He cries through dinner.
No. He screams through dinner.
In fact, there really ISN’T a dinner because of his screaming.
He fights me through washing up, brushing his teeth, and putting on his pajamas.
He runs away when I ask him to get into bed, screaming “NO!” in the way only toddlers can.
Each attempt to read a book is met with a snotty, “I don’t LIKE that one!”
Each attempt to sing a song is met with a whiny, “No, the DIFFERENT song,” even though he can’t tell me which song the “DIFFERENT” song is.
Once the lights are off and the door is shut, the stalling tactics start: requests to go potty, get a drink, get a tissue.
Then more tears. More screaming.
More exasperated sighs and muttering under my breath. I just don’t want to go back in there. I’m spent. I have nothing left.
Every time I think I’m done, the dam of frustration built up in my chest cracks just enough to fill me with a little bit more of whatever it is I need to go back in there and be what he needs me to be, give him what he needs me to give.
This time it’s a cuddle in the rocking chair. Just one more song. Just to sit with him a little longer.
Does he deserve it? Probably not. But seeing his little hand in mine, his eyes fluttering as he fights off sleep — open, shut, open, shut — reminds me of the gift he is, the gift I probably don’t deserve either.