It never ceases to amaze me how dramatically different one stay-at-home-with-the-kids day can be from the next. And how very, very difficult it can be to predict what kind of day you’re in for. Yesterday, for example, we had a really nice, quiet day. Everybody was in a sleepy kind of pleasant mood, nothing happened to stress us out, and the boys both took long naps. (That’s right, both of them! Even the almost-three-year-old who almost-never naps anymore.) Today, though, it was all exasperation and not listening and rising blood pressure. Me with them, them with me, me with all the stuff flying around in my mind.
This morning I was trying to handle all the normal breakfast and dish-washing and diaper-changing and potty-emptying duties, while also trying to make arrangements for a family party this weekend and a visitor this summer. And purchase four plane tickets to visit my husband’s family in Minnesota. And respond to my choir director about my summer schedule. And make my grocery list. And purchase birthday and Father’s Day gifts online. And research car seats so we can get a new one before this weekend. And (though I know I shouldn’t have been thinking about this one, with everything else I had going on) plan out a bunch of posts I want to write for the blog. Oh, and deal with an ant infestation by first wiping them up, then spraying them with poison and flipping out every time the boys approached them, then cleaning all the dead ants and poison spray off the floor, and then repeating the poison/flipping out steps when the ants returned.
All while a boiler repairman walked in and out of my house.
So I was going a little crazy, you know? And I was also feeling guilty because I’m sure to my boys, it looked like Mommy was just sitting at her computer, ignoring them for the heck of it. It’s not like I can explain parties and visitors and tickets and schedules and, and, and… to two toddlers. All they saw was distracted Mommy, typing and mumbling, and then screaming every time they walked on a certain piece of floor. Poor guys.
This evening we were pretty much back where we started. My husband was working late and I was (as usual) unsuccessful in getting the 20-month-old to bed. (My boys will NOT go to bed for me. Me, who takes care of them all day long and who puts them down for their naps. To them, bedtime is Daddy Time. Which is nice, except when Daddy’s working late or – GASP! – away on a trip.) Anyway, my feeble little brain had had enough. So I strapped the little one into his high chair in front of the television (hoping he’d fall asleep if confined), I walked into the kitchen, and I turned off the lights. I was kind of hoping they wouldn’t notice me. After a while, my older son walked in and said, “Mommy, are you mad for me?” (Heartbreaking, right?) I pulled him close and replied, “No, sweetie, I’m not mad at you. I’m just tired and I want to sit still in the quiet and read and write for a little bit. Okay?”
This afternoon, I had planned for us to go to the grocery store, but around 2pm (with no naps in sight!) I surveyed the boys and the house and myself and decided that we all needed a break. So, out with the groceries and in with the playground. We arrived to find it totally empty, the sky gray and threatening rain, and a lovely, brisk wind whipping around. It was perfect. The boys were thrilled to run around and play. I was invigorated by the wind. And I was delighted to see my little guys look like such boys – scraped knees, pink cheeks, sweaty foreheads, tongues sticking out in concentration. My older son kept coming over to me with a huge grin on his face. He said, “You’re a nice mommy,” and “You’re a good mommy,” and “I wuv dis.”
Like I said, I’m always amazed at how different one day can be from the next, even when so many of the days’ characteristics seem the same at a glance. X amount of sleep plus Y preparation can equal loveliness one day and angst the next. Some days these boys fill me with wonder; some days they make me want to tear my hair out. Some days have peace and light; others the gloom of depression. Et cetera.
So often it is so hard for me to see my way out of whatever kind of day I’m having. But they all come and go, don’t they? I need to be better about keeping that perspective on the hard days. And I need to do a lot more of what I did today: stop, survey the damage, and do what I can to get us – all of us – away from it.
Oh, and that repairman? He came to clean out the boiler but (thank you, Lord!) caught a potentially-dangerous problem while he was at it. So he had to replace a couple of parts. This is how he described it to me afterward:
Him: “So, you see this part here? Usually when these things go, they leak a little bit. But even though this was really corroded, it wasn’t leaking. So if it had gone, the pressure would have built up and up and…” (His eyes got big and he made a funny face.)
Me: “Are you saying… the boiler would have… exploded?”
Him: “Well, now I don’t like to use that word.” (But he made the funny face again.)
Him: “Do you watch ‘Mythbusters‘? You know that one where they have a water heater under too much pressure and it takes off like a rocket? Well, your boiler wouldn’t have done that.”
Good to know.