Yesterday I sat in the Fabricland parking lot with the car running for a few minutes trying to debate whether I'd go for the safe option: shopping at Walmart where there are shopping carts (and straps to contain your wild child) or Indigo, where there are the actual errands I needed to get done, but no magical child-restraining carts.
I sighed and I know I did because June, sitting in the back seat, mimicked me - she does that a lot these days right now. We had just come out of the fabric store where I was trying to get the last pieces I needed to finish off the quilts I'm making for her and the new baby. This is the first time I've ever attempted something like this and I was trying to explain to the well-meaning sales lady who you could tell just *loved* talking quilting, what I was there for. I had forgotten what the batting for the middle was called, how much I needed and how it was supposed to attach to the outside pieces (did I need adhesive? What IS adhesive anyway?). And as she's trying to explain the merits of quilting gloves to me (there's a world of people out there who sew in gloves - who knew?!) june is sitting in her stroller having finished the only distraction snack I had brought with me, and she's now resorted to arching her back, while repeating "WALK LITTLE BIT LONGER" (she hadn't walked at all at this point but she clearly did not want to be sitting or strapped down.) It was a scene and it was distracting to the point where I still don't really understand what those gloves are for. I'm sure I'll find out one day but I didn't have the extra attention span to delve into it further at the moment. As it was, I left the store with only the batting and without the pieces I needed to finish the projects.
So despite this memory fresh in mind, and with a sense of determination that motherhood has both simultaneously provided me with and driven out of me all together, I bit my lip, put the car in drive and opted for Indigo. These days before baby Kelly gets here are numbered and as I told myself. How bad can it be? And how will we learn to cope otherwise? And I might have left Fabricland with unfinished business but that didn't mean we couldn't scratch something else off of our list, did it? Sure Walmart would have been the path of least resistance, but gosh darn it I hadn't been to Indigo in FOREVER.
Well. Indigo was a disaster. I left feeling like a disaster. June left feeling like a disaster. it was just one of those days.
Before we went into the store we had a discussion:
"June. What do we do in the store?"
"That's right my love. And who's hand do we hold?"
"Right. I'm so proud of you for knowing the rules!!"
she gets it. I know she "gets" it. But she's also a toddler and I know in my heart I'm asking a lot of her. But I want so badly to feel in control for just 20 minutes - so I can do my thing and feel... a sense of accomplishment? like I've got it together? like I can do life and parent at the same time?
but within five minutes - I'm a hot mess. The people are staring. I'm disregarding the affluent looking couple in their 60's boxing me out of the display of prints that I was trying to look through while they cast disapproving glances; june continues flopping on the ground refusing to stand unless it's to walk in the direction she wants to go. I hastily grabbed what I thought I needed from the display, resigning to bring it back for an exchange or return because I really haven't had a chance to contemplate as, 35 weeks pregnant, I'm hunched over trying to pick up a limp toddler and put her on my hip. We headed for the cash me nearly football carrying her as she yells through tears:
"Sorry Mama. Sorry Mama. I told you so."
And I just further fill with a sense of shame because clearly these are not her words. They're mine. I've used them likely in a fit of desperation. "Just please listen. I told you if you don't listen we have to leave the store."
There is a big part of me that feels like i need to abandon all sense of duty to "life" (and I talked a little bit about that in this post here) because it leads to scenarios like this one - because it's just too tempting for a toddler to misbehave and for mom to end up frustrated. but what does one do when one needs to do these sorts of errands, but has nowhere else for toddler to go? And by the same token, how will they ever learn?
She recovered fairly quickly once we got back to the car but I was left with a sense of dread for what this life will look like with an infant. crazy + breastfeeding. Plus sleep deprived andandand I still don't have enough arms to wrangle my two year old. I want so badly to have a big family. And I know there will come a day when it won't always be this way. But what pieces of myself am I leaving behind me as I go there? Am I loosing my cool too often? Am I giving in too much? Am I building up a confident child, or am I teaching her conditional love? In these moments I can't help but think, maybe I'm not cut out for this job. I feel like a failure for not being able to manage this person. There were other moms with children there - June's age too. Why was it my child who could not just stand with me?
Later on we're at home. Lunch is over and I've abandoned a disaster of a kitchen to rush her into nap time - because I need naptime. I've closed the door and I'm laying in bed trying to gather my composure and thoughts from what was just that special sort of awful morning and I hear the frantic "mama. Mama." coming from her bedroom. I pull myself up and and creep back into her room to see what sort of negotiation she wants to make.
"Kissey the baby," She says to me. pointing at my stomach.
That baby. the unborn one I'm worried about cramming into our life. It appears she's already made a place for him or her. not worried; just fascinated and excited and so accepting of everything around her. she gets it.
So I lean my belly over the crib and she stands up and kisses my stomach.
I guess I'll push those feelings aside until another day. For now I'll just write about it and give her the biggest hug and kiss when she wakes up.