Saturday, January 26, 2008

Can't I Have a Reset Button?

This has been one of those phenomenally frustrating days. I knew it would be from the start when before I even got my contact lenses in and my teeth brushed I had a phone call. Now normally I would ignore the phone at that point in my day but we were expecting this call and I needed to handle some details of the day. However, the details were handled within the first few minutes and then the caller continued on....and on....and on.....I did manage to get my bed made and my eyeballs in while on the phone but I couldn't very well step into the shower too.

In the meantime, chaos reigned. I thought I had this worked out. Miriam gets up Noah and gives him his breakfast while Ben does the same with Nathan. Miah is all Adora's. I don't call the three of them the Mobile Destruction Team for nothin'. For some reason, all of them were still in bed screaming their silly little heads off whilst I tried to disentangle myself from this phone call. I finally managed to get off the phone, Adora had the three of them dressed and I booted them down the steps, gate up, no more little destructo-boys wandering the upstairs. No sooner did I get all my clothes off then I hear Noah wandering the hallways. I put my pjs back on, locate him, boot him back down the steps and admonish anyone walking by to keep him downstairs. I get in the shower where, fortunately, my hearing is blissfully blocked by the sound of running water. However, stepping out of the shower, I hear chaos in full swing downstairs once again. I have just enough time to pull on one sock before I become convinced that without intervention my house will shortly be a pile of rubble amidst this suburban block. I pull on my pjs as I race down the hall (an interesting concept for a pregnant woman) and once again admonish all the capable ones to be doing all they can to control the chaos so that Adora and I can at least bathe for Pete's Sake. By this time, my tone of voice is no longer remotely civil. In fact, I am yelling. It's not a good sign.

I take the time to get dressed and attempt to have my quiet prayer time. This goes ok for about 2 1/2 minutes when I realize that it is now way too quiet. Adora had taken off in her van without getting all her instructions for the day and was toting one too many babies along. So off I run down the street chasing her down (again, interesting concept for a pregnant woman) while Ben scoots to find my cellphone which his more rational brain realizes is a much more effective means of communication in this situation. This is still not good. It is minutes before 10:00, I haven't had breakfast and school is not yet even begun.

Well, breakfast happens, Nathan goes down for a morning nap and we work our way through History - even get a little ahead...maybe it's gonna be alright....Then we move on to our work at the table. For this part of the day I park myself at a dining room chair surrounded by 6 or 7 or 8 kids depending upon who wants to do school on any particular day (it's optional for JM and David). From this seat, I can orchestrate several different lessons at once. With my patience already worn thin, I sent JM and David off to play, Ben, Betsy and JT were working independently which left me with Ruth, Philip and Miriam. Oh much for alright.

Miriam was working on her English book. She has a little 1st/2nd grade workbook she's been going through and today we were working on capitalizing the first letter of a proper noun. Her lesson went something like this:

Miriam, read the sentence and tell me what word in the sentence is a name.

The boy is Sam.

Good, which word there is somebody's name?


Uh, no. That's the common noun but what is his name?

Oh....stares off into space...

Miriam, you have to look at the book.

She looks at the the page number.

Miriam, look at the sentence you just read right here. I point to the sentence.

She looks at the third sentence.

Miriam, this sentence right here. What is the boy's name?


Good. And do you see Sam starts with a capital letter? Can you write Sam on this line with a Capital "S"?

She writes sAm

Miriam, you need to make the first letter a capital. What is the first letter in Sam?


Yes, so can you write it with a capital S?

She writes SAm

and so it goes. Three workbook pages later she was still writing out MirIam and pArker scHooL. Thing is, she sort of got it somewhere in the middle there and then just plumb lost it again.

Now, this was punctuated with my work with Philip.

Philip, did you do your reading assignment?


Did you check all your work and make sure you have it all done?


Ok, good. I look at the workbook. Philip, you skipped this whole section. You need to follow the directions and mark the poem here. Please finish the assignment.

Several minutes later.

I'm done.

Ok, did you finish the section I showed you?

Blank look. I did this. He points to a section he had already done correctly.

Philip, you already did that part and you did it right. Did you change it?

Confused look.

Philip, did you do the other part on that page that wasn't done?


I look at the book. Work still not done. Philip, this is the section I asked you to do. Did you do it?


But it says to follow the directions and mark the poem on this page. You didn't do that.

Blank look

Ok, I'll check your other work. I look in the reader to check his workbook answers and find it marked up with random markings. Philip, did you write in your reader?


Why? Do we write in our books?


Well, why did you write in your book?

Mom (note the tone of voice which believes I am the stupidest person on the face of the earth), it said to mark the poem.

Ah. Philip, the poem is on the page in your workbook. This is a story in your reader. You were supposed to mark the poem in your workbook.

Confused, blank look.

Moving on to Ruth. Keep in mind, these three scenarios are a steady stream of conversation between the three of them at once. Ruth is working on a spelling test. I check the test. 6 of the 10 words are wrong. I erase the wrong answers and ask her to think them through and correct them. She rewrites each one exactly the same way. I again erase them and the harangue begins.

Ruth, what makes the "k" sound at the end of rock?


No, rock begins with an r. What makes the "k" sound at the end?


Listen to the question. Here's the word - roCK. What makes the "k" sound at the end?


Ok, it sounds like a k but it's two letters together. What are the two letters?


No, I'm not asking you how to spell the word. I'm asking you what two letters make the "k" sound at the END.




Yes! Now what order do they go in?


No, switch them up.


No, that's the way you just said it. Switch the letters - you have the wrong one first.


Good, now can you spell rock?


Ok, remember it was going to be a ck at the end?


Hm, how about the middle? rrrrrooooooooooock


Nope what makes the oooooooooo sound?


Think about it, Ruth. oooooooo


Yes! Now can you spell rock?


Great! Write it down!

She writes it down. Now look at this next word. It has the exact same sound at the end - soCK.

How do you spell that sound at the end again?


Nope, that was the last word. This one rhymes with that word...and so it continued. But Ruth is just plain not this dumb. She generally does much better than this with great ease. But today, of course, she is frozen in lala Land.

There are days like this that I amaze myself with my patience. Today is not one of them. There is nothing amazing about my patience because it is non-existent. With a sweep of my hand I yell for everyone to just give it up and put the books away for the day. I announce book time, quiet time and send everyone to sit quietly on their beds while I retreat to my bedroom.

The only problem is that Nehemiah is very tired but has missed his morning nap (see reference to phone call and plans contained therein). So instead of sleeping he screams....for a solid hour...while Nathan seems to catch the bug and hoots and giggles at Miah's screaming. No one is quiet because quiet is impossible to obtain in this household. I am now very *not* amused. I spend my quiet time running back and forth to the computer and Miah's bed settling him down over and over and over and over again and trying to convince Nate that, while he may be very cute, he is not at all funny. I give up trying to get any quiet, ignore the noise and write for awhile at my computer before running downstairs to get dinner ready.

JT and Tad are going to a soccer game so I need to get them fed first. I make a passle of sausages and throw them on paper plates. I feed JT, Tad and now Ben who also needs to get to a scout meeting. Then I toss sausages, buns and paper plates at the table and inform everyone to eat, clean up and put on pajamas. They manage to do this in time to sit them all in front of a movie (Meet the Robinsons - review coming in another post) and finally relax somewhat except for Noah who is running around like a crazy person laughing maniacally. My pregnant bum can no longer move but Adora is nowhere to be found by David who goes in search of her. I lift my pregnant bum off the sofa and manage to manipulate a very heavy Noah into his crib for bed. My body is truly done now.

In the meantime, there are several more calls from this morning's caller which I ignore. This person has caused enough grief in my day and I've found out since then that I've been totally manipulated. The unhappiness settles on me like a blanket. Jesus Time happens with everyone together in the living room after the movie and I send everyone off to bed. A private conversation with Adora yields yet more information about just how manipulated I've been and it just seeps into my skin. Then I do the only thing I know how to do when I'm this frustrated - I order a pizza.

In the meantime, Miah wakes up and cries and fusses for a few more minutes. He finally gets settled back to bed. The pizza arrives and now Ruth is screaming bloody murder in her room. I go in and ask why she is screaming. Are you in pain? No. I can't get to sleep. Oh good grief, close your eyes and try. There is no peace in my day - or my night apparantly.

Tad and JT finally arrive home from the soccer game just a few minutes after that and I beg him to go and be nice to Ruth since I did a lousy job at that. He leaves, comes back shortly and announces that Ruth is sound asleep. Hmmmm...

With Tad home, the pizza eaten and everyone momentarily quiet and either sleeping or headed in that direction, I take my tired, frustrated pregnant dupa to the sanctuary of my own bed. It's been a long, terrible, no good, lousy day and I just want a Reset button.

1 comment:

LucisMomma said...

I need to borrow your reset button, if you ever find it. We've had some of those days way too often around here.