I do not know what I’m doing.

I had a 20-minute conversation with A and A the other day about the fact that poo coats every surface in the house. It is not the first time I’ve discussed this with them. This particular episode was prompted by my discovery of poo on the shower curtain. I wonder if the children understand my use of hyperbole.

Do they reach an age where you can trust them to brush their teeth without pushing each other into the wall, or squeezing toothpaste behind the toilet where it mixes with the grime that collects when I don’t have the energy to get back there and clean? When will I sleep soundly again, uninterrupted by the squawk of the bedwetting alarm that wakes only me?

We’ve had 5 dry nights in a row. 6 nights ago, I brought A into the bathroom, put him in front of the toilet and told him to go potty. He smiled broadly at me, slumbering still, and promptly peed in his pants. Silver lining: since he doesn’t actually wake up in these moments, he can’t remember the flood of frustration that spills from my mouth. I am Sisyphus constantly pushing a ball up a mountain of bodily fluid only to have it roll down again and land with a splash at the bottom.

I wiped syrup off A’s face with my spit the other day.

Questions we ask each other in a bewildered voice:

  1. How many times can we possibly ask them not to do the same thing before they stop doing it?
  2. Why do they keep doing the things we ask them not to do?
  3. What are we doing wrong?
  4. What is wrong with them?
  5. Does any parent know what they’re doing?

Then A looks at me and says ‘I want to listen to the music of the rain’, and it is so beautiful that I almost cry. He is 4 years old. At that moment, I am too.