Jon spent last week “chillin” in sunny Alaska. Okay, so not really, between all the time it took to travel there, back and within the state, along with the all the meetings for work, he only had a little bit of time for sight-seeing. But at least he got to add another pin to his world travel map.
I, on the other hand, spent the week at home in rainy, dreary Maryland. With the kids. No big deal. Well, it shouldn’t have been. We’ve certainly done this before, although thankfully not as often as we used to. But for some reason the kiddos didn’t handle this one as well. And it didn’t help that I’m still trying to navigate life as a mom in conjunction with two part-time jobs.
|Back when Raven the dog was still visiting. The only thing I miss about having a dog is not having to sweep the floor so often.|
All three of my kids are going through “phases” right now. Jack is extra-grumpy. To borrow his own word, he’s “cross.” To borrow another one of his words, I make him “nervous.” He doesn’t seem to mind me most of the time, but as soon as I mention anything about “cleaning up” he’s quick to cross his arms, stick out his lip and exclaim “Mom, you make me NERVOUS!” So he’s also in a messy phase. Jack’s our little hoarder, or you might say “collector of objects.” His favorite toys are those which can be gathered and cargoed around – army men, Thomas trains, marbles, acorns – or toys that can be used to cart things around – dump trucks, buckets, any of my storage baskets (after he’s emptied them of their contents off course), and backpacks. This has been going on quite a while now but lately he’s moved on to bigger and badder objects. For the past few days he’s been putting anything he can carry from the garage into our giant-sized wagon, tying it all down with a bungee cord, and then pulling the wagon around the yard (with a whole lot of extra effort) pretending to put out fires and rescue those in danger. Of course, at the end of the day, when you ask him to clean up, his legs are “very tired” and his mama “makes him nervous.” Typically, his daddy is home by this point to take over the reins but, like I said, not this past week.
While Jack is in to gathering and collecting, Julia is in to emptying and disbursing. Take my wallet for instance. I always think I put my purse up and away and she always surprises me by dragging it out somehow and completely voiding my wallet of all money and cards. She also continues to pull out all my jewelry, clean out the bottom of her closet, rearrange the silverware drawer, and empty the container of baby wipes. She’s recently started exercising her independence by taking off out the front door and down the street. Usually she’s content to just hang out in the sandbox, which is always the first place I look for her. But the other night I called all the kids inside and noticed one was missing. The boys hadn’t seen her, I couldn’t see her (although she had just been there 3 minutes ago), and despite yelling “tubby time” over and over again she didn’t come prancing up to the back door. I started to comb the back yard and meanwhile gather a few random toys to put back in the garage. Looking back I’m not sure why I was more worried about cleaning up than finding my misplaced child but I’m glad I did because as soon as I opened the garage door there she was, playing with the potting soil, shut up in there by her brothers in their excitement to take a bath. And completely oblivious to any panic she might be causing her exhausted mother.
|Both boys are in a "run away from the camera" phase right now too. Apparently, in this picture, he couldn't see it through my hair.|
Jude’s three now so, as I should have expected, he’s going through the “pee everywhere but the toilet” stage. As batty as this is driving me, I can still be thankful that he’s not urinating on my couch or rugs like his older brother did at this age. Oh no, Jude is much more creative. For a while it was the roll of toilet paper, typically a big, thick, fresh, roll, that I then would have to dispose of. Then it was the tub. I would never catch it until after the fact, and since I have two boys that are very capable of doing something so silly, and two boys who would never fess up to it, I was at a loss. When someone peed smack dab in the middle of my laundry room floor it sorta put me a little over the edge. And since Jack said it was Jude and Jude said it was Jack, well they both got punished and none of us went to bed happy that night. The next morning Jude confessed, with a smirk, that “I did it, I lied Mommy!”
He was a marked man, so I was shocked when I caught Jack walking out of the laundry room the following day, pulling up his pants. “Hey Jack, did you just go to the bathroom?” “Yeah, I went in the potty.” “How? I locked the downstairs bathroom so no one would pee on the toilet paper.” “I went in under the door.” “Oh, really? Show me how you fit under the door.” “I went here, kicked it open, went under the door and peed on the potty.” “Then why is the door still locked and there’s a giant puddle on the floor?” “It was Jude.” “Jack, Jude is sleeping and you’re telling lies.”
|It was oh, so rainy this week. But on a positive note, when it wasn't raining, it was so beautifully green!|
|Green and gray, God has such a way with colors.|
But I’m getting a little ahead of myself. It was Thursday, I was literally counting down the hours until Jon’s return the following night and trying to rally to get through the rest of the week. After an exceedingly rainy week and morning, I was determined to take advantage of a break in the clouds with a post-preschool picnic at the park. I packed lunches, picked up Jack (who had his first bad report from the teacher in a while) and pointed our minivan towards the nearest playground. Two minutes away Jude starts yelling “Poopy! The poopies are coming!!” And since there are no bathrooms at the park we turned right around and headed back home for lunch on the deck. Once we got home I found out I had a new transcription assignment. My biggest one yet which also just so happened to be a rush order, which meant working in to the weekend, which I had purposely not put myself on the calendar for because we had travel plans. So while my kids are out on the deck flinging egg salad at one another I’m staring at my agenda trying to determine just how many hours of typing I can squeeze in before we leave, with an absent husband at that. Oh, and did I mentioned Jon’s one request was that the house be completely clean when he got back and before we left on our trip? I determined it could still be done if I worked through all nap times and late into the night. I soon discovered one small problem with my plan. The internet - which went down right after I’d been assigned my project but before I had a chance to download it. And no lengthy phone-call to Comcast could restore it.
|Every day I try to explain to the boys that is an invisible fence between our yard and the neighbors - don't cross it!|
While I was jamming to Comcast's hold-music on the phone, both boys were sneaking over to the neighbor’s yard, flipping over their kayaks (in light of a pending rainstorm), removing the plastic tarps and filling them with sand. I ran out the back door and pointed those boys right back indoors. Meanwhile, Mr. Tom, who is thankfully a kindred spirit and big fan of Jack, came out to right his kayaks and assure me he doesn’t mind the kids playing in his yard at all. I just love Mr. Tom. But I do not love when my kids play with objects in his yard. And so, with this event as the clincher to my entire week, I stormed into the house ... and had a complete and total meltdown.
|29 weeks, back when things were still sunshine and roses.|
But as longtime readers and myself are fully-aware, the 30-some-week meltdown is just a typical phase of a typical Coastie Mama pregnancy. I'm definitely extra hormonal lately, my emotions are on high-alert, and I'm feeling unusually vulnerable, broken by the simplest things - watching a promo for the local pregnancy care center, transcribing a court case in which the man's daughter passed away at five days old, and being without my husband, my solid rock, for five straight days. But there wouldn't be mountains without the valleys and I'm happy to report that the house got cleaned by Friday (despite Jack's "nervousness"), Mother's Day flowers arrived that afternoon (Jack said Daddy sent them from the North Pole), Comcast was able to replace our internet cable, I managed to get my project finished (after a very late night and while working in the car during a 2.5 hour trip), our favorite Chick-Fil-A lobby lady, Mary, heard of my plight and completely pampered me and the kids over lunch on Friday, and most importantly my babies' daddy is home safe and sound. And despite all the anxiety and exhaustion from the last few days, we had a wonderful weekend with family and friends that I'll save for another post.
It wasn't the week I had in mind, it's not the kind of thing that will ever make it on a Hallmark Mother's Day card, but it is our life right now. And I wouldn't trade my worst of worst weeks with my kids for one day without them. I still just love being a mama!