Tuesdays are the new Mondays at my house. Since we started going to “school” one day a week, Tuesday has become a scramble to get all the undone things done before faced with real responsibility on Wednesday morning (school day). It’s brutal and frequently ugly. This Tuesday was no exception. Monday had been one of those “Man, homeschooling is all sunshine and light” days, and so I should’ve known that the Tuesday smack down was going to be top shelf.
On Tuesday afternoon I jotted a little list of all the crap that had gone down, so as not to forget when it came time to write this blog. Where is that list? It’s probably better lost. Tuesday is probably better lost, too.
Levi (age 5) was having a hard day. Nothing would fit right, spin right, fly right, kick right, hit right. After being completely unnerved by all the things in the house, I sent him outside to see how wrong all the yard stuff was. He shot hoops quietly for a few minutes. While inside, I cracked the whip to get grammar and rough drafts done with the bigs. Finn asked to go outside to play with Levi. I knew this was the end. I knew that Levi was in no state to socialize, but such is life with siblings.
There is so much premonition in a day. Seeing it all play out before it even gets started. Knowing they are going to get blisters from the plastic heels they are insisting to wear. Knowing that the gun is NOT going to fit through that belt loop. Knowing that they are going to spill that paintbrush water.
Finn bounded outside, and as expected, there was some fighting over the basketball, but then there was some sacrificial big brothering. Good job, Finn. Very quickly the doting big brother schtick ran thin, and Finn decided to turn up the heat and play like he was facing off against a peer. What’s a five-year age difference on the basketball court? Then the real tears and the “I am going to do lasting damage” screams started. I stopped what I was doing with Charlotte and went outside. “Ok, I see. Finn elbowed you in the face, and you’re really hurt and super angry.” Apologies were swapped, the ball was handed to me, and I brought Levi inside. He was sobbing, gasping for breath, totally unhinged. I knew he just needed to move in a new direction rather than re-telling and re-living Finn’s ‘bow to his face. I reached into the fridge to put away the milk that had been on the counter since breakfast time. I saw a plastic bag of leftover steak. Eureka! The kids LOVE to give our dog treats, especially people food treats. This was JUST the thing to distract Levi, to make him feel special, to stop the crying. I handed Levi the meat bag, and he smiled and headed to find the dog.
I went back to rough drafting, pouring cups of water, and stuff. Levi called to me, “Mommy, come see this.” When it comes to communicating, Levi is confusing. “Mommy, come see this” earlier that day meant walking all the way upstairs to look at the Rubbermaid bin in the top of the closet. When what he should’ve said was, “Hey Mommy, you know that bin that’s been there for years and is full of Finn and Charlotte’s stuff that I am not allowed to have or touch? Could you get that box down and let me have it and touch it?” At the mall this week, Levi didn’t say a word but just pointed down to his foot. What he should’ve said was, “MOMMY! MY SHOELACE IS CAUGHT IN THE ESCALATOR, AND IT’S PULLING MY FOOT TOWARDS CERTAIN DOOM!” Instead, it was just a silent point. This is the same boy that will call to me, insisting that he needs me, sounding sort of panicked, and I arrive to see him smiling, hand covering a picture in The Guinness Book of World Records that he wants to show me. So, like I said, confusing.
“Mommy! Come see this.” I walked into the living room and saw the dog sitting at attention. Oh, I know, a piece of steak was tossed under the TV cabinet and Midge (the dog) has clawed her way through the hardwood floor to get to it. I mean, everything goes under that cabinet at some point each day. No, guess again. You want some more steak even though you know we don’t have anymore and this will be the perfect segue into your next tantrum. Nope, keep guessing. Oh, I’ve got it. You want that Rubbermaid bin from earlier. Right? Wrong again. Levi gently took my hand and walked me further into the room, turned me around and pointed upward. I looked up thinking I would see a wasp in the corner or some other insect. Strike out. There on the top of the door frame sat a piece of steak. Side note, we have 10 ft ceilings. Wait, what?! I am certain, absolutely certain, that in the hundred or so years our house has been standing that a piece of meat has never rested on the door frame. I started giggling as I pictured Samuel L. Jackson, not Snakes on a Plane, but Steak on the Plane. Wow. Levi laughed, too. The big kids came in and asked why I was standing on a chair and “What is that?” when I stepped down with a piece of reddish-brown flesh from off the top of the door.
Sometimes you know just what’s coming, you see it before they do. And sometimes there’s steak on the ledge.