Thursday, October 10, 2013

My Defiant Monkey

Today was a day that included Quinn wiping his snot on the arm of our couch as if it were a Kleenex. That alone should sum up our day for you.

But Quinn also decided he was done with diapers around 12:30 this afternoon. I was cleaning up after lunch when I heard the toilet flush, and my first thought was Uh-oh. What just went down the toilet? I turned off the kitchen faucet and ran back to the bathroom to ask Quinn what he was doing. I found him naked in the hallway, where he said, "I go pee-pee on the toilet, Mommy."

And then, like the sucker that I am, I felt guilty for having expected the worst. So I gave him all sorts of praise, told him how proud I was of him, told him if he did it again he'd get some gummy bears, and asked him if he was done with diapers. "Yep, I am," he promised.

Let me just say two-year-olds are big fat fibbers. They can't help themselves. But I am eager for him to be potty-trained, so I fell for it hook, line, and sinker. I let him wear the big-boy underwear.

About half an hour later, we were playing with trains in his playroom when I smelled an awful stench and saw the poop through the gap between his underwear and his thigh. That right there could also sum up our day for you. When I told him not to sit in it, that we needed to go clean it up, he got into a squatting position and said (I kid you not), "That better?"

It was also a day in which I yelled at Quinn way more than I'd like--for purposefully splashing the cat's water all over the floor, for running out the front door when I'd asked him to wait one minute for me, for refusing to get in his carseat, and on and on. There were multiple time-outs for him yelling "No, Mama!", multiple times when I broke down crying from exhaustion and feeling guilty and terrible at this parenting thing, multiple made-up almost swear words. I might have said, "Get in the f----un car!" at one point. Fun car, indeed.

On a whim this afternoon, I reached out via Facebook, saying I was going to start a support group for moms with cancer. I was partly joking, partly desperately hoping someone would respond and say: Hey, you're not alone; this is hard; I'm exhausted over here, too. I didn't expect the overwhelming response I got, though--from the cancer community and beyond--receptive and supportive and offering advice on how to get something like this going.

So, I'm going to try just that, to get something like this going. This, from a girl who doesn't even much care for support groups. But I'm tired. For a long time, I've fallen back on the idea that all moms are tired, but chemo fatigue has got to be different or else I am just a complete wimp. And Quinn knows how to push my buttons--actively seeks them out, even. It hasn't been a good combination for us lately, my fatigue and his button-pushing defiance.

I'm hoping this little idea I posed today can turn into something that gives me a few useful tools for better, more creative parenting. Because I love this defiant little monkey so much and have no idea how long I'll be around to parent him. I want our days to be better than this, know they can be better than today was. Here's to tomorrow, right?


  1. Totally made me laugh/cry at the same time. (Espec the f--un car sentence.) Little boys are so defiant and SO exhausting. (My little girl is so much easier, honestly, although that could definitely just be her personality). I love Finn more than anything but I swear I felt like he was as demanding as three kids combined. He has about twelve hundred times the persistence that Caroline has. Hang in there, hun. You are in the really really tiring phase with Quinn. It's going to get soooooo.much.easier. I can't imagine battling mommy fatigue and chemo fatigue at once. It's really tough to not lose your patience with them when you're tired. I have been there so many times. (Shouting and feeling like a horrible parent). But you're not, it's just how it is with little ones!

  2. You say it all so well. I can remember the trials of momhood. I most certainly can't imagine juggling cancer at the same time. You remain my hero!!!!!