Stick a fork in me — I’m done.
We had a promising start to the day: I slept in. The kids made pancakes for breakfast. Everyone got dressed and we headed out in the glorious sunshine for a bike ride along a local trail. Back an hour later. Read “Land of Stories” aloud. Sat the kids down for a family meeting along the lines of “We need to each take responsibility for keeping the kitchen clean one day a week.”
Then lunch – a sit-down meal with all of us at the table, where actual vegetables were served and consumed. (At this point I felt like I was totally rocking this!)
I wanted to have a napping hour, but was voted down. We decided to watch a movie instead. For some reason we all agreed on 2001: A Space Odyssey. While Mr. December and I tried to find it on one of our online streaming services, the kids practiced some boxing on a hoppy ball that hangs from one of our attic beams.
We finally settled in on our giant beanbags to watch. One by one the kids abandoned us because, as 5-year-old E said, “This movie isn’t very interesting.” She was right. We watched most of it in fast-forward and it could still have been edited down to about half the length. Apologies to any film aficionados who think it’s a masterpiece, but that’s an hour and a half of my life that I’m never getting back.
I can’t pinpoint the time or place, but at some point there was a bit of whining, and then there was too much whining. And too much shouting. And talking. And hanging off me like a sloth in a tree. I needed space desperately.
“Can we please go out for a walk?” R begged. I immediately said yes, and three of us (R, E, and I) set out, I on foot and the girls on scooters. We didn’t go far – just to a cul-de-sac nearby where some neighbours were playing basketball. Of course nobody got close, but it was nice to chat (loudly, they were ten feet away) with someone new. The girls gleefully scooted up and down a deserted sidewalk. I stood facing the sun and enjoyed being alone (relatively speaking).
I can’t even remember what we did when we returned from our walk. I have a vague impression of being begged repeatedly for my phone, for my laptop, for more screen time. I shouted that whining would not be tolerated (but shouting would?). I made some dinner. Some ate it, some critiqued it. I did my laundry (the kids do their own) and folded it while watching the kids in the bath.
Picture this: I’m sitting on a stool in the younger girls’ bathroom with baskets of laundry at my feet. R starts to complain that the water is too cold. I tell her that it’s still quite warm (I’ve checked it) and please not to add any more water as it’s already up to the overflow drain. She looks right at me and casually presses the pop-up drain to let some water out. I shout at her to stop. “WHAT DID I JUST SAY?”
At the same time N is in his tub across the hall, and he’s loudly updating me on the progress of his bath:
“Eema, I washed under my chin. OK?” “Eema, should I wash my neck too?” “Hey Eema, I washed this side and the other side of my chin.” (Of course, I could only hear half of it because of the girls chatting next to me.)
I had to salvage the evening somehow. So I pulled out a hidden jar of Nutella and we made 3-ingredient Nutella cookies. Now instead of remembering today as “The Day Eema Lost Her $#!&”, it will go down in history as “The Day Eema Baked With Us After our Bedtime and Let Us Lick the Bowl and Eat all the Cookies.”
Lessons learned: a lesson a day
- Driving is actually fun when there’s no traffic.
- 2001: A Space Odyssey is fine to watch at 2x or 3x speed.