It's been one of those days. Not one of those oh-how-I-love-my-sweet-family days. The other kind. The really, really bad I-wonder-if-I could-ship-one-of-my-kids-away-in-a-well-ventilated-box kind of day.
Every person in our house had a full blown meltdown at one point or another. Maddie was first. We were at PetSmart. See, Parker's fish died last night. We performed the funeral [flushing] today. Gross, right? Yes, I allowed my son's dead, decaying fish to remain in his room an extra night because he wasn't quite ready to say goodbye, and I wasn't up for a fight last night. So today, we set out for the pet store. Maddie, whose fish is still living, wanted to know if she could get a seahorse. I explained we were replacing a dead fish, and when hers died, we'd do the same. This trip was for Parker. But please, mommy! Can't we just ask if they have them? Fine. Whatever. I just wanted to survive this outing with 4 kids ages 6 and under.
We find Parker's new fish and head to the check-out. But mommy, what about my seahorse? I suppressed a sigh and asked the cashier, "Do you happen to carry any seahorses that can survive in a regular fish bowl?" No. Shocking. Well, apparently it was shocking to Maddie who proceeded to wail so loudly, customers aisles away leaned out to see the show. Caleb began to stir in his car seat. Jack was heading for the door. People in the line behind us were waiting for us to move. Maddie stood her ground, head thrown back, exercising her diaphragm, "WAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!" I knelt, hugged her (perhaps a bit too tightly), and hissed in her ear, "I know you're disappointed. Me, too [slight lie]. But seahorses can't survive in fish bowls, and that's all we have. I'm sorry, honey. We have to go now." "WAAAAAA!!!!!!" She resembled that blond-haired muppet who would throw her head back to sing, hinged mouth gaping open. "WAAAAAA!!!" I pulled her out of the store, threatening loss of television if she continued and woke her baby brother.
So we finally get home and I go to clean out the fish bowl. One problem. I can't find the dead fish anywhere. Oh, I put it in a cup on my dresser. Of course. We say our goodbyes, flush, clean the fish bowl, and deposit our new friend inside.
The day crawls by. Thanks to my immobility while Caleb nurses (all the time), the kids have watched more TV in the past 3 weeks than they have in the past 3 years. I'm pretty sure their brains are liquefying and ready to ooze out of their little ears at any given moment. I decide any subsequent shows will be earned via academics (writing the alphabet, reading books, reviewing sight words). When I announce my new plan, the second meltdown of the day commences. Parker begins to sob about the injustice of it all. Real tears and all. He runs about the room and finally throws himself in a crying, sniveling heap behind the couch. *Sigh* Is it really only 11:00?
Feedings, diaper changes, lunch, and baths. I decide to extend an olive branch to the kids by allowing them to play with food-colored shaving cream in the tub... And that's when all hell broke loose. Jack had taken his bath and was running around the house, diaperless (a dangerous situation). Maddie was in our tub calling to me that she needed some [plastic] princesses. Caleb was crying. Parker was heading for the guest bath where Jack had bathed. Slip, splat, ow! Parker was laid out on his stomach on the bathroom floor where Jack had apparently dumped the majority of his bath water, or maybe it was pee. Who knows? I put Parker to work sopping up that mess while I chased Jack down with a diaper. I swaddled Caleb and called to Maddie that I would bring her princesses in a moment. Parker was in the tub, Caleb stopped crying. Where was Jack? Why was it so quiet all of a sudden?
I peek in Parker's room to find Jack on a stool, hand clutching the fish food container. No. No!!! The bowl is completely pink, the water thick with fish food. Our new fishy friend was no where to be seen.
Enter crazy mommy [meltdown #3].
I have had it. I lay Caleb on the floor and bellow, "Nooooo!" Pulling Jack off the stool, I rush the fish bowl to the bathroom. Commence cleaning...and crying. Followed by a hefty side of yelling. Now Jack has followed us into the bathroom and begun dumping fish food in the tub. "Bad Jack!" I yell and swat his (thankfully diapered) behind - which, by the way, I have never done to him. Ever. His eyes well up with tears, he begins to wail, and he runs from the room [meltdown #4]. Parker is yelling, "Is my new fish gonna die? Is it already dead?" Maddie is yelling about her princesses.
It's just been one of those days. I was pretty ugly today (inside and out). Running on empty. Not enough sleep and definitely not enough time with God. Maddie noticed it early this morning..."Mommy, why don't you take off your grumpy pants and go and pray?" "Good idea," I told her. The only problem is that some days, like today, it can be really, really hard to find the time and energy to pray. Thankfully Aaron arrived home just as I was measuring the cardboard boxes in the garage...Who offers the best rates for shipping children and how long would it take for them to arrive at Grandma's? I passed him the baby and headed for the shower. And I prayed, and cried, and prayed some more.
The result was unsurprising but miraculous all the same. 2 simple truths emerged: I am blessed (if ungrateful at times), and God is good. End of story. Good night!