I watched in horror as the remainder of the powder floated down from above my head. How did it even get that high up? It took a few seconds to register what was happening, but it clicked and all I could muster was…
“What the hell are you guys thinking!?”
Now, I normally don’t like to use profanity in front of my children. Not because they’re bad words and they have baby ears, but I don’t want them to repeat them in public and make me look like a bad parent. I do that for myself enough, I definitely don’t need their help.
This was the first time my kids conspired against me as a team. Completely pushing me to my limit and forcing me to walk away for a minute. Just one minute to collect myself and come up with a game plan. I could hear the faint sounds of Diem continuing to tap the (now empty) bottle of powder on the floor and Cori not making a sound. I think she was terrified. Everyone in my family at this point knows that if I’m so mad that I’m silent… just stay out of my way. Maybe slide me a cookie… alcoholic beverage… money…
But everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, was coated in a layer of lavender-scented dust. Kids, head to toe, in their clothes, hair, eyelashes, baby dolls, bedding, in every crevice of every object, drawer… I muttered in tongues as I sneezed and wheezed my way around. Grumbling at the toddler-sized footprints leading out of the room. A trail of toddler victory.
I spent the better part of my morning cleaning my children and vacuuming every nook and cranny of the room while they moved on to the next, shattering a piggy bank which I’m pretty sure just caused me to blackout for a solid twelve minutes.
I mean, come ON guys?!
Parenting is not for the faint of heart. Staying HOME with your toddlers is not for the faint of heart. These are moments where working the ol’ nine to five would be so much easier. But, afterward, once my blood pressure returned to safe levels and I removed all the “snow”, we had a long… looooong discussion about how what they’d done was very bad.
Lots of things went through my head from the moment I smelled the powder across the house to the last pass of the clorox wipe… discipline. What do I do for this one? I forced myself not to react immediately. But this is inching into new territory – another lesson I am beginning to learn as my kids get older.
I am not against any form of punishment – do the crime, do the time. And depending on how bad it is determines how the punishment will go. But this is where my dilemma began.
They didn’t do this to be bad or defiant. I know without a doubt that with that first sprinkle of powder, they just thought they were playing a game. It probably started because they were going to diaper their baby dolls. Was I livid? Absolutely! Does Cori know better? Yes! Did I want to rage and scream and put everyone in time-out or dare I say spank? Well…
I did scream a little bit.
But… I stopped… Took a long… deep breath and just finished cleaning while they quietly played in another room. I chose not to punish them harshly because this is just one of those times where I think they were just being children. Using their imaginations – and no, this is not me being all “hippie”… this is the child in me. One of those pieces I mentioned before where we give away or lose that magical side of ourselves when we become adults. We forget to play and do something just because it’s fun. We live in a world now where kids are forced to grow up and mature so fast, and today, my kids were just kids.
So, as I angrily cleaned swapping from clenched teeth to silent tears… As I had to alter what my plans were for the rest of the day because of this, I reminded myself… nobody was hurt. Yes it was a HUGE mess… but I can clean it. They’ve been stuck inside because of the weather for days and of all the things they’ve done and will do later on… this is nothing. Not in the grand scheme of things. And before you pass judgement, my kids are typically pretty well behaved. And Im not saying that because I’m their mother, they are. We’ve had a pretty solid run on good behavior up to now, and it’s REALLY easy for us moms to blow up especially when we have other stresses involved.
And for those of you with small children, I’m sure you understand the hardships of begging your kids to get along. Stop fighting over a toy, eat your lunch, DON’T eat the fruit snack from under the couch that has dog hair on it. PLEASE STOP SCREAMING!!!
But this time…
They were giggling and playing together. Bonding. Being sisters. And something about that was endearing. Something about watching them get into “innocent” mischief (at my expense) warmed my heart. So after my brief but intense “fuss” session initially… I got on the floor and played with them. I needed them to know that they are not to tuck away their curiosity, rather use it in more appropriate ways next time. That I love them even when they’ve done something bad or wrong. And without me asking for it, Cori apologized, and Diem repeated the apology. She’s still too young to understand, but Cori usually sets good examples for her (today not being one of those times – HA!)
I can iron shirts, bleach bathtuns, work on another chapter of my book and clean base boards tomorrow. But my children are children for such a short time. One is starting preschool next month – and just typing that gives me heart palpitations. And although this was definitely not OK… today, I chose to let it go. While they napped I baked cookies, and they will have to miss out on them until the following day (they aren’t getting off that easy) but I did that to forgive myself as well. I was pretty mad when it happened. And I needed to remind myself that sometimes we do bad shit, but we need to know that although, our parents will hold us accountable, they are also there to help us make better choices moving forward.
I chose not to scream and yell and spank and take things away. I chose against the path that would lead to all of us curled in our respective corners of the house in tears. I chose to be a “bad mom” today and I’m totally fine with that.
But next time I just hope they use pretend powder and not the real stuff. Because I was this close to posting them for sale on Etsy and called it a day.