Some mornings are definitely better than others. This morning, I woke up grumpy. I hadn't slept well, something was worrying me about work, and it's Wednesday, which means I have three more days of making lunches for the kids.
Some days, I'm just tired, and these are the days that everything goes wrong.
This morning, for example, Stow worked desperately to get under Sky's skin. First, he repeated everything Sky said from the moment Sky opened his mouth to say "good morning." Then Stow escalated to randomly shoving Sky every 10 minutes or so. He interspersed these two behaviors with high-pitched (and totally unnecessary) shrieks and the occasional grab for the cereal box Sky was reading in an attempt to tune out his brother.
Sky does MUCH better when he can get up early and get through his morning routine without the noise and activity of his siblings to distract him. He does worse (much, much, much, much worse) when someone decides to bug him. No matter how much I intervene, a sibling bent on giving Sky a hard time can cause a mountain of heartache.
By the time Sky finished breakfast, he was in a state. It manifested itself as this:
Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom. Listen. I really think we should have a garage sale and sell all of my toys for the same price and then buy all new ones. Then I won't have to worry about all the pieces that are missing because Stow keeps going into my room. Mom, Mom, Mom, why aren't you answering me? This is a good idea. Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom. I don't think you understand what it's like. It's not my fault all the pieces are missing. It's Stow's. That's why I think we should sell everything and buy it again. Mom!
Now, just imagine this as a never-ending loop. Background music, if you will, to the other chaos of my morning.
Pink needs to wear green and to take a Dr. Seuss book to school. Do I know where her green t-shirt is? And, where are all of our Dr. Seuss books? She has a play date after school, so she needs her epi-pen and Benadryl, just in case. But, when I go to get the emergency medicine pouch out of my purse, it's gone. Vanished.
Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom. Listen. I really think we should have a garage sale and sell all of my toys for the same price and then buy all new ones. Then I won't have to worry about all the pieces that are missing because Stow keeps going into my room. Mom, Mom, Mom.........
Why is the epi-pen missing? The most likely culprit is Stow. He takes things that aren't his all the time. But, then again, I am so tired and so distracted, I can't remember when I saw it last or if I moved it. I don't normally, but that doesn't necessarily mean anything.
I ask Stow if he's seen it. He stonewalls. Then he tells me he put it in his shark backpack but that it's not there now. In the back of my mind, I am running through scenarios in which Pink has an allergic reaction and I rush to my purse only to find the epi-pen missing. This makes me panic (even though it's all in my head) and my interrogation of Stow intensifies. He gleefully takes Ren on a wild goose chase through the house. No epi-pen.
I'm irrevocably unnerved.
Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom. Listen. I really think we should have a garage sale and sell all of my toys. Mom, why aren't you listening? Don't you care?
I put together a back-up emergency medicine bag with a spare epi-pen and a new box of Benadryl, and I wonder if Stow ingested the allergy medicine at some point. The purse sits high on a shelf, not easily reached or put back into place by a three year-old. It's a mystery, but I can't untangle it.
I look at the clock. Twenty minutes to bus, and I haven't had a shower, Stow is not dressed, and Pink's hair, which she didn't comb after her bath last night looks a lot like a complex series of bird nests. Ren is irritated because I have started to yell. He takes over so I can get ready for work.
In the seven minutes it takes me to shower and get dressed, Stow has fallen down some steps. He tells me Sky pushed him. Ren tells me Stow brought it on himself--he was shoving and hitting Sky, and Sky doesn't know his own strength, even in self-defense. I get a bandaid and an ice pack, and I go into a rather long explanation of how to respect each other and care for each other as I am also making sure they have socks and shoes and backpacks and hats and gloves and lunches. The seven minutes I spent in the shower was enough to help me stop yelling.
As we wait Sky takes advantage of the uneasy silence to launch back into his diatribe:
Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom. Listen. I really think we should have a garage sale and sell all of my toys for the same price and then buy all new ones. Then I won't have to worry about all the pieces that are missing because Stow keeps going into my room. Mom, Mom, Mom, why aren't you answering me?
My nerves are frayed. Ren's nerves are frayed. We need him to stop. I try a logical response:
"You know, buddy, if you sell the stuff at a garage sale, you'll only get about 10% of the original cost back. So, if I bought it for $20, you're only going to be able to sell it for $2. You won't be able to buy as much."
This is just enough to send him careening in a different direction.
You HAVE to do something about Stow. I just can't take it. Plus, why did you guys get me a solar robot for Christmas? You know the sun isn't bright enough in the winter for it to work. I just don't understand why you guys don't get me........
At this point, I send him outside to wait for the bus. Stow, meanwhile, takes off his hat, gloves, and boots, and start climbing up and then rolling down the steps over and over again. Ren decides Pink's hair needs another comb through. Pink refuses. Cries. Keeps crying but begrudgingly goes to the bathroom to get her hair combed for a second time.
The first bus comes. Pinks rushes to get her boots on but is hampered by Stow who is so intent on giving her a goodbye hug, he knocks her down. Sky is still ranting as he walks down the driveway toward the bus. I hope he stops before he gets on, but I can't be sure he will. Five minutes later, Stow's bus comes and we frantically try to get all his snow gear back on him for the third time this morning. He trips gleefully down the driveway and on to the bus and then waves at us from the window, blowing kisses as the bus pulls away...