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April 21, 2011

Losing My Temper and Why Santa is the New Easter Bunny

I yelled at my kids yesterday. There. I said it. Well, that feels better. To put a finer point on it, I yelled at Drew and my yelling was so sudden and loud that it scared Madeline and she started crying. There. That’s all.


You know, it really feels good to have you, reader, to confess things to since I’m not Catholic and my journal only has space for pencil sketches of hearts and unicorns.

I was home all day alone with the kids, and had single-mom duty in the late afternoon and evening and into bedtime. Gordon was out doing very legitimate and important activities. If you consider golf tournaments and Rangers’ games legitimate and important. By the way, if you’re a single mom right now, I want to buy you something big and ridiculous like a Mercedes because I don’t know how you do it. Come to think of it, I promised a Mercedes to Drew’s preschool teacher yesterday if she could get him to go pee pee in the potty. I’ve got to stop doing that. I’m not sponsored by them or anything. I just think those cars are “the dope” as my brother says.


 We were painting Easter eggs at the kitchen table, the kind where you dip them in bowls of different colored vinegar and maybe write your name on one with a clear wax crayon beforehand so everyone knows whose egg belongs to whom. (Is there really any other kind of egg painting out there?) Drew thought it might be interesting to pour a very small amount of orange vinegar onto the table to see what might happen. I saw this about to play out using that X Men special power mothers have to see impending disaster. I yelled, “Hey!” which stopped Drew and sent Thing Two into hysterics.

(I have to say how adorable Maddie is when she cries. She has these PIPES, man, these PIPES that just put Jennifer Hudson to shame. She’s also getting her two bottom teeth — just barely — and you can only detect their little ridges when her mouth is stretched in anguish. Sometimes Gordon even laughs when M cries, and I pretend to be angry with him.)

The truth is, I’ve been short-tempered all day. Which sends me into self-loathing. Then I start thinking, what if this isn’t really my FAULT at all, like, maybe, I don’t know, what if a short temper is an early onset symptom of Leukemia? Then I start WebMDing “early symptoms of Leukemia” and find, “Anemia and related symptoms, such as fatigue, pallor, and a general feeling of illness.”

I don’t think my situation could be any clearer.

When you combine my general “pallor” with how lately my right knee just likes to give out on the stairs or when I’m leaning over the bathtub pulling up the drain, or getting out of the car, combined with how my left elbow feels like the funny bone has been beat on a few times with one of those little pickaxes and prevents me from safely picking up my children, I think what you have before you is a girl with a big fat excuse, nay, a MANDATE for letting off a little steam. (And hey, at least I’m not on my period this week.)

But no matter how legitimate, I do know my temper probably isn’t creating fond first Easter memories for my babies. And that’s sad.

I mean, it’s hard enough to explain Easter to a three year old, let alone embody its spirit. In fact, for some reason this week, Drew has totally become enamored again with CHRISMAS, asking where all the candy canes were in our neighbor’s yard who had them out in December, and asking to read the story “What is Christmas Anyway?” before bedtime. He’s also been asking me to buy candy canes at the grocery store.

Instead I bought him a book about Easter that has cartoon drawings of the Last Supper, Garden of Gethsemane, the Crucifixion and the Tomb. All very dramatic images, even if the characters have little brown dots for eyes. And he REALLY isn’t interested. He seems to be saying, “I’ll just stick with that baby in the hay bed. And the candy canes. Yea, let’s stick with those too.”

I think he resonates with the idea of a new baby because he has recently experienced a new baby in his own life. But he has no frame of reference for death, and therefore no point of reference for resurrection. As a kid myself, those many moons ago, I remember sort of imagining Jesus sleeping in his rock with some stuffed animals until the angel let him out again, like an extended naptime.

I’d be interested to hear of ways you’ve tried to communicate the meaning of Easter to your preschooler. I imagine it doesn’t involve much shouting and yelling, though, unless you are reenacting the scene where the apostle Peter opens up a can and cuts off that guy’s ear. Or of the crowds yelling, “Crucify!” which is probably the more obvious example I should have thought of in the first place.

At any rate, our eggs are perfectly painted, just so you know, and ready for Santa Claus to come distribute in a few days.

Because I don’t think there’s any room left in the inn for the Easter Bunny. Just yet.









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