Monday, January 12, 2015

Parenthood – Week 85: I Want My Mommy Too

It started with spilled milk.

I brought Ollie in the kitchen while I cooked up some fried rice for dinner. I noticed that Diana had left a Starbucks cup full on milk on the counter and Ollie wanted to drink out of it.  He reached up with a smile as I gave it to him.  Ollie sat down on the floor and enjoyed drinking milk out of the comically sized Venti cup.

Every so often we take Ollie to Starbucks and get him some warm milk with a little vanilla. This has created a strong positive association with the cup so we often refill a cup after Diana has drunk out of it and fill it with milk.

Everything seemed fine so I turned my attention to the rice in the pan. I turned my attention back to Ollie after stirring the rice and saw that he had poured out all of the milk all of the kitchen floor and was joyfully splashing the milk and spreading it out with widely flailing arms.

Just some spilled milk, not a big deal.

Ollie tried to help me wipe it up when I threw some kitchen towels on the ground but he only made it worse so I moved him into the living room and cleaned up the mess.

It had been a good day at work but a long and exhausting one. Diana was out for the evening so I was on my own with my special little guy. I really enjoy these times we have together and it’s a nice feeling knowing that I can handle taking care of Ollie by myself.

The fried rice was done, the kitchen floor was cleaned up and Ollie was in the high chair ready to eat dinner. The problem was that Ollie wasn’t hungry. Diana and I strongly believe that its important not to force-feed kids. However its difficult to tell sometimes why Ollie doesn’t want to eat. Sometimes it’s because he truly isn’t hungry or because he wants to use a different spoon.

I tried feeding him. Then I tried letting him feed himself, which often gets him motivated to eat but nothing worked. I knew it wasn’t a big deal if he didn’t eat that instance but I was a getting frustrated.
Then Ollie threw up.

The tray of the high chair caught most of it but there was a still a significant amount that hit the floor and luckily just barely missed Buffy. My first concern was to get the floor cleaned up and the high chair moved into the kitchen so that Buffy wouldn’t eat Ollie’s throw-up. Sorry to gross you out, but dogs like to eat puke for some reason.

Anyways, I carried the high chair will Ollie into the kitchen but couldn’t make it through the baby gate which caused the tray to spill on the ground and me.

That frustration I felt when Ollie wouldn’t eat was becoming anger.

I moved Buffy into the den, which adjoins the dining room and closed the door. This way I could clean up the floor and not worry about Buffy. Once Buffy realized what I was doing she started barking desperately, not wanting to be separated from Ollie.  It was at this moment that Ollie, who was a complete mess at this time, starting crying and pointing to Buffy.

I got the floor cleaned up, put Ollie down on a bath towel and asked him to please stay on the towel. After moving the dirty high chair in the kitchen and closing the gate the kitchen, I picked up Ollie wrapped in the towel and let Buffy out of the den.

Usually Ollie loves baths, but not that night. Most of the time when we clean Ollie he really isn’t that dirty. We can let him have a nice relaxed soak in the tub, wash him and rinse him off. This was different. I had to really clean him off from head to toe.  There was no soaking or playing with toys in the process. I had to get him clean.

Ollie cried as I cleaned him, rinsed him off, and got him dressed. I sat down in his room with him on my lap trying to rock him so that he would calm down. Ollie just wouldn’t stop crying and he kept screamed “mama.”

I love hearing Ollie talk and use his words but one of the hardest things about his use of language is when he calls for Diana when I am alone with him. The tough part is that he is smart enough to call for his mom but he isn’t cognitively able to understand that she is not home and will be back later.

At this point I was spent.  I didn’t have a lot of words or tricks left to calm Ollie down.  I had an upset toddler, a kitchen that was a disaster, a high chair that was a mess and a pile of clothes and towels that needed to be rinsed and put in the laundry machine.

I looked at Ollie sad eyes as he cried for his mother and I told him what I was honestly feeling, “I want my mommy too.”

At that moment I knew exactly how Ollie felt. We both wanted that one person in our world who could swoop in and magically fix everything. Diana was at class and my mom was across the country.

So we sat there and we both cried and eventually we calmed down. I put on some “Elmo’s World” for Ollie while I cleaned everything up. After a warm cup of milk, Ollie was ready for story time.

As I read to Ollie with him sitting on my lap he kept interrupting and turning his head to me and saying “hi” is a soft, joyful and angelic voice. I would say “hi” back and he would turn around satisfied, listen for another minute and then say “hi” again just to let me know he was thinking of me.

As I put him he bed, he softly cooed “da-du” and I told Ollie that I loved him.

Parenting can beat you down sometimes and make you cry for your mom.  Sometimes we need to be reminded that while we are parents, we never stop being a child.  We can feel lost, tired, depressed and lonely.  Just because we are parents doesn't mean that we don't tough times, and darker moments.

Nothing that happened that night was that bad, but it was still tough.  I'm not sure why these events beat me down the way they did but I'd do it all over again for that happy ending.

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