The COVID-19 Chapter, “At Home”: DAY 6
I’m coming to you tonight, in solidarity. There’s this virus out there, spreading like wildfire, and it’s powerful, I tell you. It’s so powerful, we’re on DAY 6 of a stay-at-home isolation kind of quarantine situation. We’ve locked up the doors, sealed all the windows. Nothing can get in. And for the most part, nothing, and no one, gets out. Which means – soooooooo much togetherness. So. Much. Like every time I turn around, someone is there. Talking to me. Asking me something. Making continuous noise. Bouncing a ball. Cracking knuckles. Making dumb faces. Just standing there, in the way. Basically – driving me up a flippin’ WALL. So much so, I’ve taken to saying, when I exit a room, ok guys, just don’t do anything to drive me crazy. They consistently answer with, “We will”. And they do. They do.
So I’m gonna do a quick Top Five rundown of the basic themes, of things that drive me insane. I have a feeling you might be able to relate. If you can’t, I really don’t want to hear about it. Good for you.
1. The mere sound of my children’s voices
Ok. I know this isn’t nice. It’s really not a lovingly motherly thing to say, out loud. But I don’t care. We’re almost a week in, and I gotta hit the pressure release valve. I’m going to tell you right now, that often, throughout the day, I become agitated. Like not a little bit, but like you better get out of my face agitated. The time it takes me to get to the point of irrational irritation lately is like 1 second. You know what can put me over the edge? You’re thinking any number of really big offenses that anyone could understand, that no one would blame me for. But nope. Here it is – the mere sound of one their voices, or even worse – both at the same time. That’s right. I’m all in my head, thinking, you know, a thought – and then I hear a voice. Doesn’t matter what they’re saying, or who they’re saying it to. I just hear them. And I don’t want to. There, I said it. Shut. UP.
2. Actual things they say that make me want to punch a wall
So when I actually have the head space to digest words they are saying, and I allow my brain to process the words I am hearing – here are some of my least favorites. I don’t think I’m alone. And they say them, a lot. Like constantly out of their mouths I hear these things:
I know. It’s a simple one. You may think this one’s nothing. You may be thinking – but what else are they supposed to call you? And you’d be right. It’s not their fault. I birthed them, I am their mother, just me. They should be able feel free to address me, and have me respond attentively and with love and care. However. I can’t describe to you the level of annoyance when I hear that word. MOM? That’s right. It’s a simple one, but packs a painful punch. Mom? Mom? Mom? Mom? Mom? Mom? Mom? Mom? Mom? — WHAT??????????
You get the idea. Drives me bonkers.
“I know, but…“
I get this 100% of the time after I have just corrected them from doing something that is not ok. IF YOU KNOW, THEN WHY AM I TELLING YOU FOR LIKE THE 100 BILLIONTH TIME TO CUT IT OUT??????????? Enough said, you know what I’m talkin’bout.
” NO. You can’t. If it takes more than zero ounces of my energy and attention to assist you in whatever it is you want me to get set up for you, make for you, help you with, agree to, the answer is a resounding and resolute no. Even if it’s something totally reasonable, like eating necessary food, or getting the 300 lb bookshelf off your trapped little body – the answer is just, no. At this point, I don’t even wait for them to finish the request. Can I? NO. Mom, can – NO. Ca- NO.
“But you said…”
In what possible universe did I EVER say what you are saying I said???? No, I never once, ever in your entire life, said “Sure – you can play video games for 10 hours straight”. Nope, don’t really recall that. I’m also pretty sure I didn’t say you could watch The Shining this morning. You’re 7. Nope. But mom, remember when you said if I ate all my dinner last night I could have a chocolate for breakfast? Aaaaaand no. I’m like 300% sure I didn’t . But good try.
A million more things. But if I talk about it, I’ll just get more irritated. So I’ll let it rest.
3. Basically anything that has to do with food, or eating it
I’m going to start this rant with a completely honest and heartfelt disclaimer. My husband is amazing. In the stellar kind of way, when it comes to food and all things food (And frankly kind of all other ways too, it’s disgusting). He shops, he creates, he prepares, he cleans up. I know, you’re jealous. And I’m going to prove myself to be a small and horrible person to even make a murmur about this. But why stop now, while I’m on a roll?
Unlike my husband, thinking about cooking, actually cooking, cleaning up the mess of cooking, does not come easily for me. Don’t get me wrong – I adore eating. And I love to occasionally and leisurely prepare a savory meal. I don’t even mind cleaning up! (like once a week) But the mandatory, eat every day, over and over again kind of cooking and cleaning – it’s not for me. It’s exhausting. What ever happened to popcorn being a satisfactory dinner? Oh, I guess college was like 25 years ago. Old habits die hard.
Something about meals, snacks, the requests, basically the repetitive and mandatory nature of eating, is sometimes more than I can bear. So there’s breakfast – which I actually field most days, like a short order cook. These parasites who live with us get oatmeal, toast, waffles, pancakes, eggs – you name it. We’ve created monsters, it’s our fault.
As soon as breakfast is over – it’s all – can I have a snack??? And then there’s lunch. I mean….. 20 seconds later, when’s dinner? Can I eat something? And I know. don’t rub it in – it’s only going to get worse. They are growing boys. I know the fate that lies ahead.
Again. I have absolutely no right in the world to complain. My kids are good eaters. Please know that every day, I tell my husband he’s a hero for feeding us so well. Why am I even complaining right now? I annoy myself.
4. the mess around the house
Can I ask I real question? What, exactly, is so hard to remember about, you know – PUTTING YOUR DANG STUFF AWAY????????? It’s uncanny to me. You would think that every day, I invent this new expectation of how we live in our home. You would think that for years and years, I’ve never asked them once to put away their toys, get their clothes off the floor, or clear the dishes after a meal, by witnessing their behavior. If I counted how many times I made these repetitive requests just for the BASIC stuff….. I can’t. I just can’t.
And don’t think I haven’t read about how I’m doing it all wrong. I know it’s true. Somehow I’ve enabled them. I haven’t enforced my expectations with consequences. Blah blah blah blaaaaahhhhhhhh. What I DO know, is that those Magic cards are going in the DUMP the next time I ask someone to remove them from the kitchen counter. Where I’m making their stupid fried eggs. With caviar.
5. Drum roll……………………… wait for it………………….
You know this one. I know you do. My annoyance level for this one is astronomic. Again – in the parenting manuals and instruction books (obviously I’ve heard about them but don’t really open them), “they” have all kinds of ideas about how to create “healthy” attitudes toward screentime and video games. My take is that, at least with my little addicts, there is nuh-thing healthy about any of it, and I want it to go away, forever. I’m told this is unreasonable.
The addict behavior begins nice and early. And they know how to play it. They know that the mere mention of screentime makes the hairs on the back of my neck go up, and it will set me off 6 ways till sundown. So they approach me gently, maybe with a hug, or a compliment….. but I’m onto them. I can read their little rat minds. I see it coming a mile away. And by the time they don’t even ask for it, but tilt their head with a certain glint in their eye – it’s too late. I’ve already gone off the deep end. They see it coming – and the hand waving and the “no no no, we weren’t asking” sets in. With no success. I see them. I’ve got their number. You can’t fool this pro. Whatever happy calm from my morning coffee and snuggle on the couch I was feeling has been decimated. It takes some doing to get the happy mommy back.
But I get back to solid ground. Usually momentarily. For they will commit, almost immediately, a thousand other wonderful, awesome, and endearing kid offenses that I know deep down I will miss terribly, and long for, with all of my soul, when they are gone.
You see, at the heart of it, I hope it goes without saying, these boys all three, that I live with, are my heart and soul. Yeah, they drive me bat poop crazy a lot of the time, but I’m the luckiest gal in the world to have them. I can’t make heads or tales of what’s going on out there in this crazy dystopian situation we’ve got going on. I can’t even begin to think how this might play out in a real way for our family, for my beautiful boys and their future that lies before them. Not going to, tonight.
I’m going to wake up tomorrow morning, like I do every morning, completely psyched to see each one of them. My heart smiles when I see their gorgeous faces. Everything is right in my world.