Sooo… About Yesterday…. Lord Have Mercy

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This photo was taken a few minutes after one of them fell down those stairs … and the dog tried to eat the underwear. We’re good.

As my southern Grandma used to say under her breath, “Lord have mercy!” (And when we say that, we are not using the Lord’s name in vain, because we only say it when we are SERIOUSLY IN NEED OF ASSISTANCE.)

I’m not sure I even believe all the things that happened yesterday. It was so bad, it should have been funny. But I didn’t have time to laugh.

I did the mom-juggle of getting one kid on the bus while caring for/ ignoring the other two. Once he was on the bus, I focused on the twins… Wait.

You know what? I’m just gonna bullet point this one. No use writing it all out nice and neat, because the day was not nice and neat. It was bullet points of pee, poop, nearly-grave injury, and a long relationship with the Social Services office. Here we go, in chronological order:

  • While trying to get ready for the gym (don’t make fun – I’m repairing the damage the twins did to me with strength training classes), Twin B started bawling because he “just wanted to play” instead of going to the most awesome gym daycare in the whole world. Seriously, it has a three-story climbing maze thing and skylights. Kid, your First World Problem problem is showing.
  • I finally got him calmed down by promising him he could bring two monster trucks in the car. I then sent Twin A into the garage to keep himself busy by trying to buckle his seatbelt with no assistance; I sent Twin B into the bathroom for one last pee before leaving.
  • What is taking him so long? Ah. There it is. Pee had sprayed everywhere. When I say everywhere, I mean everywhere. Toilet, clothes, floor, wall, door. If it was in that bathroom, it was soaked.
  • Tried to clean him up, change him, clean the bathroom, and keep the dog away, all without damaging his already-fragile emotional state. Meanwhile, good ole steady Twin A was still trying to buckle his seatbelt in the garage, while occasionally shouting good-natured updates on his progress.
  • Got everyone in the van, and into the gym, and was extremely late to my strength training class. (First World Problem, I know. Not complaining.) I did humor the instructor by explaining exactly why I was late. The consequence of being that late was that I was the very last one left in class after everyone had completed their circuits. I may or may not have shouted to the last person to leave, “Don’t leave me alone with him!” My trainer had plenty of time to focus on me and what I’m doing wrong and how much harder I need to work. Plus, it was super awk-weird. Thanks, Twin B.
  • When leaving the gym, we needed to “swing by” the county Social Services office. Yeah, so, I learned that you don’t just “swing by” the Social Services office. Especially when you have potty training kids. And, may I just say, the twins were strangely silenced by the angry people shouting into the intercom thing at the caseworkers behind the glass. Good thing, too, because we waited in that line for 40 minutes. A small child terrorized my twins so badly while in line, I shook my finger at him and said “NO!” when he began beating on one of them. The other mothers in line nodded their approval at me. Finally got to the front of the line and got my paperwork.
  • Leaving the Social Services office, feeling grateful for the sunshine and the mostly-well-behaved children trailing behind me, I optimistically announced that they deserved some rare McDonald’s for lunch. But I’m not crazy enough to let them into a restaurant. We definitely went through the drive-though.
  • Got home, ready to relax with my adorable children and some well-deserved french fries, and realized that I needed to call a social services number for a certain question about this paperwork that I should have asked the lady behind the glass. Have you ever called any Social Services number? Yeah, I was stuck on a “menu option” recorded message for six minutes. Then on hold for about 20. Then got through to someone and got a bad answer to my question. Meanwhile, twins finished their food and began to fight. I threw some letter stickers at them.
  • Realized I had to call our caseworker. She called back when the twins were fighting worse. Of course. I hid in the bathroom and try to hear her. She told me that the paper I needed wasn’t at the Social Services office that I just stood in line for 40 minutes with twins to get, but instead is already filled out and in my possession. “Remember when we filled that out together in November?” She’s right. I remembered. My brain sputtered.
  • I send the twins upstairs for “quiet time”, which really means, “beat each other up more quietly so momma doesn’t actually know you’re fighting” time. I needed to focus on finding this paperwork. I am a lifelong pile-maker. I just cannot, cannot, manage my paperwork. I am an otherwise organized and responsible person, though, I swear.
  • I began to tear through my piles – first quickly, superficially, then back through the piles again more slowly and systematically. My hands began to shake as I realized just how irresponsible it was that I had lost this paperwork. I AM NOT THIS PERSON.
  • My mind began to sabotage me by yelling things in my head like, “WHAT KIND OF MOTHER LOSES THIS KIND OF PAPERWORK FOR A SPECIAL NEEDS CHILD?” I started to cry. I knelt down in my mess of papers and prayed. I told the Lord that I might not be worthy of his help, but my special needs child was, and please help me find this for my son’s sake.
  • I resumed the search. I tore through paper piles in the kitchen, the master bedroom, and even in the garage. Nothing. Nothing but tears and my own shame.
  • Suddenly, without thinking, I calmly walked into the TV room, pulled a binder off the bookshelf labeled “IEP”, and saw the paperwork. All of it. I really had no memory of deciding to walk into that room, or thinking about any IEP binder. I still have no idea why it was even in there. My body just found it. You can call it muscle memory, or a subconscious memory… or you can call it an answer to a prayer. I know what I call it.
  • I sank to the floor with gratitude. I put my forehead to the laminate and offered a prayer of thanks.
  • “Momma, can you check my underwear for poop?” yelled one twin, while the other twin simultaneously yelled, “I have to go pee-pee!”
  • I raised my head from my laminate. I shouted up the stairs to the poop problem, “Come down here right now!” and then yelled to the pee problem, “Well, go to the potty up there right now!”
  • One twin shuffled down to me, and I put him on the hall bath toilet. The other twin got on the upstairs toilet. I got to work cleaning up the messy underwear and kid, while trying to shoo the huge dog away.
  • THUD THUD THUD THUD THUD THUD THUD THUD WAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!
  • A twin had fallen down the stairs. The wooden stairs. All of them. And landed at my feet, right beside the hall bath toilet.
  • I think I was screaming. I’m not sure. My brain was already working the motherhood miracle of simultaneously scanning for injuries, considering the needs of the other twin, plotting a 911 call or a minivan race to the hospital, and also, of course, the dog who wants to eat the poopy underwear on the floor.
  • Within milliseconds, I was holding the fallen twin in my arms, trying to snuggle him while flipping him all over for injuries. He was screaming. Open the mouth, move the hair all around, lift the shirt, squeeze and turn the ankles and wrists, and burrow that poor child into my bony chest. He was okay. How?!
  • And I had poop on my right hand. Why?!
  • And the other twin was off the potty, with a not-yet-clean bottom, desperate to check on his brother.
  • And the dog was nosing at the poopy underwear.
  • We sat like that for a while. I tried to keep my poop hand in the air and snuggle and fix boo-boos with just my clean hand. I told the other twin not to sit down. For heaven’s sake, DON’T SIT DOWN. I yelled at the dog. She’s deaf, though. Oh well.
  • Finally, the fallen twin was able to get up. Through tears and sniffles, he explained to me what happened. He had been standing on the next-to the top stair, backwards, while trying to balance on one foot. HAVE I TAUGHT YOU NOTHING? NOTHING AT ALL?!
  • I resumed cleaning the soiled twin. I got the soiled clothes to the laundry room. (“Laundry room”? Who am I kidding? The laundry closet.)
  • WE HAVE TO GET TO THE GROCERY STORE!!! We are so late! If we didn’t leave then, we wouldn’t be back in time for their brother’s bus. (Mom Math.) The twins had been softened by their recent escapades, and we successfully brought back groceries for six people who eat like grown men. They even helped me unload and put everything in the pantry, including the bacon and milk.
  • The bus arrived. My three boys fought each other for a while outside in the fresh air. They soaked up some Vitamin D while beating an old Christmas wreath to death with large sticks and then running it over with various wheeled vehicles. Then they worked together as a team to hurl it, discus-like, across the yard an impressive distance.
  • My husband got home late. He had had a bad day at work. I listened sympathetically. I love him and for real don’t want him to have bad days. I hugged him tight.
  • He said, “So did you guys do anything today?”

Lord, have mercy.

But he did have mercy. Maybe not on me, but certainly on my twin who fell down the stairs. Much like that time my son fell off the deck while peeing and landed naked on a rock, this child was miraculously fine. I cannot fathom how he could not have been injured. I witnessed the somersaults down the last three of those steps – there is no way he should be okay.

There are angels watching over our little ones. And these children are made of rubber. The Lord did have mercy.

I’m so tired.

My First-World Problems

1) My kids won’t eat the quinoa kale patties I made for them.
2) My dryer broke.
3) My kids got sick from the gym.
4) My twins were fighting during nap, so I put one of them in the guest room.
5) My husband has to travel again for business.
6) I don’t want to unload the dishwasher.
7) We can’t afford the two new AC systems we need.
8) My jetted tub is old and made my warm bath water rusty.
9) Our house needed a second Wi-Fi router.
10) Someone left the bread bag open and now the bread is stale.
11) My Birkenstocks cracked.
12) I can’t schedule that particular doctor appointment online.
13) We didn’t finish those leftovers before they went bad and I had to throw them away.
14) I can’t decide which Pinterest chore chart to make for my kids.
15) My husband parked too close to me in the garage.
16) This water is taking forever to heat up from the faucet.
17) My headphones keep getting tangled at the gym.
18) These disposable diapers are giving my twins diaper rash.
19) Those people taking selfies at the gym are so annoying.
20) This 36-pack of waters from Costco is so heavy! Sheesh.
21) _______Your snark here_________  (insert your best First-World Problem in the comments below)

Life is so annoying! Dang! Some people call these “white people problems”, but, alas, let’s stick to “first-world problems”. However you slice it, I’m a spoiled jerk!

When Vacation Isn’t

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(Please note that I am sinking into the sand here. I told you I never carry both of them.)

Woe is me: my beach vacation was hard! Just before I packed my 3 diapered children off to the beach, I saw an article from The Onion entitled “Mom Spends Beach Vacation Assuming All Household Duties In Closer Proximity To Ocean”. I actually elle-oh-elled. (Okay, I’m totally snorting while reading it again right now.) The last line is, “At press time, [mom]  was reportedly busy preparing a meal identical to what she would have made back home, except that she planned to serve it on paper plates.”

Oh, this is such a First World Problem. (Or, as my college roommate would say, “A White Person Problem”.) I suck. I will complain about my vacation when most people don’t even get vacations. Let me serve some cheese with my whine. Or get out my mini-violin. Go get your tissues, people, this is gonna be a tearjerker!

My mom always said, “Why would anyone want to stay in a beach house instead of a motel? If I wanted to makes beds and do dishes and cook, I would’ve stayed home.” I guess she wrote that Onion article.

Mr. Okayest and I were a perfectly matched beach couple. We both liked to spend all day (and I mean all day) on the beach. We read books, we napped until we were too hot to breathe, and then we jumped in the ocean and kissed between dodging waves. Repeat. At night, we went out to dinner and took moonlit walks and dared each other to swim in the black ocean. We did this for years and years, and it was the one thing that I loved about not having children. (Maybe the other thing would have been my Mormon Nap after church on Sundays.) I think the beach was the one place I felt content without children.

Fast forward a decade.

Woe is me. In addition to normal vacation gear, I had to pack formula, baby food, a potty seat, a stool, two high chairs, two pack n’ plays, a baby gate, three floaties, one blankie, diapers, pull-ups, night diapers, swim diapers, and wipes for the beach. I had to spend the first sunny morning shopping at the Food Lion with my cousin. I had to plan and prepare dinners and lunches that would appeal to six kids, ages six and under. I had to keep all my children from drowning, burning, or dehydrating. I had to convince all my children to sleep in a strange place because this is fun. I had to do dishes and wash bottles and clean the dang floor under the high chairs three times a day, because we didn’t bring the dog along to do it for me!

Woe is me. I hauled cranky children into the house for every lunchtime and naptime (2 twins x 2 naps per day). I hauled slimey suncreened children back out of the house for every beach time, praying that they didn’t pee on me while they were smooshed into their too-tight pee-through swim diapers. I dealt with vacation-inspired diaper rash so bad that it called the doctor all by itself. I had to bathe my children way more than I ever do at home, because of the sand/ diaper rash/ sunscreen patina. I had to let my oldest kid get knocked down by a wave so he would have a healthy fear of the ocean.

You know what? SO WORTH IT!

So worth it: Mr. Okayest was with us for days on end – no work, no grad school, no homework, no car repairs or house repairs, and, oh yeah,  no house chores that he has to do because his wife didn’t. (At home, I call myself a “garage widow”.) I loved having his help with the babies, but mostly I just loved seeing his tanned, scruffy, beautiful face all day, every day. I miss his face when he goes to work.

So worth it: my serious introverted toddler actually had fun. Fun. This kid can sometimes go an entire day without smiling….but here, at the beach with his cousins, he was laughing. He was running and jumping and splashing and sand-castle-building and pretending weird things.

So worth it: My kids slept better in a strange place than they do at home. Must have been all that sunshine. And all those rowdy cousins.

So worth it: I did get to swim in the ocean with my husband a few times (i.e., he threw me in) because there were more adults back on the beach to help out. I did get to sneak out to dinner and go on romantic moonlit walks on the beach with my husband after the kids went to bed, because there were more adults back at the house to stay with the kids. It had been a loooong time.

***

And, lest I forget, here are three more vacation-related things for which I am grateful:
1) We did not get evacuated for a hurricane this year. We were actually evacuated two years in a row.
2) I was not on bedrest this year. Thankfully my cousin bought out our share of the beach vacation last year, after the doctor forbade me to go.
3) Most importantly, we are not the owners of that beach house. It was falling into the ocean – much like the one we rented last year, which has fallen into the ocean.

 condemned