We’ve had some really beautiful weather here lately and I’ve tried to get outside as much as possible. The vitamin D helps when I feel all post-partum and moody. Which might be often. Still kicking those baby blues sometimes.
So anyway- the kids and I were outside the other day. I was mowing with my reel mower while the baby napped inside, and the big kids were painting on the sidewalk. It was a great day- no mosquitos to kill the mood, which made me happy. And I was feeling like I owned this motherhood thing as I mowed and my kids had good wholesome fun with homemade paints. (A little cornstarch, some water, and food coloring. That’s it.) I call these my “Montessori Moments”. The last one took place almost a year ago- you may remember the old light box of yore.
The kids painted on the sidewalk for a while and I watched and responded appropriately. (“Oh! Yes, I DO love that rainbow that you made.”). I even gently taught them to think outside the box. (“Let’s see what happens when you put some of that red in with that blue… Oh PURPLE!!! How PRETTY!”). And reflected back to them a few things I saw, so as to encourage their independent thought and creativity. (“You’re pressing down very hard on your paintbrush!” and “What does that color make you think of?”). We were really on a roll.
Things sort of starting going south when the kids decided to paint their toenails. Then of course they wanted to paint their feet. Then legs, arms…you get the point. I decided to go along with it because- again- these moments happen about once a year so why not just live it up. Really embrace it, you know? I’m the picture of a serene mother (I’m practically knitting as I take it all in).
The problem with embracing full-body paint is that then you have to embrace a quick-bath-before-naptime. Which really cramps my style, as we tend to bathe our kids…oh…once a week or so. More in the sweaty/bug spray/sunscreen summertime- but not much more. The pool counts as a bath around here.
So eventually I hustle the kids up the stairs (“DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING BECAUSE YOUR HANDS ARE BLUE!”) and into the bathtub. The water instantly turns blue, which cracks them up. And they are taking a bath in the middle of the day, which is crazy and wild AND it’s not even Sunday (bath day) so who knows which way is up now. And the blue water. It’s just too much to take in.
They get more and more wound up and splash all over and then I get impatient. So I start getting short with them. Then the baby is crying and I just want it to be 20 minutes later, when everyone is settled in for naptime, so I start yelling. Because that always helps, right?
Yell yell yell. Impatient. Snap. Yell some more.
Abruptly start draining the bath because I’m tired of bathtime and just want everyone in bed. Watch my son continue to flop around in the waterless tub like a crazed, dying fish. He is laughing hysterically but I have lost my serenity and continue to yell. Bark orders left and right.
Fast-forward about 20 minutes and everyone is settled in bed. The baby is sleeping, Monkey is on his way to passing out, and the Chicken is listening to a song about the tooth fairy on her cd player.
Then I realize that the baby monitor had been plugged in on the front porch the whole time. Broadcasting all of the yelling. I’m guessing anyone in a two-block radius heard me, because I had the monitor turned up really loud in case the baby woke up while I was mowing. I am 100% positive that my neighbor heard it all because he occupies his front porch throughout most of the day, with brief excursions out to Reids grocery or Millers on the mall. And he told my husband he heard the kids yelling the other day. (He is old. His hearing is poor. He definitely heard ME yelling).
So, to anyone who thinks I’m a serene, peaceful, hippie mother: Don’t believe the hype. The baby monitor will tell you otherwise.