I was grouchy and short-tempered again last night, totally fed up with the kids and their favorite new activity that consists of running around shrieking until someone sustains a head injury, and while at least I wasn’t outwardly behaving like a goddamned harpy I could actually feel my brain shearing away from the confines of my skull, apparently attempting to escape out a nostril or ear-hole before lurching, grey and gelatinous, towards the microwave in order to self-immolate.

What is my problem, I kept wondering. I mean, sure, home life is chaotic lately, and it sucks that we can’t go outside to blow off energy, but have I just up and lost every single coping skill I was once in possession of? I’ve been exercising, I’ve been eating well, so why do I all of a sudden feel like I’m clinging to the last shreds of my personal sanity? What’s with this unfamiliar black cloud hanging over my head and the pervasive feeling of doom? Why am I so convinced everything would be a thousand times better if only I mixed salt, butter, sugar, and flour in a bowl and ate it until my pants ruptured? What . . . what’s my . . . oh.


You know, I never used to have problems like this during my . . . Special Lady Time. There was the requisite puffiness, snackiness, and maybe the occasional surprise weepies attack during a sappy commercial (damn you, Gerber, and your emotionally manipulative “Anything For Baby” campaign), but I don’t remember feeling like there was a weeklong hormonal Whack-a-Mole game where my mental stability used to be.

I’m vaguely wondering if Teh Crazy might be a side effect of the Mirena, although I’ve had it for two years with no ill effects. Well, except for the first few months, and all I’ll say about that is IF you get a Mirena right after birth—or in my case, as part of the surgical hoedown that is a C-section—your uterus will shrink afterwards, which will lead you to the shocking discovery that your Mirena has STRINGS, and I’m not talking about soft strings, I’m talking about something more like fishing wire, and these strings will need to be repeatedly trimmed while they are in your personal body, unless of course you LIKE having fishing wire in your Girl Parts.

Or maybe I’m just getting older and my brain is more susceptible to fluctuating chemical imbalances. Or maybe parenthood is enough to drive anyone out of their freaking skull now and then. Or maybe this is why you can buy those tubs of pre-made cookie dough, so you can apply medicinally as needed.

So. During the course of Sunday afternoon, I:

• Screamed at the tantruming 2-year-old to SHUT UP

• Hauled thrashing toddler to his feet by the neck of his shirt and roughly shoved him towards the hallway, yelling GO TO YOUR ROOM, slammed his door shut behind him at top volume

• Stormed back to his room in order to pound on closed door as loudly as possible, still yelling

• Told the 4-year-old he was being a crybaby for howling when his brother pulled on his shirt

• Fought with husband over something stupid

• Yelled GET OVER IT at toddler for crying about his new shoes

• Yelled at 4-year-old to GROW THE HELL UP after the millionth brotherly wrestlefest ended with him crying

I was ugly, furious, out of control. I imagine my face, transformed by anger, and what it must look like to my children. The unattractive parentheses on either side of my cheeks deepened, brows creased, mouth open. A terrible witch.

At one point, Dylan acted out after being told to stop misbehaving. He threw his cup on the floor with a loud clatter, staring at me, and I started to walk towards him to—I don’t even know. Bark at him not to do that, probably. And Riley saw me coming and clapped his hands over his ears.

I had yelled so much during that day my boy was covering his ears.

At the end of the evening, I made cookies and ate a large amount of the dough. I took three beta blockers. I talked with Riley about how if he needs an adult to intervene when he and Dylan are playing, he should ask for help instead of crying. (Which he immediately put into effect during their next tussle: “Mom! Help! HELLLP!”) I sat Dylan on my lap and indulged his bottomless desire to surf Flickr for pictures of animals. I took slow, deep breaths.

Too late, though. The day had happened, every shameful, shitty, regrettable moment. The moments I hope they forget. Oh please. No need to keep those memories, babies. It’s my job to hold them and learn from them, not yours.

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