It seems like no matter how much I try not to be that family shuttling kids from here to there all afternoon, inevitably we end up with a couple of days where we are faced with no choice but to eat dinner out of a bag between activities. Yesterday was a doozy. I had a meeting at the elementary school from 8:00 to 9:30, then had to squeeze in as much work between then and 12:45 before screeching back into the school parking lot to take Wes to a doctor's appointment, and then I had a weird squishy amount of time that was just enough to run home and grab everyone's swim stuff before going to a sub place to get everyone's dinner and make it back to the elementary school for Charley's parent-teacher conference. By the time that was over it was 4:45 and I still had to get the little kids and get back to the Y, eat dinner, and get everyone changed by James's swim lesson at 6:00.
By the time we got the five of us into the ten by ten concrete cell they call the "family changing room" I was NOT in my happy place. And then Charley and James had a loud fight over who got to eff around with the shower (that I had told NO ONE to eff around with). And then James suddenly decided he was an infant incapable of putting on his own swimsuit or taking off his own clothes which he told me by SCREAM-WHINING it OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN. And Mary had to go potty. Which is how I found myself completely naked hoisting a toddler onto a toilet and untying a second kid's shoes while simultaneously reminding two other kids to STOP OPENING THE DOOR FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.
I don't think anyone was surprised when I went all Mount Vesuvius moments later.
By the time Ryan got there to enjoy happy family swim lesson time I was sitting on a bench by the pool scowling, Charley and Wes were off playing in the pool before their lesson, James was in his lesson, and Mary was sitting quietly next to me quite possibly afraid to move or speak or ask for anything at all.
Things were not much better at bedtime, which is surprising considering how much swimming everyone did. Possibly we overshot "tired" and landed straight in "manic hellbeast" territory because NO ONE WOULD GO TO SLEEP. Kids were getting up and wandering around, hanging out in each other's rooms, making paper airplanes, giggling, shrieking, jumping off of the bunkbed. Ryan went to choir. I opened a bottle of wine. By the time Ryan got home at 9:30 I was lying in bed half asleep with my glasses still on and all the lights on. "They're still freaking awake" was my greeting, "Please deal with it."
The party continued this morning with James lying prostrate on the floor screaming about not being able to put his shorts on, Wes spending more than thirty minutes in the bathroom, finally emerging with minutes to go before we had to leave for school, and Charley and James having a giant wrestling fight over an empty box of cookies someone found in the living room that would have been hilarious if I hadn't just spent the last eighteen hours fighting with kids over stupid stuff. They reminded me of these two skunks that had a fight over a plastic bowl at our campsite when I was a kid. When I ripped the box out of their hands James followed me around screaming "YOU GOT CRUMBS ON THE NEW COUCH!!"
I was so happy that Ryan had a van in that moment because if he hadn't taken them to school and left me home to do some Olympic racewalking and put dinner in the crockpot I might have had to commit myself to some kind of institution.
But now I've had an hour to exercise, have a second cup of coffee, and make some chili to put in the crockpot. And also there is a new Jimmy Fallon lipsynch battle. And there are cookies. It's going to be OK. And if not I have dinner plans with a friend.