What’s the Best Remedy to a Day That You Want to Just Do-Over?
Do you ever have one of those days that isn’t terrible or tragic…it’s just one where…you want to stop about halfway through and hit – do-over?
Please. Say yes. And tell me I am not the only one.
Mine started off with me waking up on the wrong side of the bed, literally and metaphorically. I am REALLY working on getting Ellie to stay in her own bed…really working on it…but despite my greatest attempts – lately, around 3:30am – conveniently the time I wake up and can not fall back to sleep – Ellie gets in bed with me.
I put her back in her bed, I threaten to (and later stick with my promise to) withhold toys, shows, attention, everything – yet it usually comes down to me having to decide between a knock down drag out fight with her that will without a doubt go on for at least 2 hours OR letting her get in bed with me.
If I had to choose an hour of the day or night that I am at my most vulnerable, the 3am hour would most likely be it.
So…Ellie ends up in bed with me.
And somehow…her 25-pound frame takes up 87% of my queen-sized bed and when I wake up at 7am, I am angry that I am failing at keeping her in her own bed and angry that I really didn’t sleep well because she somehow restricts me to the tiny corner at the bottom of my bed.
So I wake up, just, pissed. At everyone. And instead of keeping that to myself, for reasons that I can not quite explain, I decide to engage in a somewhat elaborate text message conversation with another party (who I happen to be very fond of). In this text message conversation, I begin to try to make complicated plans for about 7 weeks from now (at 8:30am via text).
Somewhere in the midst of this, I realize that Ellie is still refusing to eat her breakfast and when I try to move her in the direction of getting ready to leave for the day, she starts trying to tell me a story about how a friend at school cut her in line to use the toy that she wanted to use. No one was injured, no feelings were hurt…but she just wanted to recount every detail of this incident. Instead of putting her breakfast in her mouth, chewing it, and swallowing it.
Ellie can seriously have a conversation about ANYTHING. And has conveniently learned to use these conversations as stall tactics.
And on this particular morning, her conversation is now littered with “um…um…um…um…um…um…” I’ve noticed this language pattern increasing over the past couple days and it has been a little bit concerning, but this morning it reached the point where what she was saying was pretty much unintelligible and taking fooooooooorrrrrrreeeeeeevvvvvveeeeeerrrrrr.
Last year, Ellie stuttered pretty badly for a fairly short period of time, so whenever her language hits a bump, I get a little worried that this is a slippery slope back to the stuttering.
So I text one of my former college roommates who is now a speech pathologist:
ME: Hey Doll…Ellie has been saying um…like every other word. Getting really hung up on it…is this stuttering resurfacing?
And then I hop back to the conversation with the person (who I am very fond of), while in full panic mode about being late to school and my daughter having speech issues…and proceed to TOTALLY misinterpret the communication on the other end, and in return…respond in an unfounded, yet unkind way.
I finally get Ellie dressed and out the door, and she throws a tantrum because I foolishly hit the elevator button instead of letting her do it. I pinch the bridge of my nose, trying not to lose my patience before 9am.
I drop her off without too much added drama and at that point, I realize how illogical I was in the text message conversation with the person (who I am very fond of) and apologize, but feel bad. And I hate feeling bad.
I sit down, do a couple hours of work and THEN…I get on the phone with the health insurance company, only to have pretty much the most futile conversation I have had with anyone in a very long time.
At some point in the afternoon, my speech pathologist friend responds to my language question and eases my concerns a bit…
FRIEND: Sounds like it developmental…perhaps associated with a growth spurt?
ME: Hope so…it’s driving me a little nutty.
FRIEND: Yea. That is certainly not fun. Just encourage her to think first and let her know she the time to tell you what she needs. Then repeat back what she has just said in a slow and relaxed manner.
This is right around the point in the day where I started to wish I could hit do-over – or at the very least, crawl back into bed. Nothing I do is in a slow and relaxed manner. Nothing.
And I am going to go out on a limb and guess that very very very few parents are doing anything in a slow and relaxed manner when they are trying to get their kids off to school. So naturally, I start to worry that I am the reason Ellie is not speaking as clearly as she normally does.
As my friend Anthony said, I was spiraling.
But thankfully, this is where my day began to turn around…There are a few great remedies to this less than favorable condition – a day you would like to do-over.
And one of them is a random conversation with a close friend…who also happens to be having the same exact type of day you are. We sort of sadly laughed at one another’s missed-marks and convinced one another everything will be better tomorrow.
And I went back to finishing up tasks for work. After I wrapped things up – I picked Ellie up from school, whereupon seeing me she said, “Mommy, you look like you have a baby in your belly.” (which I certainly do not).
I knew I had two choices…
I could go home and make dinner, and sit in my apartment alone rehashing the off-kilter day OR I could try to use my nonsense as material over drinks and dinner to a guaranteed great audience. I chose the latter and sent a text my friend Anthony:
ME: I am bored and having an ansty day. What are you and Josh doing for dinner? Want two hot dates? One big, one small? I need to be saved from myself today.
Thankfully, my friends acquiesced and met Ellie and I for dinner. And somehow…in a matter of 15 minutes, my day went from somewhat sort of sucky to happily hilarious.
They entertained Ellie, they bestowed upon her a gift of “a culinary veggie windowsill garden” (apparently it grows something called micro-greens that don’t actually grown the full vegetable, just the tops, but you can eat them and they taste like the whole thing, which is…interesting).
They echoed what another close friend had said earlier in the day – which is that it is not good for someone with my personality to be alone in an apartment 9 hours a day, five days a week…it is not…how shall we say it? …Making me my best self. Even though it is really helpful in balancing solo-parenting with a full-time job, and despite the fact that most evenings I get to connect with a friend for an hour or two – it’s just different from the constant interaction of office-life.
They talked me through a number of big life changes I am contemplating for Ellie and I, made me feel totally normal about my anxiety around them, shared some great anecdotal evidence from their own lives…and in the kindest way possible reminded me that growth and change is a process, one which has a few growing pains every now and again…and most importantly, they made me laugh. Hard. The type of laughter that really only happens around people you feel most comfortable with.
And I walked home with a sound asleep Ellie on my shoulder, awkwardly carrying her scooter, my purse and a culinary veggie windowsill garden… and I was yet again reminded of the power of friendship. Being assured that you aren’t only not alone in your missteps, but that you have people who are there to help you get your footing is the best possible ending to a less than mediocre day.
That – and an opportunity to try again tomorrow.