My husband and I are drowning.
We’re being sucked under by a tidal wave of sick kids, pummeled by a tsunami of fake tears.
It’s a rip current of bad attitudes, wave upon wave of time-outs.
There are unexplainable belly aches.
Cold weather crankiness.
Rainy days trapped indoors.
Not to mention traffic jams caused by overturned trucks carrying baby formula and dogs with mysteriously enlarged spleens.
This past weekend, we tried to make the best of what is becoming a bad life situation.
We took the kids to the horse track. (Trust me, it’s not about gambling. We look at horseys and pick our favorite. Alma always chooses the one with the pink number.)
There are no pictures, because I was too busy giving my kids a perpetual verbal beat down to snap a photo.
On the way there, my son keeps dropping stuff on the floor of the car and whining for me to pick it up.
My daughter whines that she wants her window rolled down. I have those old-timey hand-cranked windows, so I tell her no.
She says, “I can do it with my foot!” I say, “No, don’t roll the window down with your foot.” Seconds later, I can feel my hair start to whip around because… she… rolled it down with her foot.
My husband says, “That’s it, Alma. Time-out whenever we get back home.”
She responds snarkily, “5 minute time-out.”
My husband, “That just earned you 10.”
At the track, she whines that she wants to sit on the benches outside instead of indoors. (Even though it looks as though it might rain.)
She whines that she wants to go in the bouncy houses. (The ones that are surrounded by a moat of mud.)
My son whines that he wants juice, not lemonade.
He whines that he wants a different hot dog. (What the hell does that even mean? All hot dogs are created equal.)
He starts whacking his auditorium seat up and down, then standing on it.
She knocks over my water.
Huck gets angry at me for telling me he’s also getting time-out and smacks my arm.
This is when I threaten to smack him in the face. Loud enough for other people to hear. That is also when I start to cry silently.
I mean, I’m never gonna smack my kid in the face. I’ve never even popped him on the bum.
I am humiliated.
I feel ashamed.
I feel guilty.
I feel like the world’s worst parent and… I feel like drinking A LOT. (Which would ALSO make me feel like a bad parent.)
We ended up cutting the whole thing short and going home angry.
Both kids got time-outs so epic, they both took naps.
I took a nap too.
They woke up feeling rejuvenated.
I woke up feeling ill-prepared to handle another 4 hours with them before bedtime.
That evening proved to be everything I anticipated and MORE.
Frankie is on medication for his chunky spleen or injured spine or whatever they charged us $1,000 for and it causes excessive urination. So, it wasn’t a huge surprise when Alma pointed out the slow-moving puddle of dog piss in the kitchen. I was surprised by the sheer enormity of said puddle. It had to be about a gallon.
I was nearly done sopping it up when I ran out of paper towels.
It’s around the same time that Alma slips and falls while chasing her brother.
She’s scream-crying, her absolute favorite.
I tell them to stop running around.
I’m mopping up the rest of the dog pee with Santa Clause napkins when Huck slips and falls flat on his face. He has a bloody nose and is shrieking. I cradle him on my lap as he yells into my face.
At some point, it almost sounds like he’s trying to make words, but I can’t understand him through the screaming.
It turns out he was saying, “I have to go potty.”
It was too late.
He peed on my lap.
It made it to my undies.
There’s no way in hell I’m cooking after that. So, I rush to Target to get some Chicken nuggets and potato fries.
Huck takes one bite of one nugget and says, “I’m done.” (par for the course) He spends the rest of dinner smashing his food and getting intermittent time-outs.
Clearly, time-out is not working.
We have also removed almost all toys from their rooms. Next would be, what? Furniture? In a month, my kids will be living like orphans in the suburbs.
This is why it takes a village.
Mommy and Daddy are going to lose their ability to cope if they don’t get a goddamned date night.
But, my mom lives far away. His mom is recovering from surgery. My dad and his wife were booked this past weekend visiting my brother. (And frankly, they’re probably overwhelmed by the crush of grandchildren at this point.)
I had a friend invite us to hang out this past weekend with him, his daughter and his wife, even with our kids in tow.
How do I explain that it’s not possible because my children will suck every drop of fun out of whatever we do?
And how do I do that while still conveying just how much I adore my children?
I love them so much, so much that weekends like this past one just break my heart. Feel me?