Rage against the ma . . . ma


The tribe had a rough night last night; Mr Man rolled over onto Scout shortly past midnight, which started Scout singing good morning songs, which triggered Mr. Man histrionics, which woke Baby Guy who decided it was about high time someone showed up with a bottle for his eating pleasure.  Of course, Daddy’s arrival with the bottle completely unhinged Mr. Man, who kept up his expressions of disapproval for our chain of priorities until sometime after 3 a.m.  Suffice it to say that I was unprepared for two sour-faced little girls shambling out of their room at 7 a.m., each afflicted with a serious case of “me disease.”

“Me disease,” for those unfamiliar, is that awful disorder of thought which causes an individual to believe that the entire universe revolves around him or her, and that any deviation of those around him or her from that belief is grounds for screaming, kicking, projectile hurling, or any one of a hundred other variations on completely unacceptable behavior.  By nine o’clock, when two more cases of this dread disease had awakened, I had a six-Advil headache and had prayed so much my knees were hollering for six Advil of their own.

The combination of sleep deprivation and disappointment has horrible effects on small children; we had three different plans for fun with people we love get kiboshed yesterday and today.  It’s not great for their parents, either.

At any rate, we somehow managed to slog our way through lessons this morning, Bugaboo refusing to work unless she had my undivided attention and Beanie using her big sister as a role model, Mr. Man protesting when his sisters declined to allow him to climb into their chairs with them, then hurling his own crayons at them when I offered them to him, Baby Guy shrieking every time I tried to put him down.

If you have, or have ever had, little kids, you know that days like these are the ones when they will absolutely refuse to take a nap.  I finally gave up when Mr. Man pulled a painting off the wall above his crib onto his head.

Since one of the girls’ major sources of disappointment was missing the parish dessert party this evening (upon further review, the timing of the thing made it impossible for us to attend), I figured I’d try to ameliorate some of the general grouchiness by having a little dessert party of our own.  All of their grandparents feel a need to keep our pantry well supplied with treats, so after dinner, the tribe was presented with a veritable smorgasbord of cookies and candies.  There was great rejoicing, and for fifteen whole miraculous minutes, nobody screamed.

After the dishes had been cleared, Baby Guy fell asleep on his playmat, while Beanie and Mr. Man ambled down the hall to play with Alphie.  It seemed like a good idea to offer Bugaboo a big-girl craft project of her very own; she loves almost anything that comes with that label.  So we read and discussed the little story in her preschooler devotional, then talked about the craft project.  I may have to take this picture down, but I think “fair use” lets me put it here:

I thought the project looked pretty cool, and so did Bugaboo.  Newspapers and a bowl of water were procured, and the wee artiste set to work.

According to Bugaboo, this is a duck.  Please notice the enormous pile of wet newspaper in front of her.  She had a grand time for about half an hour playing with her newly-discovered sculpting medium before she tired of playing with it.  In some distress, she showed me her hands, blackened by the ink from the newsprint.  I reassured her that it would wash off, and packed her off to the bathroom to wash her hands.

After five minutes of listening to water running in the bathroom, and several unanswered requests that she turn the water off, I figured it might be prudent to check on my oldest daughter.  I had heard the stepstool move, so I figured maybe she was just having a little fun with the soap bubbles.  Unfortunately, what greeted mine eyes when I threw wide the door was a creditable imitation of a chimney sweep just finishing a job.  Instead of washing the black ink from her hands, she had rubbed it all over her face and hair, the vanity top, and the floor.  I should point out that the hands in question were COMPLETELY DRY — and still black.  This is a public service announcement for those of you contemplating this sculpture project — please make sure the child actually gets his or her hands wet to wash the stuff off.

Oh, yeah — the medicine cabinet was open, too.

I proceeded to read Bugaboo the riot act, punctuated by frequent references to using her smarts wisely as we’d just read, which I probably should have done in a lower voice, since the sound of me shouting sends Baby Guy into paroxysms of hysterical tears. She was instructed to get in the tub, scrub herself clean, then carry her little tucchus back to her room, get into a nightie, and park the aforementioned tucchus in her bed until Daddy got home (about 45 minutes later).  I managed to calm Baby Guy, and as he slurped down the last of his bottle, Beanie approached me and said in a tiny voice, “Mommy, may I please have a craft?”

I looked up into a pair of very sad little eyes.

Thank God for magic paint books.

The night got a little calmer after that, although Bugaboo kept wailing until Daddy sprung her from her room, twenty minutes or so after he got home.  Hopefully, they’ll all sleep well tonight.  We took Scout out of Mr. Man’s bed as a precaution.

Today’s prayer:  Lord, Your oldest blessing is just now beginning to understand the difference between intelligence and wisdom.  Thank You for the many tools you’ve put in our hands to help teach her to use the remarkable gifts you’ve given her wisely, including Your Word.  Please help my manner be patient and my voice be gentle as she learns that great gifts come with a great obligation to use them wisely and well.  Please let me show all of Your blessings by example how to use lovingly what You have given freely and without any merit on our part.  And please, Lord, help me get it through to them that we correct them out of love.

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