octopus arms

Yesterday was “one of those days.”

Reagan is whining endlessly. Is bored by everything. Won’t drink a drop of her milk. Makes an obnoxious spitting sound with her mouth and vigorously shakes her head no every time I try to offer any. Diapers are dryer than normal, which of course makes me worry about malnutrition and picture my child shrinking up into nothingness and having to force-feed her with a syringe. That kind of day. 

I think I’ve been a little bit in denial about going back to work. IN A WEEK. I’m actually looking forward to it quite a bit. It just hasn’t seemed real yet. Being a stay-at-home mom is peppered with “those days,” but at least if I really need to and no one’s dying I can just roll up into a little ball on the floor and cover my face to collect myself while Reagan slaps the back of my head (okay, I haven’t actually done that, but it’s nice to know I can). It’s been a while, but I don’t remember it being the same way with my students. 

I take a look at our classroom for the first time yesterday afternoon…at least for the first time as our classroom. Seems pretty real all of a sudden. And the anxiety starts rushing in.

Can I handle the commute? 

Will we get the classroom set up in time?

Will I remember all the little classroom management tricks I used to use? 

Will the parents throw tomatoes at me on Back to School Night? 

Will they need to call Child Protective Services because I can’t get childcare for Reagan during the first week of school and accidentally forget and leave her at home???

And of course, since I bring Reagan along on this excursion, she poops all over her pants in my classroom. There must be some sort of sensor on this kid. Beep beep beep! Inconvenient Pooping Location.  Go for it! 

By the time I get home, which takes about a million years after I push my way through the bridge traffic, I’m feeling like the frazzled thing in Happy Hippo Angry Duck. 


She whines through bath time. Won’t eat her dinner. More spitting noises and head shaking. Pat is at a work thing so it’s just me, wishing I had about eight more octopus arms and wondering how those single moms do it.

I pour myself a glass of wine and drink it during her bedtime routine.

Then…she smiles at me. That big, scrunchy grin where you can’t even see her eyes and the raw joy lights up every space on her beautiful face. She gives me a sloppy open-mouthed kiss for no reason at all. I tickle her and lift her above my head and she giggles. Like that unreserved belly laugh only a baby can achieve. 

And everything else fades away. It’s just her and me. Just a couple of goofy girls blocking out the rest of the world. 

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