Notes from Mother’s Journal: Uphill From Here, in A Good Way Edition

The first day of Christmas vacation was not the best day of my life. I felt like I was getting a cold; the kids have both been sick and now have those clear-the-room coughs; we had nothing to do and no one to do it with; it was raining; still six days till Christmas, yes, six days, yes, that’s six sleeps, yes, almost a week, yes, 24 hours in a day, let’s do the math, ok that took up fifteen minutes NOW WHAT.

You, and by you I mean I, get used to having even that ten minutes of time or whatever it is that I get in a day. It takes a few days to get used to the routine change. You know. Togetherness. Which leads to bickering; the bicker bone being connected to the scream bone, the scream bone connected to the stress bone, the stress bone connected to the WINE. No bone. Just wine.

We muddled through, me feeling a) like crap and b) like a total parenting n99b (that’s, like, even n00bier than n00b)(get it?) and c) that Doom/Panic feeling that comes from feeling like crap in one way or another for MONTHS and like it will never end, but trying not to complain about it because no one likes a complainer that’s why I’m sneaking it into this paragraph handwave and the kids reacting to that and being assholes and me being a bigger asshole just to prove that I AM THE BOSS ASSHOLE. In case there was any doubt.

I am the boss asshole.

Saint Aardvark came home at the end of the day and took the kids upstairs and put them to bed (but not before a parting shot re: how hungry they were because I forced them to bed without supper, oh wait, no I just asked you to SIT at the TABLE more than FIVE TIMES and so I assumed when you started dancing around the room that you were done, oh you weren’t done? Go to bed for 12 hours and then you can have breakfast. BOSS ASSHOLE.) and everything got better.

At the end of the evening I saw the broken bag of reindeer food on the shelf and told SA the story and he fell on the floor laughing and then I laughed too and realized that actually it’s all just funny.

Oh you want to hear the reindeer food story?

One of Trombone’s teachers gave him a card and a bag of reindeer food. You folks all know about reindeer food? I didn’t until recently. Without meaning any disrespect, it’s bullshit. It’s 2 ingredients: oatmeal and glitter. And a little tag that says sprinkle me on the lawn and reindeer will come! Except usually it rhymes.

Like, great, who’s going to clean up all the reindeer poop? Oh, my mom will get it, don’t worry. She’s already cleaning up everyone else’s poop.

I think there is a third ingredient: Magic, but since we are a low-key Santa-acknowledging household, we don’t sit around all day talking about where the reindeer will land. We live in a townhouse and we have a gas fireplace. Let’s not get into the details.

Anyway, it was 10:30 am and I was about ready to lock myself in the bathroom for the rest of the day, hang the expense, because I was trying to get the children to put on their coats and walk with me to the store. You get to a certain point, a tipping point, maybe? I haven’t read the book, where the the children both NEED exercise and CANNOT BE PERSUADED to do anything that will facilitate that exercise, so there I was, in all my outdoor clothing, with the kids half-clad and Trombone whipping the bag of reindeer food around, pretending to be a Ninja or something, yelling “Hooooowayyyyyahhhhhhhhhhh!” when of course it broke. Oatmeal and glitter all over the kitchen floor. < --- word count: 666. "OH NO!" Trombone said. He was dismayed. As was I -- I don't want reindeer in my fucking KITCHEN are you kidding me? "Uh," I said. I leaned against the kitchen counter and surveyed the chaos. "I'll sweep it up," he said. He went to get the broom from the bathroom, walking right through a puddle of oatmeal glitter. Then he commenced to sort of wave the broom around, making the lightweight glitter float through the air. "I want to help!" said Fresco. "You can hold the dustpan," said Trombone. "OK!" "Not like that. Hold it flat. It has to be...Oh now it's all going everywhere. YOU HAVE TO HOLD IT FLAT." "But I am..." "No you're not, you're holding it sideways. I have to sweep it in and it has to be FLAT." Fresco dropped the dustpan and made his mad face. "HEY PICK UP THE DUSTPAN YOU HAVE TO HELP ME." "NO. I DON'T." "MOMMY TELL HIM HE HAS --" "Put your coat on." "But we have to --" "Put your coat on." "But the floor --" "Put. Your. Coat. On." Next time I will just look at this photo, which I will be printing to poster size and putting up on my wall. Happy 2nd-to-last-week-of-December! Trombone and Fresco, looking at Christmas lights through glasses that turn lights into hearts (We went out to look at Christmas lights with these “Happy Glasses” that are like 3D glasses except what they do is turn the pinpricks of light into heart shapes. Like acid, without the acid.)

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