This morning was just insanity. We were running late for school, nobody’s fault just the usual – too many kids to motivate and well, yes I guess it was the baby’s fault because he had a tremendous poo when we were about five minutes from leaving. So I just had that rushed feeling even after the bell rang and the boys went scampering up to their lines.
I was breathing heavy from pushing the buggy filled with all six kids at top speed. Another care provider who also walks a bunch of kids to school walked by and saw me gasping for breath. She commiserated: “We shouldn’t have to do this every morning!”
We got back to the house and the kids wanted to stay outside and play. I had an article due on Friday so I took a paper copy outside to work on it. That doomed me right there. Ha ha ha ha!!! You think you’re going to get some WORK done! You think these children will entertain themselves, on the most beautiful day in months? Think again, you fool!!!!
Usually they will ride bikes and chase around the driveway for a good twenty minutes at least, if not more. But it wasn’t working. They were still mad at each other for fighting over who got out the door first (unless you address this directly, every day, with a line leader or door holder or something like that, you will have a battle every time you walk out the door).
So when Miss A found the empty chalk bucket she went after Miss R, who had put all the chalk in her shopping cart. In the meantime Miss M was happily riding a bike but tipped over pretty hard when she tried to follow someone onto the sidewalk and got her wheel stuck. So she was crying loud.
I calmed everybody down and thought about how to use the chalk. I was using an easel full of frozen rainwater to hold the fence up, which fell over in the windstorm the other day.
OK let’s just stop and analyze that sentence. No let’s not. Just accept that this is my life.
Miss A realized she could draw on the easel full of frozen rainwater so she grabbed the chalk and headed over there. Instantly three other girls were trying to crowd onto that one easel. So I went in the yard, dug out the two other easels, set them all up with their OWN chalk and their OWN easel, and they lost interest as soon as the boards were full of scribbles.
I decided to grab the walker for Mr. R because he’s getting better at walking on the driveway. I had two walkers last year, one for inside and one out. But I broke one of them trying to adjust the height for him – snapped it right in half. I don’t know my own strength.
The kids followed me to the porch to grab the walker, so now we were in front of the house and Miss M saw her dad leaving for work (they live across the street). She broke down crying, setting the twins off.
The twins were distraught. I hadn’t seen them like that for a while. But my hands were full of walker, and baby, and crying Miss M, so I quickly decided it was time to try something different: everyone into the yard! I was hoping to distract them, and anyway by now it was time for the baby to have a bottle.
I sat on the picnic table to feed him and the twins clambered up, trying to sit next to me. They fell because they forgot over the winter that the bench is not connected to the table and there’s a big hole there. This made them cry more.
Mr. R couldn’t eat now because he was distracted by all the bumping and crying. I tried to console the girls while carrying him, bottle in mouth, over to the swings. At least they couldn’t climb on us there.
But they followed me! Across the yard they came, faces contorted, and I could hear myself telling them, “Please don’t come over here to cry! Cry over there!!! I can’t hold you right now!!” I am a horrible person.
(Did I mention Mr. R was cranky because he fell asleep in the buggy on the walk home and someone poked him after 10 minutes so he had that catnap and then only half his usual morning sleep?)
So now I’m trying to finish giving the baby his bottle. I am sitting on the swing with Miss C standing between my legs and Miss D literally lying on the ground below me grabbing my feet, both of them wailing to be held.
In the meantime the two other girls decided to try the sandbox. They were flinging sand on each other’s new sneakers and yelling about it. Welcome to your life, Amy.
Mr. R finally finished the bottle and I was able to put everyone on the swings, which is usually the magic happy place. But it was not working. If they were out they wanted to get in, then they wanted to get down, or go higher, “Push me Amy push me!” HIGHER!!!!
I saw “The Blind Side” the other night. There’s a nice little scene where the gentle giant man is pushing these two sweet girls on the swings, and they are laughing and everyone is smiling and happy and I thought, that is so not based in reality.
Anyway it was the day I get to volunteer at the boys’ school, so Carol came to relieve me at 12:30. I started to explain what had been going on all morning and she put up her hand to stop me. All she said was, “So that’s why you look like that.” Thank you, Carol!
It used to be that I would blame myself for a day like today. If another grownup or parent came in I would be embarassed and take it on myself. I wasn’t focused enough, I didn’t do what I could to keep them entertained. Or I’d start explaining like crazy: she’s mad because so and so just took her toy and I was cleaning up snack and….
Now I know enough to say, you could have every plan in the world for a wonderful day and things can just go to hell. And there’s nothing you can do about it, even if you see it happening you can’t stop it. And guess what? You could be the best provider in the world but kids are kids. If they’re cranky they’re cranky and your song and dance isn’t going to change that. So just roll with it and know this: tomorrow is another day.