DOB used to have an away message to this effect, long ago when we were just another name on each other's IM Buddy lists. After some time, I found it was an allusion to The Battle of New Orleans, a song from a genre of music with which I was as yet entirely unfamiliar. Anyway, I deduced that the away message meant that some days you were bound to lose no matter which side you took.
Yesterday was a British/'gator day. Articles of advice to young mothers will say lovely things about how when everyone is having a bad day you should just let the dishes go and do something fun with the children--take a walk or read a story or just have a nice snack and take a little nap. All good advice. Only some days it just doesn't work. And those dishes always come back to bite you, anyway.
The day actually started deceptively well--dishes done and laundry going and an hour of contented work with playdough while it poured rain outside. But then the rain let up a bit and I had the bright idea of going outside to splash in puddles. Come now, this should be Mother of the Year material in Toddlerland, right?
We found everyone's coats and everyone's boots and the umbrella and everything else, and then we put them all on, and then we managed to get through the door without anyone falling down, and we had just made it down the street to the next house when D2 announced "Stinky!" and "Falling down!" and began heading home to get changed.
This is not typical behavior for him, so I figured I had better comply while he was willing to help with the process. So we went home and I changed him and we got all ready to go again, but something during this time set D1 off, and when we went outside she Did Not Want To Be There. Neither coaxing nor threats were of any avail--she simply sat and wailed while D2 now happily splashed through the puddles.
I figured it must be hunger and fatigue, so we went back inside and changed out of everything and fixed lunch, which they ate, and then hopped down to play. For some reason I was by this time very, very tired. So I sat and got tireder and tireder while they, refueled, got wilder and wilder. I finally mustered up the energy to read them stories, but they just squabbled over sitting in my lap. Finally I put them down for sleep and retreated to the other room, figuring a good nap would do us all good.
But a good nap was not to be had that day. D1 and D2 danced on their beds and uttered jokes in an incomprehensible dialect and laughed uproariously and threw things across the room. So I sat in their room so they would go to sleep, but though they lay still for quite some time, sleep was not to come. And D1 needed to go potty every ten minutes.
Finally about two o'clock everything grew quiet. I had just enough time to doze off when I heard D2 crying. They were awake, and showed no signs of having rested enough or of going back to sleep. I was more tired than when naptime started. I tried to settle them down by reading to them, but they just fought more over lap space. I tried to interest D2 in duplos, his favorite toy, but he sat on the edge of the bin and it collapsed under him, whacking him in the head. We had a snack, which was well received initially, but eventually led to more grief when the preferred food items ran out.
So I gave up on trying to fix things. I sat and tried to muster up the energy to think about dinner and ignored the fact that they were very happily constructing a mountain out of coats, carpet squares, and library books. They begged for supper early only to throw most of it on the floor. They finally went to bed and I tried not to think about the great personal cost at which I was making their lives so miserable and failing so utterly to train them. (This effort at not thinking about it greatly aided by DOB, who brought home Harvey to watch.)
Fortunately not all days are like that. Today we had a much-enjoyed art project which resulted in a charming card to take to a birthday party tomorrow. We went to the park and stomped in the puddles for a glorious hour--just in case I was in doubt, D1 shouted, "I am having a good time!" They ate lunch with hardly any trouble and sat happily during story time and went right to sleep at naptime. And they're still asleep.