Yesterday I put toothpaste on Jonas’s toothbrush instead of letting him do it himself. He proceeded to scream bloody murder at the indignity of it all and because I’m fresh out of patience for dealing with temper tantrums and it was too early to drink, I held him down on the master bathroom floor, one leg over his trunk and arms, the other wrapped around his head to keep him from thrashing and forcibly brushed his teeth while he yelled. I wanted to prove to him that dignity is simply not available at this time in our house. There’s a shortage and it’s no longer being allotted to the Newlin family. He refused to speak to me for the rest of the morning (except to tell me how very not his friend I am).
Then I went downstairs and chewed Ben out over a cup of milk he poured himself up over the rim of the glass and onto the counter and floor (like distracted people always do with coffee on sitcoms) so severely that he literally cried over spilled milk. (In my defense, he’s ELEVEN, and it was the third time in 24 hours he managed to spill milk all over the counter and floor. Also see above re: patience.)
Next I called the pediatrician’s office to schedule immunization and check-up visits for the boys so they could have up-to-date records and actually attend school when it’s finally back in session in two weeks. Here’s how that went:
Nurse: Hmm, yeah, we don’t have any appointments available to get them in before school starts, sorry.
Me: What? Um, but I’m pretty sure they can’t actually attend without getting those shots.
Nurse: Yeah, there’s lots of parents having that problem…
Me: I can tell you’re quite concerned for us.
Then Gray told me he doesn’t want to go to school this year because he’s probably not ever going to learn to read. I pointed out that if he never learns to read he’ll never be able to operate the TV remote and the cable guide alone. Then I spent 20 minutes forcing him to sound out all of the buttons on the remote and various shows on the cable guide to prove to him that literacy is an important step in his path to becoming a teenager who watches inappropriate things on TV when his parents aren’t home.
By then it was 10:12 AM and I had not even an ounce of energy left to do anything but crawl under my kitchen table and cry. I did it quietly enough it took the kids 16 minutes to find me. It was the most relaxing and peaceful part of the entire day.
The big boys go back August 10th. Jonas’s Montessori is closed for the next two weeks and he doesn’t start back until August 15th. We have two more weeks to stay occupied, continue to work, and try to remember all of the knowledge they forgot this summer while drinking boxed wine. Or was that me? I can’t recall.
Freedom is close enough for me to smell it (it smells like cookies and ice cream for brunch while watching True Life marathons on MTV at 10:45 AM in a quiet house alone), but still far enough away I might have to hang myself from a vacuum cleaner cord while locked in the laundry room before it gets here. I’ll let you know which way that goes.