Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Taking its toll

The Thanksgiving break took its toll on all of us. We cooked all day on Thursday, it snowed, the kids played outside, the house was warm and smelled good. It couldn't have been more picturesque. That is until they all came inside. Then they fought with each other. Or Sean was busy tackling his sisters to the ground. The tackling isn't so much the problem, it's more the tackling on a hard wood floor. Or the tackling on the couch, while the 2 year old responds full force and then lands on the floor crying. Or tackling a sister in the middle of a well-traveled walkway for everyone else in the family. It was THAT.

I spent so much of the evening quietly correcting, then swiftly and loudly reprimanding Sean, that by the time we were brushing teeth and getting ready for bed, he broke down into tears.

me: (tired, exasperated) Why are you crying?
Sean: I didn't have a fun night!
me: Why is that?
Sean: I'm sad... (sob, sob)...because you wouldn't let me do... anything... fun! (Loud sobbing)

Basically I ruined Thanksgiving. As I was trying to fall asleep that night, I rolled over to ask Tom if he thought I ruined Sean's Thanksgiving.

Tom: You maybe ruined the end of his night, but you didn't ruin Thanksgiving.

That was a comforting distinction, but I continued to roll the picture of his crying face through my head until I fell asleep. By the next morning, Sean seemed to have forgotten all about his crying jag.

Sean: Wasn't that fun yesterday?
me: I thought yesterday was great! What part did you think was fun?
Sean: All of it!

Clearly his tooth-brushing-tantrum was a momentary lapse, quickly forgotten in the throws of sleep, but it stuck with me.

Parenting takes its toll. The other day I was talking to my dad and he asked how the kids were doing. After talking for a few minutes, Dad commented on what great kids we have.

me: They really are great kids. They just give us a run for our money.
Dad: As they should.

Frances has entered her indecisive, yet defiant stage as a two-year-old. She simultaneously will be upset that we won't let her eat an inordinate amount of raisins, then want to be picked up and held, then will slap me in the upper-torso-face-neck region, then I'll put her down, then she'll cry, then she'll want to be picked up, then I'll reach for her, then she'll run screaming away from me. And on it goes for 15 minutes. Sometimes she gets so exhausted by this cycle, that she ends up lying on the heated floor in the bathroom, curled up on the shower rug, sucking her thumb and pulling strands of rug out of its home on the floor. Her 2 year old brain, having spent itself entirely on the tantrum, needs a respite. The tantrum took its toll.

But what takes the cake is the past couple days. A 24 hour stomach bug hit Frances last Thursday, me on Sunday, and now Sean last night. There's nothing quite like stepping in someone else's vomit at 2am, in the dark of their bedroom, trying to figure out what has happened. Dear Sean kept taking a break from vomiting to tell us "I'm throwing up" and would then relay to us all the things he was experiencing. For example while puking he 1) can't breathe, 2) feels his cheeks puff out (which is how he knows the next round is coming), 3) feels his throat burning, and 4) can't wipe his nose fast enough. This projectile vomiting was so expansive, it's brought about 8 loads of laundry, built a tent city in our living room of large down comforters drying on racks, and inspired general chaos. The only way to do it justice is to take pictures of what our home looks like:
The television has won, and I've nestled the Lysol close to my hip so that I may strike the germs as soon as I see them coming.

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