Do you ever catch yourself doing something and think to yourself "What in the hell am I doing?"
For me, these days, it usually has something to do with my kids and it's usually some reaction I'm having to something they've done. I don't know if it's the lack of sleep accumulated over several months (because I also neglected to mention yesteday the nagging lower back pain that has interrupted my sleep for months) or if it's just my general stress level, but sometimes I overreact. Yes. It's true. I overreact.
Take for example a couple of Saturdays ago when we went to the Atlanta Christmas parade. My stepsister's company hosts a lovely Breakfast With Santa before the parade and then gives us front-row bleacher seats for the parade itself. It's a lot of fun and this year was our fourth year attending.
Last year we got a fantastic picture of both kids with Santa.
That picture made three years in a row that I'd had the kids pictures made with Santa and frankly, I couldn't believe Punkin was so good natured about the whole experience. In the previous year she'd screamed like a banshee and I was expecting the worst last year. But nope, she was as good as gold.
When we first spotted Santa this year she jumped up and down and squealed and pointed him out to me, so I had high hopes. We went and stood in line and both kids were eyeing the little toys that Santa always gives the kids after they sit in his lap.
When it was our turn -- after twin boys who looked about 7 or 8 took FOREVER, refusing to smile and not answering Santa's questions and as the line piled up behind us -- Bubba hopped right up. I picked up Punkin and prepared to put her on Santa's other knee when she resorted to Tactic #1 in the Toddler/Preschooler Evasion Handbook: Make yourself as stiff as a board and refuse to bend your legs all while screaming at a pitch that makes dogs howl.
I appealed to reason (ha!): "Punkin, don't you want to have a great picture of you and Bubba with Santa to put with our other pictures?" She didn't say it, but her look clearly said "Hell no!"
And then I tried bribery, but with a stern tone: "Punkin, if you don't sit with Santa, Santa won't give you a toy." She looked stricken, but still refused to budge.
And that's when I caught myself. What was I doing? I was practically terrorizing my child because she wouldn't cooperate with my vision of what SHOULD be. I was so bound and determined to get that fourth consecutive year that I didn't even care that she was scared of Santa. I also realized that I was trying to make Santa look like a bad guy, for pete's sake. I realized that I looked like an ass.
So, I let it go. I realized that it really wasn't that important. What good is the picture if all I can remember about the day is the fight that I had with her over it.
"Mommy, can I have a toy?" she asked quietly.
"Sure, Punkin. Run go get one out of Santa's bag. I'm sure he won't mind."
My mom always told me to pick my battles. And I try to. It's just that sometimes you have to be right in the thick of the battle before you know which side you're on.
5 years ago