Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Coping mechanism down!

I know, it's been a while since you've heard from me, but let me share a recent train ride that made me feel the angst of being a mom...  

Since I've been pregnant, especially in the last few weeks, I admit, my coping mechanism has been less than stellar. I feel more like my mother on days like these. Being like my mom isn't a bad thing, by the way, it's just that she isn't very zen when things go awry (I think/hope she'd agree) nor am I. I long for the calm and in control look that I see in some moms that have two kids, eight bags and a coffee in their hands. They seem to cope with such steel resilience. I, apparently, do not have that. At least not at the moment.  
Evidence is in Exhibit A:

Here was the plan: Tommy would come downtown with me on the train while my husband went to an interview that would overlap an hour into my workday and then he could come pick Tommy up and all would be good.  Simple enough, right?  Easy peasy. 

Well, yes, that is until I remembered all the crap that comes along with making an almost 3 year old happy at the office.  The trick was that in order for it to be there, I had to get it on the train.  This would be easy if I was traveling with a boy who actually is as "big boy" as he claims.  What I found out was that his motivation to be a big boy hasn't grown so big that it helps him conquer his fears.  He's only a big boy until he has to do something hard.  Then he's “just little” and has no shame in being carried.  So, along with two bags, a stroller, his Thomas the train backpack, which he promised he'd carry by the way, we waited for the train to approach hand in hand.

Our first attempt at the 8:51 was an epic fail.  To really provide full disclosure, I was also attempting to carry a full coffee amongst my many bags and stroller which, in hindsight, was a bad idea. So, at 38 weeks pregnant, I got three bags, a stroller and coffee on my person like an alpaca headed out for a climb of Mount Everest when suddenly my son is "little" and needs to be carried onto the train as well.  In my best “Im in charge” mom voice, I say no and hold his hand to walk up the stairs like a big boy.  But I'd forgotten about the secret weapon that my son has at his disposal.  The death scream. 

The scream being used to get his cousin
away from his cake on his birthday.
No, I didn't teach him that maneuver...
The death scream has a radius of about 1/2 a mile and can take down your average person in seconds.  He pulled it out just as we started to get on the train causing even the person cozily wrapped in a car far up front look up and cringe. As well, this was a rush hour train and it was filled to the brim with people who were embracing the quiet of the train because they had happily left their children at home.  It was then that I, cowardly, decided to abort the mission until the next, less crowded train came 30 minutes later.  The relief on people's faces as the train eased away was audible.  I, on the other hand, in response to my son's meltdown, decided to have my own on the phone to my unsuspecting husband. 

So, I turned around,head hung, with my son crying and yelling next to me, "you hurt me mama! You hurt me!" loud enough to summon DCFS.  Yes, I had probably squeezed his hand too hard when I saw that getting on the train wasn't going to happen, and perhaps less than gently, guided him down to the bench that would harbor us for the next half hour. Judge me if you will.  Don't worry, I'll willingly pay for it in therapy appointments down the road.  In a true life ending fashion, I told my husband that we couldn't come downtown and this was a disaster of epic proportions.  There was a silence on the phone of a man trying to find the right words, who truly realized that this had been a mistake to let his swollen bellied wife attempt, but she had insisted... unfortunately, there was no going back.  He was already half way downtown for an interview for a very much needed job for our family.  Now, he had to figure out how to make it better and cheerlead me through getting on the next train.
"I'm sorry about this babe.  We really shouldn't have planned it this way.  I'm sorry.  Next train, ask the conductor for help and if he doesn't help, get his name and I'll beat him up, I'll have words with Metra.  Seriously, promise me."

I hung up vowing to to do that and sat in silence, tears flowing down my face, my kid leaning against me with tears drying on his face, and drinking a coffee in 95 degree heat, sweating like Blagojevich on sentencing day. Defeated. 

The beauty of me, if I do say so myself is that I can get really down on a situation in one moment and then really buck up in the next.  I got five minutes of quiet from my son, finished my cup of coffee, and by the time the next train was approaching, I was determined to make this happen.  I loaded my stroller and my computer case on one arm, the Thomas backpack (did I mention that he said he'd carry it) and the diaper bag on another and, this time, when my son balked at getting on the train, I heaved him up on top of my large belly and got on the train.  It was much emptier than the previous one so we found a spot and hunkered down for the half hour ahead of us.  I sent a text: "Made it on the train. Sorry for the panic. Good luck!" hoping this would make my earlier scene a little better. 

I had conquered this episode of mommy-hood and felt pretty accomplished. I was one more step towards seasoned motherhood  So, when we got to the station, I put Tommy in the stroller for our 95 degree walk to my office, and I was actually able to have a giggle about the fact that my pregnant thighs were rubbing together to a most uncomfortable beat.