This was how today unfolded, but it really could have been any weekend day. Just change around a few of the more random elements of it. The emotion and feelings of chaos, frustration, and despair are constant.
6:45. Rise and shine. Barry has probably been up for an hour, either working out or reading the newspaper. Cameron’s up watching TV in the living room. I’m left with a minimum of one kid and a dog. Today it’s Alex because he wouldn’t go to bed last night and stayed up until midnight watching the Cotton Bowl with me. Ideally he needed to sleep for at least another hour to stave off exhausted mood swings later in the day. But we are greeted by Justin, who isn’t content just to hop in bed with us, no, he literally has to hop on the bed, continuously, while bugging Penny, who also wants to sleep. Alex and I beg him to just go watch TV, but he says, “I wanna be with Penny.” He gets mad when she tries to get up, goes and retrieves her, locks her in with us.
Eventually he leaves and I hear Barry offer him four different choices for breakfast, none of which please his highness. By this time Alex wants to get up too, but I persuade him to stay and snuggle for a while, hoping to close my eyes for maybe ten more minutes.
But that’s not happening either. The door opens, Barry walks in, “Are you getting up?”
“No,” I said.
“Because Alex was up until midnight watching the game with me.”
“Did you guys win?”
I say nothing, just close my eyes.
“Did you come back?”
“What was the score?”
“I don’t know.” I’m clearly not in the mood for this conversation at the moment, but that does not seem to deter my husband.
“I thought you said you watched it?”
“I did. We lost by like 10.”
“That’s pretty good.”
“How is that good? We stunk up the first half and never recovered.”
“How do you make hash browns?”
“The directions are on the package.
“Do you use oil?”
“It says you have to flip them. Do you have to flip them?”
“Turn them over in the pan, yes.”
“Oh. All right.”
And after that painful bit of banter, off he goes to make hash browns for Justin. Of course now there is no hope for more sleep. So I decide to embrace the morning, and point out the beautiful orange and yellow sunrise to Alex.
“It’s not pink. I wanted PINK!”
And he’s crying. Because the sunrise wasn’t to his liking. This does not bode well for the rest of the day.
I get up and Cameron is watching The Simpsons Movie, which I have told him approximately one million times that he can’t watch. Barry offers Alex some hash browns, a mistake because he doesn’t like “those kind” of hash browns. And he’s over the sunrise, but now hysterical because they aren’t the right kind of has browns.
I lose it and shout, “Just ONE morning I would like to get up with people who aren’t acting completely INSANE!!! Is that too much to ask???”
I hear Barry all sighing at me for yelling. Whatever. Pot. Meet kettle. He agrees to make pancakes for Alex. This doesn’t go well because he uses too much oil, they’re not turning out right, he’s kvetching about it, and Alex doesn’t like them anyway because they have cranberries in them. More crying.
Alex comes over to help me hang up some clothes and is momentarily distracted. I find two plastic witch fingers from Halloween and throw them in the trash. Alex and Justin go in their room and play contentedly for a little while. Until Alex starts to scream. I go over to investigate, Alex accuses Justin of poking him with a “point.” Justin has a thumb tack. Apparently they were giving dolls shots with it, and Justin “accidentally” stuck Alex’s thumb. Now Justin and I are battling it out over a tack.
Meanwhile throughout the morning Penny has been stealing stuff because she’s apparently not getting enough attention. Mail, Alex’s dolls, Justin’s toys, my clothes, now she’s got another doll and hides under the bed with it. In between all of this, Cameron is following me around with his crossword puzzle book asking me about eight-letter words for “playground games” and three-letter words for “type of bread.”
Alex is excited to find the witch fingers in the trash can, fishes them out and is playing happily with them until Justin discovers him with them, claims ownership and demands them back. Even though he hasn’t laid eyes on them for the last two months. I ask Alex to give him one, as a compromise, but this is unsatisfactory to both parties, who both want sole custody of both of the fingers. A kicking match starts on my bed. I get fed up and throw them out of my room.
My internet connection is still sucky, which it has been for going on three days, with the phone company being unhelpful and stupid about it, first saying there is a neighborhood outage, then suggesting it’s a problem with my router, never providing a solution. Barry has spilled coffee grounds into his coffee pot.
Justin wants milk. I get it for him and he says he wants to pretend it’s coffee. Whatever. “Do you want some coffee?” he asks. I politely decline.
He asks Cameron. Cameron says no. He asks him again. Cameron again says no, and tells him he’s being stupid. Justin senses an opportunity. He asks him over and over if he wants coffee. Cameron hates this, can’t handle it, won’t ignore him and starts to chase him. Alex joins in the fun. And Alex over the last two days has upped the level of difficulty in his repertoire by somehow learning how to make a noise with his mouth that sounds exactly like a referee’s whistle. Same tone, shrillness, vibration, and volume. It’s truly amazing. And you can imagine how much we all enjoy it.
Cameron locks himself in the bathroom. Justin keeps bugging him in there until I announce that I have “HAD IT,” swat Justin on the ass and make them sit down on the couch and be quiet. That lasts for a good five minutes, as did an attempt at watching a movie together downstairs. Now they are back, we just had an incident with an apple. A show they want to watch is coming on. I’m praying for maybe 20 minutes of peace. Wish me luck. It’s only 10:27.
UPDATE: Didn’t even get two minutes of peace because Justin went downstairs and locked himself in Cameron’s room, and I hear desperate pleas for me to come down and help. I’m ignoring them.
© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2012