My little Buttercup has been in an awful mood that's lasted for DAYS. I have had insomnia and joint pain for DAYS. This morning she hopped in bed with me at 7:15 (after I had gotten not quite three hours of sleep) and tormented me until I finally dragged my tired and aching body out of bed and took her downstairs for breakfast. Once we got down there, she didn't want breakfast...she wanted to play Candy Land. Board games are her new obsession. Sometimes she wants to play by the rules, other times it's more like a game of make-believe using the pieces to act out stories. This morning, we moved our gingerbread men (girls, she insists) around the board by twos. Our girls were best friends and had to be shoulder to shoulder. So, we moved around the board, two by two until we were nearly at the end (with Buttercup's girls in the lead, of course). Seeing that she was about to win, thus ending the game, Buttercup switched her strategy so she could further monopolize my time. She dug through the discard pile and found "beds" for each of our girls. The beds were a double card in the color of each gingerbread man. Since we were no longer moving in an orderly fashion around the game board, our game could go on indefinitely! Yippee!
And so our day went, filled with lots of begging for snacks, multiple board game requests, movies that went unwatched, and one fit at WalMart that nearly had me sitting on the floor crying along with her. By the time I ran Bubba-Man to his guitar lessons at 3:00, I could barely keep my eyes open and neither could Buttercup, although she vehemently denied needing a nap. Even before we got to Robin's house for Bub's lesson, my stubborn little Buttercup was slumped over, fast asleep in the back seat. Since I can't lift my little lug (oh how not being able to lift my own child complicates parenting), I called J and he let me bring her to the church. He carried her into his office and laid her on his couch where she spent the next hour or so napping. I went home, crawled into bed to rest, and napped for two hours! I felt much better after my nap, but Buttercup was still just a hair on the needy side. Our day ended with her supper practically un-eaten, requests for movies we don't own, one game of Chutes and Ladders, multiple requests for snacks, and lots of tickling.
It was a rough day for me. I was tired, hurting, and at least as cranky as Buttercup. On days like this it's sometimes hard to remember what a blessing it is to have this little person who interrupts me and demands my time and attention. On days when there is so much whining, it's sometimes hard to let my heart leap with joy at the sound of her giggle. On days when she is never satisfied, it's hard to stand back and marvel at how smart she is as she tries to talk me in to getting her own way. On days like these, I'm tempted to look at the pizza around her mouth, the marker on her hands, and the dirt on the bottoms of her little feet instead of the beauty of her sky blue eyes, her wild mass of blond hair that looks more like a mane, or her soft and luminous skin. On these rough days, I often forget to soak up this time and lock it away in my memory. But even on days like these, once my little Buttercup is tucked in her bed and I'm tucked in mine, I am so very aware that there are tougher things than these rough days. Before I know it, my Buttercup will be someone else's Buttercup, grown and gone. This house will be still and quiet and empty. There won't be board games and make believe and fit throwing in WalMart. And when those days are here, I want to be able to open up my memory and pull out days like today and see and smell and hear and feel every detail of them. I want to savor all of my days with these precious children of mine. Yes, even the rough days.