/crazytown/

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“No! Frankie! Come back!… Frankie, come!” I yell desperately as the dog takes off to the neighbour’s yard.  This is the 5th time inside of 12 minutes that I have had to abandon the mowing to get the dog back. I am seething inside.  I feel like a crazy woman out there, yelling again, for this dog we have agreed to care for. Each time the kids open the door to go to the bathroom or grab something from inside, the dog escapes out the door, and his bravery increases, so that he goes further and further afield. I run inside the house for a cookie and run back outside to find the kids chasing the dog… away. Of course the dog thinks it’s a game. I run after the group of them, yelling for them to stop chasing Frankie.  “Frankie! Frankie, come! Frankie, cookie! COOKIE!!!”  Finally, Frankie is able to hear the key word and comes back to our yard where I am able to grab his collar. I’m sweating and panting and frustrated, oh so frustrated.

I just want to mow the lawn. That’s it.       Just. mow. the. lawn.

Besides chasing/calling the dog every 2 minutes, I have had the usual interruptions of “Mommy! Look at this!”, “Mommy, I fell!” and “Mommy, I need help!”

I am also aware that the lawn mowing chore has a certain time limit because in a matter of an hour or so, the temperatures will reach about 200° in the shade, making the chore even more arduous.

{I stop the lawn mower …   untangle cord, restart mower…}

The boys decide to go inside to play, the girl has been invited to the house behind for a play. She is (as usual) wearing a princess gown and a tiara on her head. The gown is ripped up one side, is covered in stains and dirt, but she will not wear anything less than “the princess dress”. I lift her over the fence and head back out to the front yard to continue my chore.

I’m mowing furiously, trying to beat the time limit, as well as worrying at the same time about what the boys might be up to. Yesterday they were cutting up various insects and trying to graft the pieces together to form a “super insect”. It involved a plastic knife, a microscope, and various “solutions”. They also got up to something involving screws and a hammer inside the house whilst I was ensconced in some other task. I begin to run, as I push the mower. I am now concerned as to what the boys might be up to. Yesterday, insects and hammers, today… who knows?

Earlier my neighbour had invited me over for coffee so that we could chat while the girls played. Declined because of the lawn chore. Why do I feel this obsessive need to get the lawn mowed anyway? Why am I so task focussed? No matter that the lawn is almost completely brown. I know it’s not growing, but the wingy-ding weeds are. They need to get chopped down. As I mow, I have an internal dialogue about what Jesus would do. Jesus valued relationship over tasks. He would likely ditch the lawn chore and go for a coffee.

With the front lawn finally mowed, I check up on the boys. Seems okay… well, kind of ok, as there is now a “lock” installed on the bedroom door involving carabiners. *sigh*

The only way I can do a coffee is by having the boys in our backyard so that I can keep an eye on them whilst I am just over the back fence. I entice them out with snacks, and then I scale the back fence to join my friend and the steaming mug on the table.  The dog, however, starts barking incessantly. I am trying to sip my coffee but I can barely hear my friend above the din.

“Boys!”, I yell. “Can you please get the dog inside the house and close the door?” I then have to repeat instructions 3x in order for them to hear me over the dog. “CAN *bark, bark* YOU *bark* PLEASE *bark, bark, bark* GET THE *bark* DOG IN *bark bark* THE HOUSE *bark* WITH A *bark bark bark* COOKIE?”

The boys comply.      Ahhhhhhhhh….no barking dog.

We try to resume our coffee and conversation.

Her little girl needs to go to the potty, but then trips going up the cement stairs. Wailing ensues. After that little emergency, we try to continue our conver…

Now the boys are shooting towards the little girls with full water guns. This is not going to end well. We don’t need more screaming or crying.  My eldest is desperate to get someone wet. “Can I shoot you in the armpit, Mommy?”  {Um, gee, let me think about that one…} We narrowly avoid getting soaked and I herd the little posse back to our back yard.

Now back to our con…

Kaelan exits our house, crying: he has hurt himself. Not only that, but the dog has escaped (of course) and is barking his head off at the fence again.

I just want to have a coffee. And a little bit of conversation.  Just. a. coffee.    That’s it. Just for a few minutes. Is that too much to ask?

After I help Kaelan with his ouchie, and the dog is back in the house again, I try to resume the coffee date when I suddenly realize that cacophony in the backyard has ceased: the older 2 boys have headed into the house, against my permission. I put down my cup (again)  *sigh* and climb over the fence in order to find the boys. At this point I decide that if I am going to have any attempt at a coffee, that perhaps it would be better if the boys were all over in the same yard as I where I can keep a closer eye on them. (Perhaps…)

They have decided to get out the ingredients for a “volcano” – baking soda, vinegar, oil (?) and dish soap. Not now, boys, not now. If I am not supervising who knows what kind of mess this could turn out to be!!

We all get ourselves over the fence and I settle myself again with coffee cup in hand. “Now, where was I?”, I laugh. We try to resume conversation.

Try. That is the operative word here. Every several seconds there is a request, a need, a question that needs a response. Add to this the usual interruptions about observations, random thoughts and needing to rescue the toddler from dangerous spots (she’s a climber, you know) … and… well, you get the picture.

I feel like I’m living in Crazytown. Some place where it is impossible to share one sentence without interruption, one full thought without a child in my face…

I look at my friend. My friend looks at me.

“I give up” I say.

Welcome to crazytown… otherwise known as “mommyhood”.

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3 responses »

  1. Crazytown is well populated with moms… me included 🙂 Someday we’ll {hopefully!} get that cup of coffee {uninterrupted} and then we’ll probably wonder where the time went. Hang in there!

  2. That does sound totally neurotically crazy!!! How much do you think your own beliefs and neuroses contribute to the picture?

    First off, didn’t God make husbands in order for the lawns of the world to get cut (or is that just a lie I was told that I’ve been believing all these years!?!)?

    Secondly, how can you possibly have made it to the stage of life you are at without discovering the secret (the-mind-and-soul-saving-secret) of p-a-r-e-n-t-a-l n-e-g-l-e-c-t?

    I realize the times have changed and über-moms now choose to personally heft the weight of the world but back when I was a kid on the farm we were kicked out the side door after lunch and expected to not be back until 6 pm. We had a river, ponds, several creeks and miles of back roads to explore, tearing around the countryside on our broken-down bikes with our buddies. In our present world, I suppose my parents would be up on charges with the Children’s Aid, but hey, it worked for us.

    Jesus’ parents were in on the parental neglect thing a few thousand years ago as well… how many days was it in that bible story before they figured out the kid wasn’t around?

    It may actually be a worthy goal to start practising parental neglect (in small ways to begin with, of course… I mean if your kids don’t show up for days at a time that probably should be checked into), but a c-o-n-v-e-r-s-a-t-i-o-n… by all means!

    If a Mom can’t get in a really good conversation now and again, somebody should have to pay… and it shouldn’t be Mom!… …the grass? …the husband? …the kids? …the dog? …does it matter?

    Being a Mom shouldn’t necessitate a continual descent to the level of the subhuman (grass, husband, kids, dogs) where conversations seldom take place… nor require ascent to the superhuman where conversations probably aren’t needed.

    Here’s to hoping you can find that wonderful conversational truly human middle path of motherhood where parental neglect is a virtue and the grass, husband, kids and dog will all have to grow up and learn to fend for themselves because Mommy is having a coffee and a good conversation right now!

    Thanks again for your fine writing… it’s a good gift… keep sharing it!

    blessings,
    gj

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