Monday, June 05, 2006

Rotten weekends suck

Ah, the weekend. That peaceful time of rest and relaxation – a time to scrub from your skin the dirt and grit and slings and arrows of a long work-week, to bask in the glow of your loving family and cherished homestead.

Well. Sometimes, anyway.

This weekend…was not a great one around the Den of Chaos.

First of all, Captain Adventure has finally decided to burst into full-fledged Allergies. I'm ashamed to confess, my children get their allergies from me. Their daddy isn't allergic to anything that we've found yet. Me, I'm allergic to anything with fur and, from May through the end of July, will disintegrate into a pile of exploded sinuses and hives if I even think about going outside without taking my Loratadine tablets.

I'm not complaining, though. When I was their age, in addition to having to walk twelve miles barefoot through the snow uphill both ways to the pharmacy for a Primatene inhaler, a bottle of Visine and a box of Benadryl…they didn't really work, and I just wasn't allowed to leave the house from May through August 1. Being able to pop one of those 'no water needed' dissolving Alavert pills in the morning and be mostly OK through the rest of the day (as long as I don't overdo my exposure) – geez. I'm singin' the 'Freeeeeeeeeeeeedom!' song these days.

However. Captain Adventure is experiencing his first years as an Allergy Sufferer. Exploding sinuses. Ear infection from backed up snot. Rash. Itching all over his little body. Headache, I'm sure.

Not fun.

Naturally, he's been Temper Tantrum Boy for about a week.

So get the weekend. He is now taking two doses of white stuff for the ear infection, several daily doses of Children's Benadryl, Motrin and being slathered twice daily with a prescription cream for the rash. He feels like crap. (Mommy knows. Mommy has all the empathy in the world for this.)

We have a guest arrive Friday night. Mommy & Daddy & Guest have the babysitter come over Saturday so we can go be adults for a few hours (X-Men – I am still in love with Wolverine; Dark & Dangerous apparently remains my fantasy man-type, even though in real life I have chosen to marry a steady, gentle, reliable comedian-type who is about as "dark" and "brooding" as Cool Whip). Captain Adventure does not get a nap because the babysitter is not mommy or daddy, and he will not permit her to calm him to sleep. Logically, you'd think that if a toddler doesn't get a nap, he will hit the crib like a rock that night and sleep like a log.

Not Captain Adventure. When he doesn't get his nap, he becomes uber-hyper. So he's running around at 10:00, utterly unwilling to go to bed. Worse, when he does go to bed, he's so itchy and uncomfortable that he wakes up, repeatedly, screaming for attention. I broke down and cranked the AC up all night, because I know trying to sleep in a warm room with a rash is hell on earth. I try not to enjoy it too much, because in Real Life I'm way too cheap to keep my house a frosty 70 degrees all night.

So mommy and daddy play tag-team Coddle the Baby all night. I ended up taking the last few because daddy…wasn't doin' it right. Which is to stay, he very sensibly would rock him until he was dozing off and put him back in the crib. Mommy, fool that she is, would sit, and sit, and sit, until he was not only asleep, but his sinuses had drained enough that he was breathing more freely.

From 12:30 to 1:45. From 2:30 to 3:15. And then from 3:30 to 4:30 in the morning.

Then I went back to bed…and couldn't sleep. I lay awake, exhausted, aching all over, my own sinuses not too happy and my head pounding…thinking about all the things I needed to do and the logistics of this, that and the other and oh yeah, I wanted to build such and so table on this other server and then I can do a link-server thing to hook the two together and I need to remember that we're almost out of eggs and did I pay the water bill…?

The next morning I was so tired I literally crashed straight into a wall. Turned around and ran into it at a full charge, heading for the coffee maker. I've lived here for eight years, I knew the wall was there. But somehow…well…I forgot. And I walked into it. And it hurt.

Three triple-mochas later, I was still so tired I couldn't do anything but sit on my sofa staring straight ahead at Maisy while she tried to decide what they wanted to wear to Talulah's costume party. The dramatic moment when she realized that Eddie was also going to the party dressed as a queen (king?) was almost too much to bear! Whatever shall our heroine mousie do?!

We were supposed to go to a friend's son's birthday party yesterday. So we're getting ready to go and we realize that taking Captain Adventure anywhere is…pretty evil. For all concerned. He's in the kind of mood where he will go into full toddler meltdown because someone thought about touching a toy he was thinking about maybe playing with someday.

So eventually we decide that, between my own allergies not being so hot and Captain Adventure really not being fit for public appearances, I'd stay home with him while Daddy took the other three to the party.

Now, it gets really fun.

So I spent over an hour getting Captain Adventure happy. I finally got him settled down for a nice nap, got our houseguest (oh yeah, him) off on the road again. Took a shower – my first, by the way, in four days. It was just that kind of week. By the time I was un-kid-or-work-encumbered enough for a shower, I was too tired to do more than wash my face and feet and go to bed.

I took my shower and I came downstairs and said to myself, "You know what? I'm going to play my video game!"

So I turn on the baby monitor, make my fourth mocha of the day, go in and sit down and load up the game. I get twenty crummy minutes in and, right in the middle of taking out a lich, realize Eldest is standing at the office door sniffling.

What the…? A quick time check shows me that I have not fallen into some kind of wormhole and emerged eight hours later. The timing would have been something like this: Skid sideways into the driveway at their house, throw the gift out the window, turn around and drive home like a bat outta hell.

I asked her what happened, and she burst into tears and made sounds that vaguely resembled language.


Then, Danger Mouse walked into the house, sniffling and in her underwear.

And I knew.

Oh yes.

I knew precisely what had happened.

So I got Eldest and Boo Bug settled on the sofa watching cartoons, Danger Mouse into the tub armed with soap and a bottle of shampoo, and went outside where, sure enough, I found my husband hosing the vomit off every surface in the car.

Ironically, while I had been desperately holding onto my patience with both hands while trying to cuddle Captain Adventure out of his latest tantrum, resenting that he was off with the girls to the party having an ever-so-frolicsome time…he was actually stuck in horrific traffic with three bickering girl-children, one of them literally screaming at odd intervals until finally, when they were finally through the traffic and slightly more than halfway to the party, Danger Mouse had thrown up all over everything.

He'd had to strip her down to her underwear in front of God and everybody on the side of the road (and at six, she's old enough to be utterly humiliated by this and feel like Everybody in the World is staring at her), put all the vomit-encrusted stuff into the trunk, rearrange the seating such that everybody was appropriately belted and then decide: does he go on to the party and hope they can find clothes suitable for Danger Mouse to wear and do all the cleaning at the friend's house (they're good enough friends that he could have), or does he come home?

He came home.

Which was a good thing, because honestly – my children were horrible yesterday. I don't think it was just me being tired. They were noisy, squabbling little brats yesterday. They were picking at each other and me and anybody else they could get their vocabulary on, all day long. Boo Bug kept screaming when she couldn't keep up with the arguments verbally, which kept startling me and eventually gave me a noise-related headache.

It's so unusual for them that it really gets my attention when they are like this. Not only are they ordinarily rather well-behaved and polite little kids, they generally don't all act out at once. One kid at a time might be high maintenance – but not all four of them. Or two of them will squabble a little bit but subside quickly when reprimanded.

Not yesterday. Oh no. They fought like little tigers over everything. About 90% of our toys are currently in 'time out', which is how Mommy solves such issues. I don't try to play judge about who had which thing "first" or who got it as a present or anything. I give two warnings, and then I simply take the toy and put it in time out for a few days. End of problem. The kids have quickly learned to settle their differences quickly and quietly.

Smart kids are a beauty to behold.

But even the best of kids have their days, when they're grouchy and pissy – and when mommy and daddy aren't exactly on their game either, the chances of acting out about quadruple.

They were all disappointed not to have gone to the party; Eldest didn't feel particularly well both from having stayed up too late herself reading Harry Potter, and then daddy wouldn't let her play his video game; Danger Mouse was still feeling rocky and was just generally upset; Boo Bug was in A Mood for various reasons, not the least of which is that she is like a little emotional chameleon – she tends to reflect the emotions that are around her, and there was a lot of tension and ire in the house yesterday; Captain Adventure was a petty, 28-pound tyrant.

And then, I lost my cool about three hours into the siege and started just saying "NO!" to everything. Can I have some apple juice? NO! Can I play Don't Spill the Beans? NO! Can I go outside? NO! Can I play with nuclear waste? NO!!


Amazing what a good night's sleep can do, isn't it? Well. I'm still tired and cranky. But the kids are back to their usual cheerful selves. Even Captain Adventure, whose rash and ear infection finally seem to be coming under control, was beaming upon his servant with benevolent goodwill this morning. And packing away cinnamon bread with both hands.

Also, I would like to state for the record that I am very grateful for the staff of our daycare centers. Yes. You lovely ladies who take such excellent care of my children five days a week while I work to earn the money to pay you, who are unfailingly kind and fill their days with interesting projects to the point where they complain when they aren't going to school…you are shining angels of mercy.

I love you guys. {sniff} I really, really love you guys…

1 comment:

Moira said...

Well we missed you guys... and I think we had clothes for her... hand-me-downs from the bday boys sister... but wow!!! what a weekend.