Dalton is playing with his friend the other day. "Sorry, Dalton," I hear his buddy yell after him, as Dalton bounds up the stairs to tattle about the offense. "Jack keeps hitting my arm." "Did you tell him to stop?" I have a feeling that he didn't. Because this is what happens sometimes with Dalton. A friend will bug him, in any one of a thousand ways, and he lets the friend get away with it, over AND OVER, hoping that they will just stop on their own. And when they don't, he explodes with frustration. So, later that evening at dinner, I say to him You know, the next time a friend makes you mad, or frustrated, you should tell him what you need him to do RIGHT AWAY. Say, "Hey, look man, that is bugging me. You need to stop it, so that you don't get in trouble." He seemed to get the point. Well, gold star for me with my parental wisdom. But you know how they say, Those who can't DO, TEACH...well that would be ME. Today, I had had it. I give Gavin a look, at the end of his work day, as I hand him his baby, that says "You are on thin ice buddy." And he says to me, "What is your problem? Are you suicidal or something?" And I want to say, "NO, I AM HOMICIDAL, SO YOU BETTER WATCH IT"...but I don't. I just close his office door and murmur some expletive under my breath. Later I do "let it out". I tell him that his baby has been a nightmare all day...not baby's fault because he has had a stomach bug and has had diarrhea, and feels miserable. So, I don't fault Garrett, I am just beat. He hasn't slept for more than three twenty minute periods all day, and he needs to be held all the time. And I had a girl over to play with Shelby today who needed WAY too much of my attention. (Note to self, playdates are meant to make my life easier, NOT more difficult. If your kid doesn't like peanut butter, or pizza, and wants me to read them a story, and help them put on ten different dress up costumes, and is scared of the family cat, AND wants me to move him to the opposite floor of where the kids are playing OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN, and only has two volume settings, OFF, and SUPER-BREAK-YOUR-EARDRUMS-LOUD, and wants to feed the sick baby a bottle ALL THE TIME, then you know what, the playdate can be at YOUR house, cause it is SOOOO NOT worth it! Oh, and parent-of-said-child, when I say to be at my house at noon, that does NOT mean 12:28...AND four hours is WAY too long for you to pawn your girl off on me anyhow! ) .....
And I am beginning to feel sick, and I haven't showered, and there is something foul in the fridge that just about knocks me over when I open the door, and I can not figure out what the heck it is, so the task ahead of me: taking out every blasted thing in the dang fridge and sniffing it with my stomach already queasy, is just the thing to put me over the edge. (BTW, This is where I curse Martha: Gavin's mom. She was so flippin perfect. Made homemade EV-ER-E-THING, ran a spotless home, stayed in a budget, had each of her five kids taking at least one musical instrument, AND had them practising it daily, did family scripture study, kept up on every menial chore that I detest like laundry and ironing WITHOUT complaining. Served in about a million different volunteer positions, and all this while she taught school full-time. Let me just go hang myself right now. Because, of course, Gavin thinks I am a big whiner when he has THAT as his example of motherhood. But that is not me, I am no Martha, nor will it ever be.)
Sooo, just like Dalton, I get overwhelmed and flip out, instead of voicing my feelings from the beginning, which were simply "I NEED HELP." So, I tell Gavin, "The kids are yours for the night, GOOD LUCK. I have no idea what is wrong with the baby. You can feed them dinner, put them to bed, because I am off for the night!" But really I am not "off", I am just "off" when it comes to interacting with the kids. Instead I go do FUN things, like shovel the snow outside and do the six loads of laundry that have taken over the floor of the laundry room, and take out every single item of food in my fridge, sniffing them like I am a blood hound, until I can't tell the red pepper hummus from the fudge sauce. Dang! No offender found. The sour cream smells weird, but it is supposed to. And buttermilk is also supposed to smell a bit off. So, in the end I throw away anything and everything that is remotely suspicious. Better to be safe than sorry. At one point I walk in the door and ask if he has made dinner, and he tells me "No, the baby woke up. Can you hold him while I make dinner?" And I lovingly reply "No, I am off. But now you can see how I do it every day, several times a day, when I have no help: care for the baby while I feed and care for the other kids...OK, good luck!"
He survived, the kids survived, And at the end of the day, I've made a dent in my laundry, my fridge is cleaned out, my walk is shoveled (leaving me with the only thing close to a work out I have gotten in seven months), and I have some sanity; realizing that next time I will take my own advice and say what I need at the very beginning.