Tuesday, September 16, 2014

oh what a day!

There is this book called "The Schmutzy Family". Mama Schmutzy lets her kids do all sorts of creative and messy things, until it comes to Friday, when she notices how dirty the kids are, and they cannot bring in Shabbos like that. So they clean up for Shabbos and it's all sparkling and gleaming (with only two cups of grape juice spilled on the tablecloth). Then on Sunday they discover a mud puddle and Mama Schmutzy, while counting days till next clean Shabbos, dives right in.

I can appreciate her spirit. although I am nowhere near as brave.

The waiters are ready to take an order
This morning, as I was beating myself up for not writing down kids' schedule for the day, I saw how it slowly unfolded into a breakfast restaurant. They dragged in a bedroom lamp, for ambiance. They sat down and wrote a menu. 8 yo and 4 yo were racing in and out of the kitchen, reporting breakfast options to 10 yo. Unfortunately, by the time the menu was ready, I was mostly done with my breakfast, but the kids served each other, even taking orders down on post-it notes. 10 yo was ready to make french toast and pancakes. I might take him up on that tomorrow.

As I looked over the menu, I noticed some misspellings. I told him discreetly to look at appropriate labels and boxes. He fixed those. Then I sent him to the dictionary to fix "medeum". He shortened it to "med". I showed him an e-mail from a sofer that came in that morning through the shul list. It was full of run-on sentences and misspellings (flower instead of flour, whole instead of hole). 10 yo caught a few of those, and looked up the correct spelling. Then he made copies of the menu using printer.

My husband, a pretty conservative guy when it comes to breakfast routine, went with the flow, although he quietly remarked to me how hard it is to be more flexible with the lack of light and funny order of things.

Next "exciting" thing was my daughter slipping on a book that 1 yo dragged out and dumped in the middle of the floor. She slipped, fell over backwards and hit her head and elbow on a hardwood floor. I offered ice cubes. She went to snuggle with her blankie in her bed, a fairly usual response. She even came out to complain that 8 yo is being too loud and disturbing her rest. Next thing I know while working with boys is that she is asleep, at 10:30 am. She never sleeps at this hour. And being sleepy is a sign of concussion. And she did fall pretty hard... I was texting my husband at that point. He told me to wake her up in and hour and watch for nausea and vomiting.

She woke up on her own, but she did not look so hot. Rather, not only she did not look good, she felt very hot. I took her temperature and discovered that her "cold" of the past few days produced a fever. Most likely that was the cause of her falling asleep rather than the fall.

Meanwhile, 10 yo's mishna teacher rescheduled, and taekwondo carpool asked whether I can drop off today instead of picking up. Meanwhile, I was preparing to finish everything by 3 since a friend was doing me a favor and watching the kids so I can take 8 yo to psychologist for his appointment.

I was told this week that I am not used to being flexible and going with the flow. I think if I were any more flexible, I would be tying myself in knots.

This was our fourth visit to the psychologist. He has been pushing medication, both for ADHD and anxiety from day 1. The plan that he collaboratively came up with last week did not go anywhere. Of course, this new approach required half an hour of prep on my end, and one glance and refusal from 8 yo. The psychologist called it a "success" based on the fact that 8 yo is not tantrumming over that issue now. And I kept thinking: for now.

After today's session, when 8 yo did not exactly open up or offer any concrete suggestions on how he is planning to deal with things so that he does not get so upset, and when the psychologist dangled medication yet again, I said that we are trying to get into a different group, this one with both psychiatrists and psychologists on staff. I am not cancelling next appointment, but this guy is starting to veer into behavioral approach "good boy, woof" and I know that does not work on this child.

So I come home, rushing everyone to get taekwondo uniforms on. 8 yo remembers that his belt-tying patch came off in the laundry. I tell him that I had no time to sew it on (we only discovered that it came off this morning). He screams and stomps that he is not going. I still have carpool to pick up, so I am telling him that I have to leave. He is yelling, and I am losing it, as I notice that my daughter is now wearing leggings and a sweatshirt. She is cold. The whole car ride she is telling me how the carseat feels like her bed and she is sleepy. The baby does manage to fall asleep on the way there, but gets woken up by the boys exiting. He is yelling now.

We drive home. My daughter goes straight to her bed. I put the baby down and finally make it to the restroom. When I come out, I find him sitting in the middle of an oily puddle. He got into the pantry and dumped the entire bottle of canola oil. I have friends who bring their toddlers into the bathroom with them. I value my privacy, but this incident made me rethink whether my privacy is more important than my sanity.

swimming in an oily puddle
I carefully tiptoed into the puddle, lifted the oily child and carried him into the bathub, clothes and all. I washed him, first using soap to remove the oil, then using cream to moisturize his sensitive skin, thinking how insane this all is. Then I buckled him into the highchair and surveyed the damage. After using a few paper towels, I realized that time has come to google the best way to clean up a household BP-sized oil spill.

The best way: use sand, kitty litter, oatmeal or salt. Sprinkle generously over the spill, let it soak in, and then sweep away or vacuum. I had half a tub of oatmeal, but it was in the pantry, the entrance to which was blocked by an oil spill. I used up the entire container, then used salt on the spots that still looked slick. The baby was not used to sitting still for so long, so I gave him the empty oatmeal container. He started sprinkling water from his sippy cup into it.

oatmeal soaking up the oil
I tried. I really tried. Yesterday we went to a barbecue. At the end, they were selling leftovers: grilled chicken and hot dogs at very reduced prices. I snatched some up, feeling smug that a dinner will be ready.

Now I had to wade through oil to get to the fridge where the pan with the leftovers sat. I warmed some chicken up for 1 yo, but he would not eat it. He started throwing it on the floor. 4 yo came out from her room. I never checked whether she slept or rested. She just wanted to cuddle. 1 yo wanted out. I wanted this disaster to be over.

I binge-watched Jewish music videos with the kids. While they watched the screen, I started crying.

G-d this is hard. This is so not how I had planned this day. This is so not what I expected to happen. I just wanted to have a warm ready dinner, and relaxed kids because, for once, I was home instead of running to taekwondo. Instead we were sitting around a laptop in an oily kitchen, with cold food in a foil pan, my daughter's hot forehead on my arm while I was holding a squirmy baby.

That's how my husband found us. He got to cleaning up the BP spill. I got to cuddle in bed with my daughter. The boys were dropped off. My husband warmed up dinner. I put 1 yo to sleep. By this point, that barbecue chicken did not look good any more. The boys saved a hot dog for 4 yo, even though she could not eat it.

I sent them all to bed.

Tomorrow 4 yo was supposed to go to her playgroup, and I was supposed to take boys to a Percy Jackson-inspired field trip about Greek mythology. Then they were supposed to go to taekwondo. Instead, 4 yo will be staying home (and hopefully feeling better). The boys might make it to the museum, if my husband can take them. Obama is coming to visit CDC, which is directly on the way to taekwondo, and the traffic will be shut down. So I guess the boys will have to run in the backyard.

I am flexible, I am super-flexible.

What I need to do is to pray more. This is all so much out of my hands...

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