The Painting of Toilet Bowls and Gutters

There are days where the sunrise is extravagant and the morning air is crisp and still and the smell of coffee is sublime.  And then there are mornings when you can't see the sunrise through the intensely thick dew of the sticky-already 100 degree heat and you can't breathe because the air is so heavy and the thought of a hot cup of coffee is apalling because you're sweating just thinking about it.  It is those days that also seem to bring the most nasty beasts into my house, and I'm not talking about bugs or spiders...I'm talking about my kids!

Just in case I reach my 60s and my children call with weary voices, expressing their utter disbelief about the behavior of my grandchildren, I will be able to sweetly say, "I remember those days."  Hopefully I won't--remember them.  Hopefully I'll have to re-read the archives of this blog to remind myself that my children occasionally turned into wilderbeasts and that I reached my wits-end on occasion.  (Only to give my own grown children encouragement that there is light at the end of the tunnel!)

I sit here and type--rather, POUND on my poor computer keyboard while I cool off.  I've removed myself from the situation, but probably not soon enough.  My kids got an earful.  I am still hearing, "Daaaddyyyyy", which is what they usually cry out when they're in trouble with Daddy is going to come home from work and rescue them from this.  These are the days when I think, "OK, summer has been long enough!", even though just this morning I commented that I wasn't ready for my kids to go back to school yet. 

In just a short afternoon (when I thought they were napping) Benjamin and Joseph have:
     -pulled the curtains down from two windows (shades beneath them already broken) and the rods used for swords.  I can't seem to relocate the finials.
     -removed baptismal keepsakes from high shelves to break and/or disassemble.
     -decorated the mattresses with preschool versions of artwork, as well as the walls and doors
     - awakened the baby from her nap after only 15 minutes...and apparently that was all she wanted today
     -peed on the floor in the laundry room (they snuck out of their room) because it would take too much time to come upstairs to use the toilet
     -removed the screens from their windows to climb out
     -removed the ladder from their bunkbeds
     -removed all of the clean bedding from their beds and pillow cases from the pillows

The older boys, whom I rely upon to set good examples have managed to:
     -NOT pick up the DVDs that were left on the floor out of the case
     -NOT put away the pool cues that were used as swords prior to the curtain rods
     -NOT pick up any of the yogurt containers, blueberries, or cereal that was eaten downstairs, even though there is a rule against taking food out of the kitchen/dining room.
     -NOT put away any of the game pieces that were left out from playing the games earlier.
     -NOT leave the TV or computer off as requested, forcing me to once again, LOCK them down
     -NOT bring any of their dirty laundry to the laundry room, yet complain that they don't have anything to wear.

AND, in my frenzy of pointing out all the things that were unacceptable behavior, I discovered that they have managed to break the frame of the couch beyond repair AND the leather chair because it is apparently a lot of fun to jump from the pool table to the couch to the chair to the floor!!!  REALLY???????  It would be wrong at this point for me to leave out that while I was making sure that my expectations were clearly understood this time, that Amelia crumbled up a very sticky pop tart and a bag of chips all over the floor!

One would think that on a day that the heat index is 115 degrees, going to the pool would be a good option.  That was the plan--five hours ago when the 15 minute tasks were originally assigned.

There are no toys, no computer, no TV, no Wii, no ipod, no games, no pool sticks, no swimming, NOTHING!  Our house is NOT a fun place to be today, just ask my kids!  I have a couple of kids that are NOT quick learners. 

Yes, we have days like this.  Fortuneately for all of us, they are not necessarily frequent.  I always think about my reaction to these things.  "Did I speak to my children in a manner that I would invite Jesus to join me in?"  Yeah...probably not.  I often ask Mary to pray for me as a mother, and look to her as an example, and then I find myself saying, "...but I bet she didn't have to deal with this..."  I won't even continue down that path, because I know how ridiculous it sounds, and I absolutely recognize the much bigger pain that Mary had to bear. 

WHY?  Surely other people's children don't behave in this manner!  I used to truly believe that we could have nice things, we would just have to teach our children to respect those things.  Wow...apparently I have totally failed in those lessons!

I read the words of another blogger...about how Van Gogh didn't paint gutters and toilets, so she doesn't write about the bad days, just the good ones.  There are many a day that I could probably use my blog to vent and complain about something.  I don't want to paint my memories that way, but I don't want to forget that there were obstacles along the way either.   Someday, I'll see the humor in much of it...probably when my children's children are the source!  For today, this keyboard-pounding session has served as my vent, and now I'm ready to return to the damage and calmly help restore as much of it as possible.  Hopefully my children will remember more how I recovered vs. how I reacted! 

And now to actually hit "publish post" and reveal the dark side.  (Don't judge me!)  :)