Friday, October 26, 2012

Crime and Punishment

Today was a challenging day. I took Thing 1 and Thing 2 outside in the hopes of going for a walk this morning. We made it to the driveway that leads up to a nice, wooded path by the neighbor's house when suddenly Thing 1 and Thing 2 developed acute cases of no-skeleton-itis. It's a horrible disease that often strikes without warning and causes a child's skeleton to disappear instantaneously. It's occasionally accompanied by tears and/or shouting. Usually only if there are witnesses (which there were, so tears AND shouting occurred.) I had to pick up both girls and carry them back to the driveway, where I plopped them down (they're heavy!) and proceeded to retrieve the mail and newspaper.

After this debacle, I decided that maybe an outdoor craft would be fun. All 3 girls love when birds and squirrels stop by the bird feeders, so we filled the 2 hanging feeders and then I looked up ideas for homemade feeders. Here's an easy one: You'll need the cardboard from a roll of toilet paper, peanut butter, bird seed, a cookie sheet, and something to spread the peanut butter with. Oh, and infinite patience and the desire to say, "That's not for eating." about 50 times per minute. Put a layer of bird seed on a cookie sheet. Tell the child to stop putting seeds in his/her mouth. Spread peanut butter on the outside of a TP roll and remind the child that seeds are for birds, not people. Hand the roll to the child, once again stating that the seeds are not for people, and show him/her how to roll it across the cookie sheet so that seeds are pressed into the peanut butter. Take a deep breath and calmly repeat that seeds are for the birds, not people and this time add that the peanut butter is also a special treat for the birds even though it is usually a people food. Pry the roll out of the child's hand taking care to avoid his/her snapping jaws as he/she tries for one more bite of that birdseed and peanut butter combo. Simply slide the roll onto a tree or bush branch and birds will have a tasty treat. Or in our case, squirrels will grab the stupid things, drop them on the lawn, and when you go out for an afternoon walk, you'll once again have to remind the child to leave the roll alone for the love of all things good and pretty in this world because it's a treat for the stupid birds and if the kid eats all of the bird treats then they'll have no food and be very hungry and sad and do you really want to make the birds sad, kid? DO YOU?

I will not be doing this craft again.

At lunch, Thing 1 ate everything on her plate and got some cranberry orange muffin for dessert. Thing 2 ate some of her fruit (I found most of it smushed into her booster seat when I picked her up after calling it quits) and part of a baby carrot. She refused to eat her egg salad sandwich. The one thing she asked me to make for lunch. Whatever, she didn't get dessert, I had to dig part of the carrot out of her mouth because she refused to swallow a bite after chewing on it for 10 minutes, she bit my finger and spit on me, and then she told me all the way up to nap that she was hungry for muffin. Blah. She got put to bed and the wee beasties slept for 2.5 hours. That was long enough for me to roast butternut squash, onion and garlic for a yummy pizza (cut those 3 things up, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 375 for about an hour. Sprinkle with fresh rosemary when they come out of the oven. Roll out your pizza dough, spread out the roast veg, crumble goat cheese on top and bake at 375 for about 30 minutes.)

When the Things woke up from their naps, I was feeling all kinds of accomplished and optimistic. I'd made the pizza, I folded 3 loads of laundry, I tidied the play room, I had snacks made, dishes washed and put away, activities set, and everything laid out for another walk. Thing 1 cried when she saw it was me and not Dada. Thing 2 yelled at her for crying and then started herself because she suddenly only wanted her sister, Thing 3. Thing 1 then forgot about Dada, wanted Thing 3 and wanted Thing 2 to stop. Thing 2 then wanted Dada. I told them we could get ready to go downstairs together or I could give their snacks to the mouse. (Oh yeah, there's a mouse in the kitchen that's been popping in and out of the baseboards all day. One of the cats is going nutso over it, the other one is insane and they both drove me to swearing creatively while the Things were napping.) Anyhow, that got them to focus on important things, like getting out of cribs and getting down the stairs. Snack was eaten and we headed outside to try a walk again. See report of boneless children above. We came home. We played with the Aquadoodle mat, read some books, played some matching games, played find-the-letter-or-number on the foam floor mat, and I left them to start "cooking" dinner in their kitchen while I made dinner in the real kitchen.

Today was french toast Friday. French toast takes a little concentration and a bit of time. Big mistake on my part. While I was toasting that egg infused bread to perfection, dishing out my homemade apple butter, slicing avocado and mango, and making everyone's plate look nice, the Things were playing how-many-wooden-cake-decoration-circles-can-we-fit-into-our-mouths-at-once-and-still-drink-water. The answer? All of them, of course. I think each Thing had about 10 quarter sized wooden discs in her mouth when I came in. They weren't in danger of choking, but they were giggling and spewing water all over the place. I hate to say it, but the sounds of joy should have tipped me off to something bad going down in the playroom...

I did not yell. I did not even speak. I just kind of went into auto pilot mode, put the Things on the couch and started cleaning up. I washed off the saliva covered discs, I dried off the rest of the cake set and put it back into the now-chaotic kitchen. I wiped blobs of water and drool from the floor, table, mat, kitchen, chairs and even a wall. I then took a chair, sat in front of the Things and asked them simply, "Why?" They didn't answer, but just repeated Why each time I asked. Frustrated beyond reason, I decided to try something new. I grabbed the iPad, pulled up Bach's Air on the G String and played it 3 times through. They were lulled into a stupor by that point, but Mama and Thing 3 still weren't home. I put on Pachebel's Canon in D and we made it through twice before they made it back. Then dinner, bed and my day was over.

As far as punishments go, I'm not sure this one fit the crime, but at least I was calmer by the end of it and the girls seemed to enjoy the music.