I am tired. Oh so deeply, essentially tired.
I don't want to whine about how tired I am.
I had a bad night of sleep. 11 yo got braces on his upper teeth and an expander and the pain kicked in in the middle of the night. He marched over at 3 am for a dose of Tylenol.
Not everyone had lunch packed this morning. 13 yo was having a picture day at school, but it was on me to remind him the morning of that he needs to bring a suit on a hanger. 11 yo refused to eat breakfast due to braces and inability to chew his usual morning fare: a bagel. No alternatives would do. He would not think about what to pack for lunch for the homeschool coop classes coming up later in the day. He refused to daven. He refused to go. He refused to do any schoolwork, to listen to any suggestions on how to deal with his teeth, or to offer any of his own. And the whole time I kept coaching myself internally: do not yell, it's his anxiety talking, do not yell, it will make it worse, do not yell...
I packed my lunch. I wiped the kitchen windows. I washed out the recycling bin.
He did get in the car when it was time to leave. He acquiesced to a water bottle, but no food. We listened to iPod in silence during the drive. I felt drained already.
I taught my class. 11 yo is in my class, and he was super jittery the entire time: pacing, touching, blurting things out. I find teaching exciting and draining, even if it's just middle school chemistry to five homeschool kids. My mom called in the middle. We have been taking coop classes on Wednesdays for six years, but she still called when I was teaching.
Then I assisted in another class. 11 yo freaked out about a forgotten password, then he recalled it. I helped paint some rocks. I had lunch. I chatted with other moms, all the while keeping an eye on the clock for the afternoon carpool. 11 yo came over to graze. He had a few crackers. I tried to pretend that it is normal to skip breakfast and lunch, nothing to worry about.
I left at 2 pm. 11 yo seemed agreeable to finding something to eat at home while I would drive carpool. I meekly suggested that he look over his schoolwork and see if he can do anything on his own. I dropped him off and zoomed to preschool to get 2 yo. She was sleeping, and sleepily transferred to her car seat. Then we zoomed onto the highway to get the rest of the kids from their school.
By some sheer miracle (and the existence of people more organized than I) I am part of a carpool where I have to drive only 2-3 times a week instead of 10 times. However, since there are six kids loading into my car, it is never smooth. These ones do not want to sit with those. That one is touching this one. This one is eating. That one is sort of trying to say a bad word while talking about it. These ones are just annoying. That one is loud. And they all have been cooped up in the school building since 8 am and now they are set loose in my car. I used to talk to my kids when we drive places. I used to think they were loud. But this is a whole new level.
But today was not bad. Today they even loaded quickly enough for the carpool lady not to hustle anyone. I had same iPod going and as long as it was playing, they seemed quiet. I checked my messages to see who is dropped off where today. Mind you, it is 4 pm now and I have been driving since 2.
We get home. 13 yo and 7 yo change into their bathing suits for swimming. Years ago, when I just started homeschooling, the boys tried out for a swim team and were not able to swim enough to qualify. Now it is a whole different story. We live a five-minute walk from the JCC. There are no major streets to cross. 13 yo is legally old enough to babysit. But JCC apparently has a rule that he is not old enough to be 7 yo's guardian while she is attending swim practice. They are not just splashing in the pool, they are attending an organized class, but they need to be watched by a legal; guardian. So they cannot walk over there and back on their own, and they cannot be left there unsupervised while they are swimming. I am very upset by this. Have I known this, I probably would not have signed 7 yo up. 13 yo is old enough to get there and back on his own. And I wonder: we keep complaining how kids nowadays are so ill-adapted to independent living, how millennials are such spoiled brats, how they don't know how to be tough. Why do we set up such rules in place that keep kids on a short parental leash for so long? How are large families supposed to manage this? I tried bringing my younger kids to practice, but it is no fun keeping 2 yo for half an hour away from the pool's edge. Besides. she was just in the car for over an hour. All she wants to do is come home, chill and play.
My only solution was to ask 11 yo if he so kindly would not mind watching his two younger siblings at home while I watched his two older siblings at the pool, twice a week. He agreed, but today both younger siblings disagreed. I ended up shoving two older kids out to the door, leaving 11 yo in charge of two screaming kids. If you want to feel mom guilt, do that, especially after spending zero time with the babies the whole day.
After the pool, faster, faster, let's get home, I know the little ones were storming the pantry before I left. I have not been home since 9 am, so there is no dinner because there was no time for the dinner. But never fear, we are going to eat out tonight at a new Israeli restaurant because that's the best I could come up with. As we are getting in the car to drive that ridiculously short distance home, 11 yo called me to hurry up because 2 yo did not stop crying the entire time I was gone.
I bitterly commented how I need more grown-ups in my life, so I am not leaving an 11 yo in braces pain in charge of two screaming kids. 13 yo wryly commented how he used to be that 11 yo. Yes, kid, we have been making do for years. It is sad when kids have to step up and function as adults.
I am greeted at the doorstep by a teary 2 yo clutching her blankie next to her big brother. 4 yo is freaking out that this new restaurant will not have hot dogs and what he will eat then? The rest of the food is "yucky". It does not take a supersleuth to figure out that he did not nap today, that he's tired, that the last thing he wants is to go out to eat instead of snuggling on the couch with mommy. But there is no dinner, and I am not serving noodles yet again.
The new restaurant was a bright spot. Even my husband made it home on time to come with us. The food was plentiful and good, they had schnitzel for 4 yo, 11 yo was able to chew and get mashed potatoes. The rebbitzen of the community invited us out for Succot lunch. Yay for procrastination! One less meal to plan for!
And then my husband got called up, And then we got home at 7 pm. 7 yo had twenty minutes of nightly reading log. 4 yo went back into full meltdown mode, and I was trying to manage the kids from the couch while half-listening to my daughter read. It is clicking, but it is still slow. Both boys were reading fluently and for pleasure at this age. She still does so little functional reading that I had to point out the kids' section on the menu. I am also thinking how this mandatory reading is not helping move things along, but, being a conscientious student, she dutifully reads every night.
After I finished and tucked in the three youngers, I did two more sections from Hilchot Teshuva with 11 yo. That was the only schoolwork that we did today.
It is 9:30. 11 yo is still up. I packed lunches. I am defrosting chicken for erev yom kippur and for kids to eat on Yom Kippur.
I just want to go and kick back with a book. But most of all, I want to arrive at the nighttime not mindlessly tired.