Well, what can I say. (silence)
I'm trying to think of how to describe the day that I had in one word.
Trying. Yes, trying. It rivaled this day.
We had our first official field trip of the semester which meant that we had to get up a little earlier than usual and be completely dressed and out the door by 9:00. This is no easy task, mind you. But the task became suddenly harder when half of the kids could not find their shoes. "Mom, I put them away," they protested. Not. The shoes were outside the back door. They had been left overnight in the rain and had a lovely layer of snow on them by this point.
We scrounged and searched for other shoes that were "put away" and when we found them thirty minutes later I was ready to just stay home. I had planned to take the kids back to the Central library for the afternoon which would entail locating many library books to return. You see we've reached our limit on books (125, I believe) and would not be able to check anymore out until we brought some back.
At this point I sat all the children on the stairs and explained to them that originally I had planned to have some library fun today, but due to the shoe fiasco that would no longer be happening because there was not enough time to collect the books and be on time to the museum. Chins were quivering. I was indifferent. When a mother is indifferent it is a clear sign that she is in serious need of help.
By the time we got loaded into the car one child was hyperventilating and in hysterics. She claimed that she has never been so disappointed and that she was sure that I "harbored hatred in my heart" for her. Nothing could have been farther from the truth. I had no idea that I had made such an impact by my little speech. Sadly, it probably had something to do with the volume and tone of my words. At this point, I was feeling horrible!! What kind of monster am I? We prayed in the driveway. We forgave each other and committed to start the day over. We ran inside and collected as many books as possible. Yes, we would try to go to the library after all.
Believe it or not, we arrived at the museum on time. Now, this is an art and history museum on Native American Indians. There is a small area downstairs with a cool stage coach that the kids enjoyed and then, we went upstairs. There's something about museums that brings out loud voices and running feet in children. No matter how hard I tried someone (Rebekah) was running in circles, or reaching out to touch a sculpture, or yelling, "Betsy, where are you!!" there was no stopping them. Of course there were the lurking art museum employees dressed in black who stared and followed us everywhere. "I'm doing the best I can here!" I wanted to turn and say.
This is an example of the stress level involved here. In the foyer there was a interesting statue of a cowboy on a horse. The sign said, "This is a model of a statue. Please touch." So like boys do, they touched it. In a split second there was a uniformed employee waving his arms and charging across the gallery. "Do not touch!! Do not touch!!" (Imagine a Jamaican or New Guinea accent here.) The man protested that this precious item was not be handled. My friend had to read the sign to him two times before he shook his head and walked back to his post. I still don't think he believed it was true.
As art museums go, some of the exhibits were a little on the edge and freaking even me out a bit (like the exhibit of a torture chamber looking bed thing or some disturbing "art" objects made of walrus intestines). Besides, I was getting tired of hearing myself say over and over again, "Don't touch. Stay with mommy. Shhh.... Keep walking Stop looking at that." Needless to say, we were glad to move on to the library.
I made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and we ate in the car. I had not made these sandwiches ahead of time (obviously), so this lunch preparation involved me sitting cross legged to hold the bread and balancing an open jar of runny organic peanut butter and some jam on the dashboard. It was an astounding feat. We sat by the side of the road to do this and there was a policeman parked a few spots behind the van. I could imagine this officer seeing several of my children climbing over the seats and coming to inquire about our activities. "Officer, we're on a field trip. We homeschool." And then dumping peanut butter in my lap. Thankfully, he did not.
At the library there was a gradual meltdown and loss of all control by those three and under. Running and hiding. Dumping books off the shelf. Sitting on the floor and refusing to move another inch. And John absolutely flipping out when another toddler touched his shirt. The boy went mad and would not stop screaming. That child's poor mother couldn't stop apologizing. I felt so bad.
It was clearly time for our little family to go. The self check station is located in the cavernous atrium of the library where even a whisper seems to reverberate. Well, much more than that was heard today as John continued to melt down. What can a mother do when it is obvious that there is nothing she can do? John was screaming. Joseph and Rebekah were lying in the middle of the floor. People's smiles quickly turned into stares and we quickly exited.
And to top it all off as I was getting ready to pay the parking garage fee I discovered that the pretty little Vera Bradly zipper pull was missing. That was my favorite part of my purse. Sigh.