Rory's shoulder begin to reach up towards his ears and his blond eyebrows furrow themselves, this is about to get messy.
"I don't want to do that! I want to do what I want to do!" He screams at half capacity, warming up.
I take a deep breath and instruct my four year old to do the same, "We can talk about this when you're calmer."
Ten fingers ball into fists, " I DON'T WANT TO BE CALM, I WANT WHAT I WANT!"
His voice echoes in my ears as I try to keep my calm, "If you would like more freedom to choose what we do during the day, you will need to take on more responsibility through chores, empathy, kindness, and generosity. Otherwise, you do not get to decide what we do."
Indiscernable screaming comes from my son as he buries his face in a pillow, his hair muffling what sound does make it away from the stuffing and jersey case. Successful parenting - just as easy as advertised. No confusion, hurt feelings, or curiosity about how much therapy your child will probably need in the future.
I cannot remember why Jinora is in timeout. She has been screaming and trying to wrestle her way out of my lap for upwards of ten minutes at this point and I can't even remember what put us in this situation. All I know is I am not about to release this shrieking, flailing child without an apology - or at least one whole minute of silence and deep breaths.
Her blue eyes are wild, but she refuses to look at me. Her fist is clenched tight and I keep expecting her to swing it at me, but instead she just howls.
"No! NO! NO NO!! Nooooo!" Except all her o's have a distinct "ow" sound to them because she has only just discovered this infinitely useful word as a part of her two year old vocabulary.
I mostly wonder if this is what demonic possession sounds like and at what point should I be concerned about permanent injury to her vocal chords. Do I stick this screaming fit out? Showing dominance or something? Is that only with puppies? Do I try to reason with her? Because every time I open my mouth to say something it is just more "no" pouring out in response. Should I change my tactic? Should I scream or shout? Do I bribe her? No, I shouldn't bribe her. That will encourage bad behavior, right? I read that somewhere. Am I having an out of body experience at this pitch? Is this causing hearing damage? What is happening? How long have we been here?
The breathing slows, I can tell she is exhausted, but she isn't about to give up. I am both proud and enervated. Parenting is all joy, every second of it. Never a moment where I think to myself "Why does anyone do this???" Nope. But that's only because it's constantly running through my brain.
I often wish Mark and I could be on the same side of the feelings merry-go-round, but lately one of us is at the bottom of a well while the other rallies and pulls on the rope to get us out. At the end of this analogy, we are still at the bottom of a well, but at least we are together.
We trade off lying lifeless in the dark or stretching fingertips us so the sun might graze them, today is no exception. Mark rallies for me with the kids, I rally for him with work related things, back and forth. I would appreciate a day we both look up, and eventually, maybe, make it out of the well.
Love is messy.
So is life.
And I don't know if it get's easier, but I'm happy to at least be in it with these crazies.
At least, most of the time I am ;)