“Today is gone. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.” Dr. Seuss
Ever wonder what it’s like living with 2e small children? Let me tell you about our day today. It was fun. It was crazy. It was heart stopping and scary. And it was tiring. Exhausting. Writing this blog post is the easiest thing I’ve done all day, because I get to sit down.
Once we fed the zoo their breakfast, the get-dressed roundup began. The Engineer says he gets “distracted” while dressing: his code word for trigger point. I haven’t figured it out yet, but it causes him to racket around the bathroom in various states of undress, pound on walls and doors, and generally act disorganized, unfocused, and misbehaving. Getting dressed can take 20 minutes unless I stand outside the door and remind him every 2 seconds of what he should be doing.
While I’m standing outside of the door, the Destroyer is standing on top of the tricycle trying to reach the light switches. He succeeds with a few, and then heads for the tablets on the counter. This time, the trike slips and he plummets. Screaming ensues. I abandon the door and go into nurse mode: no blood, no foul.
I tame the Princess’ hair and get her changed: at almost 4-years-old she can’t/won’t dress herself. No idea why. The Destroyer pounds on the door demanding a turn, and screams in frustration when I tell him to wait.
Once everyone is dressed, it’s shoes on and out to the car. We’re headed to the post office before we go to our Forest Exploration class. Today is perfect – sunny, warm, and not winter. A glorious day to be outside, and we’re not going to waste it. Especially since it’s going to snow tomorrow. I kid you not – from 70 degrees to 30 overnight.
The post office. Oh, the post office. How do I even describe the utter horror that awaits?
It’s a small post office. Cramped space, small counters, and a ton of stuff scattered all over. Why does a post office need a rack of special occasion cards? Do people stand in line and think, “hey, I’ll buy a Thinking Of You card for Grandma today!” That rack of cards is a magnet for the kids because it spins. Weeee!
We walk in, and my nerves start tingling. No one at the counter. That means…the bell. No, not the bell! Doom! It’s over before we even start.
I vaguely hope that if I let the Engineer ring the bell, it will be enough. It will satisfying his cravings for pushing buttons. Then, of course, I let the Princess ring it too, but hers is so quiet it’s not annoying. The Destroyer starts to get upset because he didn’t get a chance, but I can’t deal with that because I’m literally pulling the Engineer off of the bell. The post office officiant is giving me that wide-eyed stare that we get a lot out in public.
I quickly plop the envelopes on the counter and tell her that we need a stamp for Canada, then sprint to catch the Engineer. He wants to explore the mail slots. Then I catch the Destroyer, who wants to destroy the box section. The Princess just wants to prance her toy over the bubble wrap, but I can’t allow that because she’ll figure out it’s bubble wrap. Then…destruction.
I sit all 3 kids down on the floor and hand out fidget toys. The Engineer keeps making a break for it. Another parent and a small child come in and wait: the other kid keeps watching the Engineer escape with fascination.
I can’t keep chasing the Engineer because I have to pay, so I one-handedly get out my credit card, swipe, and sign while holding onto his jacket with an iron grip. He struggles, screams, flails, and fights to get free and escape. I apologize and grab the receipt to leave, then have to go retrieve the Destroyer from the box section again. While I’m doing that, the Engineer escapes to the door and I sprint after him. Finally, we make it outside without anyone dying.
Once we get outside the switch flips and he’s my Engineer again: smart, curious, and exhausted. It’s not even 10am yet.
We make it to Forest class early, so we stop at the golf course at the park for a bathroom break. I hand the Destroyer the keys to keep him from lying on the floor of the bathroom. While I’m trying to wash my hands, I hear the car alarm going off through the wall: he pressed the panic button and it reached all the way to the parking lot. I find out once we get back to the car that he also opened the side door, leaving my purse out in plain sight and easy reach. Sigh.
Time for Forest class. What could go wrong? We’re in nature, room to run, room to breath, right?
It’s a class of mixed ages, so it’s a challenge keeping everyone together. This time I brought the wagon so that the younger two could keep up when their low muscle tone made them tired. Unlike the other moms there, I can’t stay on the path and wait for the kids to come back after exploring the lake’s edge. No, if I turn my back for a second, the Destroyer walks out on the mud flat into the lake, the Princess climbs the precarious dead log, and the Engineer tries to walk the plank.
We hike, avoiding the brambles and playing catch-up to the group. All the way around, following the water’s edge, then back to the path. Once we reach the next stop around the corner, we go explore the mossy section. The Engineer’s best friend runs up and he rushes to meet her. I follow with the younger two, who need help getting over roots and through underbrush. By the time we get to the path they’re gone. I don’t see her mom either, so I assume they’re all together. I gather the wagon, and we head on down the path to meet back up with the group.
Once we get to the group, no Engineer. No friend. Her mom is looking for them, starting to get more panicked by the minute. I pick up the Destroyer and walk down the path a bit, looking and listening: no kids. We try to get the group together in one spot for a quick check: nothing. Two kids missing and no one knows where they went. I start to panic.
Her mom found them – they ran all the way down the path and onto someone’s private property, far out of yelling or visual distance. At least 1/4th of a mile, maybe more. Too far.
Once the search is over, I spend a few minutes yelling. I’m sure people in the parking lot across the lake can hear me. Everyone is relieved the kids are safe, but annoyed. I think maybe they believe me now when I say “special needs.”
The group leaves, we stay and have a picnic, sitting on a big rock. I need some time to recover. Our core little group walks back, with frequent stops to draw in the dirt and inspect likely looking rocks.
Let’s head home to safety. On the way home, the Engineer wants to do math problems. I’m so frazzled I tell him no.
The kids go to quiet time with their tablets. I spend the time researching GPS trackers for kids.
Quiet time is over. Chaos resumes. Before dinner I write in the state names on our huge Valentine’s Day wall map. We put hearts on the states we’ve gotten valentines from. It’s early yet, we should get more. The kids racket around the house and the younger two squabble over a toy.
Dinner, walk the dog, do the dishes. The sink is still full – what magic is this? The Engineer whines because I won’t let him use the last little bit of tape to build his popsicle stick creations. Drama and hysterics ensue! Mr. Genius steps in to calm him down.
I put the Destroyer to bed and leave the house. Personal needs compel an errand before the snow, and I pick up more tape for the Engineer. He’ll be happy when he gets up in the morning and sees his tape ready to go.
I leave the mess in the kitchen to deal with later and sit down to write this post. After this I have to get some schoolwork finished. I might get to bed by 12, but it’s not looking likely.
Snow day tomorrow. We’re staying home.