Parenting triumphs and parenting woes
A while back I wrote about how much I hate leaving my children. I miss them (while also enjoying my freedom…) but when I return they seem to pretty much hate me. Since it’s unlikely that they actually hate me, I’ve determined that they don’t really understand what’s happened and find it upsetting. So the last time I had to be gone for a few days, I decided to TAKE ACTION. Bun Bun and Bunlet and I sat at the coloring table, and I made a little book. It tells the story of Mama bunny and her baby bunnies, and how mama has to go away, and where she is and what she’s doing every day, and what the baby bunnies are doing while she’s gone, and how much she misses them, and how she comes home on an airplane while they’re sleeping and how she peeks in at them and when they wake up she’s home and they hug and kiss. It ends “Sometimes Mama has to go away, but she always comes back”*
I didn’t take much time over the bookbinding (random piece of yarn) or the illustrations (crayon, hyperspeed), but when I got back from my trip THIS TIME the homecoming was…blissful. Hugs! Kisses! Just like in the book! And Bun Bun had memorized the entire thing. Mr. Bunny had read it to her every day, and listening to her recite it made me so happy. And it has been useful since then, too. Both Bunlet and Bun Bun randomly say Mama always come back…
Maybe they’d just reached some new developmental milestone and the good homecoming had nothing to do with my literary masterpiece, but, fuck, I’m taking the credit. I think I helped them learn something.
Meanwhile, two days after his second birthday, Bunlet got to visit the ER. While Mr. Bunny’s sister was watching the babies (I was in the next room making dinner) he put a stool up the sofa, fell off, and cut his cheek open on the stool. It wasn’t a huge cut, but the ER is a pretty intense experience even when you know on some level that everything’s okay. I mean, I was so scared I couldn’t remember his birthday…I thought back to the times I’ve read about parents taking their babies in, not knowing what was wrong, not having any reason to think it would turn out well… Anyway, it sucked. I was SO FURIOUS at my sister in law. I know on a logical level that it could easily have happened on my watch (though of course I also can’t help thinking I wouldn’t have let him do that…), but she let my baby get HURT! And she didn’t have the grace to apologize. It’s been months and I couldn’t let it go. Any time I thought about it I’d boil with anger. The last time she visited I couldn’t even look at her, let alone be civil. I kept asking myself what kind of crazy person I was that I couldn’t get over it.
Then a few days ago I was walking to work wondering again why I was still so pissed and it hit me–It’s not her I need to forgive, it’s myself. I am angry at her because I blame myself. I let my baby get hurt. I had a good cry (much to the confusion of the people around me, I imagine), and let myself off the hook. And the anger really has faded.
Parenting, man. It’s rough. Right now we’re in the midst of toilet training Bunlet and after doing great last week, he’s pissing all over the floor this week. I am currently listening to Mr. Bunny screaming at Bun Bun (hey! I thought only I used that voice!) and chucking her in time out. Tomorrow I’ll be shutting myself in the bathroom or hiding in the laundry room when I get too overwhelmed.
But hopefully the baby bunnies will remember that Mama bunny may lose her shit, but she always comes back.
*I know. Sometimes Mamas go away and don’t come back. I decided I’m okay with the lie.