Bad Mom,  Bug,  raving lunatic rant,  The Zoo

not a good day

a momenthad several moments today. Today was chock full of moments. In fact, there were so many moments, I feared that if one more moment hit me I would completely snap and run for the hills screaming.

Pounce is sick. I don’t know what’s wrong with him. The vet doesn’t know what’s wrong with him. We got an x-ray done and all it shows is that he has a lot of air in his stomach and his esophagus. The air could be from all the choking and gasping and yowling he did on the car ride to the vet or it could be something really serious. We don’t know. We’re supposed to take him to a specialized clinic in a few days if he doesn’t get better.

But even though I’m sadder than sad about Pounce, that was not why I had so many “moments” today. Today I think I fully understood the wrath and wrangling of a full-blown-two-year-old. It’s true. The twos are terrible! Worse than I ever imagined and Baby Bug is probably a pretty good kid. I do not know how you parents of multiple kids do it. I’m ready to wave my white flag in defeat. She really got the best of me today.

It was probably not smart to take Baby Bug with me to the vet today with Pounce. I didn’t really have a choice since Toby’s been working like a mad man and I don’t have a list of babysitters handy to help out when a sudden cat illness might strike. But I went early and I thought I could get him in and looked at before lunchtime and nap time. It’s a first-come first-serve sort of clinic and you just never know if you’re going to be lucky and breeze right in or if you are going to be stuck in the waiting room for a few hours.

We got stuck waiting. And waiting and waiting waiting waiting…

Play this clip over and over for three hours straight with no break. It sort of sounds cute at first but quickly that one note (a b sharp perhaps?) starts to get very very very old. It’s sort of like Chinese water torture.

Then imagine that you are trying to translate the whining into English and you have to pay attention or else a five alarm dolphin squeal will go off in your ears and break windows. Then imagine Baby Bug throwing herself on the dirty veterinarian waiting room floor, slathering her wet snotty tears in cat urine.

So lovely, no?

THEN imagine that there is a crotchety old @hole of a man in the waiting room making loud comments to the girls at the front desk about you and your poor mothering skills. I know I should not care what old crotchety @holes say but I guess I was not born with that amazing ability to let stuff like that roll off my back. I don’t really care what he thinks. I know he’s a mean old man and he probably needs a drink but it didn’t stop me from sweating and stressing about how to keep Baby Bug quiet.

Nothing worked. I tried to color with her. I even offered to let her draw with my favorite Sharpie pen. I threw her in the air and made funny sounds. I let her comb my hair and poke me in the eye. I invented funny games of jumping over the lines in the linoleum. I gave her cookies. I let her dump the contents of my purse. I even let her climb on the magazine rack. Nothing stopped the whining. Nothing! It’s a constant with her these days.

I kept telling myself that how you act under stress shows your true character. It’s my mantra these days. Be calm. Do not freak out. Do not yell at the two-year-old. Do not start crying. Do not threaten to put the two-year-old in the smelly urinated in cat carrier. What would Jesus do sort of stuff. I barely held my crap together today. Barely.

I know these are the precious years. I know it’s important to enjoy every moment. I know they fly by fast and you never get a chance to do them over again. But man! Can I do this? This is harder than anything I’ve ever done! This is harder than that one time I had to interview the president of my college about a sexual harassment scandal. And that was NOT easy. Believe me.

Now that she’s blessedly asleep (no nap today) I am a little bit proud of myself that I didn’t lose it. I may have sweat blood out of my arm pits but I didn’t slap her like I wanted to so badly. I didn’t yell. I didn’t even call Toby crying until after we were in the car driving home. I almost… pretty much held it together. It didn’t feel like it but it’s over.

Now I can just worry about Pounce and hope that tomorrow is a better day.


  • Starryprincess

    You have my full sympathy, it is soooo hard dealing with toddlers. My big kids are now 16 and 15 and I remember staggering around in a catatonic state for 4 years. while they were 1yr old to 4yrs old. Then we had the Starryprincess who has special needs and the big kids years felt like a picnic.
    But well done for not not cracking under the pressure.

  • Kuky

    I’m so so so sorry you had such a difficult day and with a mean old crotch of a guy making it worse. What the hell does he know about raising a toddler? Less than lint obviously. Makes me so mad I could kick him!! I mean did he not see you doing all those things with baby bug?! I’ve seen mothers who don’t even have the patience to do all that with their kids. Grrr…KICK him I could! You are a wonderful mother!

    It just so happens you were in a situation where you needed to be there. You didn’t have another pair of hands to help and you couldn’t just leave. You did very well under those circumstances. Sorry, I’m just mad as all get out about that crotch.

    Sorry I’ve just rambled on and on. I hope Pounce is ok and you have a much better day tomorrow.

  • Jennifer

    I’ve been there many ‘a time. Those days just happen sometimes. There is nothing you can do about it except what you did… make it through.

    You did good, Mama. It may not feel like it but it’s true.

  • Jummy

    Aww, SAJ. So sorry today was not a good day and you should definitely be proud of how you handled things. I really hope I’m able to do as good a job (basically hoping that having a child changes my personality for the better, I guess!).

    Thinking good thoughts for Pounce—I hope the vet specialist figures out what’s wrong.

  • bethany v

    you are the best mom and there will be many days like that, and some you probably *will* snap. kids are great at finding your own limits and tromping on them happily, over and over. whining (a CONSTANT thing here) makes me see red, bright crazy red. don’t let @holes or any other commentors get you down! they have no right, but i do know the feeling of it making you feel crazy and try even harder, rather than just grinning and letting her go wild for a bit. glad you survived :) … i’ve been snapping lately and it’s not a pretty thing, but it does happen. life goes on :)

  • Lori/lorimo

    It sounds to me like you did a wonderful job with BB even if she was whiny. If that guy knew anything he would have been amazed at all of the imaginative things you thought of trying to bide the long wait with a toddler.

    I hope Pounce will be okay and that you will have some answers soon.

  • Busymomma66

    I hope it’s nothing serious with Pounce.

    As for mean crotchedy man. You shoulda just handed her over to him, since obviously he had excellent parenting skills (not!!) He obviously was never a parent, or had a wife who did it all (and he consoles himself with memories of his perfect parenting–since he wasn’t there to have the bad days.)

    Some days you will snap, you are human, it can’t be helped. While I am a sane mom 90% of the time, there are days I have ordered the kids to their rooms so they may live to see another day. Good luck with the whining–I still haven’t figured out how to tame that (and Dear-daughter is 8). If you do–please let me know.

  • Beachmom

    You Survived!!! I remember so many days when I felt like the only positive part of the day was that the kids and I survived the day – truthfully, more so when the oldest was an only child. I think you feel more pressure to be the “perfect mom, perfect friend and perfect playmate” for your kids when you only have one. Some days the best part is waking up the next morning knowing you can try again!! I hope you get some vet answers soon.

  • ninabi

    Anybody who’s had children has had awful days like this and I’m sure those hours in the vet office felt like a month.

    A wise, sweet neighbor gave me a bit of encouragement years ago. “You know what the most important words in the Bible are? ‘And it came to pass….’. Even the most unpleasant event will eventually be over.” Sheree said that before I went into labor, something to think on during that time.

    I’m sorry about Pounce. He’s such a good kitty from your descriptions of him. Poor cat. Did the vet give a guess as to what it might be? Obstruction? Illness? Did the labs give any clue?

    I sure hope he’s well soon.

  • Jen

    Oh, SAJ!!!! I’m so sorry you had such a bad day. I hope that today is much better. Poor Pounce. You did an amazing job under circumstances that would have tested anyone’s limits. It makes me so mad to hear about that horrid old man being so needlessly mean to you. Although I know you know his opinion doesn’t amount to anything it still must have been upsetting to have him passing judgment on you and your mothering skills. You are such a great mom to BB. I hope that Pounce feels better soon.

  • Amanda

    So sorry to hear you had a bad day. As a mommy of a 2 and 5 year old I can relate to just holding your own hands down so you don’t snap. It can be an extreme challenge sometimes.

    As for the rude old man, I have found as a progress down this parenting road that those who comment on others “lack” or “poor” parenting skills either have no children themselves or did not raise their children.

    You made it through the day, take a deep breath, another sip of tea and enjoy the beauty of your sleeping baby. You did it mommy way to go!!

  • DeeJay

    Such good friends, such good advice and lots of good wishes. You are blessed, as Pounce is. I’ll remember all of you in my prayers.

    BB is being normal…as irritating as it may be…she is. Be proud of yourself and have a starbucks…you deserve it.

  • trish

    why do I always read your site and never comment? I have no idea!

    children fundamentally need to push their parents buttons – it’s their way of growing up and while it’s so so so horrible when it happens, we will get through it. My son’s 20 months old and only says five words, one of which is no. Exhausting is too mild a term – so I’m right there with you in the trenches!

  • nikkapotamus

    As the mommy of a 2 year old myself, I only have one bit of advice. It usually doesn’t make it better at the time, but I always try to remind myself this, “one day, when she’s 16 (21, 40), I will be able to tell her all about this day, and it will be so painfully funny.”

    Like the first time we took my little one to see the doctor (she was 4 days old) and she proceeded to wait until her diaper was off before she let loose with the most explosive substance known to man. Being the first time mom, exhausted and what have you, I was mortified.

    But today, that’s the best story ever and gets me laughing every time.

  • KarinNH

    Oh, dear! I am sorry you had such a lousy day. But as the mom of a 17 year old and a 23 year old, I have to say you you do not have to enjoy every moment. Some of them you can hate with the fury of a thousand suns.

    I will also confess that usually you can’t do anything about those moments, because you’re the grownup, but that is a different story altogether! But those moments often make the best stories later…much, much later!

  • Chris

    Hey SAJ, you don’t know me, but I have to say it sounds like you did great. When people who’ve raised little kids say it’s hard, I think they mean it’s unavoidably hard — knowing ahead of time doesn’t arm you with a magic weapon to make it not hard. It may be that you made the best it’s humanly possible to make out of that particular day.

    What made me comment is what you said about these being the precious years. It made me sad to think that you might really feel you’re losing out if you don’t find a way to enjoy the awful moments, as if the moments are going to get less precious as BB gets older. I know you didn’t literally mean that.

    Maybe it works like this…If the baby and toddler days are intrinsically, without exception, precious, then surely suffering through a stressful, unhappy terrible twos day must constitute maximum participation in the preciousness. You presumably accrue precious points from this kind of day, from which you later benefit, when the overall toddler experience is packaged and converted to a precious memory. What do you think?

    Seriously, I just wanted to say I think you’re doing a great job of appreciating your daughter and I’m glad you’ve already recovered enough to feel some satisfaction in how you handled that extremely challenging day.

  • Tressa

    Hi Brenda– I’ve been reading your blog for a few months now and after reading this post I’m officially delurking to tell you that you are a marvelous mom. You do such creative things with Baby Bug which means that you must have an infinite amount of patience. Most moms would cringe at the thought of letting their toddler play with rubber stamps or watercolors but you let BB get messy and explore which is something I wish I had done more of when my older two were toddlers.

    As the mom of a 7 year old and a 5 year old I can tell you that there will always be something about the age BB is that will drive you nutso. But the good news is that at the end of the day, when you are barely holding your s**t together, you should know that you are the best mom that BB could hope for. It’s ok to be frustrated and take your moment. I wish that someone had told me that!

  • Lisa V

    It gets better. Really.

    My kids are now 16, almost 14, 10 and 6. Once in awhile the 6 year old is still a little ass, but mostly I like being with them. They are interesting and entertaining and kind. It’s a good pay-off for all the years I spent wondering if I was either a bad mother or was raising Satan’s spawn. You will someday be telling someone else that BB was little whiny jerk sometimes when she was two, and no one will believe it.

  • Danielle


    We’ve all been there. It happens. Don’t worry about the nasty man. Any other mother in the room would have looked at you knowingly, and then offered you a drink…

    I’ve found that Benedryl and a long nap (for them) works wonders (for me). (kidding) (sort of)

  • Rae

    Yeah. I’ve been there. But you handled it so well! I think it’s hardest right at first, when you’re still used to your kid being more angelic, and suddenly this terror emerges, and you’re thinking, Oh NO! Can I handle this new person? But then the new person disappears and another one replaces them.

    Those kind of days come and go. Waiting rooms are possibly the worst. I always feel like the epitome of a frazzled mom, trying to do waiting rooms or even grocery stores with my kids. It will get better. You are an amazing mom.

  • Sam

    You did great, I have to say. I understand waiting room terror – I had to go and sit in one yesterday, a dirty, grimy health department waiting room, and those are the worst. Everything feels germy, and I am in NO WAY a germophobe. Thankfully T. was happy and grinning at all the other kids, happy to be there.

    I agree with everyone – everyday will NOT be enjoyable. And that’s okay. You handled everything very well, but yes, being a grownup sucks, and being a mama sometimes sucks too.

    As for the old guy – what was he thinking? How was that behavior helpful? I hope to God that before I criticize another person’s parenting, I would try to help, rather than be a butthole. That said, he comes from a different generation, children were seen not heard, etc. etc. Good for you, for rising above him.

  • kiki

    For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
    IICorinthians 4:17 & 18

    Chew on that a minute! or more. I think the older people get, the more opinionated they become. Sometimes to keep our sanity we have to overlook the “rolling on the dirty floor with snot and tears. ” As hard as I try I am guilty of worrying about what other people think. Sorry your day was so hard! My Dad always says ” You can start your day over at anytime.” Easier said then done when whiny toddlers are involved, but even in those moments they are a blessing.

  • Amanda

    The last time I was at the vet my kids were acting crazy and driving me nuts and being obnoxious and then this woman walked in to have her sickly old 20-year-old cat put to sleep. It was a NIGHTMARE. Here I bet she wanted to have this peaceful last memory of her pet and instead she had my kids screaming in the background.

    Two kids and one dog is more limbs than I can control at once. I vowed never to do that again. Waiting with toddlers is ALWAYS difficult, even when you plan ahead and think of stuff to do. It doesn’t make you a bad mom!

  • chris

    We all have days like that. Waiting rooms are the worst. Thankfully these are the days you forget.

    I hope you get good Pounce news soon.

  • Jamie W.

    Bless your heart…I’ve been there a LOT myself lately.

    When my middle child (the 2.5 year old) started singing her “I don’t love MOM-MY” song the other day after a particularly trying week when DH was out of town, I even wondered if the other moms would have me committed if I sat down and cried on the sidewalk leading into Preschool…but it was raining cats and dogs and I didn’t want to ruin my new pants.

    Deep breaths and the saying “What doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger” gets me through the worst days.

  • Laura

    For us age 3 was the worst, and I didn’t think it could be worse than age 2… you are warned!!!!

    BTW You are a better person than me. I would have lost my mind and perhaps told her if she didn’t cut it out we’d have to let the cat DIE and go home. Yeah.. I’m mean when I’m at the very end of my rope!

    Here’s an example.. he’s 4 and a half now and easier to reason with, unless he’s in a whine mood. We live on the 3rd floor so it’s 4 flights of stairs to our apartment after parking the bike in our storage room after picking him up at school (yeah I don’t drive here in Holland, I have a seat for him on my bike). He pulled his ‘MY LEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEGS hurt can you CAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRY me?’


    The day of this I had been worrying about a possible leak of amniotic fluid. I’m 22 weeks pregnant and hadn’t been feeling well on top of things. I told him that no, I couldn’t carry him because it could hurt the baby. He says he’ll ride on my back instead. I said no, mommy is sick today and it would really not be good.

    We are seconds away from a full blown tantrum. If I wasn’t pregnant I’d prob give in (I’m weak like that) but now I have 2 kids to think about and no.. I can’t carry him.

    So I pulled out the big guns. I told him that if I carry him it could hurt the baby.. if the baby is hurt she would have to come out early and she would probably DIE.

    He stormed through the door and went upstairs grumbling.. but hey.. I won! He loves this baby since the day he knew I was pregnant and heck YEAH I took advantage! I don’t think I was lying either. I was truly worried about the baby that day. If she wasn’t moving right now I’d still be worried.

    Does baby bug have something you could pull out in times like this if you aren’t ready to play the death card? Maybe the promise of something GREEN?

    OOOOH I thought of something that works with kids her age! Go to the dollar store or some other cheap place and pick up some small ‘treasures’ to keep in your purse for times like these! Go all out.. put em in wrapping paper with ribbon and bow and it could possibly captivate her for at least… 10 minutes?

    And ignore the @hole… perhaps his kids/grandkids are out of his life and he’s just bitter. Tell him if he doesn’t quit it he’ll have to sit on the naughty spot :P

  • Ellen

    Who said these were the precious years?! Those people obviously do not currently have a toddler. They should go watch an hour of “Jon and Kate Plus Eight.”

    Love Anna. Love being at home. Loved the baby year. But the toddler-preschool age is hard. Anyone who tries to tell you something different is just trying to sell you something.

  • margalit

    I’m sorry today was so hard. But you’re fundamentally doing everything right, even if the grumpy old men disagreed. If I were you, I probably would have walked up to him, shoved her into his arms, and told him I was going for a cuppa coffee, and since he was such an expert on child raising, you’re sure you wouldn’t mind him watching her for a half hour or so. And then watch the horrified look on his face! But then, I’m a big bitch! :-)

  • Laura

    We have all had those days with our children and they are so hard. Those are the days when I cry in the bathroom after the kids are asleep and really wonder if I am cut out to be a Mom. Once I cry and get a good night sleep I always find that the next day is better. Please don’t doubt your abilities- you do amazing things with Baby Bug. Sometimes I read your blog and wonder how you do it all- the cute art projects, the play, the trips to the beach. If some old grouchy man decides to make assumptions about your parenting, well then maybe he should come over and help you instead of complaining! You are doing a good job! Don’t let some grouchy old poop make you feel bad.

  • sizzle

    Mothering is the hardest work there is in my opinion. Not that it isn’t rewarding because I hear that it is. ;) I really hope Pounce is ok.

  • lucy

    I just clicked over from 30 moments ( I had to know more about the picture) and felt like I was reading a story from my life. And what amazes me more are those moments when I think that I should have totally lost my mind… and I didn’t. Moral of the story… we have no idea when it will happen… it will… and we just pray that we don’t snap. :) ((hugs to you))

  • justJENN

    God. It’s not the terrible twos it’s the terrible toddler years. It just SEEMS like it starts at two the cuteness ends. I let stress get the best of me too. No help and unreasonable children always make me end up crying on the floor wondering why I ever had children. Then they go to bed and they look like little angels, and I feel guilty. Then they wake up and the guilt definitely goes away. HA.

  • familymclean

    I didn’t read any of the other comments so I might just be repeating stuff they said but I am right there with you. Those days suck!!! Especially when no naps happen. I am glad we are close to family now that can help any time of the day, they have been my saving grace when Dave is not around and I am running on 2 hours of sleep.
    You are amazing and I am praying for you…and me.
    I have tried the WWJD thing too, helps keep me seeing the broad picture and not get lost in the moments, helps me to just let go, I will clean their disaster wake in a few years, bawh, who am I to talk.
    I barely held it together this week myself.
    Love you.

  • Lisa {milkshake}

    Ugh. It’s hard enough trying to deal with a whining kid without having to worry about grumpy old men. Karma will get him. Probably already has.

    Hope you have a better day and Pounce is okay.

  • BeachMama

    Oh my heart goes out to you. I think that every single Mom (who doesn’t have a Nanny) goes through a day like that one.

    When it does happen around here I try very hard not to lose it and I have yet to do it in public but I can say that I have used my not so quiet voice at home. And that is usually when I cry all by myself in another room while giving J a time out. He didn’t really try my patience at two but at three and a half until now, it has been a true challenge. I have been working on my patience with myself, trying to remind myself that having patience means being presented with the opportunity to use it properly. I remember when people used to say what great patience I had….. The best I can say is that not every day will be like yesterday. And every day starts off fresh and new. I hope that yesterday was the only day you ever have to experience like that.

    oh yes, and the @hole! Well, I have a few expletives for him. Hubby lets that stuff bug him, but I don’t. Kids are hardly allowed to be kids as it is, he should just be thankful that BB wasn’t pulling his hair or throwing things directly at him. I am sure he made the experience seem so much worse than it was.

  • Susan

    Ugh! Sorry you had to deal first with a sick cat that you love dearly and then a whiny 2 year old. It will get better! Your a great mommy so don’t give up and realize you have all of us out here that totally empathize with you!

  • Kaili

    Oh man I SO hear ya on this one! I have SO been there, more lately. It’s ROUGH!
    Thanks for sharing and being so honest.
    Hope BB wakes cheery and lovely tomorrow morn!

  • chris

    I once took a friend’s dog to the vet. She wasn’t sick, just needed to get a form signed to go on a plane. Despite that she had just seen the vet and had a file three inches thick, he really needed that extra $50.

    My friend didn’t tell me how much her dog hates the vet. She didn’t tell me that I should expect that she would poop on the floor.

    Needless to say I was quite mortified. And to add insult to injury offered to clean it up, only to have a guy sitting in the waiting room come up to me and tell me ‘i missed a spot.’ I was just trying to be a nice friend. My friend tells me of course that she never offered to clean it up.

    Honestly though I think something happens to people while they sit in a vet’s waiting room. I actually worked for a vet one summer so I have more than average experience. My favorite was a woman who lost it when she realized we had cut her cat open to ‘fix’ it. I guess she thought we should her a ‘just say no video’ and give her some pills. It was quite bizarre but I managed to stay empathetic.

  • Jessica

    It doesn’t matter how much you love them, sometimes they just stress you the heck out. It doesn’t help when you have something to worry about on top of cranky whiney baby either. It sounds like you did a great job.