Me and the terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day


Have you ever had one of those terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad days?  You know, one of those days that leaves Alexander and his pathetic complaints about railroad pajamas in the dust.

It begins the night before (well, technically this morning), when you and your spouse decide to pretend you’re still cool, and stay up til 2 a.m. for the second night in a row.  That would have been fine, had it not been for your kid’s ill-informed decision to wake up at 6 and come into your room 42 times between 6 and 7 a.m. to ask for x, y, and z, which you tell her she can jolly well fetch for herself.  Of course, that means she comes in another 42 times to update you on  her progress in obtaining x, y, and z.

You finally give up, get up, eat breakfast, and get in a workout.  You feel pretty good as you walk out the door on the way to church, reflecting that after a rough start, things are looking up.  You’re full of energy, your family is presentable, there’s a load of laundry in the washer, and you’re making homemade pizza today.  It’s even looking like you might make it to church on time, for the first time in an embarrassing number of months.

Oh, how the mighty will fall.

It begins when you’re exiting the car and a bird poops undigested berries all over your husband’s head and shirt.  For a small bird, it’s a lot of berries.   You stifle the giggles and take it in stride: husband heads to clean off, and you and your child head into church.

Then your child decides she desperately needs to use the potty, even though it was apparently a physical impossibility at home 15 minutes ago.  OK, fine.  You take her in, and by the time she’s washed her hands and discussed germs and bacteria ad nauseam, and you’ve plotted the slow and painful death of whoever wrote that let’s-find-out-about-germs-book she’s now obsessed with, you slide into your seat even later than normal.

That’s when things really head south.  For some reason, everything is hysterical today.  Hanging upside down on the pew and grabbing your parents’ legs is hysterical.  Making annoying faces at the people behind you is hysterical.  Knocking down your books and then trying to pick them up with your shoed foot is hysterical.  You get the idea.

Time-outs are apparently also funny, as are your threats of removing favorite dolls from the playroom once you get home.  There are five dolls headed to jail before your child agrees that it’s time to go behave like a big girl.

But she doesn’t.  In fact, she’s way worse than before.  She’s so wild, that as you bend over to tell her to control herself, she stands up fast and you knock heads.  Hard.

Your eyes are so unfocused and watery that you can’t see, but can certainly hear, your husband dragging your kicking, screaming, angel to the back of the church.  As the screams fade into the distance, and your eyes uncross, you reflect on how you must certainly look like Family of the Year.  Dad’s wearing a berry-stained shirt, mom and daughter both have giant facial bumps, and daughter is completely out of control.  You also think most un-churchlike thoughts about the people at the end of the pew, who are actually laughing at what just happened.  You can’t wait til they have kids of their own.

After church, you go to the back, to find your husband beckoning frantically to you; your daughter has closeted herself in the women’s restroom and refuses to come out.  You go in and drag her out.  You don’t know what she was doing, and you really don’t want to know.  Just in case, you wash her hands very, very well.

You then run some grocery errands because you’re still stupid enough to think making pizza is a good idea today.  You don’t want to deal with bringing your wild child into a supermarket, so you take turns: one goes in, one stays with her.  It’s 90 degrees out, and even with the windows down, the car is hot.  Also, the Mickey Mouse CD is playing.  No-one is happy except your child, who likes Mickey’s terrible singing voice.  Also, she doesn’t believe you’re actually going to jail her toys.

Of course when it does happen, she loses it.  So you put her to bed.  She seems pretty tired, and she apparently is in desperate need of sleep, so you’re pretty confident you’ll hit the naptime jackpot today.   For both your sanity, you certainly hope so.

You begin the pizza dough.  (Yes, homemade dough.)  The paddle isn’t fully in the bread machine, so it won’t work, and you have to dump out the gooey mess so you can refit the paddle.  Then, when you get it all set up, you accidentally put the machine on the wrong setting, so you have to unplug it and wait twenty minutes to reset.   You plot the slow and painful death of the designer of the bread machine, too.  You also wonder whether the dough will rise, since the yeast got mixed in prematurely.  You decide you don’t care.

While you’re waiting, plotting, wondering, and not caring, you go outside to hang laundry.  A giant black wasp seems intensely interested in what you’re doing.  You grab a can of wasp spray for self defense, but the wasp wanders off.  It’s just as well: the way things are going, it would probably end up blasting you with the spray until you lay in a feebly wriggling mass on the lawn.

You come back inside, only to discover that your child has decided not to nap after all, but to sneak out of her room and bring most of the books from her playroom to her bedroom, where they are now happily scattered.

You pretend you don’t notice.

It’s 4 p.m.  You still haven’t had lunch yet, and it’s almost time to start a giant, complicated dinner.   You’re thinking about skipping dinner and going straight to bed. Moving to Australia sounds pretty good, too, especially if you can move there solo.

But then you reconsider.  After all, everyone has bad days.  Even in Australia.

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