And while I have been so sorely tempted to go hide in the bathroom and cry (or scream at the top of my lungs) more than once, all my wanna-be complaints were put into perspective when the 14-month old son of a family from church was scalded in the bathtub this week (3rd degree burns over 60% of his body), and shipped off to a distant hospital to undergo several surgeries over the course of the next few months.
Suddenly all my “overwhelming” challenges didn’t seem quite as hard as I thought they were. So in that light, I wanted to give my top ten things I love about my life this week.
10. Brandt singing “slippery fish” whenever he hears the word “fish.”
8. Khyah-smiles. She’s a little charmer.
7. Boys dancing to music in the living room.
6. London and Brandt showing me how they can dive off the diving board (i.e. couch) and do flips and twists just like they saw on TV.
5. London finding a large strawberry, and telling me to hurry and get the camera (he knows that pictures of him eating strawberries are worth something!).
4. Khyah getting a clean bill of health at her well-check this week. (And being told that she is an “exceptionally well-proportioned baby”).
3. Daddy leading the kids in a silly face-making contest.
2. Big hugs from my boys and London telling me: “You’re the best mama.”
1. Rick surprising us at the pool (even though we had left specifically so he could get some sleep).
Let’s go to the beach! We’d been told it took 3.5 hours to get there, which sounded like a reasonable day-trip.
The boys had a great time burying daddy. Did daddy mind? As London would say, ‘Are you kidding me?’ It was his idea.
Khyah even seemed to love it.
London and Brandt tried so hard to make a sand castle. London brought bucketfuls of “gravity” from the surf just for the job.
It was just a trip to the library:
30 minutes to get out of the house,
10 minutes there,
Then I was planning a leisurely 30 minutes to an hour choosing some books and movies, maybe reading one of them to the kids,
Then another 10 minute return trip.
Sounds so pleasant, doesn’t it?
Bad sign #1: Rain drops start falling the second we step out the door. I should have taken the hint, but no . . . we’re driving, I have an umbrella in the car . . . why should I let a little rain stop me?
So the kids jump in. Pop the car seat in, London buckles himself, but Brandt is our free spirit.
Me: Brandt, hurry and get in your car seat so we can get to the library.
Brandt: I don’t want to sit in that seat!
It starts to rain harder.
Me: You have to sit in that seat or we can’t go anywhere.
Brandt: I don’t want to sit in that seat!
It starts to pour.
Me: Please sit in that seat! Mama’s getting soaked!
Brandt: I don’t want to sit in that seat!
Me: AAAAAH! GET IN THAT SEAT NOW BEFORE ALL YOUR TRAINS GO TO TIME-OUT!
I’m soaked, Brandt’s crying, but the car is moving.
At the library, it’s raining pretty hard, so I pull out the umbrella, make London pinkie promise to share the umbrella with his brother and to wait right there while I get the stroller out.
Seriously, I looked the other way two seconds.
A quick search and I see them: the boys are having a total blast strolling through the parking lot, heads buried in the umbrella. After all, there are puddles to look down at. My heart stops, and I thank the heavens there are no cars or Child Services workers around.
Me: LONDON JOHNSON, GET BACK HERE THIS INSTANT OR YOU WILL NOT GET TO CHOOSE A MOVIE!
The stroller’s out, I’m putting Khyah in. My two-year old tackles me.
Brandt: An ant! An ant! Mommy, save me!
Me: Silly boy, an ant can’t hurt . . .
Then I saw it. Not an ant. This was a Cicada Killer Wasp. Ever seen one? As long as my pointer finger. Striped like a bee. And they can apparently sting like one too. Eew!
London: [whimpering and holding the umbrella in front of him for protection] There’s two!
I noticed one crawl into a golf-ball-sized hole in the ground. Then I noticed all the other holes. There’s more than two! I wisely chose not to mention this to the kids.
Me: [struggling to keep my voice calm] Let’s hurry, boys!
I get Khyah in the stroller (sleeping sound as a rock), and usher the kids towards the entrance.
Brandt stops dead in his tracks behind the van.
Brandt: I need MY stroller.
Me: You’ll have to walk this time.
Brandt: I need my stroller!
Me: I’m sorry. I can only push one at a time.
Brandt: [at the top of his lungs] I NEED MY STROLLER!
Me: Let’s hurry before the bugs get us!
I know, low blow. I don’t usually like scare tactics, but eew! You’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that it didn’t work anyway.
I start to walk and Brandt grabs onto the stroller, pulling back with all his might, screaming at the top of his lungs. Fortunately I am still stronger than my 2-year old, so I kept moving, dragging him along, and pointedly ignoring all the stares of the other patrons. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of entering before he had stopped screaming. Tile entry. No second door. Very loud.
Brandt throws himself on the ground in a temper tantrum.
I’m starting to have second thoughts about this trip.
Me: Brandt! [in the most furious whisper I could muster] If you don’t stop screaming this instant we won’t choose any movies!
Amazingly, he stood up and stopped crying, but Murphy was not done yet: Khyah started crying. I still wonder how babies can cry so loudly.
Me: Let’s just return the books and go!
We rush to the book return, dump them in, and before I can make it out, London heads to the movies with Brandt in tow
I really should have insisted. But with the stroller moving, Khyah had stopped crying, and I thought, “Surely the worst is behind us. And we’re here . . .”
The library has a plethora of Thomas movies, and London is glibly looking at every one. Knowing Khyah won’t last long, I suggested one, which Brandt gladly took.
London: I wanted that one!
Brandt: [pulling the DVD in tight] Me have that one!
Me: Brandt already has it, so choose a different one.
London: But I want that one!
Me: If Brandt chooses it, you’ll get to see it too.
London: But I want to carry that one!
His voice is getting dangerously loud.
Me: Oh! Look at that! “The Best of Gordon”!
Brandt: Okay, London can have this.
He tosses the movie at London and snatches up Gordon.
Grab a few books on the way to the check-out, and we’re almost home free. London goes running toward the door . . . right through the unchecked-out-books alarm.
I held my breath, waiting for the alarm. . . . It didn’t go off. Finally! Something goes my way.
Just as the books are all checked out, Khyah starts to cry. I turn the stroller around, and Brandt pushed me out of the way.
Brandt: I want to push the stroller!
Khyah is quite loud by now, so I scootched Brandt to the side and hurried to leave.
Brandt: [throwing himself on the ground. Again.] I WANT TO PUSH THE STROLLER!
Me: Brandt, hurry! Let’s go home and watch the movie!
I push the stroller through the exit
Brandt: I WANT TO PUSH THE STROLLER!
Me: Hurry kiddo! Let’s go.
Alarm: WEEOH! WEEOH! WEEHO!
Librarian: Excuse me ma’am, could you back away from the exit?
Librarian: [slightly annoyed] Did you check out your books?
Other librarian (who checked me out): [also slightly annoyed] Yes!
After a quick check of my bag, the librarian sighs.
Librarian: I guess it’s not you [sounding disappointed]. The alarm must be broken. It will go off, just keep going.
Believe me I did.
Ten minutes later, we arrive home. I struggle up the stairs with the car seat, diaper bag, purse, and bag of books (all while London complains about how heavy the movie he checked out is). Stumble inside, set everything down, and notice there’s a message.
We never get messages. No one calls us since we’re so new here. Yay!
Message: This is the Library calling. Do your children own a copy of Polar Express? We believe you returned it to us with your library books. Would you like to come and get it?
So yes, after years of resisting, I have caved. I have started a blog.
It’s not that I dislike blogs, of course, or even the idea of blogging, but rather a question of where my time is best spent. Do I clean the house (not if I can at all justify otherwise), play with my children (and frustrate them by my inability to make believable weapon sounds with my mouth), work on my book (that is running through my head anyway), call someone I haven’t spoken to in ages (but how to choose among so many?), play solitaire on the computer (which really isn’t an option, but sounded funny), finish unpacking (so many boxes, so little time), or do I bag it all and start a blog?
I’m sure you can see my dilemma.
However, after weighing my options, and considering the sound advice of several friends, I have come to the conclusion that maybe, just maybe, a blog is not a time vaccuum, but a way to keep friends and family informed on my life. Then, I can let go of the guilt for not contacting them all more often, and accomplish more (like mastering the art of making shooting sounds with your mouth).
Only time will tell (no pun intended). 😉