Nota Bene: For the next six days, this blog will function primarily as a Remote Parental Communication Device. Do not expect reflective content. School behavior, potty-related issues, bathing schedules, and bedtime crying jags will be faithfully recorded for the benefit of the Temporarily Canadian Spouse. All other visitors should plan to read this instead, for the duration.
I always knew that today, Saturday, would be the hardest day of Noel's absence. Tomorrow my mother-in-law should be arriving, and all next week the kids and I are in school part or all day.
We had a pleasant enough morning. After breakfast and getting dressed, we went out to Laurel Park for some outdoor play before the day got too hot and sticky. Archer took along his "new" digital camera (kindly passed along by Uncle Dwayne) to snap some pictures. At this point most of his pictures show people's torsos or a generous helping of ground, since he tends to angle the camera down as he shoots to keep an eye on the viewscreen. But he very much enjoys taking pictures -- as he said with great delight, "Mom, you and I are both photographers!"
Back to the house by 9:20 to watch an episode of The Electric Company, while I gathered library books and made sure I had everything I needed to take to lunch. We arrived at the library at about 10:25, only to find that Ann, the storytelling lady, had been bitten by a spider (!) and was out of commission. It was like old home week in the children's book room, with at least four families there who count as our friends or acquaintances. We filled up a tote bag with books, checked out with some difficulty (the system was down), and headed off to Chili's for lunch. Although I got Cady Gray to use the potty there not once but twice, she still managed to have an accident; I'm starting to wonder if she's got some physical problem. Suddenly in the last week the girl can't go 20 minutes without wetting her pants. (Update: Since I typed that sentence, we have tried intervals of 20 and 15 minutes without success. We are now seeing if she can make it 10 minutes.)
Frustrated by the constant toilet troubles, I was snappish with the kids when we got home, and hustled them off to their naptimes early. Probably I should be working on the lecture I have to give on Monday, but mentally I've reserved that to be done after Libby gets here. I read blogs and websites for the 90 minutes they were in their rooms.
When they got up, we went to the grocery store. In normal life we've stopped taking them on grocery shopping trips together, because they inevitably get wild and uncontrollable before we're done. But there was no help for it today. For the most part they stayed on track, but by the end they were clambering around the cart and making insistent demands. The last straw was in the checkout line when Cady Gray -- you guessed it -- had an accident. This after we had had a looooong talk before leaving the house about our New Deal, wherein every time she managed to make it to the next potty time with her pants dry she would get two special stickers, and after we had just picked out said stickers in the store with her input. At the same time, Archer was telling me that he had to go, but in the checkout line it seemed impossible to go all the way back to the other end of the store with a paid-for cart of food and take them both in. I told Archer he needed to wait until we got home, and prayed he could manage it.
It was when I was pushing the cart full of kids and groceries briskly back to the car that I felt the sharp pain in the back of my left hip, right at the top of the pelvic bone. It stabbed with every step, just intense enough to make me say "ow" out loud and shorten my stride. What the heck was this? Suddenly terrified that this was the harbinger of some kind of debilitating pain that could get worse, I focused on getting the kids in the car and the groceries in the trunk, moving gingerly and slowly to try to avoid whatever had triggered the pain. While pushing the cart back to the corral, I carefully tested my limits. Slow walking -- fine, although I could still feel the twinge there just under the threshold of pain. A little faster -- oh, there it goes again. OwowowOW. OK, slow down, just get home where you can rest.
An hour of trying my best to relax and unkink all the stress seems to have improved the situation, although I'm still gunshy. One step at a time -- get the dinner fixed, get the kids in bed -- and I'll be able to see whether a more serious regimen of destressification puts me back on my feet in a normal fashion. Meanwhile, if you happen to be thousands of miles away -- don't worry about me. (Ha ha.) I'm sure it was a temporary something-or-other -- it felt pinched-nervy -- that will fix itself with the proper care.
What it told me was that I'm not immune to my own emotions ... that I need to not get upset and tense about stuff that doesn't matter while we're just trying to make it through the week. I tend to get very serious about setting boundaries and then taking it personally when they fall apart. None of that is as important as being 100% so that the kids are taken care of. I'll be working on my meditation techniques tonight and enjoying a novel and early bedtime, with the expectation that Libby's arrival will free me tomorrow to ramp up normal activity. Like that pesky lecture.