This was me at eight o’clock yesterday evening:
If I have to hear another stanza of Yankee Doodle being sounded out on the piano, if I have to see another toy basket being pulled out, if I have to house another person on my lap while trying to write—if I have to hear another fight or another cry of Toni’s for me, I will.go.crazy.
I am officially crazy.
It started this morning, as Jarret and I went about our morning business getting coffee and breakfast and snacks and lunch into his lunchbox and trying to be as quiet as possible.
The boys’ room door cracked open, and two eyes peered out. Two legs walked out.
Then two more legs from down the hall.
I stared at the kids, already up, and thought to myself, “Why exactly do I force myself out of bed early if not to have the house to myself for a few minutes? Just a few minutes of quietude and peace and a good start to my day? Do they really have to be awake already!?!!?!?!?!?!?”
And basically I felt like crying.
So that’s how it’s gone.
The errands to the chiropractor and Costco and all that, they were fine.
I like the socializing, the getting out. Sure, all of the getting in and out of the vehicle and finding carts and Costco cards and bathrooms and buckles is stressful, exhausting, and I’m always arbitrating a few fights (but nothing like usual, thank God, because I packed books for each kid), and the grocery haul was so confusing with the kid snack list and the us snack list and the month’s-worth of meals list and the lunch list and then the two carts’ worth was humongous and insanity to bring in and put away and basically didn’t fit in Jarret’s vehicle, but we did it and we felt proud.
And then there was dinner and after dinner and dinner dishes, they’ re supposedly helping Jarret vacuum the car while I get a little quiet time to do a little blog housekeeping for fun, but no. They’re all oozing back inside when Jarret’s back is turned and Toni is needing me, even though I fed her a mere half hour ago, and they’re fighting over the piano and asking me for our address because they want an American Girl magazine and they’re pulling out toys and they’re crawling on me and I am done.
I can’t take it any more!!
After I banged that out on my keyboard and announced to everyone that I was done, I went into my room with some chocolate and then, for the first time that day, I had less than five people surrounding me and not one person was talking to me while I was trying to think about something else.
It was nice.
I feel very sorry for myself when I get very little sleep the night before.
Coping skills go out the window.
But last nights’ sleep was good, so I’m a little more resilient.
I don’t know; maybe I shouldn’t bring them all while grocery shopping, but often they’re a lot of help. And the fact is, if I don’t train the kids to do something because it’s temporarily hard in the training phase, they’ll never learn to do it! So I’m always working towards them being really helpful with the food buying and stuff—and they are, I’m not complaining about that stuff—I just needed to make sure I very clearly stated the quiet time rules and kept them in their rooms for an hour or two afterward so that my (and their) mind could recover from the chaos.
When I get home from a full day like that, I need to do a little mental picking-up and reorganizing of all of the thoughts about all of the things which are in my purview.
It’s like Kim John Payne says in The Soul of Discipline, that a kid who is acting out is often working from a place of disorientation, of having not had the down time to recenter him or herself (by having downtime to read or play with toys or imagine or be out in nature—you know, kid stuff), and so they’re pushing back out of their depleted resources.
I just made it sound new-agey and dumb, but it is sincerely one of the best books on parenting with authority and understanding and I cannot recommend it highly enough. (Not a Christian book, so read wisely knowing that.)
Anyway, I was the kid who’d been rushed around from place to place and buffeted with some pretty confusing (a new meal plan) and stressful (five kids for six hours on the go) things and I just needed some quiet time so I could function again.
And now two tousle-haired girls have come into the living room carrying their special blankies and their stuffed animals and interrupted my quiet and introspective morning and I will be cool instead of lame and complainy and negative and finish this up and then embrace the fact that they still want to sit on my lap. It’ll be a good morning.