In April, 2010, when Andrew was 2 1/2, a tumor was discovered behind his eye. The tumor was removed, but it was found to be an aggressive cancer. He endured seven months of chemo and six weeks radiation. In December of 2010, the day after his last treatment, he was rushed to the ER with an almost fatal bacterial infection. He survived.

He is now seven-years-old!! I don't visit here much, because during the ordeal, this is where I dumped everything--my rage, my fear, my sadness, my ugly, my hope, my everything. But I want all of you who supported and prayed for us to hear his updates. You helped me survive, and I am deeply thankful. Every once in awhile, I will check in to let you know how he's doing. Please continue to pray that cancer will never return to his body. Thank you.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Planning to Flail

Winston Churchill once said, "He who fails to plan is planning to fail."  I think he forgot the other option, which is "She who fails to plan, but hates to fail, is planning to run around in stressful, manic circles." But then again, he was dealing with war, and I am dealing with getting three children ready in the morning.

7:15 am:  Clackity-clackity clackity-clack.  Clackity-clackity clackity-clack.  Who needs an alarm clock when your five-year-old has a stuffed crab with sound effects? Clackity-clackity clackity-clack....  And so the morning begins.

7:20 am:  It was a late night.  A book club party and too much caffeine had me wound up until 1:00 am.  I drag myself out of bed and make my way down to breakfast.  I pour three bowls of cereal, one for me, one for Andrew, one for Sammy.  Aaron had come down earlier, and is already done eating, so I tell him to run upstairs and get dressed. 

We sit down to eat. Sammy eats two bites of his "nutritiously-fortified" Honeycomb cereal and declares himself "full."  I demand two more bites, both of which he stuffs into one mouthful, while milk and cereal dribble down onto his school clothes.  He wipes his mouth with his shirt and runs upstairs, looking for his shoes.   I look over at Andrew.  He has spilled his Honey Kix (and milk) all over the table and is picking up the spilled pieces with his fingers.

While eating my fiberlicious bowl of Wheat Chex, and contemplating the spilled milk on the table, I hear that familiar screech/scream from my middle son, who has now made it upstairs.  "I don't have any socks!!" he yells.  Both his tone of voice and the sentence content drive me absolutely bonkers.  I know there are at least 10 pairs of socks in his drawer, and even if there weren't, must he scream like he is having his toenails ripped out? Can't I just eat my cereal in messy, milk-infested peace?  I try to ignore the screaming.  But it gets louder and LOUDER.

I finish my bowl of cereal just in time to witness Andrew lean on the edge of his bowl and spill the remaining milk down his chest and onto his lap. He is crying, and saying, "Wet wipe Mommy.  Wet wipe Mommy! Cold, Mommy!"  I pick him up and bring him to the sink where I rinse him off, and remove his jammies--- all while trying to ignore Sammy's continued rant about missing socks. 

In addition, Aaron is now yelling (from upstairs) that he cannot find any pants.  For some reason, this seems to be a familiar dilemma.  Maybe it has something to do with the pile of laundry the size of Mt.Everest, or the fact that he throws clean clothes into the laundry pile because it is easier than putting them in his drawer.  I don't know, but every morning, it's the same old thing.

(I know, by now, all of you "planning" mothers out there, the ones who wisely plan out the next days wardrobe the night before, and have lunches waiting in the refrigerator, are all coming up with easy solutions to this dilemma.  I know. I know.  I don't know why I do this.  Much of this stress could be avoided, but for some reason (perhaps sheer exhaustion, or sheer exasperation at the end of the day) it does not happen (see how I put that in passive voice,  perhaps that is part of the problem...:).)

Anyway, back to the missing clothing.  I tell Aaron his pants are in the unfolded laundry pile on the living room couch (yes, we have various piles in various places), and I go upstairs to help Sammy with his socks.  I went straight to his drawer, found the predicted 10 pair, and hand him one.  "See!" I said.  "What were you complaining about?"

 "Those aren't my favorite BROWN socks" he cries, and immediately runs and throws them down the laundry chute. 

I am SO angry now, but I try to remain calm as I say "I am not helping you anymore. You will go downstairs and get those socks out of the laundry pile, and you will wear them, or you will find your own socks." I return downstairs.

7:55 a.m:  "Mommy, my teacher says today is the LAST day to bring in a book for the book exchange," Aaron says as I am rummaging through the refrigerator trying to figure out what peanut-free meal I can make for Sammy's lunch.

 "No, the party is not until Friday" I replied, "I will have a book ready by Friday."

"NO" he says, almost in tears, "teacher said TODAY is the LAST day!!"

"Okay, okay" I mutter.  The discussion reminds me that Aaron has homework due every Wednesday.  "Aaron, you have to do your homework this morning!" 

He sits down and begins drawing pictures of "household items" with a  long "I" sound while I prepare Sammy's dairy-laden lunch of cheese slices and yogurt.  I don't even correct him when he says and writes, "Mice" and draws a picture of a mouse.  What must his teacher think? :)

Sammy comes downstairs with two (white) socks on, but only one shoe.  "Where is your other shoe?" I ask. 

"I don't know" he replies.

 "Well you had better find it, it's almost time to go."

Again with the screeching. "I don't know where it is!"

"Well, then find another pair."  More screeching.

While making Aaron's PB& J, I begin helping Aaron with his "calendar" assignment.  While standing over him with a big knife-full of peanut butter, I help him count the number of Tuesdays in December.

Sammy shows up again.  This time, NO socks and a red pair of crocs. "You can't wear those shoes today, it is too cold."  And then I said, feeling desperate, "Or, you can wear them, if you put on your socks first."  Apparently that is a big fashion "no no" in preschool because he began the screeching again.

8:10 am:  Thankfully, Sammy remembered that his shoes might be in the car.  He puts his socks on.  He puts  his shoes on.  Aaron finishes his homework.  I finish up the lunches. 

Andrew is still wearing only a diaper.  There is still no wrapped book for the book exchange. I am still in my pajamas.

"Get in the car guys (Aaron and Sammy) and put your seatbelts on! I'll be right out." 

So I race upstairs with a naked toddler.  I get him dressed. I get dressed.  I run downstairs, carrying a clothed toddler.  I put him in his car seat and strap him in.  I run back inside, rummage through our books and find two decent enough to give away.  Can't find the tape. Can't find the scisssors.  UGH!!  Find them, wrap the present, and jump in the car. 

8:25:  I drive away.

8:44 a.m.:  Make it to Aaron's school on time.  Put on my make-up in the car while waiting for Sammy's school to open. 

9:00 a.m:  Drop off Sammy.  Breathe a sigh of relief.

No planning. No failing. But a whole lot of stress and craziness. 

Maybe tonight I will make their lunches before bed, lay their clothes and shoes out for tomorrow morning, get Aaron's folder ready for school, and wake up early enough to work-out before I leave the house in the morning!!!  It sounds so easy and responsible!  Save Sammy and myself from a whole lot of screeching! Maybe, truly, tonight will be the start of a whole new, stress-free morning plan!!!

I know this is not a very clever ending...but after reading about my own morning, I think I really have try this! :)  I'll let you know...