I yelled. It was me. I yelled too loudly and sat him down too sternly. It had been such a long day and there was no chance to escape outdoors, sleet mixed with rainy wind made even going on a car ride unpleasant. We did it though, riding to McDonald's to get a Happy Meal in hopes that might perk him up. Him being our non-verbal two year old who has actually been great the last couple weeks but another bout of sickness had knocked the wind from his happy sails.
Sick children are not particularly welcome, but I have found that they are usually nice versions of themselves. My three other children, when genuinely ill, are quite cuddly. Perhaps sluggish with fever or too weak to bounce from one piece of furniture to another, I find them rather endearing. Amos is absolutely none of these things when sick. I take that back. He was like that one time but he was also in the hospital so that did not fall in the normal range of illness. When Amos is sick, he is pissed. One minute he is laying contentedly on me, covering his face with his nubby blanket and the next minute he has slithered onto the floor and is crying. I guess furious at me for letting him get down. We play this game of cat and mouse as long as I allow and after a good six hours straight today, I quit. I did not pick him back up and instead, went to the kitchen to check on my chicken wings that were in the oven.
It was time to flip them over and dern it, I didn't want my nice husband to do it. I was tired of being held captive even by someone sick. I had already let Daddy go to the grocery store and cook the dinner, his offers of help accepted because we both knew who Amos wanted as his puppet. After he flung a bowl of popcorn to the floor for no reason that I could see other than spite, I excused myself to the kitchen and he quickly followed in hot pursuit. Misery loves company originated with his very self. Wailing, sobbing, hanging on my pajama pants, worn flannel and short of elastic, I tried to untangle myself from his grasp. I could not safely remove the baking sheet from the oven so I again removed Amos from my legs and placed him none too gently on the floor as I yelled "No!", not once but twice.
Don't tell me it's okay, that you have been there, that we all make mistakes. Please don't placate me. I am only divulging this information because I know all this and yet, it is still not enough. I can't do enough for the adorable two year old that puts me over the edge like no one has ever done. I walk away and he follows. I write so that I won't smoke. I don't open the bottle of wine as I know I would very well drink the whole thing. I don't even drink because the headache that comes with a miserable toddler makes me want to smoke. It is a vicious cycle and like a ride on a speeding Merry Go Round, I can not seem to jump off.
My middle son Russell was witness to the yelling and after a minute or two I had composed myself, picked Amos up again with his familiar blankie and sat in our familiar chair where we have logged well over a dozen hours this past weekend alone. Russell watched silently and asked me if I needed a blanket? Water? More popcorn? My heart broke all over again as I have always been the mother that never yells, never. My one attribute destroyed in a matter of seconds and an incident that Amos may well forget but I am sure Russell will remember. An adult yelling at a sick two year old. His baby brother with extra special needs, I reminded him when I coaxed him to help with another puzzle or encouraged him to read, "No, David" just once more. Kudos to me.
I shall tell Russell that I'm sorry tomorrow and that I never ever should have yelled at Amos. We will talk strategies of what we can do as a family when Amos is especially needy. Mommy needs to learn to accept help and when daddy says he will take him to Rose's and walk around, I should run for his coat. I'll do better next time. Not today though. I failed today, not as a whole, but a big part of what is important to me. The learning curve never ceases to amaze me and my state of mind is more volatile than I would like, especially as wife, mother and friend. I'm trying though, I promise. I just need a good cry, sunshine and to accept help a little more easily next time. Don't underestimate the little things, especially my Amos, who I love more than life itself.