When I went to get the kids yesterday from school, Sarah and Gregory were beet red. Sarah was so red, her face almost looked purple. They have P.E. last period and we've been unseasonably hot.
"Moooooooooooooooooooom. We're SO HOT MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!!!! We're dying!"
I hadn't taken two steps with them and all four of them were having breakdowns for various reasons. The ironic thing is that I had a great day yesterday. I folded five loads of laundry and ironed, while watching documentaries about World War II. Nobody interrupted me or told me what I was watching was boring and yucky. Then I worked the rest of the day and it went well and I made money. So when I went to get them, I was feeling all zen-like and good about what I had gotten done.
They were so miserable and so cranky when I picked them up, my zen-like state immediately evaporated.
"It's only 94 degrees, you guys. This isn't even HOT!", I told them.
Good grief. We used to play outside, barefoot, when it was a 117 in Phoenix. These kids are coddled. They're allowed to keep ice water at their desks, for crying out loud. Do you know what we got? Once a day we could drink boiling hot water out of the filthy water fountains that were caked with spit wads at the bottom. Do you guys remember that? The water would come out hotter than coffee and tasted like pool water.
How is it that we all survived?????? Isn't it a miracle????
So when we got home, I told them to get their suits on and I'd take them to our neighbor's house.
This caused more drama because Austin's suit was missing. Then Gregory's shoes were missing. Then Sarah got sunscreen in her eye. Then Austin's goggles were missing. Then we only had purple ones and he started bawling his head off because purple is a girl color and he'd rather dig his eyeballs out and throw them in the Grand Canyon than wear Sarah's purple goggles. Sarah owns and has trademarked the color purple.
Then I got a glass of wine.
Then I finally got them over and in the water. Except Austin, who was still pouting about the goggles. Then Amanda ate his popcorn and he started bawling his head off and refused to get in the water. Instead, he sat in a chair and cried at the top of his lungs.
I told him to knock it off because our neighbors are gracious enough to let us use their pool and they probably don't appreciate hearing children screaming in their backyard.
This made him scream LOUDER.
So I sent him home. I told him to go directly to his room and have his pity party. So he got up and screamed all the way home. Our neighbor's house is higher elevation than ours, so I could actually see him walking and screaming all the way. He slammed the front door, then he walked out on the back porch, still screaming, took his suit off, screamed louder, then slammed the back door. I could actually hear him screaming IN THE HOUSE.
Ten minutes later, we left, because I obviously could not allow my screaming six year to be alone in the house. When we got home, the front door was locked. So we walked around to the back and he'd also locked the sliding glass door and put the wood in it.
So I went around to the side of the house and banged on his window, "AUSTIN, YOU OPEN THE DOOR RIGHT NOW OR YOU ARE GETTING THE WORST SPANKING OF YOUR LIFE!"
"I can't. I locked myself in!", he bawled.
When the kids were three, Greg turned the door knobs around so the lock was on the outside. They would have temper tantrums and lock themselves in from the inside and I'd have to break in the room to get them out. So that solved that problem without buying all new non-locking doorknobs. So he'd locked the outside of the door and shut it and was locked in his room, while we were locked outside the house.
For a brief moment, I wondered why I had even gone and picked them up from school AT ALL.
So while three of the kids were locked outside and one inside, I went and got a spare key at the neighbor's house. Thank God all our neighbors have keys to our house!!!!!!
Then I got another glass of wine, cuz it was a two glass day suddenly.
Do you know what has been the most challenging thing for me as a parent? To dissociate my feelings from the children's feelings. In other words, when one has a bad day to not let that bring me and all the others down. When they were little, I took it personally. I took it as a personal failure that I couldn't keep everyone happy all the time. Do you know how often all four are happy at the same time?????? Like twice a month.
So you either have to make a conscious effort to just accept that some are having fun and some aren't and you can't control happiness, or you can have two good days per month.
I now consider if at least ONE child is having a good time, then that is a success!