Saturday, July 09, 2011

Mommy's Moment: Mopping Madness

When people say having kids makes every task take twice as long, believe them. It's not a joke. I'm living proof.

Today, I made my goal small. Sweep and mop the kitchen floor. MAYBE maybe vaccum the den. Without kids around, this task could take at max 30 minutes, usually less. I'll be honest, I get overwhelmed with cleaning for so many reasons. One being I feel guilty I'm not spending quality time with my kids. Another being, why clean it up when it's going to get messed up in less than an hour again? Another, I'm just too tired. But today, today I pulled myself together to get 'er done. Seeing Kate turn into a mop and broom herself, picking up every crumb and mess stuck to the floor was my highest motivation.

So,I moved the chairs out. I even assigned Hannah and Grant in on the "fun." I allowed them to wipe the chairs down. While my chairs did not become sparkling clean, they kept Hannah and Grant busy, helping with cleaning and feeling important, for a few minutes at least. And, yes, they washed their hands thoroughly afterwards.

So, I run my all time favorite "broom," The Swivel Sweeper, across my floor only soon to be interrupted...THE FIRST TIME. Hannah has taken it upon herself to push Kate in her doll stroller. I glance at Kate. She's not screaming. She's a little bit forward in the stroller but after cautioning Hannah to be careful I decided to let the stroller ride continue. And it does. For a bit. Screaming soon permeates the air followed by, "Mom, she fell out!" I rush to the scene to find Kate on the floor and Hannah looking dumbfounded. I appease Kate and give Hannah a stern warning.

I return to my floors hoping soon to start the mopping process. Que Grant. He stares ever so longingly at the food inside the opened fridge. Getting close to lunch, I realize he's hungry but I kindly deny his one of MANY requests for a "nack." I return to preparing my mop for the big job. And I see him. He picks up his cow hat, throws it on the floor then turns and SCREAMS at me, "I'M MAD AT YOU!" Apparently he was hungrier than I thought.

I'm a bit dumbfounded. I didn't see that one coming. In fact, I can usually spot when a major meltdown is coming. I missed this one totally.

I put down the mop (that hasn't been put to work yet) to discipline. I return to my mop as Grant tries to calm down. I get a few good strokes in when I see he's ready to talk after his "discipline." I put the mop back down. I go to his side and ask why he was "disciplined."

"because I disobeyed," he manages to squeak out while sucking his thumb. And, while this may appear to be a "good" answer, it is not. In fact, it's his answer to everything when he's in trouble. And while the root of it is disobedience, there's the way in which he chose to be disobedient, like, oh, screaming in my face. And when prompted to tell me how he was disobedient he chose to cry some more and plead "I don't know."

Back to my mopping. My mop has dried out a bit from the long hiatus. I rewet it and strap it back on. Several more strokes, and then I hear Hannah (convinced she knows every thought and desire of Kate's) giving Kate another ride of her life.

"She wanted to ride again," she tells me as she moves past me. Kate's not screaming. And, giving Hannah more credit than I should have, I managed to convince myself she learned her lesson when Kate fell out.

"I'll be right back," I hear her say to me or Kate? as I push a few more strokes out on the floor.

THUD. I hear next.

"Hannah? Did she fall out again?"

"Oh yes Mommy, she fell out! She wants you!" Hannah exclaims.

Mop goes down.

Kate and the stroller lay on the floor.

Hannah, who has returned from the garage, stands next to Kate and the stroller with skates in hand. Use your imagination.

Another firm rebuking insues for Hannah along with her being forbidden to take Kate for another ride in the stroller.

I return to Grant. He's calm. He manages to tell me he screamed at me. He apologizes. We talk about how he SHOULD HAVE responded. We hug. He goes to get his blankey. Case closed.

I try to put Kate down. She screams.

The Baby Bjorn is in sight. I'll strap her up and mop, I think to myself. I do it. As quickly as I strap her up I realize it was a mistake.

While she seems to be content, I worry about the prospect of whiplash. With every hearty stroke (and I do need hearty strokes because rememeber, my floor has not been cleaned in, I won't say, and there is crustiness that needs some serious elbow grease), her head bobs.

Then the oven beeps. Did I forget to mention that I decided to throw in some chicken nuggets and fish sticks for lunch? Grant's meltdown could be due to low blood sugar. I joke. It was ready. I thrust in the lunch food (Kate carefully and securely away from any heat).

Realizing my method of mopping with Kate strapped to me was fruitless, I unstrap her and set her on the floor in the den. Screaming commences. Avoiding the inevitable. . .Hannah TO THE RESCUE!

But, I must keep mopping. I mop along only to find yet again Kate sitting in front of my eyes IN THE STROLLER,Hannah proudly standing behind her. And, here's where my parenting skills crashed and burned, I just went with it. She was happy, for the moment, I needed to finish the floor, surely Hannah would be careful this time. So, I gave in and refused to remind myself of the last words shared with Hannah.

I got a few more strokes in and immediately had to rescue Kate (again) whose arm was stuck in the stroller. I know, I know, what was I thinking? Survival.

I pulled her out. Took the final strokes to my floor. And took a deep breath. It was done.

Thanks to a few prayers for strength from the Lord, I managed to survive this without losing my temper. And I wonder where Grant gets his?

What should have taken me 30 minutes max took over an hour. And though my kids can drive me up the wall sometimes, sitting down and eating lunch with them afterwards reminds me yet again of what a priviledge it is to get to spend my crazy days with them. I love them, even if they do scream at me and disobey me.

And no, the den never got vaccumed.


Mary said...

Oh the life of a mommy!! : ) It just keeps moving, and we have to move with it! You had me laughing,friend! You are such a good mom!

Jessica said...

you're a good friend that you read it to the end...I didn't realize how LONG this post was until I published it!

The Noonan's said...

Love it! Hahaha! I can just see your calm self in the midst of it all persevering to the bitter end - you did it. There really should be mommy Olympics - feats like this should be awarded with medals - or atleast a talk Coke.

Mom of Three said...

I feel your pain, Jessica! It's like you're writing a post on my life as well!