Belting Emma in the car and opening my Diet Coke, I backed out of the garage while tossing a bag of pb&j sandwiches over my shoulder to Emma to pass out. We high-tailed it to the farm down country roads in time to meet my group and things were going well. The kids were excited because I'd hedged my bets and didn't tell them where we were going in case we were late. Even better, kids under two are admitted free so Renee got in with a 2 day cushion!
It was a beautiful autumn day going exactly as I hoped- until we sat down. Our admission included donuts, apple juice, hay ride and pumpkin. While eating donuts, Renee got stung by a yellow jacket. Emma freaked out in empathy and Renee screamed as loud as her almost two-year old-lungs would scream. The best I could do was ice it down while wondering if ice was contra-indicated in insect stings and considering how much grief would result from an early departure. I mean, we hadn't even made it to the hay slides in the barn. Eventually someone suggested that they may have a more extensive first aid kit in the store. So I left Emma and Andy with relative strangers to lug a screaming toddler with boogies and tears streaming down her face and a sting swollen to the size of a marble to an unsympathetic cashier in the general store. She behaved as though Renee should have known better than to tempt a bee with a donut. Finally I discovered that they had one last sting wipe at the ticket booth. In this place, it's a race against time to collect the last wipe before some other innocent gets stung. So I ran.
|Note the giant lump on Renee's fist|
"That's ok," I thought, "I'll just carry her up to the top and send her down the slide. Never mind the much older unsupervised field trip kids who never heard of waiting your turn and one at a time. I'll go up there and whip them into shape for a second or two- long enough to get my brood one ride on the slide."
So I flung Renee under my arm and navigated through knee-high slippery hay to the top of the highest slide. I worked my way through the mayhem and planted my arm behind my kids to ward off invaders. Field trip kids were squirming around me, oblivious to the fact that there was an adult on the scene. I used my most parental voice, then, when that didn't work, brushed off my stern teacher voice. That seemed to jar their brains long enough to get my three down the slide and safely out of the way at the bottom.
Once we had had enough concentrated allergens, we left the barn and headed out to the pumpkin patch to choose three pumpkins. Of course, nothing but the heaviest pumpkins will do for my kids, so I was so thankful for the hayride that took us halfway back to the parking lot, despite the fact that it deposited us in a pool of mud. On the ride back, a friend of mind cheerfully suggested that I
immediately put the kids in a bath when I get home because, rumor has it, a kid came down with a case of lice after rolling around in the hay barn last season. Oy vey.
We made it home safely and, incredibly, without further incident. The kids were unceremoniously plopped into a bath and scrubbed rigorously for fear of hatching eggs (my head itches just thinking about it)....(Oh, dear). Then rushed to a neighbors house and dropped off in time for me to be one minute late to Emma's parent-teacher conference for kindergarten. (Good report, by the way). I hurried home to pick up the kids and miscounted. I ended up with one extra, who was very well behaved and made up for the one of my own who threw the mother of all temper tantrums because he didn't get to play Honey Bee Tree.
I spent the next hour staring into the refrigerator trying to piece together a meal from odds and ends. I pulled everything out and found leftovers in the deepest part of the fridge that had not quite reached their expiration date. Dinner is served!
My husband left for a meeting immediately after dinner resulting in a pout fest from Emma, who laid enough guilt on him that I wouldn't be surprised if he stayed home from work tomorrow. With him gone, it was left to me to rally the kids for the final put-away of the day. When I say "rally", what I mean is: The Discipline Continuum. It started with announcing the time, "Time to clean up". Followed by a direct order, "Help put away the toys, now." Followed by an if-then statement "If I have to pick up your toys, then I will put them away in the basement". I won't tell you what comes next.
Emma helped clean the kitchen, Andy eventually picked up the toys in the family room. Renee, well, she ran around in delirious, nap-deprived circles the whole time saying, "I'm Cinderella" over and over again.
Now the house is quiet. Kevin is out for the evening, the kids are in bed and I have a date with the tv and a glass of wine. Not a bad day.