#MOMFAILS, child by child

Yesterday morning I accidentally gave the Pterodactyl a melatonin with his vitamins. Those pill bottles all look alike. You know what melatonin is, right? The chemical in your body that makes you sleepy? Well. He didn’t cause any trouble in school. If he was even conscious. He later told me he fell asleep on the bus. He normally gets a melatonin at night to help him drift into slumber, which keeps him from obsessing about everything that could go wrong the next day. How could I make such a mistake? I don’t know what I was thinking. Actually, I know exactly what I was thinking: photoOnly 20 minutes till the bus comes! Let’s get this done, girl! Does the Tyrant have clean socks? I’m burning the eggs. Is it cold out? Did I sign all the planners? I wonder if the Tyrant has any money in her lunch account. My back hurts. How much coffee have I had? I was thinking all that stuff while I doled out the boy’s morning med routine, and I didn’t even notice an extra pill. He did, right after he took it. “Mom, you know you gave me a melatonin?” he asked. “That can’t hurt me, right?”

“What? Whoops! Of course not!” I answered breezily, like it’s perfectly okay to occasionally mix up your child’s medications. I started getting sleepy just thinking about it.

Meanwhile, the Tyrant has become obsessed with Elf on a Shelf, and the fact that we don’t have one. We don’t have one because, duh, it’s creepy. Like I need an imaginary alien pixie flitting around my house creating messes. The Tyrant does that just fine. Yes, I know I’m supposed to make the elf do stuff. I don’t have enough stuff to do? But our neighbors have an elf named Sunny, and when the neighbor kids asked my daughter why her family doesn’t have an elf, she said, “My mom doesn’t like elves.” Like I’m some kind of crazy curmudgeon lady! Which I’m not. Because I do like elves, conceptually, as a clever accessory to the Santa charade.

I guess I should be more tolerant of new holiday traditions. The Elf on a Shelf comes with a clever storybook; children are instructed to name their elf, which may or may not cause mischief and disappear and reappear at will, and which will certainly fly back and forth to the North Pole and report on the children’s naughty/nice behavior. I feel like he’s a visitor I would have to entertain; plus, he would always be staring at me. #ew

But we are eerily on target for getting into the Christmas spirit. We have a tree, although it sat dark and undecorated in the corner for three days, and I purchased two poinsettias, which nicely highlight the cluttered array of schoolwork on the kitchen table. Also, the kids made their Christmas lists! Yay! Hello, Visa? Can we talk about my credit limits?

Actually, it’s all pretty manageable, except for the Diva, who has asked for one thing: $500-$1,000 to redecorate her room. She’s obviously been watching too much HGTV. I’m all, What? You can redecorate for fifty bucks, I’ll take you to Target. But she wants to replace all of the CUSTOM BUILT-IN FURNITURE that our carpenter-friend handmade and installed seven months ago. “I’ve outgrown it, Mom,” she said. She hasn’t even outgrown her last pair of shoes. Sigh. Should I disappoint/surprise her with something else or give her the chance to make a new list?

As it does every year, the holiday season creates in me a longing for simplicity and peace even as I’m surrounded by chaos and pressure. So forgive me if I sound all Grinch-y and blue, but honestly, I just want to slow down. I guess it’s part of the whole Latest Plan phase of my life – but I don’t want to go shopping. I feel no urge to embark on a present-wrapping marathon. Spending hundreds of dollars on gifts for anyone seems ludicrous. What I’d rather do is decorate a few cookies, sip some spiked eggnog, and hold hands with my kids.

Last night we decorated the tree and listened to holiday music, but first the Pterodactyl made me rush out to buy candy canes to hang on the tree because YOU PROMISED, MOM and that was nice, and at one point the Diva held mistletoe over my head so Hot Firefighter Husband would kiss me, and that was nice, too. It was a pretty good night, and the candy canes didn’t cost much. Maybe we’re slowing down, in our own chaotic way. I hope so.


2 responses to #MOMFAILS, child by child

  1. Dan Hamilton says:

    The 2nd to last graf just plain nails it. Can we skip straight to its last two activities?

  2. Barb B says:

    Sweetheart, unplug the “Christmas Machine.” We did it over 30 years ago and our 2 boys (now husbands and dads) are not in prison or psychiatric hospitals. Having exchange students living with us over the holidays when our guys were younger gave them a new perspective … i.e. “Why all the shopping and gifts that will be thrown away or forgotten in January? We don’t need that to have a good holiday. We celebrate good food and good friends.” (Mexico, France, Spain, Poland, Brazil, Hungary, China … They probably all have WalMarts now, but that was in the 80s).
    Wishing you the best this holiday season … Hope all is calm and comfy for your beautiful family.

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