Yesterday was one of those days. You know the ones I mean.
A couple of kids were grumpy when they woke up so maneuvering them to get their chores done before school was more of a headache than usual. However, I did get everyone out the door on time and only one child continued to hang on to orneriness so that was something. I pretty much felt like Super Mom.
Then it was time to get Ellie and Logan ready for the day. Those two were already fighting with each other so I was hearing things like, "Ellie, don't sit on my head!" and "Mommy, he pushed my shirt!" ring through the house.
Our diaper holder was empty. I headed to Ellie's large walk in closet to grab a package of diapers and refill our stash, but what to my wondering eyes should appear...no, no reindeer, instead someone had decided to eat Frosted Flakes in the closet and now they were spread like confetti all over the place and smashed into the carpet after being walked on. I know those weren't there last night when I turned on the light for Ellie to go to sleep.
I threw them into clothes (the kids, not the Frosted Flakes...Logan decided to wear three shirts at once and got stuck halfway through the process of putting them all on so that was fun) and pulled Ellie's hair into the fasted ponytail every. I knew with all the fighting going on I would never really have the chance to clean up let alone get dressed for the day and clean the kitchen from breakfast etc.
So I decided to let the little ones watch a show so that maybe they would get along enough for me to get something done. We turned on Blues Clues and I headed upstairs to try to salvage the morning.
Only seconds later I heard angry screaming. So I hurried downstairs to find Ellie laying on the couch, itty bitty toes touching one armrest, arms extended over her head so that her wriggling fingers could just touch Logan who was stationed as far from her as possible huddling into the other armrest. She was laughing. Logan wasn't, and neither was I.
I scolded Ellie who obediently apologized to her brother. I took ALL of the couch pillows and piled them in the middle of the couch and then stationed one child on each of the two large couch cushions and told them to stay on their own sides. They both said ok. I should have seen through that.
I trudged back up the stairs. But only for a moment because the screaming started again. I exhaled hard and headed back down. From the stairs I could see Ellie lounging over the top of the pillow pile shaking her head back and forth and allowing her hair to cascade all over her furious older brother who was screaming, "GET YOUR HAIR OFF MY SIDE!" I got there just in time to then watch Logan smack Ellie in the nose several times. Great. Time out for everyone.
A little bit later (amid screams of "Mommy, I don't want to go to school!") we collected Gavin after his day at kindergarten. I only had to carry Ellie twice when she refused to walk and simply fell to the ground (in the middle of the parking lot both times...of course). Logan was more than happy to walk...or rather run...without paying one bit of attention to other people so I spent most of the jaunt to and from the classroom with a whimpering, completely limp two year old in my arms while apologizing to person after person that my four year old nearly bowled them over.
Lunch was relatively uneventful. Angels must have smiled down on us and known that I needed a moment. That or they were chuckling to themselves while they geared up for the circus that was to come.
I got everyone to bed and worked on a cutting/laminating project while they were snoozing. It was a beautiful moment.
Then they woke up.
Today was the day that we were planning to make Valentine's boxes for the coming school festivities. I showed you the fun tissue boxes turned toothy monsters that we decided to make. It should have been loads of fun.
I decided to get Gavin started before the other kids got home from school since he sometimes needs a bit more help. I covered the table with wax paper and filled his paint tray with his chosen colors. I got out the sponge brush for him to use and put a cup of water and come paper towels by his place so he could rinse and change colors.
I explained to G that with these sponge brushes you have to rinse them and then dry them really well or else you will make your colors all watery when you try to paint. He said he understood. I showed him how to rinse and dry the brush. He said ok. I went to the counter to start to get Logan's paints ready.
When I turned back around forty-three seconds later I found that Gavin had dipped his brush in the water before even starting to paint then he promptly shoved the dripping brush into the paint which was not running down the sides of the tissue box and all over the table (since he had carefully set the wax paper to the side so it wouldn't be in the way while he painted). He couldn't understand why I looked exasperated (didn't we JUST go over this?).
What the heck!
I would rinse his brush and he could use another color.
For Logan, I got out a set of pre-packaged paints (you know, the kind that come in tiny plastic cups, all connected together with flip top lids). I showed Logan how to rinse his perfectly normal paint brush in water before dipping the head into another color. He said ok. I had learned from Gavin so I stood by him as he started painting. He dipped his brush into the blue and spread the color on the paper (he is not painting a box as he doesn't need one for pre-school). He then rinsed his brush in the water, dabbed it on the paper towel and then dipped the brush into the red and began to create with that. I was satisfied.
I headed to the bedroom to grab a plastic shirt cover for Ellie so that I could set her up to paint. By the time I got back Logan was smiling triumphantly at me. I was suspicious.
"Ha ha, Mom, I didn't rinse my brush!"
Sure enough each of the paint colors now had a brush sized dob of another paint color right in the middle of it. He'd mixed them all...on purpose. Little stinker.
I immediately decided that Ellie wasn't going to get the chance to paint after all. I didn't need one more disaster.
I told Logan that if I couldn't trust him to paint nicely then he couldn't paint at all. I took his paints and started to clean up his mess.
While I was at the sink with my back turned, Ellie sensed telepathically that I was planning to renege on her painting opportunities so she took matters into her own hands. Since Gavin had recently vacated his spot while waiting for paint to dry, she climbed into his place and got all artistic. When I turned around her hands were smothered in dark purple paint and the sticky remnants of her picture were running down the wall and all over the chair.
There was not one drop of paint on her clothes. I guess I didn't need the plastic shirt protector after all.
I cleaned up...some more. I was no longer in the mood to help my children work on their Valentine's boxes.
Unfortunately for me, the older kids came home from school just at that moment and were thrilled to see that they were going to get to paint too. I just couldn't bring myself to say I had had enough already and we would have to paint another time, so I set them up with paint and brushes and boxes.
Aubrey wanted to make a mailbox type container instead of a monster. So we dug up some extra cardboard and I helped her figure out the pieces she would need. She cut and we taped and glued until it looked right. Since there was exposed packing tape to help hold it together, I knew we needed to use paint other than the acrylics I had on hand (they just don't stick to things like that well). We found some red spray paint and headed to the back yard to spruce up her masterpiece.
When I came back in I cleaned up what was left of the kitchen catastrophe from before (oh blessed older boys, thank you for putting most of your own painting tools away). Then I made dinner. I was very much looking forward to getting out of the house to do Relief Society visits (every Tuesday).
I left. I knew Josh could handle things while I was gone.
I got home (30 minutes later) just as Josh was heading out the door to take Bryce to basketball practice. He was literally getting in the car as I headed up the walk. I walked in and was immediately bombarded with shouts of "Mom, can you get me more food?" and "Can I finish painting my box now?"
I refilled plates and then explained to my nine year old daughter that when everyone is at the table eating it is not a good time to paint a Valentine's box. She was angry at me. She headed to her sister's closet to pout. I hope she didn't moosh the Frosted Flakes any more (I still hadn't finished cleaning those up).
I got dinner. I was the only one left at the table. It might have been peaceful except for the wrestling/fighting/crying going on in the next room.
I started the kids on their after dinner chores and scooped up the two youngest for their baths. We washed little armpits and scrubbed hair and then tumbled into the living room for bedtime. Josh was back by then so he read the scriptures and story for us while I wrangled kids who all seemed to want to be on my lap at once.
When it was time to go pick Bryce up from basketball, I volunteered. The drive to the rec center was blissful. No one yelled at me and there was no paint involved.
I listened to Bryce tell me all about practice on the way home. I am glad he is loving basketball and working so hard. We pulled into the driveway and he got out. I didn't. He started to walk to the door, then noticed that I wasn't there so he came back to the car. He asked if I was coming. I said no, he could go ahead. I was going to stay in the car.
Josh came out to check on me. I was listening to the news. He asked if I was ok. I said yes, but I wasn't coming in until after 8:30 because then everyone would be in bed. It was only 17 more minutes. Josh laughed at me, but he understood. We stayed in the car together and at 8:32 we went into the house.
Everyone was in the proper bedroom...except for Ellie who had escaped while our guard was down. I re stationed her in her room, turned on the closet light (never did get those Frosted Flakes cleaned up), and kissed her tiny head. She whispered, "I love my mommy," as I slipped out of the room.
And you know what. I love her too. I love them all. But I was awfully grateful that that day was done. Some days are just like that.