If my cats did this, we could have left the house on time this morning (Image via Wikipedia, Photographer: User:Reward.)
NaNoWriMo Day 19 word count: 33,208
We went to see A Year with Frog and Toad, put on by the University of Utah Youth Theater this morning. We were supposed to meet some homeschooling friends out front at 9:20, and against all odds, we were making wonderful time. I stopped to fill up some water bottles (I have a thing about having enough provisions for any outing). I heard my daughter yelling from the laundry room.
“No! Put that down! No! No!”
I set down the water pitcher and walked to the doorway of the laundry room. I saw my daughter standing about a foot away from my son as he reached into the litter box with his hands, grabbed cat poo, and then put it into the small covered garbage can we have next to the little box for that purpose.
“Oh, for Pete’s sake!” I yelled (or something of that nature).”Why didn’t you stop him?”
“I was putting on my jacket,” my daughter explained. Well, I guess I did only ask her to watch him, not to actually intervene if he was doing something that needed intervention.
I grabbed the baby and shook his hand to release his grip on the turd he held, then I took him in to the sink to wash his hands, saying over and over, “We’re gonna be late, we’re gonna be late.” I must have scrubbed his little hands for a good three minutes before I felt satisfied that they were clean enough.
I got our water bottles and stuffed them in the diaper bag.
“I’m thirsty!” my daughter said. I pulled out her water bottle and shoved it towards her.
“Here, take it!”
Then the baby signed “water” and I handed him his cup, which he promptly dropped on the floor.
“Please carry that water for your brother,” I directed my daughter.
“I can’t,” she said, “I need to open the door. Mommy, why are you wearing your brown shoes instead of your shiny black shoes?”
“Because we might need to park far away, and my shiny black shoes aren’t very comfortable to walk long distances in.”
“My shiny black shoes are comfortable. What does ‘walk long distances’ mean?”
I stammered trying to figure out which part of that statement she was having trouble with.
“Let’s just go to the car,” I said, propping the baby on my hip, shouldering the diaper bag, and opening the door.
“I want to be the first one out!” my daughter whined.
“Fine!” I yelled. “Just get out there! We’re going to be late!”
I locked the door to the house while my daughter stood at the car pulling on the door handle repeating over and over, “Mommy, unlock the door! Mommy, unlock the door!”
“Does that help unlock the door?” I asked her as I hit the button to unlock the car. “The yelling and whining. Does that work? Because if it does, maybe I’ll try that next time instead of using the key.”
My daughter laughed. I fastened the baby into his car seat as he grabbed a stuffed giraffe from beside him. My daughter screamed.
“Dear God, what is it now?” I asked.
“That’s my giraffe!” she said and yanked the toy from her brother’s grip. He began crying, but calmed again when I handed him his Doggies book (by Sandra Boynton).
“Fine,” I said. “Let’s just go. We’re going to be late.”
“Mommy, it’s OK if we’re…”
“No! It’s not OK if we’re late! Have you ever been to a play? Do you know if it’s OK to be late?”
I didn’t wait for an answer. I shut the baby’s door, then went around the car and got into the driver’s seat.
“Don’t go yet!” my daughter yelled. “I can’t buckle it! I can’t buckle it!”
“You have got to be kidding me!” I yelled as I got back out of the car, opened her door and fastened her buckle. She started to cry.
“Don’t talk in that voice!” she cried.
“I’m sorry,” I said. “I just don’t like being late.” I hugged her and gave her a kiss, then slid back into the driver’s seat.
As we backed out, my daughter asked, “Mommy, does it really take a half an hour to get there?”
We ended up getting there just after our friends arrived. We found them right away, checked in, and got seats with no trouble. The play was lovely. It was a musical, which I didn’t expect, but which kept the kids’ attention better than a straight-up, non-musical play would have, I think. The costumes were adorable, although perhaps a little subtle for the younger kids. There seemed to be kind of a 1920’s theme to the clothing and the music and the dancing. It was cute and quite enjoyable. The baby watched a good portion of it, grew restless, and then nursed to sleep. My daughter was frightened of the Terrible Frog (just like she is when we read the book), but otherwise loved the show.
After everything turned out so well, I was left wishing I could have gotten us there without the yelling that went along with our departure. Sure, it was stressful, but in retrospect, it was actually kind of funny. I’d like to be able to see the funny part better in the moment.
I’ve been anxious lately. I’ve managed to keep my inner critic fairly quiet about my novel, but that seems to have got her working overtime criticizing everything else I do. I’m just trying to sit with my imperfection and see all of the positives, but it’s a pretty big challenge. I’m fairly confident it will be worth it, though. It kind of already is.
But I’d still like to yell less.