Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Christmas Break...I'm so over you!

The kids have been home with me for 20 days.  TWENTY DAYS.  I feel like I am writing this from beind enemy lines, in the trenches of motherhood.  It's not been pretty, although I've been told that when I look back on it...years from now, it will be funny, so here goes.

It wasn't just that it has been 20 days of Christmas break.  These past 20 days in particular have included the days with the most sugar and chaos of any other time of the year, along with the least amount of routine.  For any child this combination is a recipe for disaster, but for kids from hard places, we are talking nuclear meltdown.

Poor Celia was so confused.  First of all, she had only been in our family for 6 weeks at Christmas and if you've ever met my family, we are a lot.  A lot to handle, a lot to get used to and a lot to take in, just a lot.  Secondly this child has never celebrated Christmas the way we do.  She asked why we were hanging those socks on the fireplace.  Her other family didn't do Santa and stockings, so who knows what else they didn't do.  I must say that on Christmas day she did so well and wasn't at all overwhelmed. In fact all of the girls did great on Christmas day, when Christmas was over it was a whole different story.

This happened on December 26th.
This happened after she started crying at 8am that her shoes wouldn't fit over her "funny pajamas" aka footie pajamas, so I told her to take them off.  I meant that she should get dressed, but this worked too I guess.  That smile was forced, my friends, through a lot of tears.  This child was worn out from Christmas but she really wanted to roller skate at 8am.  Also, note that her necklace plays Ariel's voice from Little Mermaid when the sea witch takes it...over and over...and over again.  Sadly it's been "lost" for the last week.

That night my sister and her family came and stayed with us for a few days.  While it was super fun I found out that while 3 children can make a pretty serious mess, 5 children can make a tornado level mess.  Once they left we worked on getting the house back in order.  Right after I had vacuumed the girls asked to eat some popcorn that they had received for Christmas.  I said "Yes, but if you make a mess I will destroy you." I'm not exaggerating when I tell you that this next photo happened within 2 seconds of me finishing that statement...and then Charlotte was destroyed.
I am trying to learn to laugh at these things in the moment and to take a picture because people think I make this stuff up!  I couldn't!  I'm not that creative!

Another great idea I had was to switch up Caroline's medication over break.  I knew it would cause some behavior issues and I wanted her to be able to work through those at home rather than at school.  That was dumb.  Basically the other medication got out of her system before the new stuff could build up so we had a few days where I thought I was going to have to resort to drinking heavily.  One day we went out to get in the car and she had left a light on in my car overnight, so my battery was dead.  While Mike and I were outside for, at most, 8 minutes, she decided to take a wooden wand and hit a light on the Christmas tree.  I came in and saw broken blue glass all over the floor.  Assuming it was an accident I asked what happened.  What I got was that basically she meant to break it and didn't know why she did it.  What the heck do I do with that people?!  None of the parenting books tell you about how to deal with this, I've checked!  It's so hard to have patience with a child who doesn't understand why she makes these choices.

In the midst of all of this madness, it was time to celebrate Ethiopian Christmas. This was fun because it was Celia's first time going to the Ethiopian restaurant and meeting a bunch of other kids who looked like her.  I think it was also her first time trying Ethiopian food and she loved it, all of it!

Thank God that Caroline's meds finally started kicking in and I got to see some of her joy and contentment come back into her eyes. She was so excited to go back to school.  My kids crave routine and predictability.

Then snowpacalypse 2014 happened.  They couldn't play outside.  They couldn't go to school.  It was cancelled 3 days in a row.  THREE DAYS IN A ROW.

I decided to try to be the fun mom and let all three sisters from different misters sleep on the floor together when we found out about the snowday the night before.  They loved me that night, went to bed with all of their little dolls, and I scored some points for sure.  How did they repay me?  They were up and LOUD by 6:50am.  On their day off.  I have learned my lesson.  I will no longer try to be fun.

This morning, 2 out of the three of them were in tears before 8am, before anyone even went downstairs!  Charlotte "handed a book" to Caroline by throwing it at her head and it left a nice goose egg.  Celia had an accident in her bed and while Charlotte was trying to help her take her sheets off Celia began wailing because she didn't want to take her Hello Kitty sheets off of her bed.  This is like trying to negotiate with terrorists at this point, three little lady terrorists.  They don't understand logic, nor do they have any desire to.

I realize how blessed I am that my family lives close and are brave enough to take the three of them for a couple of hours at a time so I could get some work done.  When I picked the girls up today from my mother in law's house she looked like she'd been through a war.  We're tired.  These kids NEED to get back in their routine.  The past 20 days have reminded me why, although I have my teaching license, I should NEVER homeschool my children.

Someone asked me tonight if the girls have school tomorrow.  I said "I hope they do, because they are getting dressed and I am dropping them off at the school doors at 8:45am.  No matter what."


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