There are things they never tell you when you are becoming a parent. No one ever told me about days like today, and I refuse to believe I am the only one who has them.
It almost hurts to talk aloud. I don't want to make eye contact, not with anyone, and certainly not with myself in the mirror. I think I want to curl up in a ball, in a cool dark place, but I'm too twitchy. All morning, the kids are talking talking talking. I don't want to answer. In my head, I'm shouting "SHUT UP!! SHUT UP!!" But of course, I don't say that. Instead, I say "Mmm-hmmm. Yes. I know. Okay." Whatever. I know that I'll hit on the right answer eventually if I run through the spiel often enough. I sit at the table, colouring with them, which makes them happier than I deserve. After awhile I realize I'm not colouring, my pencil broke from the pressure and now I'm scraping the jagged wooden end over the page. The kids go play with blocks, and I wander around the house. I should be pleased that they are playing together, nicely, without me. Instead I don't know what to do with myself. I scrub the toilet, the sink. I get out an old toothbrush and try to clean the lines between the shower tiles.
I realize I need to feed them, so I look in the cupboards, the fridge, the freezer. How the hell do I know what they'll eat today? It all looks the same to me. Thank god for leftovers. Throughout lunch, Girl Terror drills questions at me. "Where did we buy this? Did you make it? Did Daddy make it? Why are we using these dishes? Do you like it?" I'm nodding and smiling, but my head is back to "SHUT UP!"
I know I need to snap out of it, so I put on happy music. Girl Terror wants me to dance with her, but the best I can come up with is swaying, holding her hand. The happy music pisses me off, and I turn it down and down until it's gone.
Before settling in for naps, I get hugs and kisses from both my babies. I don't know what I've done to deserve this show of love, but I take it gratefully, hoping that by the time they wake up, refreshed and warm and snuggly, I will be in a better place.
I know I'm not the only one who has these moments, these days. I know that chances are, a cup of tea and some quiet time will fix it. But in the meantime, I smile, and smile some more, and hope my children see only that I love them.