I thought I had it all figured out, today: Chickadee was invited over to a friend’s house for “as long as she likes,” and I had made plans to bring a friend over here for Monkey. My day would be busy, but manageable. With the children occupied I’d be free to finish up getting ready for our trip, doing my work, and cleaning the house.
There were too many things crowding my brain. I made a rookie mistake, thinking this was going to make it all work out okay.
First of all, I had to spend the early part of the morning trying to convince the kids to eat breakfast, get dressed, and STOP TOUCHING EACH OTHER. Finally they were ready to leave, and we headed out. We dropped Chickadee with her friend and then went and collected Monkey’s pal, a sweet little tomboy (hereafter, TB) from his class. Both of these friends live across town, so on the drive back Monkey’s friend was conspicuously silent for about the first ten minutes, then she piped up, “Where do you live, anyway?”
“It should only be another hour or so, honey!” I offered.
It turns out that this kid has no sense of humor whatsoever unless you’re telling fart jokes. Monkey had to reassure her that I was kidding and we were almost home. But she was a little scared of me all day, after that.
My plan was to sit down at the computer, finish up some work, and then get busy folding laundry and packing. I’d take a break to make the kids some lunch, and then later—when I’d be nearly done with everything, anyway—I’d run TB home, pick up Chickadee, go pick up my jeans at the tailor’s, and then we’d have a relaxing evening.
My plan overlooked a number pertinent items. Some of them had slipped my mind, others I hadn’t anticipated.
In addition to my original plans, today I had to…
… help two cold and soggy children peel off their snow gear and hang it up to dry.
… make cocoa for said children, making sure that the mugs had exactly the same number of mini-marshmallows apiece.
… respond to the call of “Mama, TB spilled a little!” to discover that an entire mug of hot chocolate had been upended on my beige carpet. And both children were sitting there looking at it. And neither had any idea how it happened.
… scrub the carpet for half an hour, using up an entire roll of paper towels and three different cleaners.
… explain to TB that in our house, we do not consider “cliff diving” off the edge of Monkey’s bed to be an acceptable activity.
… track down art supplies for the kids.
… send both children to wash their hands of markers.
… clean the bathroom which was now covered with marker-tinted puddles.
… head back across town to drop off TB and pick up Chickadee (which I’d planned), but come upon Chickadee and her friend in the middle of building an igloo which they weren’t done with yet, Mooooooooom!
… discover that my now even-legged jeans still look stupid, because now one leg bottom is distressed and one isn’t!
… bring jeans home and distress the newly-hemmed leg using all of the ingenuity I can muster (plus a bit of bleach and a serrated knife).
… remember that Chickadee needs to attend Tae Kwon Do today because she’ll be missing class later this week. So much for our easy evening.
… sit in the waiting room at TKD playing with Monkey, gradually realizing that his level of spazzmocity (that is too a word) is headed into dangerous territory; his fun day has him clearly overloaded and he is unable to sit still, talking at top volume, and obviously on edge.
… try to remain calm when Monkey hits me so hard I see stars. He didn’t mean to. As soon as he saw the look on my face he dissolved into a puddle of apology. (Lord, I feel for this kid. How weird and hard must it be to have so little body awareness that you can be goofing around and really hurt someone and not even realize it until they complain?)
… try to do a bit of surreptitious OT with Monkey without the other parents thinking I’m abusing my kid. Administering deep pressure stimulation is fun but not if other people suspect my child is being crushed to death. Heh.
… figure out something for dinner when I’ve just about used up all the perishable food in the house and no one wants anything because they’ve been snacking all day.
… convince the children to clean out their backpacks so that we can bring them to Georgia. Convince the children that “clean out your backpacks” doesn’t mean “take all the crap out and leave it in the middle of the floor.”
… fill emptied backpacks with snacks and activities and sweatshirts and pajamas and remind the children that these backpacks are THEIR responsibility at the airport. Imagine that they are betting between themselves how long it will take to get me to carry absolutely everything.
… email Susan in a panic while packing because I’ve just realized I plan to wear brown shoes with black pants and I THINK that’ll be okay but I don’t want to cause a rift in the space-time-fashion continuum if it’s not.
… check in for our flight online, press the “Print Boarding Passes Now” button seventy-two times, grumble a lot, and finally get the stupid passes printed.
… print out the last of the forms I need for the school registration, realize that it needs to be signed and blood and notarized. Well, just notarized. Because that’s convenient.
… attempt to render my feet warmer-weather ready. Nothing says “Welcome, Spring!” like that cheese grater thing I have to use on my heels.
… fit all of this crap into these here suitcases. Whose idea was it to pack so much stuff, anyway?
If this is what I have to do for a 4-day trip, what in the world makes me think I can actually move down there without having a complete nervous breakdown?
Please don’t answer that.