The wan morning light starts filtering through my eyelids. I realize it must be around 5 o'clock in the morning. I try to cling to the most epic dream I've had in a while: eating an overstuffed, delicious burrito from Chipotle. I flip my pillow over for the cold side and pull the covers up tighter around my neck. I rub my feet together and settle back in, trying to recreate the bite of burrito I was just about to take.
I stop breathing. Oh please, God. No. I shut my eyes tightly. I try to hang onto to the image of me holding that burrito, peeling back the aluminum foil, the soft tearing sound, and then seeing that round rump end of the tortilla trying desperately to contain the massive amount of rice, beans, onio-...
And there goes my erotic food porn dream.
I throw on some black maternity yoga pants with a questionable yellowish stain on them, a pair of purple and pink knit socks that my mother-in-law made for me, and a deliciously soft cashmere ballet wrap sweater. What? A girl's gotta do something to feel fancy at 6 am. Feeling fancy definitely makes the transition from food-porn-dreaming to real life more palatable.
I barely make it to the bathroom to pee, as is the case most every time I have to go to the bathroom because 2(vaginal childbirth) = floppy bladder. I pad my way into the kitchen and hear the movie start to play. I can hear Jack Johnson's mellow, surfer-dude voice singing. I start humming along. "Upside down...na na na na na....Mother Nature's song." I chuckle to myself because I STILL don't know the lyrics even though we've watched the movie a thousand times.
The microwave beeps me out of my reverie. I grab my coffee in my favorite coffee cup (a cream-colored one, ordinary, except for the line of golden purple painted on the rim. Again, anything to make myself feel fancier than I really am). I walk over to the dining room table and sit next to Des, whose eyes are staring fixedly at the computer screen. I look down at his dirty-blonde hair, the slope of his tiny little shoulders, his impossibly long eyelashes and my cold, not-a-morning-person heart starts to melt. I put my arm around him, grab my fancy coffee cup in my other hand and commit to watching the movie again.
"Talk about the movie. Engage him! Use this as a teaching moment! Every moment is valuable!" The perfect-mommy voice inside my head goes on and on. I shush her. And then comes the part where George spills some coffee on a projector and The Man in the Yellow Hat gets upset at George. "Really? You're really going to get upset at a monkey? A monkey that YOU brought into the museum? A monkey behaving better than my own 3-year-old does? Really? REALLY?" The judgmental-mommy voice inside my head is kicking up a storm. I sit up straighter, indignant. And then the rational-mommy voice inside my head takes over: "You're such a hypocrite."
I sit back. I put my coffee cup down. I look over at my beautiful little boy and realize that I am just like The Man in the Yellow Hat. I get angry, REALLY ANGRY, when he does "bad" things. Like the one time where he went into the bathroom, grabbed a new roll of toilet paper, put his hand through it, and ran around the house leaving a trail of toilet paper 30 feet in length behind him. I grabbed his upper arm, harder than I meant to, and shook him.
"What are you doing?!?"
"You know you're not supposed to do that!" (Did I ever explicitly tell him not to? I can't remember)
He tries to pull away. I grab on tightly.
"Stop running, roll it back up, and put the roll back where you found it." I try to keep my cool.
"NO!" he screams at me.
My blood starts boiling. I can actually hear the rush of blood in my ears and feel them start to get hot.
He manages to wrench his arm away and starts running as fast as his two little legs would take him. The sudden impact of his freedom was too much for him to handle, and he half screamed in fear and half laughed with glee as he slammed the door to his bedroom, tail of toilet paper caught between the door and the jamb. My chest was heaving. I thought about chasing him and tearing the roll from his hands, but the thought of not catching him and having him laugh at me was too much for my pride to handle. At least at 6:15 in the morning it was.
I snap back to the present moment. Des is exactly like George...maybe a bit smarter than a monkey, but still harboring that same wonderful instinct to be curious and to play. What was I doing being so mean to him and angry all the time? I had turned into Scarlett, the crusher of dreams; Mom, the annihilator of creativity. I feel horrified.
I pay attention to the movie and see The Man in the Yellow Hat understanding George just as I had understood Des. He realized that George wasn't a bad, mischievous little monkey, he was just curious. I realized that I needed to be more like The Man in the Yellow Hat. I needed to understand that Des does crazy, messed up shit because he is a 3-year-old and it's my responsibility to teach him what is right and what is wrong without making him feel belittled, scared, or hurt.
I grab my coffee cup and stand up. Well, if I am going to be more accepting of Des's crazy antics, I need something to help me. I look in my liquor cabinet. The Man in the Yellow Hat has his yellow outfit, I have my Bailey's Irish Cream. I poured a dash (or two) into my second cup of coffee at 6:35 am and cradled the mug close to my face. I would start to be more like The Man in The Yellow Hat today. I could already tell, it is going to be a good day.