So it’s morning right now.
That isn’t really a big announcement, except I NEVER blog in the morning, because it’s not exactly when my thoughts are moving around enough to actually form real words and then turn them into real sentences with the proper use of pronouns and all. It may be because my new life motto is, “Up at 5, awake by 10.”
It usually takes two entire cups of chai tea pouring out of my Keurig to achieve that awake status, too, but Hubs and I simply CANNOT convince Thing 2 that he should sleep beyond 5 AM.
Bless his heart.
But this morning, there was rain. And when there’s rain, the sky is usually dark, and Thing 2 must’ve decided that THIS was the secret formula he needed, because we didn’t hear a single peep out of him until 6:02. And THAT, people, might just as well have been noon, for the wonderful luxury that it was.
So, with an extra hour of sleep logged into my day, I decided that MAYBE I could beat something out of the keyboard here this morning, since we have Vacation Bible School at church every evening this week. My job is just to check the four- and five-year-olds in. I greet them, and I mark a big X by their name when they arrive. I give them their name tags and convince them that THIS is going to be the most fun night of their lives, even though I pretty much told them that the night before. I assure the drop-off moms that, YES! WE PROMISE TO CALL IF JUNIOR NEEDS YOU, and then… I’m sort of free. The boy is leading a group of little kids around, from stations on Bible stories to stations on crafts, all evening, and the toddler is at home with Hubs then.
Which means that I can then attach myself like a giant leech to any number of grownup girls at the church, who are all there dropping children off for VBS. I live in a world where I talk to a toddler and argue with a teenager all day long, and I find that I’m absolutely starved for conversations that do not begin with the words, “Did you poop?”
I’ve found that I don’t need to question my girlfriends about their bowel habits at all.
It’s sort of liberating.
Our summer days have become a bit UN-interesting, because every day is exactly the same as the day before.
Thing 2 gets up at 5:00. I release him from the prison of the baby gate in his bedroom doorway overnight (to prevent late-night wanderings), and Hubs and I force him to lay very quietly beside us in bed and watch Barney’s antics on the iPad, while we close our eyes and pretend to keep sleeping. The only problem is that we never GET to go back to sleep, because Barney and all his songs can be as annoying as having fourteen porcupine quills in your upper lip. And then, somewhere around 6:00, the day begins. There are showers and hot rollers and lip gloss, because looking like a Cover Girl sometimes makes me feel like I MIGHT BE more awake than I really am.
And then there’s chai tea, amidst shouts for oatmeal, and then shouts of NO, NOT OATMEAL! And then, YES, OATMEAL! And then, I DIDN’T REALLY WANT OATMEAL. There ain’t nothin’ as decisive as a toddler choosing his breakfast food.
And then I usually have to reheat my chai tea in the microwave.
Somewhere after the daily oatmeal battle, Hubs leaves for work. He goes out into the real world, where people have real conversations, and he NEVER asks anyone out loud if they have pooped.
Meanwhile, we are here at the house, walking the trenches. We are emptying the dishwasher and making beds. We are picking up toys. We are reheating the chai tea in the microwave AGAIN. We are saying things like, “Get down. We DO NOT stand on the dining room table.” We are very possibly shoving a load of dirty clothes into the washing machine and wondering if a third cup of chai tea would be considered gluttony in our culture. There are more Barney songs… there are poopie diapers… and there are more toys to pick up.
Sometime around 11:00, the boy gets out of bed and showers. And then he eats a bowl of cereal. He uses a mixing bowl, because it’s huge, and because HUGE cuts down on the need to refill a normal sized bowl repeatedly. It takes A LOT of cereal before a thirteen-year-old boy announces that he’s finished eating his breakfast. By this time, Thing 2 has usually raided the pantry and crushed a box of Goldfish crackers onto the floor, because his life mission is to stomp crackers everywhere, all the time.
There are more toys on the floors, too.
By noon, the boy has usually been dropped off at the golf course, because he’s thirteen and this is summer vacation. I’m back home for a nap, which is not MY nap, but the toddler’s nap, because this isn’t a world of fairness.
And then there are more toys for me to pick up, and clothes in the dryer to be folded, and dirty lunch dishes and enormous mixing bowls to load into the dishwasher, and this is when I have to start thinking about dinner. As in, DO WE HAVE A FROZEN LASAGNA THAT I CAN POP INTO THE OVEN??? And if I have ANY intentions of mopping all the acres of hardwood floors, the chore MUST happen during nap time, to avoid all the chubby little footprints on the wet floors. There are also grocery lists to make, toothpaste splatters to be wiped off of bathroom sinks, receipts for Starbucks to be put into the check register, and something that LOOKS like oatmeal to be scrubbed off of the dining room floor, but which really turns out to be a heap of dried-up cat puke.
I never mentioned that our life was glamorous, did I?
And then the boy needs picked up from the golf course, and there’s another poopie diaper, and there are more toys on the floor, and the lasagna isn’t going to put itself into the oven, and WHO ATE ANOTHER BOWL OF CEREAL AND DIDN’T RINSE IT OUT? And then the arguments on HOW MANY HOURS OF VIDEO GAMES PER DAY IS APPROPRIATE begins. After that, there’s usually a major breakdown in the house, which may or may not come from ME or the toddler, but which seems to — more often than not — come from a major appliance, because apparently six years into owning a home is when the ice maker in the freezer decides that it either needs to be plugged into a life support system or it’s going home to be with Jesus. This will involve me emptying all the ice OUT OF the ice maker and talking kindly to it, in some hopes that this is all that it will need. The thing is, it’s NEVER all that the ice maker is going to need, because what the ice maker NEEDS is Hubs and screwdrivers and new bolts and cuss words.
And then there are usually more toys AND more crushed crackers stolen from the pantry on the floor.
Never mind that I just mopped.
After that, there are reports of I JUST BROKE A BRACKET ON MY BRACES and WHY ARE YOU MAKING ME READ FOR THIRTY MINUTES EVERY DAY DURING SUMMER BREAK? DON’T YOU LOVE ME? There are comments of WHY CAN’T WE EAT MCDONALD’S EVERY SINGLE NIGHT FOR DINNER?, and not all of them come from me. There are questions of, IS THAT SMELL THE LASAGNA BURNING? And then a cat will run by, gagging, because she feels the needs to unleash a hairball, and she MUST DO IT ON AN AREA RUG, AT LEAST 9 PUKES OUT OF 10, BECAUSE WHY WOULD SHE THINK ABOUT BARFING ON A HARDWOOD FLOOR, WHERE THINGS ARE EASIER TO CLEAN UP?
And then the dryer hollers out that it’s done, so there are more clothes to fold, and while I’m doing that, the toddler will grab a tube of toothpaste out of a bathroom, because MAMA’S ATTENTION IS CURRENTLY SNAGGED BY FOLDING BATH TOWELS INTO PERFECT THIRDS AND SHAKING OUT T-SHIRTS TO PREVENT WRINKLES, and he will squirt it everywhere.
And that’s about the time Hubs walks through the front door, gives me a kiss, and asks, “What did you guys do all day?”
(“Oh.. you know. I offered up some ideas on balancing the national deficit, freed some slaves, invented a new antibiotic, and accepted a Pulitzer. Just the usual stuff.”)
It also explains why I just tend to OVER-TALK when I meet up with the grownup girls, because I have a whole lot of words inside of me that didn’t get to come out as real conversations.
And yet… raising these boys is my ministry. I might not have real adult conversations with my girlfriends every single day, but I have real conversations with my boys around diapers that smell bad and crushed crackers that need swept up. (Again.) We review our ABCs. We review our shapes. We work on learning that when we count, things don’t actually go, “… eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, eleven, twelve, thirteen…” We clap for being able to do something on our own. We beg and plead to JUST TRY IT! JUST PEE IN THE POTTY! BE A BIG BOY! THE POTTY ISN’T SCARY! We talk about fears and beliefs and what other kids are doing when I’ve talked the boy into using a screwdriver to take the ice maker out of the door, so that it can sit in the kitchen sink and thaw out. We talk about WHY fourteen hours of video games isn’t a good idea, and I assure him that, even though I love him, I DO NOT want him to be a thirty-one-year-old man who lives in his parents’ basement, unemployed, and plays Mine Craft all day long. We clap for great golf shots. We grin and high-five one another when the instructor for the private golf lessons declares, “This kid is a natural; he’s got a speed to his swing that cannot be taught, and it’s amazing.” We laugh together. We hug. We try to encourage one another and build one another up.
And I really wouldn’t trade my summer days for anything else.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I really have to go warm up my cup of chai tea again and encourage Thing 2 that he cannot leave fourteen hundred Matchbox cars on the kitchen floor.
Have a fantastic Wednesday!