How Children Might Drive Their Mommies to Drink
I had a feeling about this afternoon.
It was in the car, on my way to pick up kids from school, that I just got a sense about it. I don't know if it's because I've stayed up WAY too late the last few nights, or because I'm overwhelmed with home improvements and laundry, or whatever, but I'm needing a NAP and I just got this premonition, a warning from the Holy Spirit, if you will, about how this afternoon might go.
Feel like I'm gonna need to triple up on the GABA today for some reason, I texted Michael.
He texts me back instantly with the admonishment to DO IT! with about 48 exclamation points behind that, because Lord knows, after nearly two years of marriage he has SEEN the after-effects of a Gamma-aminobutyric depletion, know what I'm saying? He knows, is all.
And it wasn't soon after we got home that IT BEGAN.
Probably because, having been so sleep-deprived the last few nights, I just thought that since it was so QUIET around here, what with Susie being down for a nap, and the other two playing so sweetly upstairs in the playroom, that I would just lay down across the bed for a few minutes and rest my weary head... for just... a few... minutes...
And that, my friends, was my first mistake. Because first of all, there was that premonition that I had, and secondly? I thought that I could just take a nap? Just like THAT? On a school day?! With kids at home?
Good Lord. I should have known. I've been a mom for just shy of twelve years, and I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN.
Taking a nap is THE Number One guaranteed way to start a crisis amongst your children. Second would be getting in the shower, and third, getting on the phone. And all moms know this. WE. KNOW. THIS. Do NOT think you're gonna take a nap before your children turn 18! Idiot! Gosh!
So 3.6 minutes into my rest time, just as I was getting drowsy in my blackout-draped room with the ceiling fan quietly humming, the calmness of my house was shattered with my bedroom door being thrown open and my two oldest children blowing in, screeching and wailing like Hurricane Katrina.
Which, of course, woke up Susie, who was snoozing right there across the hall.
See, weeks ago, Annie had traded her purple Barbie doll sunglasses for Katie's silver Barbie doll sunglasses. And I KNOW this because I was there when that happened. And Annie has since lost her Barbie's sunglasses so now she wants her OLD ones back, and Katie refused, of course, and Annie came to me demanding that I make it right for her because SHE GOT THOSE FOR CHRISTMAS, she moaned through broken sobs.
"I *sniff* GOT *sniff* THOSE *sniff* FOR ... CHRISTMAS," she repeated at LEAST six times through her wails and her tears.
As if they were a sentimental heirloom she intended to pass down to her children and her children's children. I could envision the ceremony now... here, my darling daughter, are the purple plastic Barbie sunglasses I got for ... CHRISTMAS. Yes, Christmas, and therein lies their value. Treasure them, my darling, for they are the pearl of great price...
But I digress.
My point is, they weren't so valuable to her when she was willing to trade them a few short weeks ago.
"But I didn't know I was going to want them back," she wailed.
"I'm sorry, but you GAVE them away, and NOW they're Katie's. Sorry 'bout your luck...," I answered unsympathetically, the GABA in my system dipping to dangerously low levels as Susie caterwauled in the background, having been ever so rudely awakened by the commotion.
"Have you done your homework?" I interrupted the wailing to demand of Annie.
"I FORGOT!" Annie wailed.
YOU. BETTER. GET. UP. THERE. AND GET. YOUR. HOMEWORK. DONE.
I ordered her sternly through clenched teeth.
AND... YOU'RE GOING TO BED EARLY FOR PLAYING BEFORE YOU DID YOUR HOMEWORK.
*and yet even louder wailing up the stairs into her room, punctuated with a door slam and a poignant Shakespearean soliloquy being recited about how unfairly she's being treated*
I go upstairs to regulate on all this wailing and door slamming and soliloquy-ing and open her bedroom door to find her amongst the entire contents of Justice and a laundromat and forty eight pairs of shoes strewn knee-deep about her room.
ON THE FLOOR.
See? I texted Michael. I had a feeling about needing extra GABA today.
Because it's not like she didn't KNOW. We've had an "afternoon chores" checklist on the side of the fridge for at LEAST three years now that she sits 12" from every day as she eats her breakfast. I say it. Daily. She doesn't HEAR it. Work first, then play. And that means HOMEWORK and CLEANING YOUR ROOM. Work first, then play. Work first, then play.
DOES ANYONE IN THIS PLACE HEAR ME?
*TAP TAP* Is this thing on?
My friend, who shall remain nameless, told me once that she used to drink only rarely, and then she had her first baby and started drinking weekly. And then the second child was born, and with that naturally came daily happy hour. Which, of course, eventually turned into a neighborhood get-together each afternoon for ALL the neighborhood mommies.
I'm not much of a drinker, but I don't judge, because I get it. And I wonder how many AA confessionals start out with, "Hello, my name is ___, and I'm an alcoholic, and it all started because of a pair of purple Barbie sunglasses...."
Now if you'll excuse me, it seems I'm out of GABA so I need to run to the health food store for an industrial-sized bottle.
If I don't stop off at my friend's happy hour on the way...
More from parenting