So here’s the thing: I became a mom at 23. At the time, I felt like a teen mom. Sure, I have a degree in Early Childhood Education, but what the heck did I know about BABIES?? And having my OWN?! WHAT??? The funny thing is, I found out I was pregnant the day I graduated college. It was almost like God said, “Congratulations, Brittany! Now here’s a present from Me!”
So my boyfriend at the time, Blake, after much persuasion and the old, “Pick the gun you want me to shoot you with,” talk from my (wonderful) grandfather, did the good ole’ southern thing and married me. (Thank GOD we had already discussed and planned to marry before our great surprise came along!)
I was super excited to have a child of my own, but also extremely panicky, as many new moms are. HOW WILL I EVER HAVE A LIFE?? WHY DID THIS HAPPEN NOW, INSTEAD OF IN 8 YEARS LIKE I PLANNED?? WHAT DO I KNOW ABOUT BEING A MOTHER?? But, as it usually goes, I was fine, and turns out everyone was 100% correct in telling me I would have a love like I’d never known before. Case in point: he’ll only be 11 months Friday and Blake tells me he’s already spoiled.
First and foremost in parenting, I believe it is my #1 responsibility to make my child feel safe. Which is never something I thought I would have to think about. It’s instinct. You love a child, they feel safe. That’s it, right? Well – last night I realized that loving a child, from the child’s perspective, is not just instinctual, but also visual.
As much as I love William (Will Baby, Willie T.), there comes a point when babies begin to develop their own personalities, and aren’t just beautiful, unisex, cuddly babies anymore. We have begun that transition. He is extremely quick, into everything, and a little devious right now. I struggle with the “No” battle (if you tell them “No!” all the time, they’ll just throw it back at you later…but how do you redirect them when you’re doing the dishes?), but I usually end up saying, “No, William..” anyway. The thing is, when his daddy says, “NO, William,” more sternly, he (SOMETIMES) listens. When I say it, straight-faced, eyebrows raised, and firmly, he just looks at me and laughs!
I have to pause here and say that for the past 5 months I’ve had a terrible case of eczema on my fingers, arms, and occasionally around my lips, the worst being on my fingers. I had never had it before in my life, so it took me a while to figure out that’s what it was. Even doctors (more than one!) could not pinpoint it as eczema: it was fungus or psoriasis or some type of unknown rash. Whatever- to me, it was (is) the worst itching, throbbing, swollen, bumpy, oozing, red rash thing I have ever had in my entire life. I have told Blake many times that I want to peel my skin off, and I have come close to it.
So the night before last, I went to church and did not get home until around 9:30pm, did not attempt to go to bed until after 10:30, and then the maddness flared up again. I itched and scratched so hard that I had to jump up out of bed and scream and cry in the bathroom (I may yell or cuss about pain, but I NEVER cry) while scratching the mess out of my fingers. This caused me to get about 5 hours of sleep before having to be at work at 7 am yesterday. All this to say… I was a sleep deprived, itchy, mad woman yesterday.
I picked William up from school, brought him home, and tried to steer him in the right direction for an hour (“NO, William,” “AHAHA!”) before I peeled a tomato for him, mashed an avacado, and mixed them in a bowl for his dinner (baby guacamole, with a fresh tomato from Papaw’s garden? Yes, I can be that glorious mom.). I sat him in his highchair and fed him a few bites before he started refusing. Usually this means he wants a bottle, so I made that, brought it back to him, and let him have it before he pushed that away, too. So I again tried a spoonful of avacado – WHACK. He hit the spoon, and sent the avacado flying onto his tray (it hadn’t hit the wall- YET).
It was at this point, with all of my personal problems underlying, that I lost it.
Now usually, if I get to this point, as in an argument with Blake or a frustration on my own, letting out the ROAR calms me down. It’s sort of like heavy breathing, just with loud audible sound. However, I’ve never done this while looking in the mirror to notice how scary I look. But last night, I might as well have.
William’s sweet eyes got so big and his face completely fell from shock to complete terror as he writhed back in his high chair. In 2.5 seconds he was in hysterics crying over what had to have been horrifying seeing his normally sweet, protective, SAFE mother go from little to a -5 on the patience meter. This reaction surprised me so much – I had no idea I could look so mean! – that I couldn’t help but laugh while simultaneously picking him up to hold and console him. My poor baby! Mothers never want their children to feel unsafe, ESPECIALLY because of them!! I felt this, but couldn’t really comprehend why it was so funny to me, except for the fact that I was SO tired. Looking back, I think the complete surprise reaction was the kicker, since he had never feared me before.
When Blake arrived home from work, I admitted what I had done to scare William and instead of condemning me, he laughed, looked at William and said, “You saw Momzilla tonight, didn’t you?”
I guess we all get a Crazy Pass every once in a while.