Maybe I sound like I am about to complain for awhile about how difficult Blanche can be. But actually, I was wanting to do the opposite. My own children can feel similar to my spouse. Although they are not perfect human beings, they seem to drag out the not so perfect parts of myself. I think I have come to the scary realization that I often have very little control over my emotions. If I find myself in a situation that digs deep into all my uncomfortable spaces... I lose it. I completely lose it. There have been times this last week that I literally want to throw Blanche across the room. This may sound alarming. Hopefully not report me alarming. But it is true. There is no other relationship (that is not highly abusive) in life that when you ask a person to stop doing something, they continue to do it. Over and over again. And then that person continues to push all your buttons. Until you snap.
This has been nap time for me with Blanche. I have always had the conviction to only try to spank when it is related to danger. It makes the most sense to me. If Blanche runs into the parking lot after we say no, she gets spanked. She associates pain with dangerous things. After Rosemary was born, Blanche started disobeying on a different level. It feels like she is doing more things for our attention, but also very particular things that push our buttons. But maybe not. Maybe it is just Andrew and me being tired and having a baby in our hands. Its really hard to make a two year old do something with a baby in your hands. We started to spank occasionally when nothing else was working. But I have found myself spanking out of my emotions again and again. Not every day by any means, but just more than I would like. I told myself that for my personality I should probably rule it out all together. Because it becomes a threatening thing, but I hate actually doing it. And then it just comes out after I have lost it. I do not think that is right. It brings a lot to the surface for me. Because when I leave the option of spanking out, I feel a little helpless.
Today during nap I was trying to lay with Blanche after getting Rosemary down and Blanche scratched and pinched me. It sent me over the edge. I hit her in the arm and asked her why she would do that. Looking back and even at the moment I know I am wrong. I am down on the level of a two year old. But there is something that is so tired within me that it all just spills out. I go back and forth with Blanche. She plays. I take away her stuffed animals. She screams at the top of her lungs. Right next to Rosemary. I cover her mouth. I spank her. I shut her in her room. Blanche comes out ten minutes later saying, "I love you so much."
I share all this because there are days I feel like the worlds worst mother. But then I think if I feel like this big of a failure and I am trying so hard to do my best, maybe there are other moms who need to read this. That we all do awful things. All mothers make mistakes.
I have tried a lot of different approaches to Blanche napping. The fact is, she often has a very hard time taking a nap unless she is in the car. So, maybe I just need to let it go. It is so hard for me to. Because that one little hour feels like my slice of sanity.
Today though, I was surprised. After Blanche and I both had our complete meltdowns and cooled off, it was as if we realized we could still move forward and have a good evening. Andrew is at work so it has just been the girls and me since nap time. Blanche helped me do the dishes. It was more work reaching over her to wash everything. And cleaning the floor multiple times after she squeezed the sponge out all over it. But she helped. Blanche was proud.
Blanche is two. She is learning to control her emotions. I am twenty seven. I should be closer to figuring out how to control them. I may feel helpless at times, but I am a grown woman with a college degree. I should be able to think of something.
I also write all this to set myself free. To keep myself accountable. To ask God to please help me. Is He giving me patience?
*All the beautiful pictures were this morning. Andrew was with us and we were just sure this long outing would help Blanche nap. Andrew made us lunch after our hike and I blurted out, "Thank you for taking care of us." I added these pictures after writing what I just did. After seeing our morning once again and with the girls both being asleep in bed the rough afternoon is starting to fade. I am starting to love Texas. Today while we were out hiking it felt warm and dusty and dry and humid all at the same time. There were cactus and wildflowers everywhere. I have never really seen that in person before. It all feels rather symbolic now, as it so easily does. The prickly cactus and gorgeous wildflowers all in it together. Making up a beautiful and complex picture.