By Laura Hill of laurawheatmanhill.blogspot.com
It’s 7:30 am and I am fairly certain it’s a Wednesday, but not 100% certain, and my three-year-old is throwing a tantrum because:
- He thinks he deserves a cookie.
- He wants to know why he can’t go to school today.
My almost-six-year-old daughter is sleeping on my bedroom floor, mouth agape. When she wakes up I have to tell her that her birthday party is cancelled due to COVID, so I’m letting her sleep in hopes that she wakes up pleasant.
What am I going to do with these children today?
Taking a cue from our occupational therapist, who I miss like she’s my family, I make flash cards with simple words and pictures: movie, outside, move, build, write, read, etc and illustrate them. I assign stars to ones that are more like chores such as pick-up, clean, eat a vegetable, etc. I use blue painter’s tape to affix these to the wall in the hallway. The stars mean nothing. I have no prize for if they get a bunch of stars. Let’s see how long before they notice…
I ask the still tantruming three-year-old which activity he’d like to do.
He’s in the red zone. I try to squeeze him, hold him, anything, but to no avail. I put him in his room, lock the door, and check on my daughter. Through this tantrum, she is still sound asleep. Stress sleeping, I call it. She does it every day at kindergarten during rest and relax time. Every morning I have to physically stand her on her feet to get her to wake up for school. The minute she’s up, though, she’s UP. Singing, spinning, happy (sometimes). Let’s see what we get today…
The three-year-old is coming down. He is lying on the couch and requests a blanket. He wants me to continue to observe him from the chair, like he’s doing some horrible performance art installation.
The washing machine dings. Time to switch loads. The three-year-old slow blinks. I don’t dare move.
His vision is based on movement.
I scroll social media and instantly regret it. I read a horrific personal account of working in an ER in NYC and feel my blood pressure rise. My pills, very fortunately refilled right before the world ended, are in my bedroom, with my sleeping eldest child.
The three-year-old has fallen asleep on the couch. This is what happens when you wake up at five am, dude!
I sneak into my bedroom and pop a pill. I worry that I’m becoming one of those moms. But no one is here to see or judge me, are they? Just like no one sees my three-day-old sweatpants. Or my dirty, quickly turning back to grey hair. And no one knows how many chocolate eggs I ate last night…Is this what freedom feels like? Because it sure does feel like a fancy prison at the same time.
Both kids are asleep. I climb into bed, slowly pulling the blanket up to my chin so as not to make too much noise.
About the Author
Laura Wheatman Hill lives in Portland, Oregon with her dentist and two children. She blogs about parenting, writes about everything, and teaches English and drama when she’s not living in an apocalyptic dystopia. Her work has appeared on Scary Mommy, Filter Free Parenting, and Distressed Millennial.You can find her at https://laurawheatmanhill.blogspot.com/