Isn’t there an award category for this?

Will did not want to go to school today.

First, he tried the Peggy Ann McKay approach. He dramatically explained his sudden illnesses and selflessly proclaimed that he “would feel REALLY BAD if he got anyone else sick. REALLY FOR REAL.” When I felt his head and tested his smile button (belly tickle spot), he was unable to maintain the facade. But I wanted to validate his complaint, “let’s get you a good breakfast,” I offered, “and maybe that will help you feel better.”

Because Paul gets up at 5:30 and walks to the corner coffee shop to start work at 6 each morning, I handle the kids by myself. Some mornings are fine. Other mornings… not so much.

Somewhere between changing Kate’s huge leaking poop and dealing with her current obsession of testing just how committed I am to ignore her when she screams, I forced Will to get dressed.

As in, I carried him to where his clothes were laid out. I pulled off his pajamas. I grabbed him by the ankle and dragged him back when he tried to slide away. I forced underwear and pants on his kicking legs. By the time I had his vest on, he was calmer and stood while I tucked in his shirt and helped get on his socks. He fussed and then pouted. Somewhere in the process, he declared me THE WORST MOMMY EVER.

I’m pretty sure that I’ve been called this before, but today I felt like I really earned it. Isn’t forced-dressing right up there with forcing cod liver oil down a child’s throat?

“At least I’m not dressing you in plaid bell-bottoms and taking pictures,” I joked to myself as he continued to be angry.

Finally, I explained the deal. “I love you no matter what names you call me. You can hurt me with your words, Will, but it will never change how much I love you. And I love you so much that I will risk you being angry with me to keep you safe and to do things that are good for you — like go to school.”

He paused and was still.

Then, under his breath, “but you are still not my friend.”


Under the circumstances, I feel it’s okay to post this then.

When I have my nervous breakdown and move to the beach to make jewelry on the days when they untie my jacket, THESE are the kinds of things I want to make. Happy place. Happy place. Happy place…