Some time in the middle of the night (I think around 2am), Casey wandered into our bedroom whining, and asked to get into bed with us. I don't particularly like sleeping with Casey. He is a wiggler and a kicker and a bed hog (at least Marcie, when asleep, is relatively still). And not only did he squirm his way between us, even though I'd offered to take him back to bed and lay down with him, but he complained that he wanted Lightning McQueen. His giant one. The one that talks. So I crawled out of bed and returned to his room with him, where we located the giant Lightning McQueen toy (which I turned off so it didn't go zooming of his bed if he accidentally knocked into it during the night). Back in our room, in our bed, Casey curled up with his Lightning McQueen and fell fast asleep. Right in the middle of my side of the bed. I, on the other hand, went back to Casey's room, curled up on his bed, and fell asleep myself. I awoke around 5am, returned to my room, retrieved Casey (and Lightning), and put him back in his bed. Then I climbed back into my own bed to sleep until my alarm went off a bit before 6am. I'd venture to bet Jason doesn't even know Casey and I traded places for several hours in the middle of the night. The man can sleep. And I am jealous.
Anyway, when my alarm clock went off, I checked to make sure both kids were asleep, and darted into the shower. I had finished getting dressed and was completing my make-up when Casey wandered into our room around 6:15am (yes, I'm speedy). He wanted help making Lightning talk. We took the toy into the family room, where I made Casey breakfast and we watched an episode of Dragon Tales (well, he watched. I made his lunch. And mine. And prepped Marcie's bottle). Around 6:45am, Casey went with me to wake up Marcie. And we did. And she drank her bottle. At this point it was 7:00am. I was aiming to leave the house at 7:15am so that I could have them at their grandmother's by 7:30am this morning. Casey still wasn't dressed (because it's really better if he eats breakfast in his pajamas in case he spills). He had curled up on my lap, alongside Marcie, during her feeding. And when she was finished, I announced that he could either brush his teeth or get dressed first.
Then the shouting began. Him, not me. NO! I left the room and got Marcie half changed. I heard Casey yelling for me. When I came back to the family room, though, he was still in the chair, with a blanket. "Are you ready to brush your teeth?" "NO!" he screamed, as he followed me into his bathroom. I turned on the water to wet his toothbrush. He screamed, "NO!" I asked him to open his mouth so I could help him brush, and he screamed, "NO!" (Though I snuck the toothbrush in while he was opening his mouth to shout, so I managed to get his teeth brushed.) By this point, all the yelling had woken up Jason, who shouted from the bedroom, "Do I need to come out there?" I called out back, "No thanks. I actually have it under control."
Once his teeth were brushed and his hair was combed, Casey led me (and Marcie) to his bedroom, where he got dressed. In the end, I tossed him his socks, and I asked him to put them on. Instead, he walked over to Marcie and (admittedly, lightly) stomped on her back. She didn't even cry. But I lost it. I scooped her up and shouted (which is actually kind of rare for me): "YOU STAY IN YOUR ROOM! THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOR! WE DO NOT KICK MARCIE! WE DO NOT HIT MARCIE! YOU JUST STAY IN HERE TILL I COME BACK!" And I slammed the door shut. I then very calmly carried Marcie into our bedroom, and set her on the bed with Jason to play before returning to Casey.
Now, at this point, you are probably wondering what the heck I am so proud of. So far not so good. What's with all the yelling? How can anyone feel calm and safe with all that racket? You're right. The yelling was not-so-good. But Casey has such a hard time focusing, and my raised voice definitely got his attention. . . If I hadn't yelled and I had just closed the door instead (which I have tried in the past), he would have opened it right back up. . . Anyway, when I returned to Casey's room, I sat down on the floor and asked him to come sit on my lap. I held his face in my hands gently and asked him to look me in the eyes. And he did. And then I told him:
Casey, I love you very much. When I am not with you all day, I miss you so much. And even when I'm helping Marcie, I still love you. Did you know that? But hands are not for hitting. We do not hit Marcie, do we? We do not kick Marcie, do we? Are we supposed to poke Marcie? (No.) Are we supposed to pinch Marcie? (No.) Are we supposed to stomp on Marcie? (No.) Mommy knows that Casey just wants extra attention from Mommy and that sometimes it's hard to share. But I love you Casey, and if I could be anywhere in the world, I'd want to be with you. Even when I'm at work, I think about Casey and Marcie all day. I miss you, and I can't wait to see you at the end of the day. Did you know that? (Yes.)
And then I hugged him, and we snuggled up for a few minutes. And he was an ANGEL for the rest of the morning.
I feel like I finally did something right.