Sunday, April 20, 2008

Shameless Self Loathing

I am not writing this for anyone to read, and I don't need to be told how awful I sound. I am fully aware of how awful I sound. Likewise, I already know that millions of people could outdo me in chronicling the awfulness around them but choose not to do it because they are better people than I am. Great. Now, I am going to write this anyway. It's my process, and it's for me. It's like sticking a fork in a potato to release the steam so you can swallow the food without burning away your insides.

It begins with a typical morning here, actually even a better one, but for us good is still bad and easy is still hard, and our "normal" with Rooster, 3, and Peaches, 2, is like a bad day of Jon and Kate Plus Eight with two 6-year-olds and six 2-year-olds.

5:30 Peaches screams, "MOOMMMMMMY!" I leap from bed in fear she has the stomach flu from which I am 90 percent recovered and which has kept my husband up all night. Nope. She just wants to start her request list. "Pancake." she demands. We are out. "WAFFLE!" she yells. I make her one. She shreds it up and flings it on the floor. "I don't like that. I want PANCAKES." Yes, I have rules and discipline, but my husband needs some quiet in his post-agony and the rooster is still snoring his miserable, adenoid thick snore. I serve Peaches conciliatory snacks and let her accompany me to the one clean bathroom. God forbid I pee alone. She actually climbs on my legs in the process.
6:00 The rooster is awake, demanding TV and pancakes. Hugs? Denied. "Not today," he tells me.
6:10 The week of stomach flu means no shopping, and the rooster has very few gfcf foods in stock, so I allow him what gfcf food we have on hand, ginger snaps, while I go find clean diapers and clothes for both kids.
6:12 My arms full of diaper supplies, I find the rooster crumbling ginger snaps alllllllll ooooooovvvver the floor. He looks at me and screams. "PANCAKES, PULLLLEEEEAAAAAAAAZE. I made a cookie floor, see?"
6:15 I am wrestling the rooster into a diaper, size 7, almost too small, as he constantly tries to walk away, while Peaches whines her mantra. The mantra. The whinemantra. "Pickmeupmommy, pickmeup, pickmeup, pikmiup, pimeeeupppp, UPPPPP, UPPPP, WHAAAA," (repeat).
6:20 I am wrestling the Peaches into her diaper while the rooster runs around the room. "I. WANT. PANCAKES." (GFCF pancakes we cook at home, in an expensive and laborious process, so that we can freeze them. Bisquick they ain't.)
6:30 Trying to teach the children how to clean up their own messes, we sweep up expensive gfcf ginger crumbs from the floor together (tedious process complicated by reminders not to hit, spit, scream, push or kick).
7:00 A deal is brokered: I will take you to the store to buy the greatly coveted STRAWBERRIES if you will brush your teeth, put on your shoes and behave.
7:30 Teeth brushing accomplished, but I am sweating, both their shirts are wet, and we have no more clean bathrooms. Mental notes: buy new toothbrushes, hire toothbrushing therapist, get nanny, win lottery.
7:35 He has one shoe on, she is crying, they are arguing.
7:36 He has no shoes on, they are fighting.
7:38 She has on both shoes and is repeating the mantra by the door.
7:38:30 They each have on one shoe. He is screaming, "STRAWBERRIES, NOW! AARRARAAAGGGG!"
7:42 Shod
7:45 I load the angels into my filthy, condemnable car. My teeth are not brushed, my clothes are not clean or well fitting (shirt too tight, pants too big), I am not wearing my glasses. Oh well, I can see passably well out of one of my eyes, and those scratched up crooked glasses are at least a year past their prescription, so no big deal.
7:46 Backseat screams remind me I have not turned on the favorite book on tape of the week (Beezus and Ramona). I push it in for the trillionth time and we all chime it as it is now memorized. Mental note: Scour ebay for new books on audiocassette. (No cd player in my 12-year-old basic model much-puked-in Saturn.)
7:48 I turn around and state my terms: Good behavior at the store equals ALL THE FRUIT YOU WANT, and maybe a toy, too. Bad behavior? Zero fruit, zero treats, straight home, no fun, time out. I can tell by their expressions that for once they hear me, they are hungry, and my terms are accepted.
7:56 We pull in not to the close grocery store, but the store where I know they have carts designed like trucks for two small drivers. We load up on fruits, snapea crisps, baby wipes, and Color Wonder marker sets. I cast longing glances at the dairy products and the alcohol aisle. It's early and not crowded this Sunday morning and so no one visibly minds my banshee truck drivers in the aisles.
8:06 Near the finish line, the rooster reverts to his ranting NO diatribe, so we try my new technique, a song I wrote during the previous day's MELT DOWN that actually works so far with the boy, a lovely duet that goes like this:
Me: When I say no, you say
Rooster: yes
Me: When I say no, you say
Rooster: yes
Me: NO
Me: No, oh, oh
R: Yes, es, es
Me: NO
Me: No, no, no
R: yes, yes, yes
Sue me, but I get a twisted pleasure out of tricking him into so many yeses.
8:45 We arrive home, unload our booty in the backyard, and eat and play. We are all perfectly content for NINE WHOLE MINUTES. Manna, jewels from heaven.

Before 9 a.m. I am completely spent. I have made no major accomplishments, come nowhere near the urgent to do list on the breakfast bar, and the Sunday blues are looming large. I have been up for 3 1/2 hours and already I'm counting down to "bed time." It's a long count... 11 hours to go.

And then it hits me... the truth that calls out my bitterness. This, I realize, is one of our better days. I look inward and search for my sense of gratitude, and I come up empty. I think of those less fortunate... and can't seem to learn from that, either, I am ashamed (but honest) to say.

I need to blog.

Stick a fork in me; I'm done.


Niksmom said...

Oh hell yeah, I feel ya sister! Been up since 1:30 this morning. WTF??

But the duet?? FREAKING BRILLIANT! What tune do you use?

Hugs. That's all...just hugs.

Joeymom said...

Mmmmmm.... strawberries are a great motivator in my house, too. And I think we all need to drink more.

redheadmomma said...

You feel like you got nothing major accomplished? How about taking two children to a grocery store, a feat that have killed lesser men??? Good lord, that's a huge thing - you got everyone home in one piece and had a few peaceful moments.

So glad you're feeling better - nothing sends you off-kilter more than a stomach flu.

Christine said...

OK, so is it in poor taste if I say that this post really made me smile? No, no. It isn't because you had a really rough morning -- but because you write about it in a way that makes me think you will be OK. You can see just a tiny, wee, sliver of humor in what was definitely a worst case scenario.

I'm glad you're feeling better!

Unknown said...

Do not lose heart. My kids are now 10,7 and 4. They get themselves up, turn on the TV, get juice and let hubby and I sleep till 9:30 AM on Sundays, I am ashamed to say. Your day will come!!!(and one of my kids DOES have some neuro issues!!)

Anonymous said...

You are my HERO!!! I only have one son, 5, autistic. We have days VERY SIMILAR, like yesterday actually. But he is only one and you have TWO!!! Keep your head up! You are definitely the heroine of all of us moms, especially us single moms! Happy thoughts and positive energy being sent your way!

-single mom of autistic 5 year old in Savannah, Georgia