Today was one of them.
The fifth grade went to BizTown, a Junior Achievement run town simulation to teach kids how to manage money, write checks, hold a job, and spend their earnings. They had a great time. It required parent volunteers to supervise the shops, which was also fun – but exhausting. I spent the day on my feet answering questions, trying to learn what the kids had taken the past month studying in school, keeping our team going where they needed to be at the right time, and keeping them on task. I got to eat my quickie lunch with my daughter before she headed off to browse the shops before heading back to work. When the day was over, I was worn out! In fact, both the girl and I came home and took a half hour nap before starting the dance rotation for the evening.
The little one’s girl scout troop had a trip to a retirement center planned in February that was snowed out. It was rescheduled for tonight. So, when I groggily got them to dance, it was with the understanding that she would have to be pulled a bit early and shuttled over to the school to meet up with her troop. I would retrieve her from the school at 8 p.m. (which is, by the way, past her usual bedtime).
It’s trash and recycling pick up here in the morning, so in the time I had between dropping the girl scout off and picking up the older dancer, I gathered that to the curb, went through three days worth of mail (mostly junk), and got the bill pay done online. Home from dance, I finally ate while the dancer showered. Then it was back to the school for girl scout pick up.
You’d think by that point everyone would be so tired that all they’d want to do is fall into bed. I know I was that tired. It’s funny how tiredness in adults turns to a push toward sleep but tiredness in kids turns to whining and griping. The dancer wasn’t happy about the amount of time we had to wait for her sister. She was even less happy when I asked her to please do me a favor and go up to her room when we got home. I didn’t say out-loud that this was because I needed to speak with the girl scout about the melted plastic plate that I found underneath the sink when I went to get a new liner bag for the trash can. But the dancer is not my “Okay, mom, sure,” child. (In fact, I don’t seem to have an “Okay, mom, sure” child.) So there ensued, for the duration of the ride home, whining and complaining about being asked to go up to her room for a few minutes.
With the dancer only half way to her room because, frankly, I lacked the energy to escort her all the way there, the girl scout told me she knew all about the melted plate. But, you see, I didn’t know. So, I asked her to tell me. And she did – the day before she had set about to toast herself a bagel. I’d been in the living room, which is actually an extension of our kitchen, so I was aware of the bagel toasting. In fact, I was giving her verbal instructions for the entire process. What I did not know, however, was that when I told her to put her bagel in the toaster over, she put the bagel on the plastic plate in the toaster oven and then turned it on. I didn’t smell melting plastic, and I have an extremely sensitive nose. When the bagel was ready, she hollered and ran crying upstairs. I was puzzled. She came right down when I called her, she said the bagel had fallen through the toaster rack, and she carefully extracted it, added her cream cheese and ate it. I didn’t hear the cabinet under the sink open. She didn’t say a word about the plate. So, tonight, I explained to her, seriously but not sternly and definitely not angrily, that she is expected to tell me when things happen. I told her that it is a larger break of the rules to not tell me about it than whatever the thing was she didn’t want to tell me about. I hope that sticks. Imagine! A toaster oven full of melting plastic.
The mystery of the melted plate solved, we headed upstairs. I took the dancer aside, in her room, and explained to her that my asking her for the favor of her going to her room was my need to speak to her sister in private about a situation. We discussed this, and she seemed to agree that she would like the same courtesy were it her I needed to talk to. While we were talking, the girl scout noted, on her way to the shower, that she thought maybe the toilet in their bathroom wasn’t quite right because there was just a teeny bit of water and some paper in there. Sure enough, it was clogged. As I headed to my bathroom for the plunger, the dancer made a comment about the “little throw-upy spots” on her carpet. She’d been sick yesterday and apparently had dribbled a little on the carpet but didn’t bother to tell me about it then, waiting until the little spots were hard and dried to let me know.
I plunged. I sprayed, waited, blotted, and scrubbed. I listened to attempts by the dancer to put off her fast approaching bedtime complaining of starvation. I wrangled the over-tired girl scout into bed, kissing a no longer bleeding finger and applying lip balm on the way. I wrapped the grumpy-tired dancer in her comforter and turned on both their guided meditation tapes.
And now, with my cup of vanilla chamomile tea in hand, I am heading off to bed hoping that tomorrow will be a little bit less much.