I made it to Thursday of March Break, and I wasn’t just surviving, I was thriving. The kids were behaving! We were doing enriching activities every day! My kids were going to bed on time every night and sleeping peacefully and well!
I HAD THIS THING CASED, YO.
Then came Thursday.
Woke up to a windy, noisy, rain-soaked world – the snowstorm that paralyzed the northeast arrived in Halifax as rain. The sky didn’t ever really lighten. George threw a warbler at breakfast because I said he could have toaster waffles – a rare treat – and he was very excited by that but he didn’t want me to put them in the toaster. I caught the cat pissing in the bathtub and both older boys needed to be dragged protesting out of bed even though I know they will both be up and raring to go by 6:20 on Saturday morning, trying to dig through their Lego bins “quietly” even though such a thing is actually impossible.
Pixie arrived full of complaints about her hair, and her rainboots, and the fact that her parents didn’t read her preschool library book to her. Louis brought cupcakes to celebrate his 4th birthday today, which is really sweet, except that he wouldn’t stop talking about the cupcakes and so every ten minutes for FOUR AND A HALF HOURS I had this conversation with George:
G: Kin I have a CUPCAKE?
Me: Not until after lunch.
G: Kin I have lunch?
Me: It’s not lunchtime yet.
G: But, kin I have a cupcake PWEEEEEEEASE?
Me: No, buddy.
G: *hysterical wailing*
In order to catch up on the chores I’ve been neglecting all week in the interests of providing Enriching Experiences for the children, I turned a blind eye to the three big boys role-playing Plants vs. Zombies with the toddlers, even though they were breaking all kinds of my usual rules. (Screaming! Running! Killing! It was a free-for-all.)
I vacuumed. I moved the furniture in the living room and tried not to die of shame when I saw all the slut’s wool that was hiding under there. I wondered briefly how my dog isn’t bald, since it appears that all of his fur is in long rolls under my couch and loveseat.
I started catching up on laundry. I ran a load and used up the last of a bottle of laundry detergent, but I wasn’t worried, because I’d bought two bottles on sale some time ago. BOGO, I live for it. My smug feelings continued until I loaded up the washer again, opened the bottle, and poured out… fabric softener. Scented fabric softener, no less, which I never use because it makes me both sneeze and itch. THANK GOODNESS I BOUGHT TWO BOTTLES THOUGH, MY STARS.
I loaded up the van in the pouring rain – all the kids but Harry, because he’s the only one old enough to stay home alone for a few minutes and I needed the space for all the carseats – to go pick Louis and Pixie up at preschool. As they were running around in the community centre, one of the moms said “are you ready for March Break to be over yet?” and as I concurred, another mom said:
Swear to god. Ignoring the fact that summer vacation involves water guns, wading pools, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, sandboxes, bicycles, tricycles, tree-climbing, picnics, playgrounds… whereas March Break involves half-melted dogshit, ice, freezing rain, and misery.
Lunch was a nightmare, because all the kids knew about the cupcakes, and they were desperately trying to “save room” for the junk food. It took forever. The last mouthful was swallowed at about five minutes to naptime.
I settled everyone in their usual arrangements for sleeping, and after half an hour I needed to readjust, because jacked-on-sugar Daisy refused to sleep, instead choosing to jump up and down on her bed while yelling “wake up, Louis!”
Finally the littles were all asleep, or at least quiet. Then the big kids started sniping at one another, probably because it’s day four and despite my efforts to encourage them to play not-together for a while, they insist on constantly crowding one another. Today they were taking it in turn to play WiiFit, which normally is not a problem, but this afternoon one would play while the other two bossed him around.
(Aside: I will never and have never called an assertive child ‘bossy’. I could be a bossy twerp when I was a kid, and although it wasn’t always easy to hear I remain forever grateful to the teachers, parents, and friends who pointed out when I was crossing the line from “showing leadership” to “being an almighty bossy pain in the ass”. Methinks Sheryl Sandberg and Beyonce have too much goddamn time on their hands if this is the hill they’ve chosen to die on.)
Naptime ended with more noise than usual. Louis started whining that he wanted to go home for his birthday party. Pixie threw a tantrum because I wouldn’t tie a ribbon tightly around neck. Daisy spent THIRTY-FIVE MINUTES on the potty laying down the largest, grossest, most revolting turd I’ve ever seen in my life – I had to open windows and light scented candles to try and drive away the stench, which actually made my eyes water. George peed in his pants, the dog upset his water dish, and Michael called at 5:25 to ask me how my day went. (Poor man, he probably felt like he’d accidentally stepped in a hornet’s nest.)
And just now – JUST NOW AS GOD IS MY WITNESS – I looked out the window and it’s fucking snowing, meaning that all the rain everywhere on the roads is going to freeze, and my half-formed plans to take the boys out to pick up some supplies for tomorrow are dead before they even had a chance to live.