I am, I freely admit, a bit like Bruce Banner when it comes to getting angry. I do not turn into a hideous monster and wreck my clothes and your living room, but I do quickly (and often completely) lose control of the filter between my brain and my mouth. I will let you know that I am angry and, almost guaranteed, I will punctuate it with something stupid. This caused no end of problems during childhood and adolescence and, to say the least, is not acceptable as a parent. I struggle to reign in the stupid, but it still tends to leak out.
Case in point, this morning. It started like any other: I smacked snooze a few times, rolled out of bed, woke up the boys, let the dog out, got C his breakfast and yelled for M to wake up a few more times (it being a school day, they were both sleeping like they were in a coma). Today was, apparently, the day for toast. C wanted toast instead of his usual cereal or oatmeal. I had, however, used the last of the bread last night making lunches and forgot to thaw the other loaf from the freezer. So, no toast. Luckily I had bought english muffins and these were deemed an acceptable substitute as long as we could still put jam on them.
Meanwhile, M has been roused by his mother and they have agreed that toast with butter would be acceptable, so long as it is stamped with our Mickey Mouse cookie cutter. M wanders down, we go through the process of denying toast and move on the another english muffin. No problem. Then, I ruin the day. I push down the button on the toaster. M is crushed that I have purposely ruined his breakfast. He runs back upstairs yelling for all to hear that his father does not love him. Also, that he is not hungry anymore.
Quick aside, I am not, by any means, a morning person. I put on a good act for the boys, but generally I am walking around the house by memory trying to catch some more sleep while I get the morning routine out of the way. Problems I have with my back tend to flare up during the night, so I am often in pain to boot. I don’t want to go to work. Add cranky 4 and 6 year olds (excuse me, almost-5 and almost-7 year olds, I am told) and the stupid filter can easily slip.
So, I go up to do my thing and then try and rectify the toast situation. I will make M a new english muffin after he gets dressed and things will be right with the world. M is not buying it, but is willing to let me try. We get dressed and head downstairs. M gets to push down the toaster and is satisfied. I then proceed to ruin the day, yet again, by asking what he wants on it. He very calmly tells me what he thinks of me and my lack of anything suitable to put on his not-toast and runs back upstairs. K is able to get him to agree to butter. He comes back down. But, somewhere on the stairs he forgets about butter and remembers that I have ruined his life.
M comes into the kitchen and ratchets the cranky up to 11, the english muffin falls off the plate, C is running through the house bouncing one of the dog’s balls and my stupid filter fails entirely. I tell M that he is never having breakfast again, needs to move out and that C needs to put on a jacket because it’s cold and might rain later (see, some level or parenting still exists!) K comes down and not knowing what has transpired asks M where his muffin with butter is and we have reached new heights of screaming and anger.
It’s funny when you actually have an out of body experience. Not like a near death, light-in-the-tunnel type, but the kind where you stand and watch yourself being a complete idiot and marvel that you’re still able to tie your shoes each day. I watch me tell me wife that she is fanning the flames and that either the 4 y.o. goes or I do. (Her response is that that is “perfect,” which still has me a little nervous.) I am in awe of my ability to ruin yet another person’s day. C, meanwhile, has closed himself in the front foyer and is watching my parade of idiocy through the front door.
For any non-parents who grace these pages, there is a look your child can give you that immediately lets you know that have gone around the bend. Your failure is visible in their eyes as a little of the parent magic disappears from their minds. It will crush your soul to see it. C is giving me this look. K is not speaking to me. M is, of course, fine and has moved on to talk about what’s in his lunch box. The dog thinks she’s going for a walk.
So, once again my filter has failed me, my mouth has done damage beyond anything necessary and the dreadful irony is, of course, that you can still toast frozen bread which would have prevented all of this in the first place.