Motherhood is filled with highs and lows. I can be so full of grace and patience in one instance, only to lose my cool moments later over a minor offense. I can be patting myself on the back for the delicious and nutritious meal I prepared for my kids, only to come out of the kitchen and fuss at them with a little too much gusto for jumping on the couch.
If I’ve learned anything over the last six years as a mother, it’s this: Motherhood is about taking time to stop and savor the highs, but it’s also about giving yourself grace when you hit a low.
Yesterday, I stooped to a mommy low to get Aston’s antibiotics in him. The doctor prescribed two doses a day for five days, in hopes of ridding him of his severe ear infection. He’s always been a champion medicine taker, so that sounded easy enough.
But then it went like this:
Dose 1: Yum! Medicine! …. YUCK! It’s not good! I not like the white medicine!
Dose 2: He spits it all over the place.
Dose 3: I manage, through a bribe, to get the syringe in his mouth and squirt the medicine in at lightning speed, only to have him spit half of it back at me equally as fast.
Dose 4: I mix it with peach syrup and fool him into taking it, then silently celebrate having found a way to outsmart him.
Dose 5: I get confident thinking the peach concoction is the answer to my prayers, until he spews aforementioned peach concoction back in my face. C‘est pas possible!
Dose 6: I am out of tricks, then a light bulb goes off in my head. My boy loves chocolate! I grab some Nesquick Powder that my mother-in-law had sent home with the kids and stir it into his antibiotics, then fill a syringe and call him to the kitchen. Look honey, chocolate medicine!
I hold my breath. He opens wide. I squirt the nasty chocolate antibiotic mixture into his little mouth, holding my breath and praying to high heavens that he swallows.
….. Mmm.. chocolate…
HORRRAAAAAY! It goes down and stays down, as does my self-esteem as a mother. I add Mix Kid’s Medicine with Sugary Chocolate Drink Mix to the list of Things I Never Thought I’d Do and realize that I’ve definitely reached my mommy low for the day.
Luckily, to counteract that mommy low, I had a mommy high point later in the day as I was helping Leilani make Christmas cookies. I explained to her why you put baking powder in cookies, how you mix the dry ingredients and then pour them into the wet ingredients, and other baking basics. Her eyes were glistening as she manned my big kitchen mixer and prepared the sugar cookies pretty much on her own, other than the measuring part of course.
When it came time to decorate the cookies, my kitchen was in a state that would normally send this OCD-mama into a minor panic attack. There was icing par terre, icing on the portes, and sprinkles, cuillères, and couteaux covered every square inch of the kitchen counter.
I fought the urge to start cleaning up around Leilani as she worked and instead decided to step back and let her enjoy the process. She looked so grown up, I noticed, as she carefully planned out how to decorate each cookie. Spreading, piping, and sprinkling her way through the sugar cookie shapes, my little girl looked so proud. The sense of accomplishment she clearly felt was all the proof that I needed that our projet culinaire was worth all of the clean up that was to follow.
Lost in my thoughts, I was brought back to reality when, tout d’un coup, she stopped what she was doing and looked up at me. She had green icing on her chin, her hands were stained with red dye, and her halfway decorated gingerbread man sat ominously close to edge of the counter.
“Mommy, when Papa’s not here, we do fun stuff,” she said matter of factly, before rescuing her teetering gingerbread.
At that very moment, I contemplated jumping for joy and doing cartwheels across the kitchen, but I played it cool and just smiled in agreement.
Okay, to be honest, if I could do a cartwheel, I totally would’ve done one then and there. But, let’s be real, I couldn’t do a cartwheel if my life depended on it, so I settled for a smile.
I know what you’re thinking. So she said you did fun stuff…. big deal!
To you, that might not seem like something worth doing cartwheels over, but to me, it was énorme. You see, my husband is the epitome of the Super Dad. When I was in Paris in May, he packed a lunch and biked the kids to their favorite park for a picnic. He brought a huge lunch spread and even took soap so they could wash their hands at the nearby water fountain before eating. I mean, I would probably have opted for antibacterial gel or some essential spray, but I still had to give him props for being so thorough. To top it all off, the man even managed to enlist some of my kids’ best friends and their families for the picnic. When I came home, all of the moms at the park couldn’t speak highly enough of Super Dad and his grand ol’ picnic at the park.
As if that wasn’t enough, when I was in Paris with Lindsay in October, he took our two and a half year old son and our five and a half year old daughter iceskating, alone. I should mention that Aston can’t skate yet and Leilani hadn’t been iceskating in a few months, so she was quite rusty. Needless to say, manning two little kids on a crowded iceskating rink is not a task for the faint of heart. Seriously, you couldn’t pay me to do it, but then again, I guess that’s partially because last time I tried iceskating, it was on the Eiffel Tower, it was humiliating, and it was all caught by a French television camera.
But I digress….
My husband doesn’t just pull out all of the stops when I’m out of town; he brings his A game every single day. He’s the dad who shows up to the park with a bright blue Superman running shirt, just to get a laugh out of the kids and their friends. He’s the guy that learns all of the words to the Frozen theme song while on a long commute for work, just so that he can surprise our daughter with a serenade of her favorite song that night.
The man I share my life with and co-parent with is kid at heart and I envy him. He is one of the most content and most fun-loving people I have ever met. His joie-de-vivre is so authentic and so plentiful that he is constantly laughing with and awing our kids. In this house, Daddy is the fun one. I may keep their tummies full of good food, their clothes clean, and their toys picked up, but I don’t exactly deserve the adjective “fun” in front of my mommy title, or so I’ve always thought…
But then, with one little comment, my daughter reminded me that I don’t have to take her iceskating or teach her how to play Petit Papa Noël on the piano or put on a juggling show with clementines. That’s what dads are for! She and I can have a different kind of fun. Yesterday, it was just the two of us in the kitchen, making cookies and making memories and maybe that’s all she needs to have fun with maman….
A la prochaine,