It began last night. Amaya was ominously fussy. Not anything scary, such as getting sick, just tummy bubbles and growth spurt nursing. She woke up every two hours to nurse, which is to be expected. Elena, being two and dealing with allergies, also woke up every two hours. She considerately alternated them with Amaya. Joel woke up at five AM when the alarm went off and wanted to come into our bed. Between them all, I did not get one hour without waking up to take care of one of them.
I woke up (the last time) groggy and with a headache. As I stumbled to the coffeepot, Ariana called out that she wanted snuggles. Knowing that I would be swarmed as soon as I went back to the bed, and that the baby needed a diaper change, I suggested that she come into the kitchen with me instead. Major six year old drama ensued. Elena was climbing everything in sight, Joel was upset because he wanted help with his game, and the baby did *not* want to be put down.
I knew that I was on the verge of losing it. I also know that the kids feed off my attitude, and the only way to keep the day from becoming a disaster was for me to somehow save it. So, I gulped down coffee and rounded the kids up for a day at the park. Once we were all safely in the van, I mentally patted myself on the back for recognizing and averting the total shipwreck of the day. At that moment, Elena vomited profusely all over herself and her seat.
I pulled over to clean her up as best as I could with a clean shirt and wipes. Elena is easily carsick, so I decided to keep going. After pulling into the left turn lane, I noticed it wasn't moving. Cars were whizzing by on the right too quickly to get out and change lanes. Joel was complaining that he was too cold, but I didn't want to turn off the AC and have the smell of vomit in a hot car provoke another round of puking. We spent a good fifteen minutes in that lane thanks to a stalled car. But I refused to be daunted! We finally made it to the park.
Despite some minor mishaps, the park was a lot of fun. We were there a few hours, most of which was spent in the sand pit. Elena had tremendous fun pouring sand all over herself over and over. Since she wasn't throwing it at anyone else, I let her go. She was absolutely filthy by the time we left, but she needed a bath anyway.
Once we were home, I turned on the sprinkler and let the kids loose in the backyard. I nursed and played with Amaya while they rinsed off the day's accumulation of grime. I was really pleased at how well the day was going. Sure, we had gotten off to a rough start, but look how much fun the afternoon had been!
Carlos called and asked if we wanted to come pick him up from work and go to a bookstore. I confidently told him that there was just enough time to have everyone dry off and get dressed and be there in time. As I went to tell Joel and Ariana, Joelito turned around with the hose in his hand, soaking my pants, which happened to be the only clean pair that fit me at the moment. We got inside and dry, and while I was looking for something to wear, Elena went climbing again. She is truly part monkey.
I came into the kitchen and heard an "Uh oh". She smiled nervously at me, the look of one who fears a reprimand but is hoping for the best. For the life of me, I couldn't figure out *what* she had smeared all over her face. She had been fingerpainting with something, but what? It looked black, like motor oil, but I couldn't imagine anything like that being accessible. She pulled her hands out from behind her back, and they, too were covered. So was the counter. So were the cabinets. So was our mail. She held out a jar of my super-duper ultra-concentrated food coloring gel. You know, the kind that you use because it would take so much liquid food coloring that it would water down whatever you are making.
I managed to get the worst of it rinsed off. She is still green, and I found green splotches in a variety of unexpected places, including my bra. ???? Thankfully, the carpet was spared. Somehow, we all got relatively presentable (except for Elena's green face and hands) and picked Carlos up on time. The bookstore was very nice, the kids had a great time and behaved well, I was able to read a little, and both babies fell sound asleep on the way home.
Saving the day sounds good, but boy, does it ever take persistence! This wasn't a *bad* day, just a normal one. I think of friends and family members who have to face far more daunting challenges every day with the health of loved ones, and am in awe at their ability to save each day, no matter how bad it seems to be. You are my heroes.