Postcard from Vermont: Inside my head

It's been a day of wrestling over Zoe's persistent need to possess and dismantle all precious items belonging to other people. She's constantly finding that line and then crossing it to see what happens.

She now wants to see Daddy on the sailboat but can't and Gramma offers to spot her as she stands on a dining chair, a Forbidden Activity.

Zoe glances at me, puffs out her chest and says with emphasis, "Gramma lets me stand on chairs."

I am stone faced, serious, NO KIDDING AROUND.

Inside my head, I am laughing.


It is 10 minutes past bedtime.

Zoe flops off of the potty like her legs are gelatinous and starts futzing with the bathmat, ignoring my calm, clear instructions to wipe and flush. I bite my lip and tell her she can do it herself or I'll help her and when she ignores me again I wipe her and flush the potty as she struggles with me and bays I CAN DO IT MYSELF!

SO DO IT WHEN I ASK, I say, struggling to keep my voice even and my hands gentle.

(Slow down. She's only three. Be patient. Deep breaths. More bees with honey.)

We haggle our way through tooth-brushing and flossing. I apply the bug bite cream to her welts, trying hard to find every. single. one., knowing full well that when she is in her bed and I'm turning out the lights and walking away, she will inevitably find another one that needs tending to.

I chose a book when she refuses to settle on one and ask her to PLEASE SIT STILL because I can't read to her if I've got a foot in my face.

She starts to whine that she's not tiRED and she needs her BAby, where's her BAby and she forgot to say goodnight to EVERYone and -

Inside my head, I am screaming.


I pop my iPod headphones into my ears and start walking out of the driveway, feeling the house with my children in it fall away behind me.

I scroll down through my fastest, kick-butt-est music and settle on "Disturbia" by Rhianna. Nothing like a little of last year's Top 40 to get me moving.

My legs start pumping like they actually remember how, like it hasn't been weeks since they had the chance to do anything other than prop Zoe up to wash her hands at a too tall sink, and I match my stride to the throbbing "dum dum DE DUM dum dum dadumdum" of the music.

As I gaze at the road and the trees and the lake at the left, I imagine dancers dressed as zombies, advancing Thriller-style with jerky limbs. I mentally choreograph their movements and when I can start to see it all clearly, I hit a button and start the song over again to refine it.

The music pulses in my ears and I strut for just a moment.

Then I am simply walking: advancing, arms pumping, with one foot in front of the other.

Inside my head, I am dancing.


artemisia said...

The inside of your head is pretty fantastic.

Grateful Twin Mom said...

I love the "inside my head, I'm laughing." I do that ALL THE TIME. I think they know it now.

desperate housewife said...

Wowsa, did that bedtime routine sound familiar. That last half hour of the day sometimes feels longer than the other sixteen hours put together.

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