my cool just slightly, and it only made the situation worse. They wouldn’t do anything I asked them to do before, but once I was mad at them, they REALLY felt no need to please me. I stood there, ineffectual. Frustrated. Sore throat, stuffy nose, pounding head, and fighting back tears of self-pity. It was a bad, bad day.
For the second night in a row, my daughter didn’t want to go to sleep. “All done!” she said and signed as she climbed out of bed and ran from the room. It’s like that pink medicine is laced with caffeine or something. Usually she can barely keep her eyes open past seven-thirty, but last night she ran around the house until eleven and tonight, I wrestled with her for an hour. I understand how the “cry it out” method was invented. I do. I really, really do.
I don’t have some inspirational, “And then I put on my favorite bunny slippers and drank a latte and it was all grand” ending for this. I wrote a better lesson plan, watched some Chilean miners get rescued, indulged in some writing, and I’m going to bed and dreaming of a better day.