I came down to breakfast this morning and John said, “I’m having a bad day. I don’t know what’s wrong. I just feel angry. I’m experiencing your kind of irrational anger and I don’t know what else to do, so I’m just going to express myself.” He then went on to vent about the two things which had him completely wound up by 9:30am on a Saturday morning: my burning dinner in his griddle (which is actually a non-stick skillet) the night before and the fact that I did not delineate clearly enough which sponge was the “poop-sponge.”
Let me back up.
Carter has been using the “potty-chair” all week. As an instrument in potty-training, it is debatable whether cleaning the potty chair is in fact preferable to changing a poopy diaper. I have to admit, I’m glad Eliott never took to using it. Carter, however, immediately recognized it as the one thing in the house that could only possibly be fully hers, and loves it. So I got out a new sponge to clean the potty-chair all week, and casually mentioned this fact to John. Unfortunately, there is no visible difference in the poop-sponge and the other sponge. They are both relatively new, blue, and located near the kitchen sink.
So part B of his anger this morning was over the fact that my poop-sponge directions had caused confusion, to say the least. Paranoia was the natural result of my inattention to detail in both location of sponge, and explanation of location. (It turns out he did mistakenly clean the entire kitchen with the poop-sponge. In hindsight, I might not have pointed this out
today ever and/or attempted a better job of convincing him otherwise.) It also does not matter to John that the possibility of even a trace of Carter-feces on the sponge in question was negligible at best. I had, after all, mostly cleaned the potty chair with the flushable wipes first, and then merely disinfected it with a sponge and anti-bacterial soap. Seriously.
But remember, this is the man who refused to allow me to wash cloth diapers in the same machine that his own clothes would also be washed. Nevermind the logistics here and the fact that clothes and diapers would never actually intermingle within the machine. Remember too that the entire conversation started this morning with the disclaimer that John was experiencing my irrational anger, which cannot be appeased with logic, no matter how hard one tries. I actually understand this.
For the first time in my life (I dare admit), I responded in a way that put only John’s interests at heart. This is to say, I did what he always does to me, when I’m in such a mood. (Because, as my mother oft explains, this is how men work. They communicate best by showing, rather than telling, and treat others as they wish to be treated, rather than taking the female verbal cues to “LEAVE ME THE EFF ALONE WHEN I’M IN THESE MOODS!”)
Completely against my nature and desire, I climbed on top of him and enraptured him in a full body bear hug, right there at the kitchen table. I soothed him with loving reassurances that “Everything will be okay, honey,” and “It is all my fault if the entire family contracts Hepatitis-C,” and finally, the clencher, “Don’t worry. I still love you.” Unsurprisingly, he reacted exactly like I do, which is to stiffen, whine, and attempt to back out of the hug. Though my size is no advantage in such a situation, I did have him pinned to the chair. This is about the time Carter noticed someone usurping her spot, became jealous, and proceeded to angrily kick at me saying, “No Mommy. Stop it. No hugs. NO HUGS!” (I thought, where are you when I’m the recipient of such torture, huh kid?!)
Unfortunately, the hug had little to no real effect on The Undertoad, which has lingered throughout the day, bouncing back and forth between Dad and Mom, Mom and Dad, 2 out of 3 meals, and plans to have the house clean by bedtime.
I’m not sure how they do it, but children manage to pick up on these sorts of “I got nothing today” moods. It’s even worse when Mom and Dad are experiencing it at the same time. The children develop a vague awareness of control, who has it and who does not. John and I both admit, the best thing to do on days like this is to just mentally hunker down, whisper when we feel like yelling, laugh when we feel like crying, and close our eyes a lot. Oh. And whiskey doesn’t hurt.
There is a light at the end of this tunnel. With the girls both in bed at exactly 8:01, John opened the Netflix envelope downstairs to reveal Project Runway Season 8 Disc 1.
Take that, Undertoad.