It’s not often that I find myself sitting at the bottom of the stairs at nine o’clock at night, decimating flakes of Muslix with my jaws. But that’s where I was tonight. Perched on the bottom step. Eating cereal. Willing the front door to open and the father of my children to walk through it and take them away. I guess I’ve moved on from my ‘Calgon, take me away’ days; to ‘Calgon, take my children away.’
Why do some days suck so much more than others? Why was today so un-delightful?
Was it because the dental hygienist spent forty five minutes de-scaling my teeth and charged me $107 (out of pocket) for the privilege? Or the fact that it rain-snowed all day long? Maybe that I spent two hours tidying up the house and then the Hen tried to dump shoes and shin guards all over the floor? Or that ‘someone’ turned off the car-van’s backing up sensor without my knowing it? That the professor didn’t get home until…after 10? That my ‘Operation Take Back the Evening’ has failed? (Cataclysmically? Catastrophically? Categorically?) That I put the baby in the big bathtub for the first time and he rewarded me by pooping in it? That the relatively tidy house has imploded and is entirely unnavigable?
I really would like to know why some days I can handle the daily quirks and challenges with a modicum of grace; hear my calm, even voice and think ‘Mother Theresa would be proud of you.’ And other days, when my six year old tastes the black beans I made for dinner – and pronounces ‘they don’t taste like the black beans Daddy makes….I think you cooked them wrong.’ I just want to say ‘fine, I’ll never cook for you ever, ever ever, ever again.’ Or at least ‘fine, you can eat Daddy’s black beans for the rest of your life.’
Daddy’s straight-out-of-the-can black beans. Instead of my soaked, rinsed, seasoned and cooked for two and a half hours black beans. Served with homemade salsa verde.
Along with the ungratefulness, I spent 5 to 6pm suffering at the ‘hands’ (more like mouths) of two very tired, cranky children. Because I knew if I could just hang on until 7, they would fall asleep right away and the evening would be mine. Instead, they fell asleep at 6. And woke up at 7. As if from an afternoon nap.
On days like today I’m so bombarded by annoyances that I refuse to laugh.
Even at my oldest, who was decidedly unhappy after I told him to abandon his ‘skateboarding’ and go to bed. ‘You can play more tomorrow,’ I reasoned. At which point he countered with ‘but tomorrow’s a really busy day for me.’
The life of a six year old – who knew? ‘Oh, what do you have going on tomorrow,’ I finally asked when he reiterated the argument. ‘I have my skateboard lesson,’ he announced.
It figures that my seemingly sports-averse son – who, earlier in the day found his lost-for-months finger skateboard in a pile of junk, suddenly – in a matter of one hour – became a die-hard finger skateboarder. So much so that he’d schedule imaginary lessons for himself.
Or, when the six year old tried to calm his fussy eight month old roommate by singing, somewhat off-key, ‘hush little baby don’t you fuss…mommy’s gonna buy you a baseball bat.’ Which seemed particularly appropriate, given my mood.
And when I heard my semi-slumbering oldest yell at his baby brother….using his middle brother’s name. ‘Poor kid’, I thought to myself, ‘no one ever gets his name right.’ And then I flicked on the bedroom light and discovered the Gort hadn’t messed up the name. The middle brother had snuck out of his crib in the adjacent bedroom and was standing in his brothers’ room messing with the baby.
He bolted from the room the minute he saw me.
And that`s how he gets me – how they get me. They do and say ridiculous things and I have no choice but to relinquish my iron grip on my ultra annoyed state and chuckle.
On the inside.