One of the hardest things for me to reconcile about raising kids with a trauma background, is that they need me and I need to work. In particular, I need to get to work on time in the mornings. This morning is entirely my fault today that things didn’t go well. I hit snooze and then I turned the alarm off the second time it went off. I got out of bed at 7:30. I normally leave the house at 7:45. But everyone slept in this morning after a relatively good night sleep and I was not about to give up a precious few moments of sleep after so many terrible nights in a row. At least that is how I felt when my alarm went off at 6am. I know better. I know that my morning goes 100 times better when I get myself ready before the kids get up and then give them plenty of time to transition between steps in the morning. In any case, I seemed to just make a ton of mistakes this morning.
G handed M an old iPhone at some point as I was getting myself and M2 dressed. I was already disgruntled when I got out of the shower and found that happening. However, I used it as a distraction to get him dressed quickly. We were ready to walk out the door by 8:15. Already a half hour late, but not too terrible. Despite the fact that I told M twice that we were almost ready to go and he would need to leave the iPhone home. That got lost in the shuffle out the door and the iPhone ended up in the car with him. About 30 seconds in the drive he started screaming because he needed help with the game he was playing. That proceeded to just escalate through the whole drive to school. At some point he threw the iPhone at my head. At least I didn’t have to pry it from his hands. He was then upset that he didn’t have the phone and already in full blown meltdown mode. We pulled in to school I got M2 out of the car. She always takes her shoes and socks off in the car and it takes me a minute to put them back on. M is screaming that the buckle on his carseat is “hurting him” I reach over and unbuckle but then he rages about not wanting to get out and not wanting to go to school. At this point, I am still reacting calmly. I get M2’s socks and shoes on and get her out of her seat and walk over to get him out on his side of the car. When I open the car seat he just says “no, leave me!” I reshut the door. He is already unbuckled so he climbs into the drivers seat. I go to the driver’s seat to get him out open in and he punches me in the face, hard. At that point, the calm left. I grabbed him around the waist while holding M2 and M’s blankie in my other arm. I marched to the front door of daycare crossing the drive but M2 has an amazing ability to go completely limp so that she is like holding on to a jellyfish and can just squeeze her way out of my grasp. She was falling from my arms just as we finished crossing the street. I let her climb the stairs alone but she was dawdling and I yelled at her to “hurry up!” Normally I am not in the habit of yelling commands at my children, but I knew that I would lose the wrestling match with M any minute. As I got through the door, needing one hand to open the door and one arm to hold M, he wriggled free. His classroom is directly next to the front door. I brought M2 into that classroom quickly where she went and started playing with the kitchen set peacefully. In the meantime, M ran back out the front door back towards the parking lot and two staff members ran to retrieve him. The whole time I was dragging him inside, he was screaming. “Stop hurting me!” and “You are being too rough with my body!” I sit with him for a few minutes out in the lobby but then realize it is not helping and I should just get him settled into his classroom. When I bring him into his class and start distracting him with toys, he grabs a toy from another kid and then hits him within 30 seconds of me putting him down to play. He gets settled in relatively quickly, still saying “Stay, don’t leave!” every few seconds. He refused my hugs and I left.
Now, back in my office, I am just too distraught to work at the moment. I cried for a minute in the car before I walked in. I stopped and got some ice for my eye at the coffee shop below my office, hoping that punch doesn’t cause swelling or bruising. I can still feel the anger in his tiny fist as I type this. My other eye has a significant set of scratched on it from where he scratched my eyes because he was frustrated trying to get to sleep. My face seems to always wear the marks of his frustration.
I am hoping this post will help me settle in to my day. It definitely gives me a minute to reflect, perhaps this is the little “me time” that I can allow. I am now an hour late in starting my work for the day. Which just means I will skip lunch to finish what I need to do. Either that or work after hours. Actually, both. I usually need to do both. I can’t help but feel like, if I didn’t have to work, these kinds of struggles wouldn’t exist in my day. There would be no hustle out the door. There would be time to transition without someone else’s clock imposing deadlines on my day. There would be the allowance to sleep that extra hour when the nights have been so rough.