The Stomping Game
Mornings are hard these days.
Especially when your child wakes up at 4:50 a.m.
And you’re pregnant.
And you’ve just weaned off your trusty, blue, feel better pill.
Today started out rough. L was in rare form, running all over the house, throwing things, spilling things, not listening to a word I had to say.
You know, being a toddler.
It didn’t help that I woke up on the nervous breakdown side of the bed. It seemed, from the the moment I opened my eyes, I had a lump in my throat. No matter how hard I swallowed, it remained. Stuck there. Waiting to burst into tears. To be set off by the mundane.
After what seemed like an hour, and I’m sure it was more like ten minutes, of trying to get my child to please please please put your shorts on so we can leave for school, I turned into the toddler of the family.
I raised my voice at him and stomped my foot on the ground.
One stomp for every word that came out of my mouth.
PUT (stomp) YOUR (stomp) SHORTS (stomp) ON (stomp) RIGHT (stomp) NOW (stomp)!
I regretted it the moment I did it.
At first he looked startled.
Then, with all the innocence of a child, he bust out laughing and said, “Mommy! You stomp your feet!”
He thought I was playing a game.
I was about to breakdown crying and yelling, and he thought I was playing a game.
I spent the rest of my morning with him stomping around, but this time the good kind.
“ARE (stomp) YOU (stomp) READY (stomp) TO (stomp) GO (stomp) TO (stomp) SCHOOL (stomp)?”
He stomped his words right back at me. Laughing and giggling and, “Oh mommy, I love this game!”
The lump of impatience in my throat had now been replaced by a lump of regret.
Regret for laying my shit on my kid.
Because it’s not his fault I am pregnant. It’s not his fault that his mommy feels like a basket-case because she stopped taking her Zoloft.
Nothing about his behavior has changed.
I am the one who has changed.
I can’t wait to feel like myself again.
Whatever that is.
Of course, I spent the entire drive to school telling him how much I loved him and that he was the best little boy in the whole wide world and on and on and on.
He told me to turn the radio up and roll his window down, then he pointed to some birdies and told me they ate worms.
I am on the verge of a nervous breakdown, feeling like a bad mom, and he is happy, not feeling the weight of any of this.
I pulled up to the drop off line at school and glanced inside the waiting cars.
I wonder if any of these other moms played the stomping game this morning.