Today was going to be an ordinary day - a good day - not too much on the agenda. No kids in school, kind of cloudy with a chance of rain. I woke up a bit early and had a nice coffee and read my Bible. Off to a good start. When kids decided to join me a little earlier than normal, I tried to be flexible and give them breakfast a little early. I set to work on making my husband's lunch (which he actually didn't need one today, oh well, subs for the freezer). I puttered a bit in the morning and the baby had an early nap. By the time I showered, baby was up and kids were just starting to watch TV (or a version there of; with no more cable, we have Netflix and YouTube, which were being finicky, so instead of allowing me time to nurse and get ready, I spent too much time fiddling with the TV).
No matter, got the kids ready and out the door by 10 for a leisurely drive to a nearby town to a quaint kid's clothing store that was having a sale. I was aware that I may not be able to do a focused shop with 4 kids in tow, but I was trying to keep expectations low. Upon arrival, they were given the run down of good behaviour and failure to comply would result in sitting in the car (small town, car parked right outside). I began shopping the sale rack outside as they raced up and down the side walk. Let them burn it off now, I thought, they'll have to be better inside.
Once inside I was pleased to find a play area in the back with some other kids already there. Again given warnings to play nice and stay calm, I went about the racks. Excited by some good finds and running in to some acquaintances (neat to see who comes out to the little European import store in the country), I was enjoying myself for a short time until I heard the call of the 2 1/2 year old - "Mommy, where are you?" This sort of thing continued as they all took turns leaving the play area and talking in too loud voices (the other kids in the store were certainly not doing that). The clerk gave them liquorice - excitement and thanks by all.
Soon a friend with kids my own kid's age came and racing around the store ensued. My 6 year old son had the hardest time behaving, but I could tell he was trying after I told him not to run. He still did, but I could see him hesitate a couple times (progress?) I got to that point of panicky, can't focus, kids are loosing it and I'm going to start impulse shopping, so I proceeded to check-out; it had been nearly an hour.
I had plans to visit the next door Dutch bakery to get lunch and maybe go to the fun park I saw driving in. But upon getting my bag, I had only the 2 youngest with me. I thought for sure they older 2 had made their way outside. I checked and didn't see them, only to return to the store and see them both, guilty as thieves, standing at the front with #2 crying and #1 trying to pull her away from something I firmly ordered them to get in the car (trying not to look like the freak-show that I felt I was about to have). Once in the car I gave them a chance to explain, it made no sense of course, but they had each hit each other. I was mortified and mad. I tried to keep it together and not yell (I've been trying this self-control thing for a few days and it is helping). I took away the privilege of the bakery and lunch and drove home; my son understanding his poor choice and consequence and feeling repentant (progress!)
Once at home, we had a picnic outside as the day had turned out to be much nicer than anticipated. The kids played for a while and then it was nap time for the youngest 2. #4 didn't settle right away (she had a short nap on the ride home). So I got #3 in bed with a bit of struggle as she has been chewing and ripping books apart in bed, I took them away, but much crying resulted. Again I tried to put baby down but she wouldn't settle.
I had focused my afternoon on getting a couple things done, which would afford me time to read the novel I am half way through. I pursued this goal, getting the roast in and putting the laundry in the dryer, so that I could sit for a while. After about 15 minutes of the roast being in at 550 degrees (the highest I've ever put the oven, but it was for a new recipe for Prime Rib), the smoke alarm went off. So crying baby had to be put down while I tried to fan it with a tea towel. When it kept happening; I was thankful that #3 didn't wake up; and found a step ladder to try to take out the battery. When I still couldn't reach, I racked my brain and finally took the baby change table out of the nursery, precariously stood on top of it and got the darn thing down.
Baby still crying, I rocked, I gave Advil (it must be teething), and I prayed. I prayed to God to care for my baby, to take away her pain and give her rest. And I didn't pray this so that she would nap and I could get my time; I prayed to give God all control and surrender all. It finally occurred to me to nurse her. She took to me readily, although a bit early, but still didn't want to nap after. So I put her on the couch beside me, content now, and started to write. I write to process, I write to remember, I write to learn that most days things don't go my way. Although I try to control things, trials and inconveniences happen and they serve to turn my focus and dependance back to God.
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:2-4
With a Bushel a a Peck of Rest,
P.S. The roast turned out great
P.P.S. My son continued to have a rough day, more hitting and rudeness to sisters. I am frustrated because I feel like I am going to loose him to Grade 1 next year and I will have less time to raise and instruct him. I suppose I should be glad for these days and the teachable moments; he is still mine to mould.