Saturday, September 15, 2012

A Tough Day in Perspective

Yesterday was a fail. It was one of those days where I couldn't parent at all. I started the day out already exhausted (bad sign). It was raining outside so my only option for the boys was indoor play.

The morning was fine, we went to an Early Years Learning Center and met two other twin families and the boys played happily. But once we were home again they had a shorter than usual nap and woke up miserable. They clung to my legs, screaming and punching each other while I tried to make them lunch, which they then refused to eat and told me this by whipping their bowls across the room (and no i still haven't cleaned the food off of the walls).

I'm thinking "Ok. The morning was great because they were out of the house playing with new friends. My only chance of survival is get them on some kind of adventure." So I hatched a quick and what I thought brilliant plan:
I took them with me while I drove our "part time live in nanny" to her other job. So far so good. Then we drove to another city and took my sister to her work. The weather was terrible, traffic was horrible and the boys screamed the whole way. Once my sister got into the car they were little angels for her (of course...)

My sister works at Petsmart which is great because while she grooms dogs my boys can watch her, and the other dogs, and see the kittens, birds, hamsters, and fish. Its usually worth the long drive. Not today. Its getting close to dinner time and we are far from home and its rush hour. What to do?? So I  called my husband and asked if I could crash his work dinner meeting. He works in another city but closer than home. The Plan is to make my life easier:
- restaurant means I don't need to cook
- my husband being there means I'm not the only one parenting
- his work friends means the boys will be cheerful because they are better behaved for other people than me
- plus at the end of the meal I can switch cars with my hubby he can drive the long drive home in horrible weather, in rush hour traffic with the screaming twins while I drive home ALONE in silence: a much needed break from my 12 hr day of horrors.
That was the plan but it didn't go like that. We got lost driving to the restaurant. It took an hour to find it. The boys are sreaming. We get there and my husband isn't there, just his new intern. I have toddler twins so as soon as the waiter appears in spitting distance I ask him to bring my boys food "No not appetizers, not water, teas, whatevs, food now sir: GO! thank you."

We wait, the boys are not cheerful, they don't care that the intern is new or that other people are watching us. They throw their crayons, they pull on the blinds, they slam forks against the table, they scream to be released from their highchair prisons. I'm dying. Usually our twins are so well behaved in restaurants that I can proudly flaunt them: "Yes, they are twins. Yes, they are beautiful. Yes, they are so well behaved thanks to my excellent parenting. Yes, I AM SUPER MOM!" But these kids were MONSTERS. I could feel people's eyes on us. I could imagine them thinking, "Look how misbehaved those children are.What was she thinking bringing them to a nice restaurant? They are so loud. Please leave and take your terrible spawn with you." But worse than that was I know some people were pitying me: "That poor woman, she has twins..." I'm humiliated.

The poor intern is trying to make small talk with me. I'm trying to entertain my kids. The waiter shows up with their food "Hallelujah!" but no, the order is wrong. There is cheese on their food. The boys are allergic to diary. "WHATEVER I'LL PEAL THE CHEESE OFF" I tell the waiter. He says its OK. it will only take a few minutes to make another dish. Its clear this guy doesn't have children, or twins either. LOOK INTO MY PLEADING EYES WAITER, you better not be lying to me, OK. go make a new dish...

Still no husband. Still no food. Still screaming children.

Finally the food comes back. Its too hot, its burnt, IT DID NOT TAKE A FEW MINUTES. My boys burn their mouths they are so hungry. They gobble it all up in a few minutes. The waiter doesn't come back to check on us, to take our orders. Its been an hour, my hubby is missing, his cellphone isn't working. I'm hungry, the intern is hungry, and my boys are full but still screaming. I apologize to the intern saying, "I'm so sorry, I'm going to have to leave" (He's probably thinking "Thank God"). We exchanged numbers, I told him to call me and let me know if my hubby ever arrives. Now I'm waiting on the bill. The intern says he will pay it.

I pick up my children and wrestle/chase them outside. My husband just pulls up, he say the traffic is terrible and apologizes. There are accidents on all the highways and on a lot of the detours. He helps me put the boys in the car, tells me an alternate route to get home, and goes to start his meeting.

I drive around for 45 mins lost, the boys are sobbing they are so tired, and I'm on the verge of tears: will this day ever end?! I keep calling the intern's cell so I can get directions but he isn't picking up. I almost get into two car accidents because I'm such a mess mentally. I shouldn't be driving. I wish a cop would pull me over so he can take me to a mental hospital and my children home. Finally I found my way back to the restaurant, my hubby finally calls me. I say, "I'm back. Come outside." When he comes out I just burst into tears. I can't even speak. I'm so done. I'm burnt out, lost, and I feel like a terrible mother. All my efforts to make the day easier failed miserably. And now I've ruined his work meeting. I don't have to say anything. He takes one look at me and runs back in to pay the bill. We switch cars and I follow him home, crying the whole way.

He gets the kids' teeth brushed, changes their diapers, and puts them to bed. We pray for them, kiss their foreheads, and I tell them I love them and that tomorrow will be better.

It turns out that 4 people died yesterday in 3 different accidents. Which is why the traffic was terrible on all the highways/roads. Their day, their familes' day was worse than mine, by a long shot. I will forget about my day in a few weeks. Those family members will always remember Sept. 14th 2012 as when they lost their loved ones. That and a good night's sleep is the perspective I need.

Parenting is hard, twins, triplets, or singletons. It can be brutal, it can nearly break you. But we are blessed when life goes on. When after a long awful day we can tuck our babies in, kiss their faces, and start again the next day. That's a blessing and I'm thankful for it.