The headache was probably the result of all the caffeine I had this morning, but that wasn't really my fault. They just kept bringing it to me. First the man at the drive-through donut place I bribed the kids with on the way to church mom group, then the delightful helpers at Chick-fil-A who won't let you get up out of your seat even though it's a fast food restaurant.
Or it could have been the fact that I ate both donuts and Chick-fil-A in the same four-hour period. Whatever the cause, the throbbing of the right side of my head combined with all the hysterical whining (daylight freaking savings stupid time) to make our afternoon plans to write letters and draw pictures for our sponsored child not go exactly according to plan.
I sat them down at the table with stickers, paper, markers and crayons and held up our globe.
This is where we live, in Texas, you see? It's pink. Right here. No that's Belize, we're up here. OK, everyone see Texas? Good. We're in Texas.
Matthew (not his real name) lives in Kenya. Kenya is over here on the continent of Africa. To get to Kenya, we would have to fly in an airplane alllllll the way over here, over the whole ocean, across the whole...Wes, do you need to go potty? No? OK, well it's not polite to touch that unless you're in the bathroom... OK, so Kenya is very far away. It would take us several days to get there from here.
And we're going to write some letters and draw some pictures to send to Matthew, so we can get to know him and learn more about his family and what Kenya is like.
Charlie asks if there are more Buzz Lightyear stickers. I tell him no. He pouts.
OK, so who would like a piece of paper? OK, here you go...
No, buddy, these are all the Buzz stickers we have. I know you're sad about that. Sometimes it makes it an extra special gift when you give someone something you really love.
More pouting. This time with heavy nose breathing for added emphasis.
I suggest they draw a picture of our family or something. Wes makes three wild circles on a piece of construction paper, says he's done, hops down off the bench, and asks me for more juice.
I told you no more juice. You may have water if you are thirsty.
I resist the urge to point out that Matthew would be thrilled to walk five feet to the refrigerator door, push a button, and have clean, fluoridated water dispensed instantly into his glass and instead settle for Wes slithering to the ground facedown and screaming. Ironic.
I had decided earlier Wes didn't need to nap today. It went not very well. As you might expect (time change!).
Meanwhile, dear, sweet, thoughtful Charlie was creating a three-dimensional space ship out of construction paper and tape. I tried to tell him gently that whatever we send has to fit in a small envelope and suggested he color a picture instead. He ignored me and got a diaper box out of the garage, put everything inside, and taped it up securely.
I couldn't break his heart, so I tried to get him to let me "mail it on my way to school tomorrow". He would rather we all go to the post office on Saturday to mail it together. If one of you gets a strange diaper box with a paper spaceship inside in the mail, consider this is your explanation.
He included a note he wrote himself as I told him one painstaking letter at a time: "Dear Matthew, We want to help you go to school." He kills me with the sweetness. Absolutely kills me.
And by this time Wes was having a full-blown manic-depressive episode on the kitchen floor (yes, we were still upset about the juice). Charlie was done with his letter and box, so it was quite obviously time to turn the TV back on and stop trying so hard to broaden everyone's horizons.
Epilogue: I made them soup for dinner (from a can), no one ate, everyone screamed about something, Wes got a time-out for spitting soup down his shirt, I yelled a lot, Ryan came home, tantrum, tantrum, tantrum, minor head injury, tantrum, and everyone was in bed by 6:45. Ryan and I made some tortilla soup together and ate it in front of the TV. Family time = precious.