Do you ever have a day that just refuses to be decent no matter what? Yeah. Me too. It reminds me of one of my kids' favorite childrens' books: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Today is one of those days. I can empathize with Alexander to the nth degree and it isn't even noon.
It started with a phone call that drug me from my bed, in all my fuzzy-headed glory, to answer a help call for my volunteer work. I don't mind doing this, but because I was going from dead sleep to wide awake and “on,” I felt like I was in a play where I didn't quite know my lines and was ad-libbing everything I said. My tongue felt thick, my throat felt dry, and my thoughts felt jumbled. The correct words were coming out, but it felt like they were in the wrong sequence. It's like showing up to math class only to find that you're taking an unexpected pop quiz for which you're unprepared. Not exactly the best wake up routine.
To make matters worse, the ringing phone woke up my 4 year old. That's also not a big deal in the normal course of things, but someone woke up on the melodramatic, attention-grubbing side of the bed apparently. So, while I'm trying to do phone counseling work, my daughter is climbing on me and demanding that I pay attention to only her, and when that doesn't work, she sits as close to me as humanly possible (read: one elbow in my ribcage, and one knee under my butt) and begins singing the alphabet at the top of her lungs. I assume that I must have sounded extremely professional at this point.
While all of this is going on, Mr. H, my lovable, but somewhat needy, puppy heard us and realized that we were up, and that means it was time for him to join his pack for the day. Thus he started whimpering and crying to be let out of his room. Again, I'm sure I was looking more and more professional by the minute. I somehow muddled my way through the phone call, and the poor woman on the other end didn't seem too traumatized, so possibly she got the answers she needed in spite of my chaos and confusion. I left her with a promise to email her some further information and hung up.
Keep in mind that, because the phone call was what woke me, I had yet to have coffee. Coffee is an essential ingredient in the recipe for making me human most days. If I do not have it, I do not promise to be even remotely patient. It's not simply the caffeine, either. The caffeine is essential in order for me to avoid a nasty headache. But, it's the ritual itself that I truly enjoy. I like to sit with a cup of hot coffee and just be by myself, at least mentally, for a little while before I have to start my day. I might scroll through my facebook feed or take a phone call, but overall, for at least the first cup, I want to be left alone.
Before I could even get up to brew my coffee, the girl started with her screaming. I wasn't paying attention to her. Well, yes. That's true. I was on the phone and then I had to email the nice lady who needed my help before I get sidetracked and forget. You have 943 million toys. Go play with one of them for 5 minutes and then maybe I can pay attention to you. Sigh.
Then, I called for the oldest boy. Since my knee is all messed up, I've been having him take the dog out for me so that I don't overtax my knee or fall because the dog pulls me and I overbalance. He was still asleep because apparently he stayed up for who knows how long reading. Which means that, instead of getting up in a reasonable mood, he was a seething ball of rage and disrespect. I actually had to tell him to stop talking and go to his room before I throttled him and was arrested for child abuse. A friend called while all of this was going on and was witness to his fantastic display of hatefulness. She seemed somewhat appalled, whether by him or me, I'm not sure. And I still hadn't had my coffee. Sigh.
Then, while I tried to drink my coffee, the middle one wanted to know if he could do his online schoolwork. Sure. But, of course he had to pick language arts, which meant reading, which meant that I had to be involved to help him correct the words he was sounding out. Fantastic. And Ms. Thang was still whining that I wasn't paying attention to her. So, I figured that I would distract her by letting her play some of the educational apps I downloaded for her on my iPhone. That would have worked, too, if it hadn't been for the fact that I downloaded a new one and had to show her how to play it. Then, she wouldn't go away. I tried to tell her that her daddy was sick and really wanted her to go sit next to him and play, but she insisted that she loved me best. It's good to be loved. Sigh.
So, for 20 minutes, I had Punkinhead next to me, slowly and painfully doing his reading lesson because he has ADD and today was a bad focus day for him, and Ms. Thang on my lap, playing with the iPhone. I was trapped and I still wasn't through a cup of coffee. Then, the oldest one started asking me to play a geography board game with him. Really? REALLY? Because the other two suffocating me and insisting that I “help” them with what they were doing and keeping me from my coffee just wasn't enough, right? Double sigh.
Then, the youngest one refused to listen to me and I finally took the phone from her and told her to go play. She had a screaming fit in the floor, but I am pretty sure I won, because she did eventually go to her room and scream in there for awhile instead of right in my face. I downloaded a geography app on my phone and handed that to the oldest one. I was pretty sure that I had won that battle as well, but then he announced that the phone magically bought the full version of the app instead of the free one I originally downloaded. Um. No. But, he's doing geography and I'm not involved, so whatever, bye-bye $0.99. I consider you well spent. Punkinhead finished his reading lesson and moved on to something that did not require my attention, and I ran away to type this. I am getting ready to go guzzle down another cup of coffee. I intend to finish it while it's still hot this time, and I refuse to hear anything out of the kids until it's gone. There may not be enough coffee. Some days there aren't. Some days are like that... Even in Australia.