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Comes with the territory

Ohhh, I just had a day.  Two incidents of note:

  1. We'd been out in the car, and Ben's window was down because I make him open it while he smokes. When we got home I pulled into the garage; before I stopped the car, he asked me to roll up his window. That's how things are done when you're Ben: What was open must now be closed; what was askew cannot go unstraightened; and we have to do it the other waaaaaaaaaay or his little brain explodes. (Earlier on the ride, he'd happily chirped, "Wouldn't it be nice if all the cars lined up? The red cars would all go in the red line! Then the green cars would all go in the green line!  Then" — chortling now at the wicked delicious fun of it — "the gray cars would all go in the gray line! That would be great, right, Mama?" I dared to offer a variation on his pattern by suggesting that the bicycles could make a line, too, and he was suddenly silent, as if struck mute by my heresy. "The bicycles don't go in these lines," he said carefully, as if explaining something very simple to someone very stupid. You know, "as if.")

    Anyway, he wanted the window back up. Sure, I said; I turned off the ignition, and pushed the button for his window. Now, in our car, even though the power is off, the driver can still operate the windows unless someone opens a door. Paul opened his door, so Ben's window stopped a few inches short of closed.

    As soon as Paul's door winged open I knew what the problem would be, and, sure enough, Ben immediately protested.  I told him I would fix it, and turned on the car. I closed Ben's window. Riiiight on his fingers.
  2. Twice this afternoon we'd given Charlie some sort of treat or privilege, which resulted in him complaining about it. I don't even remember what the issue was, except that whatever we'd done wasn't treat-y or privilege-y enough, like, this housebroken turbotronic robotastic Pegasus unicorn only shits vanilla ice cream, "and besides, I wanted a liger."  The third time it happened, I had pretty much had it. I really lit into the poor kid; although I didn't raise my voice, let us just say that I offered a frank and forthright disquisition on just how insufferably entitled he'd been sounding, and how I was I-didn't-quite-say-goddamned if I was going to let that continue. I gave him to understand that at that point I'd sooner hunt, slaughter, butcher, cook badly, and make him eat that liger he so admired than listen to another complaint about the nice things we give and do for him. So effectively did I develop my theme, in fact, that the poor kid was crying when I'd finished. And I thought, well, you know, good.

And both of those things were kind of awful. Ben's little fingers! Charlie's tears. But coming off each event, I examined my conscience and decided…it was pretty much fine.

Several times a day I let my kids down because of specific flaws unique to my personality. (Several times a day I am awesome ditto ditto.) But other times these things happen that are, I don't know, not about me but the job. So normal. So that-could-happen-to-anyone. Things that any mother might do — and either blame herself for, even while thinking, Jesus, kid, you knew I was going to roll up the window, or not, when I have had it up to my musky magickal beasthole with your snotty complaining, child.

What I am basically saying is that I had this day of feeling really connected to other mothers, aware of what comes with the territory, beleaguered but not especially, just ordinarily wrung out at the end of a long day's failures. And hungry — starving! — for liger, so Charlie? Yeah, don't push it.