Possibly, there is a negative correlation between how much a parent loves their children and their control over their own sanity. My experience this morning may be inspiration for a research study! With it being a Monday and the thunder booming, I headed to All About Kids with my 4 and 2.5 year old children. As we leave, I remind my 2.5 year old not to pick at her scraped knee that she had already started to explore. Of course, upon arrival, I go to take her out of her car seat and she is covered in blood. Ah, this is why she was so quiet in the back seat. We haven’t even played yet! I clean, sanitize and we get a bandaid to patch it up.
As I knew would happen, they leap from the floor after I removed their shoes and begin bouncing off every play item regardless of whether or not it was truly intended for bouncing. Hyper is not quite a strong enough word. Because of my deep love for my children and their safety, as well as the safety of those around my little bulls, I trail after the little ones repeating continuously the basic play rules one needs to reiterate in these times of chaos. We survive until our lunch break.
My 2.5 year old decides that lunch will not be her yogurt, blueberries and other healthy items but simply a “race car” juice and fruit snacks. Then, she refuses to sit in her seat instead choosing to play with the door stops to the doors that allow people to get in and out of the play area, therefore trapping people in the open gym. I attempted once to force her back to the table making a slight scene so I opted to simply tell her that if she refused to eat, she just needs to sit against the wall and pout instead of trapping people in the room and causing a fire hazard. My 4 year old was trying his best to be cooperative but decided, if she doesn’t have to eat, he shouldn’t either. However, I remind myself of my undying love for my kids and decide that they will not starve and I take a deep breath and re-enter the play area as they are going to open the large gym. I still have my sanity but as the reminders of my love for my children increase in my head, the sanity begins to slip; hence the negative correlation.
We play, I run around after them and dream of cloning myself so that I can be with both of them at the same time to make sure they are acting appropriately and having fun. I manage to convince them to go down some tandem slides together so they can be in the same place. My 2.5 year old decided this is a fantastic place to do some business in her diaper and my 4 year old, with his keen nose, informs me that she has done so. I think, we should just leave. However, I LOVE them, I do, I LOVE them, LOVE LOVE LOVE so I think, they need to play more because I LOVE them. Sanity: fading. My feisty daughter, after 10 minutes of coaxing decides that she will indeed entertain the idea of a diaper change and heads for the door only to start a sprint toward a climbing structure to get away with me. I scale a few levels, snag her sneaky little legs and drag her kicking and screaming to the bathroom. The love at this point has totally removed all sanity as I briskly sweep her up to the changing table, tear off her shorts and turn into a mommy-machine where I am able to reach into the depths of my backpack, find a diaper, wipes all the while wrangling this 30 lb creature to stay still so I can change her without any poop getting all over the place. While she succumbs to my powers, I notice that there is an article of clothing in the toilet and take note that I should definitely tell the staff about this when I exit the restroom.
Phew, my daughter is changed. Now, where are her shorts? Not in the bag, not on the floor. Where could they be? No, it couldn’t be. I lean over the toilet and take a long hard look. Yes, indeed! In the last 2 minutes of dealing with this wild, but oh so adorable, beast, and without any recollection of the fact, when I tore off her shorts, I threw them in the toilet! Now what? Oh, and where is my other child?? Yes, I left him in the gym area! I strap my pant-less child under my arms, find a Ziploc full of crayons in my backpack, empty it, grab the shorts out of the potty and ring them out, jam them in the Ziploc, wash our hands and run back out to the gym to find my other child. I find him and tell him “James, we have to leave, Maggie has no shorts and mommy has no sanity, it’s time to go, I love you and we can come back another day.”
And we will, because I will always love my children and therefore, in conclusion from this qualitative study, I will never have my sanity.