Last night was one of those perfect storm nights. You know the ones where everything comes together to make for a perfectly stress filled evening! So, let me set the scene for you…
I walk the boys home from school every afternoon (which is fabulous…no carpool line!!) and we arrive home at 4:00. The girls eat their afternoon snack in the stroller on the way to school. Yesterday they had black bell pepper, black olives and broccoli all drizzled with olive oil and sea salt along with a fig stuffed with a cashew. I give them just enough to avoid any blood sugar related meltdowns but not too much to spoil dinner. I bring a full water bottle so the boys can hydrate on the way home because for some reason it is still too much for them to remember to drink water at school. They leave school bursting with energy ready to run and play, tell me every bit of information they learned during the day and give their sisters hugs and kisses. AWESOME! I absolutely love it. Now, we have a joyous 15 minute walk home. Usually their two jobs are to put their shoes on the shelf in the garage and wash their hands. This is typically not too overwhelming and usually half way followed through with. The shoes usually land somewhere near the rack (I’ll take it) and they wash their hands for the minimum approved count to 10…top, bottom and in between.
Yesterday, I knew the girls are still not 100% recovered from their cold and I needed to get them in bed early. That is easiest to do if the boys have an early shower because the noise from the shower won’t wake them. Now, getting the boys into an early shower requires some trickery….So I pulled a little mommy lie/story and took advantage of the dark clouds and the boys love for storms. I told them that a big storm was coming and they needed to take a shower before it started to lightening, SUCCESS! They ran straight upstairs and got into the shower. Once they were out, I bathed Madelyn and Annabelle together. Having all four showered before dinner somehow makes me feel a bit more relaxed.
By this time it was 4:30 and time was ticking on the boy’s hunger scale. You know what I mean? You have to time it just right, don’t wait too long for dinner or they want a snack but don’t serve dinner too early or it’s a snack fest until bed. I settled everyone into an activity so I could take apart the lunch boxes and snack bags and wash the lunch containers. The activity lasted about 5 minutes and then they bursting energy came out again. The kitchen/family room became a race track with the island where I was working to assemble today’s lunches became the turn around. Now, I will say this…if I was a participant in this excitement that would be fantastic fun. But, I am not a participant because the time clock is ticking to have all tasks completed and ready to go. I redirected attention to new ideas even thinking games, like guess what animal I am thinking of about ten times before I caved and turned on the TV. Shame on me…but I let Curious George help me out. Another SUCCESS! Quiet for the time being.
I had a breath of fresh air with quiet for the time being which allowed me to focus on assembling the lunches, put the dishes away and getting the dinner plates ready.
Now again this peace was rapidly fading as the hunger started to become more urgent and antsy littles started finding entertainment in irritating each other. Finally, I had the lunches ready and in the refrigerator, dinner bowls assembled and it was time to round up the kids to sit down for dinner…5:00.
Dinner leftovers from the night before were shrimp, mushrooms, carrots snow peas and lots of garlic over cauliflower rice with a coconut ginger sauce. I added some marinated beef heart on top because I did not have enough shrimp to satisfy everyone.
Once Cameron settled in at the table, the girls threw a fit and did not want to leave the comfort of their pillow pile they had made. It truly sounded like a jungle in our house…BIG EMOTIONS and LOUD voices!
So, I quickly thought…natural calm for me, thank you! And, kombucha for the kiddos! I asked William who was lingering on the couch to go out to the garage and bring in a jar of kombucha. Well, that started another thing, Cameron wanted to be the helper and beat William to the door. William defended his duty by pinching Cameron’s cheek, his signature move. Cameron screamed, “Owww! Mommy, he pinched my face!” William turned into some sort of a ninja and started getting into a fighting stance while Cameron reminded me of the Taekwando home rule, no hitting. All of this noise set the girls off again. Now, Annabelle had found an imaginary boo boo and was demanding an ice pack and a band aid.
I found myself gently singing, “it’s countdown to calm down, 5-4-3-2-1”. Nobody was listening, I just thought channeling the peace and calm of Daniel Tiger’s neighborhood would somehow have an affect on the chaos in front of me. Do you ever do that? Just say things because it makes you feel better, knowing that it is have absolutely no impact on the situation? 🙂
Finally the kombucha somehow arrived in the kitchen and I got everyone to the table with a glass in front of them. It was a mooch miracle! Smiles all around. Somehow the combo of fizzy, sweet probiotic rich goodness settled their chaos. I read them a book to make sure our stress hormones were in check before brining out the fabulous dinner bowls.
I will say this, if you are a mom with one or more kids, you know that their big, huge emotional surges are like a roller coaster ride. Keeping calm and focused during these crazy times sometimes takes an act of a higher power. At least for me! The evening did not end there.
Dinner dissolved quickly with the girls demanding something different after they had eaten everything they liked. Now, I don’t make two dinners…ever! You eat what is in front of you or you can wait until breakfast. Mean, I know. But, they triggered the boy which caused a rapid devolving of dinner civility. So, I picked up plates, Kevin did the dishes and everyone got a clean up job. Cameron vacuumed, William picked up the family room and the girls pulled all of the kitchen towels out of the drawer and refolded them.
Finally, it was almost bedtime! One thing that gave me peace…nobody needed a bath!
Until next time…from the house of chaos!