August 28, 2009: Last night, I was watching Lucy so Kim could mow the lawn. Everything was going fine: some relaxing playtime on the living room floor followed by an energetic and smile-filled bath. Then all hell broke loose.
I pulled Lucy out of the tub to dry her off. I went to put on a diaper, which she was having none of. Like a shape-shifter, she transformed into one solid muscle, twisting and turning with such force that it was impossible to put the diaper on. I spent five full minutes (which is a long time when you’re trying to perform a task that should take about 10 seconds) in vain, as her cry crescendoed to a higher and higher pitch. She was not happy, and neither was I.
I wanted to throw her out the window. (I didn’t.) But when Mom came in to save the day, a stool took the brunt of my frustration.
I was beaten like a government mule by a nine-month-old.
Those people who say, “Parenting is the hardest job ever” suddenly make a lot of sense. I get it.
You hear that a lot, in one form or another. Before you have kids, you can agree with that statement; but until you have them, you really have no idea what it means.
I assumed that the truly hard stuff happens when they’re older, like in their pre-teens, when they start asking difficult questions and testing your authority. This first year has been much more taxing than I anticipated, and if the really hard parts are still ahead of me, I need to do some more praying.
The balancing act has caught up with Kim and me this week, and neither of us feels that we are doing particularly well at any of it: work, parenting, household chores, relationships. There seems to be no time to get anything done, and even less time to catch our breath. I feel like a failure, especially considering that we only have one kid. How do people with twins, or a household of kids manage? I feel doomed.
The best solution I can come up with is to take it one day at a time. That’s a pretty good strategy for life in general, isn’t it? Sometimes you have bad days, but most of the time, the days that follow are a little bit better.
Today was a lot better. Lucy doesn’t seem to be holding any grudges over last night, and her smile has a way of making me forget that any of it ever happened.
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