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Tuesday, October 13, 2009


He wakes at 4:30 am.
She wakes an hour later.
A busy morning,
a good morning,
and then we come home.

It takes a long time
to get him to sleep.
Like everyday nowadays.
She doesn't nap.
As much as I wish she would.

After half an hour he wakes.
Crying, screaming, inconsolable.
Nothing I do comforts him.
He cries in my arms,
he cries when I put him down.

I change his diaper.
His diaper rash is red and raw.
I have to look deep inside myself
for sympathy.

Her video ends.
She climbs the stairs.
He crying, she demanding.
I get him back to sleep
only to have him wake when I lay him down.

Keep going, I tell myself.
Keep going.

Out the door.
Boots, sweaters, jackets.
I long for summer.

He doesn't sleep in the stroller.

We walk to the canal
with bread for the ducks.
There is a moment of calm
while we throw the bread.
Then she runs.

She runs up the ramp
away from the canal.
She runs across the bike path.
She runs towards the busy road.
I scream.
She looks at me and laughs.
I scream again.
I scream with all the worry and anger
I have.
She stops. She comes back.

Pushing the stroller and holding the boy
I run as fast as I can to her.
I am angry.
Still, I try to explain.
Why she shouldn't run to the road.
Why it is dangerous.
Why I yelled at her.
Why I am mad.
She listens. The she says
"I want to get hit by a car".

We make it to the park.
We don't last long.
Both of them are crying
at any and everything.

At home things are worse.
She is licking me,
pretending to bite me,
yanking on my clothes,
trying to provoke me.
I am barely holding on to
any bits of good parenting
I have left.

Across the room I see that the boy
has broken the top off of a new
bottle of glue and is licking at it.
I rush for him,
pulling her behind me as
she clutches to my shirt.
She slips and spirals off into a chair.

I grab him
and tend to him.
I let her cry.

I wash off his hands and face.
She comes to me in the kitchen,
Wanting me to comfort her
even though she was tormenting me
moments before.
I hug her and kiss her
but tell her she fell because she wasn't listening,
because she was holding onto my clothes
when I asked and asked her not to.

We stumble along,
just making it until the husband
comes home.

I know they are tired.
But I am tired too.
I know they are trying.
Believe it or not,
I am trying too.


  1. Ohhh I remember those days. Fortunately those days won't last forever. Get a babysitter for a couple of hours and take a nap.

  2. Oh that is beautiful and so so - wow - ok not the right words but you have a gift there.
    If it helps at all my little one is a regular "i hate my life' child. and the ever scary " i want to die' - wow - thank you for sharing - may I copy and keep?

  3. Oh, my gosh. I can totally hear in your words the exhaustion and constant demands wearing on you. Any chance you can get to take a moment to sit, breathe deep, and have a few minutes of peace... take your strength where you can.

    Sending you wishes for joyous days of wonder, obedience, good solid naps and unconditional love!

  4. Anxious and exhausted, your poetry vibes to me. I sense the imagery in it and love it!

    Last night my boy decided to stand in between me and the sink, pushing on my legs, crying like the world was ending. I tried my best to ignore him, and get some dishes done, testing my patience to the max. But... lets just say there are a mountain of smelly dishes and a disaster of a living room still today, but my son hugged me for all he was worth when I stopped and read him a story, then played horsey. I even got a wet, slobbery, open-mouthed kiss on the cheek, before he scampered off.

    I know you are a strong woman, even when you think you aren't. We all are, our children give us that strength, in the wonderful moments, to get through the rough patches, just like last night for me. His happiness with a story made the next half-hour of struggle to keep him happy less difficult.

    Remember that this too shall pass, when in the grocery store, and your boy is eating dust bunnies from underneath the shelf and your girl is throwing an on-the-floor-kicking-and-screaming temper tantrum in the ice cream aisle.

    Get down beside her, grab a dust bunny, and kick and scream too. (I saw a woman do this with her daughter one day in the store, and it was comical and quite effective, the daughter stopped and said "mummy, you are embarrassing me!" riiight).

  5. oh, keep talking girl...this sounds so like my life!! Just add a 7 yo teasing and instigating!! Then the 3 yo turns around and does it to the 16 mo!! But thankfully other than the up all night sessions we have been having, we have been having some good days!! So know that what you are doing is the right thing, don't doubt, and press on through because you are sure to have some good days ahead!! :)

  6. Oh, man, I so understand. This is like my entire life right here in this poem. Thank you so much for sharing it.

  7. Oh that sounds like a rough one. Hugs!

  8. You are not alone! Great expression of everything...I feel your frustration.

  9. Just read your post - am a little behind with my blog reading.

    Does it make me a bad friend that I am comforted to know that other moms have rough days with their kids?? There is much comfort in knowing that we are not alone. Thanks for posting so honestly. Hope that it helps you to know that we've all been there too!