The Day of Can’ts

by Lisa Douglas

Every single day I experience “can’ts” of some kind, whether I want to or not. Some days I can’t sleep, other days I can’t eat, or I can’t move an inch without the baby chasing me, shrieking “Mama!!!” Today was a day of all my can’ts put into a blender, set to high, but without the lid. My can’ts splattered everywhere, pouring all over me, because this teeny, tiny ball of blonde toddler impeded my every attempt that was made to sleep/clean/work/use the restroom/leave the room/bend over/stand up/sit quietly/feed myself/drink/answer the phone/open a door. I could go on, but I think you get the idea.

So I said @#*&$ it. With deadlines looming and the list of to-dos drowning me, without an extra body to shield me/help, nothing was getting done anyway, so why not go for a walk? Walking is enjoyable, it’s not too hot, let’s get some fresh air, shall we? She enjoys the walks we go on, right?

killer hill


She cried almost the entire time.
She cried because I gave her a water bottle that was different than my son’s, and she wanted his.
She cried because her bag of Cheetos wasn’t his bag of Cheetos.
She cried when a stray dog came by and left us (because she wanted it).
She cried until we got to the park, but cried as soon as we left the park.

toddler parkShe cried getting out of the stroller to change her diaper at the restroom when her brother had to go, and cried when we left the sink after washing our hands because she wanted to play in the water some more.
She cried when I buckled her back in, she wanted to remain out.
She cried when she took her shoe off and threw it at me, and cried when I didn’t return it to her, as I had with everything else she kept throwing out of the stroller for me to catch/return/stop and pick-up.
(It continues to amaze me that I’m not in the mental ward yet.)

pondering toddler

Looking adorable while pondering new ways to torture me.

These are what her “bad days” are like (and I experience a LOT of her bad days. Often.). When you add on teething (like her recent four-molars-at-once fiasco), or being sick, you can only imagine what it’s like, especially all by myself most of the day.

kissy-face park

One of the brighter moments at the park – her trying to kiss me through the bars. See, she doesn’t always hate me.

I feel like a like a newbie parent, like a person with a shiny new box of something beautiful and extraordinary that needs to be put together but it came without the directions. Even though this ain’t my first rodeo, I don’t exactly know what is happening, or why she seemingly has been born with PMS, but the sheer amount of gray hair I’ve amassed on top of my head from this baby is startling.

I love this baby so much, and I know that she loves me. I can’t be all that angry about it, it most certainly isn’t her fault, or anyone’s fault for that matter. She loves me so much and wants to be IN.MY.FACE.OR.ON.MY.LAP.ALL.THE.TIME. But it doesn’t make it any easier, either, even if I am understanding about the situation. Somedays there’s simply nothing that can be done about it. It’s me, just me. On those days, I am the lone solution, and I just have to accept it, however maddening and upsetting it is.

Sometimes, you might notice I am more silent than usual, especially when I am normally much more boisterous and outgoing. Sometimes you might visit here, expecting to see a post, and find there is nothing new to read. It’s not because I didn’t want to, believe me, it’s simply because I can’t. I can’t talk, not out loud, not in person, nor type online.

I simply retreat into myself and my thoughts and try to muscle my way through what I’m experiencing like Rambo. (“Rambo” is a term I use for powering through the life-muck, FYI, in case I talk more about this in the future.) I’m almost exhausted at just how much I’ve had to “Rambo” through lately. My battle scars are becoming overwhelming and leaving an indelible mark.

Today, though, I “Rambo-ed” my way through an overfilled day of can’ts, and somehow managed to come out the other end (mostly) unscathed. I’d call that a tremendous win in my book. (I just wish I didn’t have to break out “Rambo” all the time to get through it. I could really, really use a break.)

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