Today started with the promise of a long playdate in the morning and Friday night movie night after dinner. A well planned day that would leave little time for unstructured mischief by the children and some nice breaks for a very tired mommy. It ended with pudding in hair and no movie.
My friend, Vivian, mercifully came over with her two kids at nine this morning. The baby had been up every two hours all night long, again, and I had been kicked out of the bed at five by the older two crawling into our too small queen sized bed, leaving no room for me. I was exhausted but managed to make it through breakfast, getting dressed, and brushing hair and teeth with no resistance from the girls.
Vivian, trying to escape the pounding from the siding being redone at her house, called to come over an hour earlier than planned. Fantastic! More diversion for the kids and some adult company for me. The four kids played from nine to one with no fighting. Vivian and I visited in the way tired mothers do, talking off and on, starting a story, then forgetting what the point was or being interupted to change a diaper or prevent an accident. Nonetheless, it was nice to have adult conversation and not have to play princesses again. The baby slept 3 1/2 hours (of course, when I was awake), woke once to eat, then back to sleep.
Vivian left at nap time. Ella went down fairly easily. The baby woke, and Sammy and I played with the baby for a while before she schooled me in memory. Definite sleep deprivation. Three thirty rolled around, leaving walk, playtime, a little television, and dinner before sanity saving movie night.
I initiated Friday night movie night during my third pregnancy. Sean works Wednesday through Saturday, leaving at seven in the morning, often before any kids are awake, and not coming home until seven or seven thirty, sometimes later and not before eight o’clock bedtime. By Friday, I was exhausted and cranky and decided the kids and I both needed a break from the daily routine. So we have dinner then into PJs and a movie, no bath.
I was excited at how smoothly the day had gone. There had been no whining, no yelling, no real fighting. The third day alone with three little girls,and already things were settling into a nice routine. I was home free, just dinner before movie. I had made pizza. The girls ate decently, no food thrown on the floor, hands washed, both girls went to play while I cleaned the kitchen. Perfect.
Then Sammy had to open the refrigerator and see the last pudding. “Can we share the pudding? We ate a good dinner,” she asked so nicely. “Sure,” I said. After all, they had eaten a decent dinner and had been good all day, and it was movie night. I split the pudding and left the kitchen to finish picking up the living room quickly before the movie.
Then I heard squealing and screaming. “What’s going on?” I asked. I ran to the kitchen in time to see Sammy smear a glop of pudding in Ella’s hair, her own hair covered in pudding as Ella reached into her bowl to smear Sammy’s hair and nightgown (she had put it on before dinner in preparation for movie night). There was pudding on Sammy’s legs and neck. Pudding on the floor. “Stop!” I shouted which caused Ella to look up at me, pick her bowl up, and toss it on the ground, arcing pudding across the kitchen. This, after yesterday’s all day screaming, whining, fighting, and food throwing.
I lost it, I have to admit. I yelled and announced there would be no movie tonight and no television either as we now had to have baths to get pudding out of hair. Sammy cried. Ella kept saying, “Movie? Movie?” But I was resolute, no movie, no television. An hour and a half until bedtime and I had just taken away my own break.
My mother always tells me to never make a punishment that punishes me. I thought about that before I took away the movie. Sometimes, you have to make a point, though, and make sure they understand there are consequences.
They were pretty good the rest of the night,except for breaking the changing table drawer in the relentless pursuit of lotion. Ella kept asking about the movie, and Sammy kept explaining to her there was no movie because they had been bad. At least she understood the lesson.