This morning started out awesome. I woke up before the kids, I inhaled my peppermint essential oils and rubbed my blue potions all over my feet- I was on a lemon water high. The kid that hates cereal ate cereal for breakfast, the baby stayed happy in her high chair eating her organic puffy things, and nobody spilt milk. Nobody.
I gathered all 4 kids, and we walked down the street to the school. Everyone had clothes on, nobody was crying or fighting or yelling or arguing over who's "the baddest bad guy in the world"... it was almost like the heavens had opened up and shone a light down directly upon me and my morning.
...my morning, yes. (And I am grateful for that)
But there was absolutely no mercy for my afternoon.
Around 12:45 or so, I realize that my daughter has early release today. Parent teacher conferences, right. I glance at the mess of train tracks and ponies and markers (that appeared out of nowhere) on the ground in front of me, and then next to the half naked children playing in the pile of it all, and then a quick head turn down the hall towards the sleeping baby.
Well this will be fun.
Rush to wake up the red faced hungry baby, step on like 4 pieces of broken train track that I'm almost positive have impaled my left foot, chase a defiant red head and trick her into wearing shoes (who cares that they're two sizes two big and don't match) so that she can push the nothing-but-a-nuisance shopping cart that she insists on pushing around everywhere like an old bag lady, and convince my 4 year old that his legs do work, and he can walk.
Halfway to the school, in the middle of a crosswalk no less, the shoe hoarding trouble maker decides to ditch the nagging shopping cart, run around in front of me, cut me off (causing me to trip over my railroad injured foot), and climb up into the stroller. But not climb up like- "oh look at me, I'm sitting pretty and all strapped in and tra la la", but, climb up like "haha, we're in the middle of the street with like 20 cars piling up, and I'm going to try to lay upside down on the very edge of the seat and make this whole thing tip over! Also.. go fetch my shopping cart".
I swear to God, child.
"I love them, I love them, I love them" I repeated almost mockingly to myself under my breath while keeping my calm, wiping sweat from my brow, and super-momming the shopping cart and the bad-baby into the stroller.
We make it to Elie's school. I park the stroller in our usual cozy spot in the shade across from the stairs that she'll soon be coming down, and while I'm focusing on catching my breath, I somehow miss Charlie and Evelyn sneaking over to the drinking fountain to fill up their shoes with water and start dumping "puddles" all over the concrete.
"Please stop pouring water into your shoes. That water is for drinking".
Aaaand of course theres no response, as I'm sitting (panting like a wild wolf, trying not to let my mono get the better of me) across from them, using my nice voice. ...ok fine, so maybe lets kick it up a notch.
"Stop pouring water in your shoes now. Bring your shoes here".
And oh how they're laughing and giggling and splashing about.
So by now, all of the parents in the immediate area are staring (but I mean, when are they not?), I'm starting to sweat even more because I'm at like an 8 on the irritation meter, and then the dang bugle sounds. We live on a military base, and instead of a bell, they have a bugle. And instead of kids just going in and out of class like normal kids... everybody has to stop what they're doing, face the flag, and stand at attention. No joke, this is a real thing.
So again, my kids are filling up their shoes with water from the drinking fountains- and then drinking the water out of boots and covering the concrete in "shoe rain". Do you think they're going to stop rain dancing long enough to stand still and face the flag like the other hundred people that I can count from where I'm sitting? No. No they're not. They're going to take this opportunity to let the rhythym overtake them and pour water on all of the real life statues on every side of them.
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry" I tell everyone, as I scramble to get up (I thought I could get away with not playing by the bugle rules too- well that's what I get), and then I start lunging for the littlest one, who is ignoring my every command, running away from me, having the freakin' time of her life.
My good angel then surrenders to my bad angel, and nice-mama is no more.
"Evelyn I'm strapping you into the stroller, I've had enough".
Um... you'd think my adrenaline would be enough to power me through this, but, again- my mono is strong, and my muscles are weak. Second and third graders are flowing down the stairs at a steady pace, Charlie has decided to lay down in the middle of the walkway on top of his man made lake, making water hand prints on every square inch of available dry cement surrounding him, and Evelyn has somehow been possessed by a screeching, back arching, simultaneous arm and leg flailing, mini monster.
I'm doing everything I can at this point, to get her arms into those safety straps- but as soon as one arm gets in, the other arm gets out. I'm getting brutally beaten in the process, but after about 20 redos of the arm expedition, she learns that she can launch her entire body downwards, so that even though I finally got her arms both buckled, I can't get them secured into the crotch strap.
...This isn't happening.
Is this happening?
This is happening.
Please make it stop?
I have no idea what words are coming out of my mouth, if any. I have no idea where my water logged son has disappeared to (probably off in a corner covering his ears, because he can't stand loud noises). I have no idea where my 7 year old is. I have no idea who is or is not watching me. Survival mode, and go!
I do it. I did it. It happened. I got her strapped in. And in that moment, when the buckles finally snapped into place and I heard that beautiful "click" sound, I stood up, used my shirt to mop up the flood from my forehead (seriously, I am so gross), and I looked around expecting to hear a round of applause.
No. No you guys. There was no round of applause. There was not even so much as an invisible pat on the back taking place through eye contact from a sympathetic mom. ...nothing. It had taken me so long to get Evelyn strapped in, and the rest of the parents were apparently in such a big hurry to get their kids out of firing range, that I was completely deserted.
Come on, people.
Well whatever, I'm still pretty stoked that I won the epic battle at the drinking fountain, even if I did get pretty damaged in process, so I stand there leaning against the wall for a minute catching my breath (and continuing to wipe away my sweat), and then I announce over the still screaming child, that its time to go.
Well no. Charlie doesn't want to. Its too hot, and hes too upset from hearing his sister's shouting, so hes refusing to walk home. And when I say refusing, hes like... face first on the ground, sobbing into the dirt.
And have I mentioned how absolutely calm I am, during all of this? Oh yeah, I'm like Mandy Moore in A Walk To Remember- totally dying, but doing it in an annoyingly cute way. Only, with more sweat.
Hey did I mention that I couldn't stop sweating?
So I get Ruthie out of her seat, swing all 25 pounds of her onto my hip, sing out the good news to Charlie, who is stoked for his free ride, take a deep breath of "yes, this is happening, you're doing this", and begin the dangerous journey home.
Charlie weighs about 50 pounds. Evelyn about 40. That stupid shopping cart is not only hanging down from the handlebar in my way, constantly knocking into my knee, but it also weighs a good amount of awful plastic I-hate-this-toy weight. And the stroller itself is sort of a beast, so... alright, now is when I start losing it.
Eleanore was there too, by the way. Walking silently and observantly next to me. I would have asked her to at least give me a hand and push the bulky plastic cart, but last time I did that, she made it less than a block before giving up. And really, to get it down and argue with her and listen to her whining would have just been too much work for me. So I powered through, folks. I rocked on. I pushed those kids THE ENTIRE WAY HOME... all caps totally necessary. It wasn't until the end of my street that a friend stepped in and gave me a two minute breather.
Evelyn took a nap the second we got home.
How'd the rest of the afternoon go? Oh, well my oldest did everything she purposely could to make her little brother cry (if I hear "fine, then you're not in my club" one more time- I'm deleting all clubs from the world, everywhere), I got bit by like 10 mosquitos (because nobody knows how to close the back door, ever), when I took the kids outside to play none of them actually went and played (because they were too busy fighting over who got to put on a dance show for me, or fighting over the one toy that the baby had, or fighting over who made it to the end of the sidewalk first, or... please just go play!), and then of course when its time to go back inside, nope, now they want to stay outside and play. Are. You. Kidding. Me? Put down the chalk that you've covered yourself from head to toe in, and come inside so that I can make dinner. Your dad is going to be home soon, and I don't know about you, but I'm hungry.
It takes me forever to get them inside. And they're all so filthy- dirt and chalk and pieces of sticks and flowers in their hair. And I'm pretty sure there were a few tree beetles living in Evelyn's curls? And now that I look around- my house is pretty disgusting too. ...time to freak out.
Into the bathroom, everyone! We're taking baths, right, now.
Oh, but the baby can walk now, so shes not taking a bath- shes playing in the toilet, and eating garbage. Why! No! Stop! ...I know you hate it, and I hate it, but- into the pack n play you go.
While the baby is gob gob'ing in the living room, I bathe the other 3 one at a time in the bathroom, quick as I can. But of course I get water in someones ear, and somebody else somehow snorts a gallon of soapy water through their nose while trying to hide from my washing their faces, and- why did you just step out of the tub behind me onto the bare floor, instead of onto the bathmat?? Now I'm soaked, the floor is soaked, and... can I trust you to run around the house naked without peeing on anything? Really? Can I?
So I dry off babies and send them on their way to pick up their rooms in exchange for me making them dinner. Obviously I'm going to make them dinner either way, but... they're falling for it. Kind of.
Oh wait, and before I forget- earlier when we got home from school, Eleanore announces loudly to me that "Santa Claus isn't real. Its you who hides all of the presents!". ...the icing on my crap day cake, my friends.
So now I can get Ruthie out of her baby prison, poor thing, but before I can make dinner, I realize I need to sit down and give her some one on one time- also, nourish her. MMM, organic strawberry banana pouch food. Shes gobbling it up. The other kids are running around the house naked, screaming and being totally crazy, not cleaning their rooms, when- you know how on movies, when someone pounds their fist down onto a bottle of ketchup or something, and it splatters all over someone else, and its totally funny and hilarious and hahahaha? ...that. Ruthie is fighting me to hold the pouch, and I'm going along with it, so long as she lets me help, but then she takes it, throws it down on the tray, and smashes it, all, over, me.
Its on my face. Its dripping down into my cleavage. On my shirt. On my skirt. In my hair.
And shes staring at me, wanting more food.
So you know what I do? Yep... I'm scooping it up off of my face, and feeding it to her off of my finger. I'm not letting this fruit pouch go to waste, heck no.
And then from down the hall, I hear a chorus of "Evelyn peed on the floor!!!".
...of, course, she, did.
I don't even know how I made the kids dinner. I know I did, because I remember burning my hand on a bowl that came out of the microwave, and I remember being mad at myself for even using the microwave in the first place, but- the moment my husband got home, I told him I was taking my computer and my cell phone and my everything into the bedroom, and made it very clear that I did not want to be bothered.
Unless its to bring me Xanax.
Which he did.
So here I sit. A sticky, sweaty, stinky, stressed out mess. I can smell myself, and not the pretty patchouli part, but the #ThatTotallyJustHappened part. And while I know that I really need a shower- oh my gosh you guys, so, so bad- what I really needed more, was time to sit down and contaminate my writing space with my word therapy.
Today attacked me.
But I fought back.
...so this, my dear husband, is why I never get a shower.
Because I'm too busy spilling my anxiety through taps on the keyboard and enjoying the feeling of the mattress supporting my weight rather than my feet.