Rachel has advanced enough in her school-going career that she no longer wakes up at 4:00 in the morning all eager-beaver. She still loves school but has come to understand that no one wants her waking up the whole house at 0'dark-thirty. This morning we slept in until 8:30 which is bad because we must be out the door by 8:50 if she's going to get to school on time.
By some miracle (aka: Grandma) we made it and had a relatively blissful morning until I picked Rachel up from school. Then things got ugly.
She has to unload the dishwasher before she can check the advent calendar. Last week—on this day—I took out the treat and replaced it with a note from Santa saying, "I noticed today that you were being very naughty so I couldn't leave you a treat. Please remember that I only deliver treats to boys and girls who are nice." She was really sad about it. I was all too happy to console her while having Santa be the bad guy—I could really get into this Santa business. Today I didn't leave her a nastigram from Santa. It just took her four and a half agonizing hours to empty the stupid dishwasher, all the while Miriam was trying to empty it onto the floor so that she could climb onto the door.
Neither one of those girls listened to a word I said all afternoon. I know they heard what I said because I got lots of nasty looks from them but other than that I saw no evidence of them heeding my words.
My light at the end of the tunnel was that my friend C., rather spur-of-the-moment, invited me to go to The Christmas Carol at the Hale Center Theater with her. She basically chatted to me and said, "I have an extra ticket to that thing you love..." though that's not exactly what she said. What she really said was, "I know it's late notice, but I was wondering if you would like a free ticket to come with me to A Christmas Carol at the Hale tonight."
And want I did. All I had to do was make it through the rest of the afternoon to bedtime.
At dinner I told Rachel that if she wanted a piece of cake for dessert she had to finish what was on her plate. She turned to Meme and in her best nagging voice said, "Miriam if you want dessert you need to finish what's on your plate!"
"Please don't boss your sister," I sighed at Rachel, "If you want to be the mom you need to grow up and have your own kids."
"I know!" she retorted, "I'm working on that!"
She also was inhaling green beans to spite me because I asked her to finish her spaghetti. We usually have a hard time getting her to eat the requisite three beans (one for every year of her life—pity the day she turns 30) but tonight she kept asking for more green beans so I'd keep giving them to her and she'd eat them and smirk at me: "I can't eat my spaghetti yet because I haven't finished my green beans."
Miriam was simply intent on putting as much of her meal as possible inside her shirt. She was really miffed that I put a tie-on bib on her tonight. The only reason I used a tie-on bib instead of a Velcro one is because she has recently started pulling off her bib and stuffing food down her shirt. I don't know why. Other than that she was fine except that she was a tad disobedient and was so incredibly fussy today which meant that I held her for so long that my back is still aching.
After dinner I started getting the kids ready for bed because Rachel didn't want her dad to get her ready for bed because she hates it when he gets her ready for bed because he doesn't do it right and blah, blah, blah. So I told her that I'd get her ready for bed. It was a fiasco.
When we were tidying up her room she said she couldn't pick up her toys because she had to hold her baby and she only had one arm available. I told her that wasn't a valid excuse and that she can put down her baby doll and help pick up toys, anyway. She told me that I use it as an excuse. I told her it's entirely different when I tell her I can't do things that require two arms when I'm holding (and feeding) her sister. She had a temper-tantrum.
Miriam started acting like she needed to go potty so I took her. I've been trying to get this girl to communicate the idea "potty" for months now. She refuses to sign or say the word. Instead she'll just walk right up to me, squat on the ground, and start pushing. I rushed her to the potty and plopped her on it and she wouldn't do anything. And then Rachel came in and started bugging me about this and that and wanting to read before I leave and not wanting to pick up her playthings and blah, blah, blah.
And I completely lost it.
"Both of you just stop!" I yelled, "I've had enough of you today! You both keep whining at me about everything but you won't do a single thing I ask you to do!"
Miriam looked up at me and timidly—perfectly—waved the sign for "potty." Finally.
Rachel jumped up and offered to clean her room. Finally.
And then I left to go watch this show about how we need to be kind and generous and full of Christmas spirit even though I was feeling none of those things. I felt especially guilty at the part where Tiny Tim dies and I saw how wonderfully sweet the Crachit family is and how incredibly not sweet I was this evening with my children. But I had a wonderful evening with C. and had a fabulous chat with her and felt much better and calmer and saner when I got home. (Thank you, C.!)
(Let me dream, people, let me dream).