Tired Children

School started on Monday, which means that there was a lot of changes this week: earlier bedtime, earlier wake-ups and long days. This led to tired, cranky children and a tired, cranky mom.

I ran my ass off at work today, and was excited to get home, especially after receiving the call that soccer practice was cancelled. After dealing with a pregnant heroin addict who has decided to start smoking crack and a middle-aged cross-dressing alcoholic with severe schizo-affective disorder, I just wanted to come home and chill with the family.

And it started out fantastic. I was met at the car with a hug and a kiss. I came in and was greeted by two more excited faces and small arms reaching around my waist.

But the smiles and hugs did not last long. Hubby and I were in the kitchen, making pepperoni balls for dinner. The oldest came in and asked if she could help and I told her to wash her hands. I don’t exactly remember what happened, but she quit, but then came back to help again. *Trying to include them more, even if it means a little more work or a few extra minutes* Along with her came her 5 year old sister and 2 year old brother wanting to help out too.

Well, that was more than I planned on. The others  were told not today, while I tried to move the oldest to the counter to start an assembly-line-style production. Apparently, that was not what she wanted to do. Bursting into tears, she turned, ran out of the kitchen and stormed up the stairs, her wails so loud they could be heard outside.

“Hey,” I called from the bottom of the steps, “You can help.” The wails got louder.

Whatever, I think, Let her be.

Fast forward 25 minutes and it’s time to eat dinner. She’s still sobbing uncontrollably, ridiculously loud, purposefully trying to make sure she is heard throughout the whole house.

At this point, I can feel my teeth grinding. “Please stop crying and come down to dinner.” She eventually does, and we move on with our night.

I’m not sure who was next. Perhaps the middle one, who would not stop fake poking me with her finger and making weird noises, even after I told her to stop at least 5 times. I’m not proud of it, but I lost it. I told her, in a very loud voice, to get to her room. She wouldn’t go. I said it again, even louder. She didn’t move, but decided that would be a good time to make her weird little noise again. I stood up, grabbed her arm and drug her to the steps.

She spent the next 10 minutes crying in her room.

And then there was the baby *almost 3*, who was also sent to his room after picking up his sister’s glasses and throwing them across the room as hard as he could. Or when he wouldn’t stop playing in the popcorn and getting it all over the couch and floor.

At that point, we decided that it was bedtime. Teeth brushing was a huge issue, and there’s a good possibility that all three of them were whining/fussing/crying about something in the 5 minutes it took. The baby wouldn’t stop playing with the drain, opening and closing it over and over again. He was told to stop. He wouldn’t. When he was physically removed, he started screaming. At the top of his lungs.

And it didn’t get any better with bedtime. The middle one is refusing to wear anything but dresses to school and did not want to compromise on that. During story time, the oldest wanted to talk in the other room. I told her to wait until the story was over. She again, burst into tears and ran to her bedroom.

I lost it. Again. I followed her. “What the heck is so wrong that you are laying in here crying like a banshee?” I demanded to know.

She wouldn’t speak.

I became more frustrated and mad. Perhaps my voice even got higher. “You need to stop crying. What did you want to tell me?”

“Nothing,” her lip quivered.

“Oh, it wasn’t nothing,” no longer yelling, but I’ve definitely got my mean mom voice on. “It was important enough to miss story, so what was it?”

She looked at me with big puppy dog eyes, filled with alligator tears. “I don’t want you to yell at me,” her voice and eyes lower.

I stop. I close my eyes. Take a deep breath. In. Out. In. Out.

“Okay. I’m not going to yell at you. I’m sorry for yelling at you. But it feels as though someone in this house has been crying for the last 3 hours. Since I’ve gotten home from work, there has constantly been someone crying!” *Which is not true by the way. There was a good 20 minutes of painting plaster horses at the dining room table that went pretty well* “So, what did you want to tell me?”

Sheepishly, she says, “I love you.”

Damn.

“I love you, too.” In. Out. In. Out.

I sit down on the edge of her bed. I lean down and kiss her forehead. “I think we are all just very tired. Do you feel tired?”

She nods an affirmative.

“Tomorrow’s a new day, right?”

She gives me a little smile and I send her back to her sister’s room to hear the rest of the story while I fight back my own tears. Yeah, it was one of those “ashamed-of-myself” moments.

I lose my patience so easily. And then I feed off their chaos. I give into it. If they are screaming and yelling, then so am I. *And I wonder why they do it* If they are throwing temper tantrums, then there is a good chance that I am too.

It freaking sucks.

Damn. Tomorrow is a new day. Tomorrow, I will not act like a child.

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