Today was a hard one. Mia fell asleep pretty late last night and then was awoken two hours early this morning by a leaky diaper I pulled her into bed with us hoping she would at least lie quietly for a few minutes and let me doze a bit more before facing the day. And she did, for a little while. And I even thought, briefly, that she had fallen asleep. But then I felt a little hand on my cheek, and then she started rubbing my hair and then my back, the way I do to her when I am trying to quiet or soothe her. That stretch of three or four minutes was one of the highlights of my entire life.
It went downhill from there. This morning she fell and bumped her head lightly on a carpeted floor. This is the kid who cracks her head into a table so hard you can hear the thump in the next county and then collapses in hysterical giggles about it, but instead she collapsed into tears. It took 15 minutes of patting and singing and hugging a sobbing child to quiet her down. She was whiny and impossible.
A trip to the pool improved things, but once we got home it was back to the lousy mood. And then, right after her nap she had a major wipe out on the sidewalk, resulting in two skinned and badly bruised knees and the insistence that "Mama hug" for the rest of the day. I couldn't put her down, she would not leave my lap, and eventually not even my lap was good enough. The only thing that would make her happy was me carrying her around the house. It was like she was a month old again and I spent a couple of hours walking the same path I used to walk with her two years ago.
I didn't handle it well. I snapped at her and told her to just stop crying and dumped her on Chris the second he walked in the door and ran to hide in the kitchen.
Bedtime finally came, and with it hysteria. After 5 minutes in her crib she was so freaked out that it took 15 minutes of rocking to calm those awful gasping, halting, hiccupy breaths. I rocked and I rocked, and I rubbed and I patted, and I sang a vast swath of my repertoire of Paul Simon songs, and she finally fell asleep in my arms, her head snuggled into my neck, her arms wrapped as far as they would go around my waist.
I sat there thinking that I didn't do a very good job today. She was too tired to deal, and I was too tired to deal with her, but I'm the adult and ought to be able to fake it better. It makes me feel better to know that, even on my bad mommy days, I'm still the one she wants, I'm still the one who can make it all ok for her. That she'll give me the chance to do it better tomorrow.