It happened that dinner today was perhaps the most insane that we have ever had.
Imagine, to begin with, that Cecilia is (as usual, but at least she waited until after we had said Grace) obsessed with pulling out the bench that she and John Paul share. Now, John Paul prefers to keep it pushed in so far that he is kneeling on the last few inches and mostly supports himself by leaning his upper body on the table. This results in a lot of falling.
This time, however, he took her challenge and kept pushing the bench out farther and farther until they were both so far from the table they couldn't possibly eat their food. So I suggested to Cecilia that she take her usual dinnertime potty break now, and she answered with sobs.
|An old picture, but you get the point.|
Then I looked at the floor.
Great big crocodile tears of anguish at being caught (and thus scolded) rolled down her chubby cheeks as I picked up the food and gave her each piece, one by one. Meanwhile Cecilia decided now was the time for a potty break.
Several minutes later and I got up to check on Cecilia, who was sitting on the sink naked, making sticky hand prints on the mirror. "Did you do dis when you were a wittle girl, Mom?" She asked me.
No. No, I did not.
Returning to the table, I caught the tail end of John Paul being scolded (yet again) for wiping his hands on his shirt. Ignoring his final warning, he was stripped of his shirt and the sobbing ensued.
Rage from a 4-year-old is frustrating until it gets to the point where you're fighting not to break out in hysterics every time "I waaaaaaaant tooooooo KICK you!!!" is threatened in a menacing growl, accompanied by hands clawing the air. He has never actually kicked us, but hey, he's using words to express his feelings so I'll take it. But at the same time, who is he? Wolverine?
|Another oldie, but he hasn't changed much...|
Meanwhile, back in the bathroom, Cecilia had closed the door and was singing something... I opened the door, or tried to open the door, which was blocked by her naked body, wrapped in a hand towel.
"Why are you naked and wrapped in a towel?"
"Um, because it's just my coat."
Looking more closely, I noticed the edges of her hair were wet...
Not wanting to ask, I did anyway. "Why is your hair wet, Cecilia?"
"Um because I just dipped it in da potty."
If she were in a fairy tale, it would be the Princess and the Pee. Pee-hair tied up, she washed her hands and returned to the table, only to freak out because she couldn't wear her shirt anymore because she had gotten it wet and she had to eat in clothes, so I sent her to her room to find a shirt.
"A shirt with short sweeves and no marker or stains on it!!!"
This description currently applies to zero shirts in her possession, thanks to the craftiest and most coordinated 2-year-old in the house.
Eventually I used her stuffed cat to convince her she needed to wear a striped shirt to match the striped cat.
Meanwhile, Mary Claire very vocally decided it was time to get out of her high chair, and Elizabeth decided the same.
|Yeah, I have no pictures of the twins crying. This is Cecilia, but you can imagine it's Mary Claire...|
Lest you think Elizabeth was simply angelic, she spent the majority of the day demanding to be physically attached to me, either nursing or being bounced and danced and carried. I remind you that she is nearly 14 months old, NOT a newborn. "Wear her!" you say! Yes, but wearing her means I have to be constantly dancing and singing or she protests from her perch on my back. Life of a twin mom. So this was a rare peaceful dinner from the elder of the twins.
And thus ended the main portion of our dinner. How is it that so many tantrums can ensue over the course of one meal? And how is it that a single meal can seem to drag on for hours when in fact, it only takes a mere 45 minutes? And how is it that I haven't punted a single one of our children out the window?
Life, my friends, is never calm around here. The moment I feel like things are under control, someone starts teething, nap schedules must change, someone goes through a sleep regression, developmental milestones, etc. Near-constant hunger and exhaustion are par for the course, because you try sleeping when the babies are waking up 2-3 times/night at different times and half the time the 4-year-old needs to wake up to pee. And you try eating when any meal time consists of running back and forth trying to supply food to the babies faster than they can eat it/throw it on the floor.
And so, lest I get cocky in a few weeks when things seem to be going well again, this is a reminder to myself that no matter how bad it is, it will probably get better. And no matter how good it is, it will probably get worse. We're getting by thanks to a whooooooooole lot of grace and not much else.