Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Sit Like a Turtle because this is a long post.

If you're looking for pretty pictures, you won't find any today. I didn't have my camera available when I fell down and got drenched.

Sometimes I wish I could be more like this guy. Sleeping like a dog, sitting like a turtle, walking swiftly like a pigeon, and...oh, some other animal simile.

But I'm going to have to do a lot of deep breathing to dispel stress. Sometimes I wonder if it's a character flaw that I have days where it's hard to surrender.

To the fact that, moments after bathing (when I haven't bathed in a week), I have sweat and/or spit up running down between by breasts and pooling in my navel.

To the fact that my children NEVER flush the toilet after they poo.

To the fact that, most mornings, I wake up to a sink full of dishes, even though I washed dishes all day and thought they were 'done' before I headed up to bed at 10:30 with the baby in my arms.

To the fact that, as much as I feel a deep and physical need for time alone with my thoughts, the baby only wants ME from the moment she wakes up (at 6:00 a.m.) till the moment she goes to sleep for the night (at 10:30 p.m.). Nature hates a vacuum, as do children: when my older kids see that Norah is napping and my arms are empty, they are quick to fill the space with their demands for food, stories, cuddles, and bum-wipes.

Yesterday I failed to surrender, and instead, cursed loud and long. I had spent the morning juggling the baby and all the little tasks I needed to complete to prepare for Violet's Kindergarten Graduation. I painted a dozen tiny peg dolls to resemble her classmates, because they were MY Junior Kindergarten students and I wanted a little something to give them as they move on to Grade One. I ironed dresses for the two older girls (because any 'special' occasion demands a clean, ironed least that's what they tell me). I packed the diaper bag, timed Norah's nap so that she'd be well rested by the time we had to leave. I waited till the last minute to cut up the watermelon I was going to bring with me.

I strapped on my wedge sandals (because sometimes I feel like being fancy), and wobbled my way down our uneven walkway, baby on hip and watermelon, peg dolls, camera, and keys in hand. I forgot about that hole that hasn't been filled. Can you see where this is going?

I stepped in the hole, and fell hard on one knee, launching the peg dolls and watermelon everywhere. Of course the container opened. Of course I tore a hole in my new jeans, as well as in my knee. The bright side is, I didn't drop the baby! I cursed, long and loud, with my dad as the helpless witness to all this craziness. He let me rant, and got the baby buckled in while I stomped back into the house.

I cut up more watermelon, called the school to ask the secretary to assure Violet that I WOULD be there with her dress, bandaged my knee, and headed back out. I didn't change my shoes, either. I just walked more carefully. 

Then last night I remembered at 6:30 p.m. that today is Pizza Lunch at Jude's school. I know lunch days are a nice break for most parents. For me, they mean recreating gluten and dairy free versions of whatever the special lunch is. So I packed the kids into the van to head to the grocery store for supplies, as the sky clouded over ominously. 

The heavens unleashed a fury of rain just as we arrived in town, so I dropped the kids as close to the grocery store door as possible. As I parked the van, I saw them running out into the rain and jumping in the huge puddles that were blooming on the crosswalk. I ran around to get the baby out, only to find that the door on her side was locked. By this time I was DRENCHED. An old man in the car beside me took the time to roll down his window to say, "Don't get wet, eh??" with an old-man chuckle. He's lucky he rolled his window back up quickly. The baby was screaming her head off, I couldn't get the door to unlock, and meanwhile my kids were being traffic hazards with their puddle-jumping death wish.

The baby started gasping as the rain pounded down on our heads. I ran across the parking lot and into the refreshing cool of the air conditioned store. Of course, we were all soaking wet now, and everyone was whining that they were cold as I tried to keep my very wet baby warm by wrapping the very wet sling around her.

My very nice neighbour was in line ahead of us, and he dashed out to the van to bring it close to the door for me. That was the best moment of the whole day: when Jude looked out and shouted, "MOM! Someone is stealing the van!!" I laughed so hard I cried, but you couldn't see the tears because my face was so wet.

By 7:30, the kids hadn't really had supper (popcorn doesn't count, does it?) so while they changed into dry pajamas I made hot buttered toast and heated up a can of baked beans. I let them watch a movie, and even made them ice cream sundaes, because they were such good sports about being dragged out into a deluge. 

Daddy got home just in time to put everyone to bed at 9 p.m.

This morning I have to drive to Renfrew with the three girls to pick up five hens. All morning I've been asking myself, why do I add to my already full plate like this? I have bouts of optimistic energy where I convince myself that it won't be that much work. Then I go out to check the chicks and realise they haven't been fed and watered since the last time I managed to check on them two days ago. 

I carry down another basket of laundry (didn't I just fold and put away the laundry 8 hours ago? and weren't my kids sleeping for the past 8 hours?), wash last night's dishes, and get the stress out of my system by writing it all out here. 

Thanks for listening. Breathe in, breathe out.


  1. Oh man - what a day!
    Sad truth is that one day (maybe even today) all of you will look back (maybe not Norah - she will have her own version at some point) and laugh about all of it. It will possibly even become as good a memory as a fancy dinner night.
    Enjoy the hens.

  2. Oh no. I want to offer you a hug and some hot tea (or coffee and a brownie). We all have those days and it sounds like you handled yours much better than I could have hoped to. Always remember that you are an amazing, strong, talented woman.

  3. I talked to Dad on the phone last night and he told me about the fall. Mom and I looked at each other and our jaws dropped. We know. We KNOW. How wonderful that you can write it all down and hopefully release it to the internet, (with your humour still intact)so that you can begin again today.
    As far as the question about the hens and why you add to your plate? I don't know the answer to that. I like to think that you are choosing optimism every day rather than giving up the things that bring you joy. Would it be easier to just NOT paint peg dolls, iron the dresses, offer to bring watermelon or pick up hens? SURE it would. But that wouldn't be you.
    And I love YOU.

  4. *hug* I often ask myself how you manage, because I only have half as many kids and I'm at work all day (thereby escaping the insanity for a few hours) and I'm still knackered at the end of the day :) (Plus, my kids are 12 and 14... able to entertain themselves). I'm amazed you can string together a coherent thought, much less write about it.

    You are an amazing, strong, fantastic woman, and your children are very lucky :) (As is your husband... I might have been tempted to toss a baby at him if he walked into the chaos and I was at the end of my rope). *hug* Please don't ever believe that you're not coping. You're miles beyond that!

  5. Sometimes one has to say "Let's not, and say we did". old ottawa valley saying, i think. you made the right decision when you chose not to get a puppy. But we want to have full exciting lives and that means we say Yes far too often and then are overwhelmed.

    Within ten days, i have organized sheep shearing for 47 sheep, am moving twelve more to southern ontario, got 12 new hens, moved 147 meat chicks outside, organized a two day sale in Wilno for our cafe equipment, worked five shifts at the Granary and finished a new website. And i wonder why my life feels chaotic and I have no time for fun.

    And now I am thinking of getting a milk cow. Because it will be therapeutic to do the milking every morning while i get geared up to work on my novel. Because I'm starting a 30 week writing mentorship on-line with Humber college in September.

    People like us are barking mad but we are happier mad than bored. That's just the way we are!

  6. oh my. I do hope you won't hate me for laughing, just a little, well more of a smile and only while looking the other way. That post is just so perfect.

  7. wow, that's intense. No wonder you were cursing. I would have been crying for sure. I don't think it's a character flaw you can't surrender, I think it's just life. Here's hoping for a better day soon - one where everyone is calm, there's no mud or rain, the baby naps a loooong time, and your house is spotless. Those days feel awesome!!

  8. Poor you!! I would have used one too many curse words on a day like that as well. At 9pm when your hubby came home I hope you were pouring yourself a large glass of wine!

    I hope today is a better day!!


    P.S. I need to ask, do you use the phrase "sit like a turtle" with your kindergarten students? I love it! I am going to use it with my kids.

  9. Sometimes the chaos just sucks. No other word for it. You are in the throws of some really hard days but in a few months you will feel like a veteran. Victorious, that you somehow survived. I love that you kept the wedges on. You still need to try ot be you even when everyone wants you to only be mom. Your kids won't remember that you yelled and fussed. instead they will brag about you to their mates and spouses when they get older. They will sing your accolades and talk about how awesome you are.
    Stay strong. Sometimes showers are overrated anyway.

  10. Good grief!! Your mom treadmill is set at a higher pace than a lot of us. You are rocking it, stress, chaos and all!!! Hugs xoxoxo

  11. Wow Stephanie, and you arrived on time, calm and collected! You looked amazing! I would never have guessed what you had just been through. A day like that would have done me in, for sure! What amazes and delights me most is that you chose to do all the things you really didn't HAVE to do all those things, but you have so much love in your heart that you DID choose to do them and delighted so many people in the process. And about the hollering, it's a small price to pay for love. Better more hollering and more love than less hollering and less love.

  12. Wowzers.your life sounds lije.mine except.I am a student and have 2 boys hope its not so.hectic today xxxx

  13. Two things: I would have smashed the old man's window to slap him for being a smart ass AND I will buy you replacement jeans. They were great jeans on you.

  14. Some days just pile everything all together don't they? I hope you get a respite. Breathe, smile, go slowly. Some how it will all work out in the end right?! :)

  15. I was thinking about this post last night after my kids were asleep while scrubbing a tub inbetween a couple of loads of laundry and decided I'd like to say a bit more. To me this blog entry is a story of a woman who set out to get something done, and accomplished it. Not as planned, or perhaps as hoped, but still accomplished. You persevered. It may not feel like it now, or for a long time, but you won.

  16. Well - what to say here? From your story, and the comments, it seems to me, from very far away, that you endure with grace, and you keep on doing that, and you are a great role model for your children, family and friends. Keep breathing ;)

  17. Oh my word! What a day! I am so sorry that all that went on and am hoping that the next day was *much* better than the previous one. I hate days like that and I wish that I could reach through the computer and give you a great big ol' hug! We've all been there mama so know that you're in good company! XO

  18. our six children are aged 14 through 24 and gratefully all but one now flush when they poo( he's developmentally delayed and never will).

    This only transpired I must say because the dog drinks from the downstairs toilet. 'nough said.

  19. You inspire me to be a better woman with your blog, your love and your yearnings that get fulfilled so magnificently. Cursing sometimes is the only thing that fixes messes. I appreciate your efforts to share with us.


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