I woke up to the sun, which would have been lovely after yesterday's storm, except that the sunlight stabbed me in the eye, where a large snake curled around my skull. I have had this headache for a couple of days, and it doesn't leave me. I can feel it pressing on my cheekbones and it hammers me in the temple when I stand up.
But I dragged myself out of bed. Point one.
Then I snuck out of the house for my appointed writing time, leaving before anyone was awake and returning when my husband needed to go to work. There were cherry trees blooming. At a local cozy coffee shop I had mediocre tea. But my breakfast was a naughty and much needed chocolate chip scone. And I had a nice conversation with the owner about Bill Bryson. Point two. I wrote as much as I could before my headache threatened to crack my skull. Point two and a half.
At home I finally gave in and took some tylenol. Usually I have no problem with pain medication, but I tend to hold out a little longer when harboring a fugitive in my uterus. I was grumpy because the house was messy and it was past time for me to start working on school stuff with the kids. And there were crocodiles slashing at each other with their teeth in my head, which also made me grumpy. I barely said goodbye to Chinua, but at the last minute, we shared a long hug. Then I said, "Did you know that the guy who played the brunette Mormon brother in the Ocean's Eleven movies is Ben Affleck's brother?" because 1) I'm slow to catch stuff like that 2) I watched the Academy Awards at my friend's house last night (Did you notice that Denzel shaved his head and grew a handlebar mustache? What's up with that?) and 3) I'm deep like that, in hug sharing moments. Score point three for hugging my husband and no nagging.
I notice that the kids are playing really well. They want me to help them build a fort in their room, and then they sit and read library books in there for a long time. Instead of starting school, I take the opportunity to slowly and meditatively clean the house. My headache starts to fade. My home becomes more peaceful. I light incense and make sure all the blinds are as open as they can be. The kids are still in their fort. Kid A is reading to the other two. I drink a second cup of tea-- totally not mediocre this time. Four points for me.
When they and I are done, we sit down to do reading. Kid A reads to me and YaYa and I go over a vowel song to the tune of Old MacDonald. The vowels make the sounds, instead of animals. We are all singing, even Leafy, and I realize that although it seemed unlikely before, we are all having fun. Point five.
Lunch is nutritious. Point six.
After lunch I fold laundry and vacuum and then we do some math work and I knit a few rows in the sweater that I am making for my mom. Leafy is taking a nap. It's really the best time in my day for knitting, since Kid A still needs me to sit beside him and encourage him in his work. He finishes the last page in his math book. Tomorrow he starts another one. I tell him that he's halfway done with kindergarten math. He makes his eyes real wide in that way that he does. He works on a bit of handwriting, and then he and YaYa sit at their little table and play with Play Doh. I totally wasn't going to buy them Play Doh, but it was YaYa's heavily influenced choice for her "stop-sucking-her-fingers-reward". I say heavily influenced because I kind of steered her that way when I realized she was leaning toward Disney Princess stuff.
I knock some stuff off of my to do list while they roll the coloured dough into worms. They are a little obsessed with worms these days. Later I stick Charlie and Lola on for them while I knock even more stuff off my to do list. I'm on a roll. More points. I've lost count of points by now.
Around dinner time everyone begins to melt into the carpet. I realize that it's because they all have low blood sugar because I didn't give them a snack in the afternoon. We sit down to eat, and Chinua is working late and I don't complain. Another point. I try to convince the whiny kids that if they want to be happy they had better eat because their bodies are saying, "We don't have enough food to make us happy." When Kid A continues to be sad, and more sad, and whiny, and more whiny, I try an old trick of Chinua's, making my hands into ducks who talk to him. He turns his head away and says "Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb," and instead of telling him that HE'S the one who is being dumb, I just start washing dishes. Then I grab him and sit with him on my lap and we are quiet and swaying for a long time, until suddenly he is happy again. Endless points.
As much as I want to simply dump them into bed, I read. We read loooong books, the kind that I opt out of at times, saying, pick another one, a shorter one. We probably need to just read the long string of words, tonight, and let it draw the kinks out of us. We probably need some good stories.
The day was long and weary. But at the end we prayed together, and sighed thankful sighs, and I kissed them. And you get a lot of points for gentle looks when you are seething, and kisses when you are withdrawing inside. These points aren't exchangeable, and you can't cash them in, but at least you can know that you didn't let the day put it's tire tread marks on you.