People claim you shouldn’t use food as a reward, but sometimes you’re in dire need for a slice of cake. Sometimes you’ve been through hell and back, and that slice of cake is the only thing helping you get through it. Yesterday was that type of day, this was originally written Wednesday eve and posted on Thursday for your enjoyment.
I was tested today, and I think I did good. I think I passed. Today was one of those days, where praying to the coffee gods…actually any God that can help you get through the day was a requirement. Today was one of those days that had me dreaming of booking hotel rooms just to sleep in late, read, and be in sloth-mode for as long as I wanted to. I was haunted by these beautiful dreams, I think I actually did a quick Google search for wellness retreats. Apparently “wellness” is code for “lose 10 lbs on your stay” and “green juice yourself to a better you”. Nope!
Today was a day that had me glancing at my bed while on zoom calls. Wishing I was cuddled up in the fetus position fast asleep. In all transparency, I did end up taking a 20 minute nap in between a call and school pick up. This was after drinking a latte with three espresso shots. The coffee gods obviously didn’t hear my pleas today.
It was one of those days…I don’t know how to describe it other than a combination of undergrad-finals week-level exhaustion, heaviness, and Shakespeare’s “Comedy of Errors”.
Let me guide you through it.
- My morning starts out by me accidently hitting the “off” button instead of snooze on my Fitbit. Look, I know that the research says we should just get up, but those extra ten minutes are heaven to my soul. Now I must rush to get dressed
- Oh damn! Realizing the kiddos uniform shirt is too wrinkled, I can’t even try to get away with it. Must quickly iron…when did irons become so high tech?
- My son was extra grumpy this morning, and was apparently extra mad at me for not letting him sleep. (shoulder shrug here). Spent so much time trying to wake him up that I now have to pray that the class pass app is not congested with all the parents running late to get their kids COVID screening. 7:20 you’re in the clear, 7:25 you’re screwed.
- My son’s extra pencils were missing from his backpack. He is not sure where they went. Fine, we added another one with his name on it.
- Later that morning my mother makes a sarcastic comment about the cake. Obviously, she is letting me know that she is still mad at me for giving too much of the fruit tart away. She apparently forgets she is pre-diabetic and has been advised to work on her eating habits by her doctor. How dare I give a crap!?
- As I carefully review my goals for the month, I can’t help but wonder: If I really want to add/have ‘lose five lbs’ as one of my goals? I mean…
- My stomach doesn’t feel so good…cross contamination? Dairy?
- Realized I just asked an already answered question, hoping I was able to erase it from SLACK in time before anyone read it.
- Being asked to bring someone a coffee, after I had already asked if they wanted anything and they said no and placed my order online. I have 15 minutes before my next call. I now have to get out of my car, place the order, and pray that the coffee fumes give the barista super speed. Will I make it back in time before my call? I might have to start the meeting on my phone, shit I’m the host! Happy to announce I made it back with three minutes to spare.
- Delaware and Montana…why do you have to be so hard? It’s starting to feel personal. I’m nice, I’m just trying to mobilize your parents not kill your vibe.
- Person A acts extremely surprised when I mention to Person B that I have an English degree and a blog. Even though I’ve sent them the link to my blog at their request a couple of times now.
- Fall asleep for a quick minute or 20…only to realize that my neck is now sore. What was I doing in my sleep?
- Major mix up with Zoom links for about 30+ participants and presenters. Not my fault, but worried attendee’s will think it is. Maybe not everyone but Person S will, whose mansplaining and privilege is a trigger for me.
- Person S says something extremely rude in a chat about the mix up, I come to the realization that I really don’t like them and I’m glad I only see them once a week.
- But it’s three hours…
- Ask the kid not to play with the water bottle as he will spill it on the carpet. Wondering why he didn’t go into the other room as I asked him to before hopping on my three hour call? I should have taken him to the other room, but between giving him an afterschool snack and preparing myself for this long zoom call I didn’t have the energy to do it.
- Zoom and the internet go completely insane and throw me out as the second presenter is about to start her speal. “Can’t find a connection?!” Omgeee, I’m the host! Does this mean everyone got kicked out too? Fuck! Fuck! FuCK! I need a sabbatical. I’m too tired for this.
- Why is my son coughing? He says he’s okay, but why is he hacking up a lung?
- Finally on, luckily everyone was still on and the presenter was still…presenting(?). Was it because I made someone else co-host? Was it because the Universe was looking out for me and knew I needed a W today? Whomever or whatever-THANK YOU!
- Review my August to do list…nope, don’t have enough energy to cross more things off. They will have to be carried over to September. I shrug my extremely tense shoulders as I realize that some have been carried over from March. I’m only human.
Now this part of my day; the last hours of my day, are where it gets really good. I mean, it got worse before it got better.
- Prepare dinner. Son only eats the fries, leaves some carrots and most of the chicken breast and says he’s too full. But asks if he can have dessert now. WTF? Is he for real?
- I’ll negotiate…we are not supposed to negotiate with terrorists but I’m tired. As I get closer to his plate I realize he has smashed some of the carrots on the floor, into the carpet, and the carpet is wet (see bullet on water bottle).
- This is it, this is the straw that broke the camel’s back. As I tried to clean up the smashed carrots from the carpet. I ask him why he did that? Why would he do that? He looks at me and says “I’m sorry”, as he puts his tablet in my face to give him more time. Hmmm, he’s not really listening to me. He doesn’t realize what he’s done and why mami is upset.
- “That’s it no more Happy Meals or Pizza” I see his world collapse in front of my eyes. He is crying, he’s in pain, trying to run to his safe person I call him back to the room. I’m standing my ground.
- So is he.
- As I get him ready for bath time, as he is yelling at me for taking away his favorite foods, he is hollering out how he: hates me, and will no longer take me on vacations. I will have to stay home alone (shit kid, that is a vacation for me), he will no longer call me “mami” but “mom” (he knows my preference), he doesn’t like me anymore, he will not listen to me anymore, he will not play with me ever again. He will no longer be my friend (we are not friends, kid, I’m your parent…but go on), I apparently need to leave the house forever, for I am no longer wanted here. I will not be the one to give him baths anymore (I mean, I’m trying to teach him to do it himself-so…), as I scrub away, he keeps bawling now with snot, and telling me how awful of a person I am for taking away his favorite food. He apparently can’t always do what I want him to do, even if it is eating healthy food.
Folx, I don’t know how or with whose help…but I kept my cool. I would just say “okay”, other times I just remained quiet. At one point though, I did have to remind him that even though he doesn’t like me, he cannot be rude to me. He responded with “okay, but you will have to stay home when we all go on vacation.” In retrospect, I should have asked for this one in writing.
When bath time was done and I was changing him. I went silent. I went complete Teller as I slipped on his jammies. Apparently this was too much, he kept asking me “what’s wrong?” and…wait for it…”mami, what’s wrong?” I kept my Teller act going.
By the time we were working on homework and picking up his toys (his job), he was in a different mood. As if nothing happened.
What the hell had I just gone through?
More importantly, how in the hell did I keep my cool? How did I not raise my voice as he was snot crying and telling me how he hated me?
We read before bed and he quickly fell asleep. No fuss. No arguments. We didn’t even go through that extreme thirst that seems to only happen at bed time. He was out within 10 minutes of me closing our book and turning off the lights.
I did what any mother or woman who has two left over cakes (even one would do) in her fridge would do. I went and served myself a delicious slice of Tiramisu. If you’ve ever had Porto’s Tiramisu (a great Cuban Bakery that has taken over Southern California) you know there’s Layers of coffee-soaked chiffon on top. Well, this tired and battered mom got herself some of that chocolatey chiffon and let the piece of heaven just calm her soul from the inside.
As I ate my slice of cake and started writing this post, I came to the conclusion that somewhere between the first snot filled “I hate you” I must have left my body. I mean how else can I explain my calmness? I have been trying to be more mindful of my time, language, energy level, and feelings when it comes to my parenting. But this was Yoda level calm-so not me. One can even argue (this might make more sense than the soul floating out of my body theory I came up with during my sugar high), that me putting myself in my son’s shoes and realizing that he must be tired and how shocking it is to hear that you will never eat your favorite food again is to a five year old. For the record, I didn’t say “never”, but that’s not how he understood it. He’s learning to process big feelings, this was his way of processing. He was responsive to everything I asked him to do during this “processing of feelings”, he didn’t try to hit or fight me during any of this.
I can now say, that any reaction on my part-counterarguing, yelling louder as to be heard over the crying-would have just been my ego. The words were not pretty, I will admit that. But they didn’t hurt. Our bond is strong, as strong as his love for Mickey D’s fries and cheese pizza. His reaction to my staying quiet was confirmation of that.
My slice of cake was my reward. I know “it’s not healthy to use food as a reward” But hold on Sally, today it was. Because as I sat, savoring each bite, with my kid snoozing in the background, zoom completely off, in a dimmed room, I was able to get my thoughts together. I was able to acknowledge that even though I felt as if I was drowning today, there were some rainbows.
I was thanked by my boss for reacting and coming up with a quick solution to today’s mix up. I was able to talk about my love of literature with someone. I heard from my niece, who was able to make it out of New Orleans safely after Ida hit. I was able to watch an episode of “The Flash”. My stomach was feeling better.
Most importantly, even though we have yet to solve the mystery of the missing pencils (today’s pencil went missing too), we ended our night on good terms. Oh yea, and I had delicious Tiramisu to wrap up my evening. Guilt free because the kiddo was asleep and I was able to eat it slowly. Savoring each bite, because no tiny human was trying to rush up on me and take it away.
It was my slice of cake.
“A great many things can be resolved with kindness, even more with laughter, but there are some things that just require cake.”by Unknown.