Sunday, October 28, 2018

Much overwhelm: the pudding that broke the camel's back

Monday is Rachel's day for dishes right now, which is only relevant so that you know that because it was Monday (1) was Rachel's dish day and (2) was family night. It was a particularly rushed evening for family night because things have simply been particularly rushed lately. On Monday morning we had taken the three little kids to apply for their passports, which meant Andrew got to campus late, which meant he felt obligated to stay a little later, which mean we had dinner later, which meant we were scrambling to clean up from dinner and get to our family night activities before bedtime.

We decided that we'd leave the dishes to do for later (our meal wasn't extravagant so honestly there weren't many cooking dishes (and I had already done the dishes from lunch and breakfast so it was really just the plates we'd used for eating on and some containers from leftovers, I think)) and jumped into family night.

After family night we rattled off the same getting-ready-for-bed list that we recite every night (which, for whatever reason, our children cannot seem to get ready for bed without):

  • Get on your pyjamas
  • Brush your teeth
  • Go potty
  • And so forth
If we miss saying an item they will surely forget about doing it and when we say, "Why haven't you brushed your teeth?!" they'll say, "You didn't say to brush your teeth. You just said to get ready for bed." No matter how many times we explain that getting ready for bed means doing all the things they still pull this routine regularly. 

Oh, but then we forgot that Andrew had made a treat for family night: pudding. 

So we said to scratch the teeth-brushing. We'd go from pyjamas to pudding to teeth to scriptures and prayer. Rachel somehow got behind in this process (I think she got hung up making her lunch) so when she came up for scriptures and prayer she was not in her pyjamas and she hadn't brushed her teeth, nor had she done the dishes. 

She managed to get her pyjamas on before we'd corralled the rest of the kids for scriptures and prayer and then as we dismissed them went through their list of things to do.

"Zoë, go potty and hop into bed. Benjamin, put your papers into your backpack, go potty, and hop into bed. Miriam, finish tidying your bedroom and hop into bed. You still have some reading time. Rachel, you need to brush your teeth and wash the dishes."

"But I haven't had any pudding yet!" she objected (because I think pyjamas were requisite to get a dish of pudding).

So Andrew appended his statement. "Rachel: pudding, dishes, teeth. Go!"

And with that she flew into a tizzy. She yanked the baby gate open and stormed down the stairs, angry words flying, feet pounding. 

"Rachel!" I gasped, shocked by her outburst (though this is probably mere foreshadowing of those dreaded teenage years, I'm sure someone will point out). 

I followed her downstairs and asked what was the matter. 
"You always give me so much to do!" she cried. "I don't know where to start! It's just all too much!"

"Having a lot of tasks to do can feel overwhelming," I agreed. "But...I mean...what do you have to do again?"

"I have to brush my teeth and do the dishes and, Mom, I still have to eat my pudding!" she wailed. 

"You're crying because the pudding part was too much? Like, if we had just not given you dessert you wouldn't feel overwhelmed right now? Because you don't have to eat dessert."

"No, I want dessert! It's just...I can't handle it all. Like, I knew I had to brush my teeth and do the dishes but I don't know if I can handle pudding, too!"

"You can't handle...pudding?" I asked, trying desperately not to laugh (because clearly this wasn't about pudding). "Are you even hearing yourself right now?"

"I can't handle everything!" she wailed and then started laughing and then sobbing and then laughing again.

"Let's just choose one thing and knock that out of the way," I suggested. "It will give you some control. So what do you want to do first? Pudding? Teeth? Dishes?"

"Doing teeth first is dumb because then I'd have to brush them again after pudding," she wisely pointed out.

"Okay, so that narrows it down to one of two choices: pudding or dishes?"

"Pudding," she said. 

"Great," I said. 

"Eat your pudding, load the (very few) dishes into the dishwasher, and then brush your teeth. Does that feel manageable?"

It did. Rachel managed to eat pudding, load seven plates (maybe nine plates) and five bowls into the dishwasher, and brush her teeth, all before going to bed. 

And now pudding will forever be a bit of a touchy subject at our house.


  1. Even the good stuff can feel overwhelming sometimes! I feel ya, Rachel!

  2. I mean while not a teen she is probably right in the midst of puberty. In this last year G has grown a ton. We have E going through puberty but girls hit so much faster that G is too. I saw her in a tank top and shorts (pjs) recently and I was like, wait when did she grow up. It is crazy scary for me. Trying to play it cool but ugh her period is going to be starting any day :( Poor R is probably in the midst of puberty hormones as well. They are only 7 months apart. Also this year Gs homework jumped a ton. She just has so much more going on. Poor Rachel. Hope the pudding helped her feel better.

    1. Indeed. We watched Incredibles 2 yesterday and found it HILARIOUS.

      "Is she having adolescence?"