Every morning has its snags. This particular one last Monday, however, reached comical proportions.
We had just come back from a weekend stay at my uncle-in-law’s Cape House. I’ve often found that after a vacation, however small, the boys are out of sorts upon their return. I thought a night in their own beds would help. It didn’t.
Peter woke up too early, at 5:50am. Not deadly in and of itself. He started demanding things. “I want tea!” “I want Backyardigans!” Reminders to remember his please’s were grudgingly accepted. Jack came downstairs shortly thereafter and started the same routine. I offered them breakfast but they just wanted tea. Since the exterminator was coming over at 8am to take care of a mouse problem, Katherine was awake early and offered to take on breakfast while I showered. Exterminator arrives, throwing more chaos into the mix as Katherine serves breakfast and the boys just want to follow him around.
Eventually, Jack wolfed down most of his egg, but Peter refused to eat. As usual, I was able to get Peter to eat by pretending to steal the food from my plate and eat it myself, which prompts him to eat it off my fork before it gets to my mouth. While I was helping Peter eat breakfast, a hyperactive Jack danced over and grabbed my fork-hand. I stabbed Peter in the cheek with my fork. Ouch! Upset that I had hurt the now crying Peter, and angry at Jack, I snapped at him: “What are you doing?! You have to be more careful! You hurt Peter.”
Then things began to snowball.
Whenever Jack does something wrong, and he knows he did something wrong, and he wishes he could take it back… he blows up. Jack, clearly scared about having hurt Peter, and upset that I yelled at him, melted down. Crying, grabbing hold of Mama, and wailing, Jack was inconsolable as I tried to calm him down and apologize for yelling. Peter, meanwhile, with no actual holes in his cheek, stopped crying and continued eating breakfast. At this point Jack decided that he did NOT want to go to the gym, that he wanted to stay home — not an option with Katherine’s workout and the exterminator.
We focus on just getting them out of the house so Katherine can make it to the gym with them. (A sitter watches them in a room filled with toys they don’t have at home while Katherine works out. It’s pretty much a win for everybody.) We wrestle Peter into the car. While we’re packing up gym bags, cleaning the kitchen, and getting shoes on, an almost calm Jack comes back into the kitchen. “Look at my hair,” he beams. He’s decided that putting silly putty in his hair would be funny. It’s actually more like gum. We spend 5 minutes trying to pull the silly putty out of his hair using an ice cube while Jack begins howling, realizing there’s nothing funny about this any more. We debate whether to cut any of his hair but decide just to leave the last bit of silly putty in there. Sheesh!
We coax Jack into the car… only 30 minutes later than we planned to leave the house! And can’t find Katherine’s earbuds for her ipod. She kinda needs them for the workout. We spend 15 minutes scouring the house while the kids moan in the car. Jack gets fruit roll-ups to calm him down, which means now Peter wants some too. FINALLY we find them (in her purse which was in the car. Sigh! It’d be funny if it were someone else, right?) As I take care of the exterminator paperwork, Katherine backs out of the driveway and punches the accelerator, the wails of still unsatisfied Peters and putty-haired Jacks heard like a train’s Dopplering whistle through the car’s open windows as she speeds off.
(The rest of the day improved, at least!)