It all started with Drew's class trip to the zoo. An annual tradition for the 4 year olds at our school, I attended last year with Cade but was wise enough to get a sitter for Drew and Josh (a screaming, refluxey newborn at the time). For Drew's trip this year, I figured I would bring Josh along since he had never been to the zoo and might enjoy seeing the animals. I figured wrong.
His main problem was that he wanted to crawl all around the zoo (he CAN walk, but won't), preferably in the direction of the zoo exit. His staunch refusal to sit in the stroller escalated into the mother of all tantrums and ended with him being completely and totally inconsolable. After I was sufficiently embarrassed in front of all the parents, a couple of them graciously offered to put an end to my personal hell and bring Drew home if I wanted to leave with Josh. Which I didn't because I didn't want to spoil it for Drew, but it was clear that Josh was determined to spoil it for the whole group if we stayed, so we left. Josh sobbed and hiccuped all the way to the car and halfway home,while I sobbed and hiccuped on the phone to a friend over my mommy guilt for bailing on Drew and screwing up his field trip.
And no, I never did discover the source of Josh's mystery zoo meltdown.
Once he was calm, I decided that as long as I was down to one kid, I would tackle a couple of errands on my list before it was time to get Drew. I blew past the freeway exit of my house, just in time to receive a call from my cleaning lady. Admittedly, there are language barriers, but from what I was able to ascertain, she was locked OUT of my house, while her things and my house key were locked IN my house. The possibility of accomplishing errands disappeared in front of my eyes as I headed home to rescue her. Trying to look on the bright side, I convinced myself that it was a blessing in disguise that I was now 10 minutes from home and able to come to her rescue instead of all the way across town at the zoo, as I was supposed to be.
Unfortunately, the language barrier was bigger than I thought. I arrived home to find a clean house and a key on the table, but no cleaning lady. WTH?! Errands apparently blown off for no reason now. Pep talked myself into being grateful that least least I now had a clean house.
After an unsuccessful attempt to nap Josh, who was WIRED by this point, we picked up Drew from the mom who was nice enough to bring him home. Out of extreme guilt, I offered to take him to lunch at any place he wanted and he chose (of course) Chick-Fil-A. I felt so bad about the zoo debacle that he even scored a brownie, plus the nifty little graduated cylinder toy and science booklet in the kid's meal.
Off to get Cade! Knowing that with the way my day was going that it would be a mistake to take all 3 boys home and keep them cooped up in the house all afternoon, we headed for the park, despite the grey dreariness of the day and the earlier drizzle. Josh happily rolled around like a pig in mud, free from stroller constraints at last. The Bigs, however, had nonstop issues. A HUGE science fan, Cade was beyond upset about not having a graduated cylinder of his own. The boys put it to good use by using it to knock the crap out of each other for awhile until I told everyone we were packing up and going home.
STILL determined to turn the day around, I bathed Josh and put him down for a very late nap and settled in to provide constructive activities for the Bigs. We used the graduated cylinder to do a liquid layering experiment with molasses, oil, and water. The boys, mystified by the layering, began "testing" all sorts of disgusting concoctions in the experiment such as salad dressing/milk/water, whipping cream/apple cider vinegar/juice, etc. When that experiment had lost it's luster, I whisked the graduated cylinder to the sink to rinse it out and....dropped it. Oily Disgusting Concoction splattered all over the counter, cabinets, (previously clean) floor, and my jeans. And yes, in case you were wondering - they WERE my fancy jeans and not the 5 year old faded Mossimos from Target. Grrrr....
This only strengthened my resolve to turn the day around (I really enjoy beating my head against a wall like that). We moved on to an experiment involving baking soda and vinegar explosives, which was really satisfying for everyone, save for the wet toilet paper trails it left in my front yard.
The rest of the day passed uneventfully except for Cade hitting me and getting sent to time-out and Drew's dinnertime in-depth description of the (fictional?) dead bloody zebra with bones sticking out of it at the zoo. For good measure, I decided to cap the day off with a tiff with an Ann Taylor sales clerk and a trip to the grocery store, which I hate.
But as they say, tomorrow is another day. God help me.