Monday, September 23, 2013

A Salamander Day

Today is a salamander day. It's overcast, and rainy, and not really outdoor weather. This morning, I took Jamie and Micah and Lauren with me to get the mail from our post office. When we got there, I nearly ran over a salamander crossing the road. So I did what any mother of boys would do. I pulled over to catch it. I didn't want to touch it, because I have heard they carry salmonella. Listen here, that's just a rumour. I actually have no idea whether that is true or not. If you want to know, you will have to look it up for yourself. Either way, though, they are slimy, and I had no desire to have it wriggling around in my hand. So I grabbed an empty fast food bag from the van. (What? Don't pretend you don't have empty fast food bags in your van. They make excellent garbage bags. And animal traps.)

I went to the center of the road and stepped in front of the salamander. It charged me. Have you ever seen a lizard run? I know salamanders are not technically lizards, but that's not the point. If you've seen the movie The Freshman, please refer to the scene where the Komodo Dragon gets loose and runs through a shopping mall. It's a funny sight, but it elicits screaming, which the salamander also accomplished. I put the bag down in front of it, and thankfully, it ran right in. I closed the top of the bag and ran back to the van. (Good thing we get our mail in a ghost town, or somebody may have actually witnessed this scene.)

The boys were thrilled. What could be better than getting a salamander in a Wendy's bag? Nothing comes to mind. All the way home, they took turns holding the bag and laughing like crazy when the poor thing tried to climb out. They named it Climby Salamander.

Despite the drizzle, they spent the remainder of the morning outside with Climby, who made a valiant effort to escape with an impressive lizard run. But he failed. I got him on video, but I don't know how to post it on here. Climby had a good morning with the boys, but an even better lunch hour, when Micah finally made the mistake of putting him down near a wood pile. They will never find him now. I'm sad for them, but glad for Climby, whose name changed at some point to Sally. I had hoped he would live to see another day, and it seems he will.

When I started this post, about fifteen minutes ago, it was pouring outside, and my Dynamic Duo were still out there, no jackets, no rubber boots. I could hear them laughing. They are in now, drying off and changing their clothes for the second time today. I am told that Climby/Sally never reappeared, but they did find a snake in the round pen. Sadly, they couldn't catch the snake. (Phew!) And now, Lauren is sleeping and the boys are done with their outdoor play, so I get to spend the next two hours shushing them and trying desperately to keep her asleep.

I love salamander days. I only wish this one had been a full salamander day instead of just a salamander morning.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A Parental Rant

We have been back to school now for just under one full week. I thought things would be better, and as dumb as this is, I thought I would have things running like a well-oiled machine here at home. I don't know what in the world I was thinking. For some reason, my Dynamic Duo have stepped things up a bit, and they are into so much trouble that I literally don't even have time to blog. At the end of every day, I am so exhausted, and often in tears, that I just can't post in here, for fear I will say something terrible.

Right now, I have one hour left until Cody returns home to join his brothers. That is the time of day I dread most. It isn't that I dread seeing Cody, but he is a catalyst for fighting. As soon as he gets here, all you-know-what breaks loose and things get louder and people get hurt. Then they wake up Lauren, which turns me into a fire-breathing dragon. Right now, there is smoke coming out of my nostrils, but I am not blowing flames just yet.

Having a child young enough to nap is both wonderful and horrible. When she naps, I have freedom to do things I simply cannot do when she is up and about. Those things include certain cleaning and productive activities, and they also include quiet time for myself. (With two other boys here? Yes, that is indeed a joke.) Yes, nap time is a wonderful thing, and as such, it is dangerous. You see, if you want something, anything, that badly, you are in trouble. Kids can smell that kind of desperation, and it is their duty to thwart you in every way possible. The more badly you want that baby to sleep, the louder they will be, even to the point of pounding on her walls, or in extreme cases, going into her room and waking her up.

Yes, a great deal of my stress with the boys is their complete unwillingness and/or inability to just stay quiet near Lauren's room while she is napping. As a result, my afternoons, which are supposed to be peaceful and somewhat quiet, are spent in a state of maximum tension, and when she is woken up, which she inevitably is, a deep and dark fury is unleashed.

This parenting thing is all a mental game. Somehow, you have to not care whether they make noise or not. You have to not care whether you ever get to shower or not. Ever. You can't let it bother you that even the bathroom is not sacred anymore. Kids will either bang on the door and scream to come in, or they will run off and do something terrible in the 72 seconds that it takes you to be in and out of there. I seem to be losing the mental battle. I DO care if Lauren is woken up. I WOULD like to shower more than every four days. I HATE being yelled at while I'm in the bathroom, and having kids kick and punch the doors (and each other) and raising the decibels in here to inhuman levels...especially while Lauren is napping. And I DON'T like it that if I spend even five minutes doing a household chore, like unloading the dishwasher, or folding some towels, the boys ALWAYS get into some kind of trouble during that time. Seriously. How do they even come up with new ideas every day? Today I caught them outside with my good silverware in the sand. I didn't even know where my silverware was stored, but they found it and took it and put it in the sand! Instantly, I had visions of them burying it under the sand, like hidden treasure, as a sort of tribute to my van keys. (That fiasco was covered in some posts beginning back on August 20, 2012.)

As far as I know, I recovered all of the silverware, but I did acquire a headache and the intense desire to rest this afternoon. That desire then increased my need for Lauren to nap well, which increased my anxiety over the boys' noise level and their bad behaviour. And now, here I am with only half an hour left before Cody gets home. Lauren is now officially awake, which means even though the boys are quiet, my rest time is officially an impossibility.

Incidentally, the boys are quiet. Hm. Quiet, and not in the house. I wonder what they are burying in the sand now? I wish I could dial down my desperation, but my boys have a sense about it and they seem to know exactly what to do day by day, hour by hour and minute by minute to crank it up instead. I guess it's more fun to watch a mother completely lose her mind than it is to have a boring mom, who can keep it together. And so, I aspire to be boring. I will let you know how that's going.