Yesterday, we went over to a friends house to tend their garden while they are away. This was the first time I had attempted to do this with kids in tow, so I wasn't sure how it would go, but I figured I'd give it a shot. Pumpkin was in the Bjorn, and Peanut was my helper. She helped me collect ground cherries and put them into our bag, and helped move dirt from one garden bed to another... well, you know, "help" is a broad term. But she is happy and busy and enjoying the day, as am I.
So I'm watering and getting to all of the plants and beds and of course Peanut finds a spot to dig and get messy. Well, I was expecting this, so no big deal right? We finish up what we need to/can do and I ask her to come over and get hosed off before we go. Now, I am pretty specific with directions and am really good about not making everything a request - so I said something like, "Let's clean off your hands and then we will go. When your hands are clean, we are all done with the dirt." She nods, then marches over to the dirt, waits for me to look, grabs a huge fistful, and shoves it in her mouth. AHHHHHHHHHRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGG!! As she spit some of it out, it goes all over her, so I now have a thoroughly muddy toddler rather than one who is a bit grimy. (I really wish I hadn't been so mad - I would have gotten a picture to share!) I drag her out of the garden and into the car, where Pumpkin proceeds to scream almost the whole way home before he falls back asleep. When we get home, I plunk Peanut in the tub and drag Pumpkin's car seat into the bathroom with us so that when he does wake up and start yelling, I can at least be close by, which of course he does within a few seconds.
So I am so upset and angry about all of this and then I start questioning my level of anger - is it really worth all this stress? I'm not sure. As I pick it apart in my brain, I realize that I am upset not about the dirt (my kids can/do/will always get dirty - it's the way it is around here), or really about the 2 year old defiance. I'm pissed because it screws up my ability to take care of everyone at once. If something goes amiss during the day, someone ends up screaming or crying and can't be attended to immediately, which just kills me. I should be able to be supermom and take care of both kids with a calm demeanor at all times. What fairyland am I in? Really, the deal is that if you are going to live life and get messy, someone might cry. And they might need to deal on their own for a moment. And everyone will survive.
So I think that I just need to relax a little. I was always so focused on being patient, because it was something I felt like I needed to work on. Now, I can be very patient (if I have gotten some sleep, I can be really patient!), but I think it is time to focus on letting stuff go and going with the flow of the day. That's what I need to set my brain to do more of.
It helps that at the very times that you are seething, kids do the greatest things and just melt it all away. Last night Peanut decided to give her baby a bath, just like she saw mommy give Pumpkin. She even wrapped baby (this baby is mostly called "This" but now is sometimes called "William") up in a towel when she was all clean. I just love watching how she talks to her babies and shows them things, and imitates what she sees me or Honey do or what she has experienced herself. It is just fascinating and so sweet.