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Those of you who follow me on Facebook have probably noticed a theme of me being a little overwhelmed lately. Today I thought I should stop for a moment and properly document the adventures going on in our household recently, and some thoughts on motherhood. If you want to skip over my tales of craziness to the moral of the story you can click here and jump to the end. Strangely enough this post is long. Not sure why, none of my other posts are ever long 😉
My Commitments and Projects
I posted this to Facebook the other day – “I’m pretty sure I’d be doing a whole lot less work if I were homeschooling Sam than I am by helping out with his class in the public school – this is getting a little ridiculous!” I have gone back and forth for a while as to whether I should homeschool Sam or not (that’s a whole other post for another day), but I signed Sam up for kindergarten at our public school this year. He’s SO far ahead of their curriculum it’s silly, but we try to find things to keep him engaged at home. When I went in for his kindergarten assessment I noticed that no one had signed up to be the room mom so I decided to take the plunge and sign myself up. That commitment on its own really isn’t too bad, I’m mostly managing volunteers for all the class activities, which I can do via email from home – right up my alley 🙂 I’m helping with stations every other week on Tuesdays. I’ve been surprised at just how much parental involvement is required to run our kindergarten class – I’m glad for the parents that have been so willing to do it, and that the kids are getting such a great experience – just overwhelmed with how much it requires from each parent. In addition I’m our ward’s cub scout committee chair, Danny’s soccer coach, a freelance web developer, a local political activist, a visiting teacher… oh yeah, and a wife and a mother to three young kids. It’s been a little busy around here
As I mentioned above, I decided to coach soccer this year. The last time I played any sort of organized soccer was when I was in 3rd grade so I’m not the most qualified, but I figured that for U04 soccer (a league comprised of 3 and 4 year olds) my experience was sufficient. I figured my whole goal was to let the kids play and not cry too much – if we were generally kicking the ball and playing something that resembled soccer that was enough for me. I figured the other parents can’t get too upset since I wasn’t getting paid, and if they thought they could do better, I would gladly let them (our league had to refund a lot of players’ money this season because not enough parents volunteered to coach). It’s been more difficult than I thought. We have a team of 7 players, but of those 7, two have refused to play at all, two have been willing to play occasionally (but sometimes “play” means sit on the field – Danny would be one of these two), one who is a really decent player – but gets really upset if the other team scores or if someone takes the ball from him, and two little girls who have been stuck playing every minute of every game we’ve had so far. This last Saturday when the game started we had 2 players who showed up.. the other team had 9. Oh, and one of my two was Danny who was upset about everything and didn’t want to play (his shorts wouldn’t stay up, his shin guards were wrong, his socks were wrong, his cleats were wrong… he’d gotten up too early, everything was wrong). The other coach was understanding and subbed some of his players in and out of our team and we played with whoever would come out on the field at any given time. I can’t even tell you how grateful I am for that very flexible and understanding coach for totally rolling with our ragtag team and just letting the kids have a fun time with whatever sort of team we had. Also, a HUGE amount of thanks to my wonderful in-laws who have been coming to all of my boys’ games. Eric had commitments as the Young Men’ president on Saturday and wasn’t able to be there, so his parents’ help of sitting with Maeli and helping negotiate with Danny was helpful beyond compare.
Two Saturdays ago while Eric was at some stake leadership training Danny comes into the house with blood running down his face. I of course bring him in and get him cleaned up as best as I can while asking what happened. He tells me that one of the boys in our neighborhood hit him in the head with a bat. Outraged I go outside and confront the boy about this and he claims it was an accident. I’m somewhat dubious, but I also don’t want to be accusing him of things that truly were accidental – plus Danny is still bleeding so I say something about not playing with bats and go back to caring for Danny. As I get him cleaned up the cut doesn’t look too bad, it’s not very long but it’s opened up pretty wide from the swelling. I’m pretty sure I’m overreacting but I text Eric to say that I’d like him to come home and look at it once he finishes his meeting, rather than going and getting a haircut as he had planned. Eric arrives home within minutes and looks at the cut. He concurs that it’s opened pretty wide and we should probably get it looked at. While he carries Danny around he gets the rest of the story. Apparently the boy who hit him had hit Danny on accident – but he’d been using the bat to try to hit another little girl and had just missed. Awesome. By the time I find this out I feel like it’s too late to bring it up with the mom or the little boy again so I decide to let it go and just be grateful that Danny wasn’t injured worse. We’re fortunate to have a friend who is a doctor and lives a few doors down. He takes a look at Danny’s head and is of the opinion that a butterfly bandage will be sufficient to let the wound heal properly. Poor Danny complains sporadically over the next few days that his head hurts and gets a black eye. When the bandaid falls off everything looks fine, but then he can’t leave it alone and picks the scab off and makes it bleed again. Danny’s still wearing a bandaid today, a week and a half later because he’s too traumatized that it will start bleeding again 🙁
Last week we were ready to to the bus stop and Sam was outside reading. I called him in to get his backpack. When he got to the garage he said, “But Mom, there’s a master spider in here!” Sam can get worked up over things that aren’t that big of a deal so I was certain it was just a box elder bug. I told him, “don’t worry about it and come in” As I looked around the car I found that it wasn’t a box elder bug – IT WAS A TARANTULA! Ok, so it turns out it wasn’t actually a tarantula… it was a wolf spider that was the size of a tarantula. I am a bit arachnaphobic, I hate, hate HATE spiders. So to have a giant spider in my garage?!? AHHHHHHHHHH! I was not a fan.
For some reason these spiders seem to be taking over our neighborhood. That picture above is some of the pictures that have been posted to facebook of these spiders. I’m not sure why I decided to make a collage… just looking at those pictures is enough to give me the creeps. Oh, and black widows have been taking over our neighborhood too. Greeeeaaaat. I might not be outside much between now and when our neighborhood freezes over.
Adventure to the Doctor’s Office
So yesterday was an exciting afternoon. We had scheduled an appointment for Sam to finally go in and get his last immunization for kindergarten. Since I am pretty severely trypanophobic we had scheduled this specifically for a time when Eric could take him. About 15 minutes before it was time to leave Eric was requested to join an emergency call for one of his clients. So instead of just Eric and Sam going, I got to take all three kids to the doctor’s office. I thought we’d be in and out super quick since we were just there for a shot, but we ended up waiting room for 1 hour! During the wait of course Maeli started to get super tired. When we were finally called back Sam was trying to bargain, he said he wanted a full check up before he’d let them give him a shot. Luckily their protocol had them weigh and measure him, check his pulse and temperature, ask about the things that he’s been eating and did a pretty decent mini check up. His one specific request was that they look in his ear with an otoscope and the nurse even played along and looked inside his ear. When she left the room Sam started getting nervous. So I let him decide whether he wanted the shot in his arm or his leg so he could feel a little bit like he was in control of the situation. He decided on his leg so I helped him take his pants off and sat him on the table. Then I gave him my phone and let him play some games with the deal that if he’d be good for the nurse he could keep playing. That was great… in theory. When the nurse came in, Sam was upset but I was able to distract him with the game a few times, but I was trying to help Maeli who was now rather over tired. When the nurse finally was ready to do the actual shot Sam freaked out completely and tried to climb the wall. So she went out to bring in another nurse to hold him down. Even with both of them they had a hard time holding him still. So the second nurse called over, “Mom, some help?” (she obviously hadn’t gotten the memo that needles tend to make me pass out). So I buckled Maeli back into the stroller and tried to come over and hold Sam’s hand, but Sam was flailing and I couldn’t look at the needle without wanting to react the same way Sam was… I wasn’t much help. They finally got the shot in Sam but he was still flailing and freaking out, so his heart rate was up… meaning he bled… a lot. There was blood everywhere. All over his leg, all over his arm and all over his shirt (naturally, since he was wearing a brand new shirt yesterday). The nurse finally gets his leg cleaned up and lets him pick out a bandaid (he wanted the plain brown one, not ninja turtles, not iron man, not perry the platypus – plain brown) but he was still mildly freaking out. Maeli was crying because she was overtired. Danny decides to act up. He had ridden in the stroller in and had taken off his boots. He wouldn’t put his boots back on, and he refused to walk and let Sam sit in the stroller. As we walked out I needed to get a receipt from the office that Sam had gotten his shot for the school, I had to just hold Maeli while we waited for that because she was so upset at that point. I got it, and we left the office with both Sam and Maeli in hysterics. Danny on the other hand is feeling smug for having helped rile Sam up even more. When we got to the van Danny hits his head on another car in his smugness so he’s crying too. Awesome. Everyone cried on the way home and we made frozen pizza for dinner, and called it an early night at the Hansen house.
So, after yesterday’s adventure I was hoping for a quieter day today – hahahaha! How naive I must be. This morning I had to get everyone up and ready early because I’d volunteered to take in the snack today for “W” day and hadn’t made it to the grocery store yesterday ( it’s what I’d planned to do while Eric took Sam to the doctor’s. Then last night I was helped Eric Hansen put a hitch on our van – because when you’re the Young Men’s president it’s important to have a hitch 😉 ) Luckily everyone woke up at a relatively decent time and I had all three kids ready before 8:25 and even remembered to text my friend whose son I usually walk to the bus stop on Tuesday to see if she could find someone else to walk him. Good start! We got all of our groceries and our W snack (wheat thins and gummy worms), but of course before we could check out the boys both needed to go to the bathroom. Since Danny is still in the process of potty training I wasn’t going to mess with that and sent them together to the men’s room while I waited with Maeli. It’s always a little stressful to send the boys into public restrooms on their own, but that went off without event. We got bagels for everyone for breakfast (Danny wanted the chocolate kind – aka a donut – but I was able to talk him into a blueberry bagel instead) and got everyone loaded into the car without incident. I realized though that I’d forgotten the actual snack bucket at home. Luckily I was scheduled to help in Sam’s class anyways so I sent Sam with one grocery bag that contained the snack and promised to bring the bucket when I came in.
When we got home Danny started whining about not wanting to go to preschool. You need to understand that Danny’s preschool takes place in the home of our next door neighbor. The same neighbor whose house he runs away to on average once a day. The same house that he’s so comfortable at that I found out (to my mortification) that he will let himself in the back door, go straight to the pantry, grab himself a granola bar and just join into the conversation. You know, someone who he really doesn’t like 😛 But because I want him to go to preschool and it isn’t his idea, he never wants to go. I decided not to address it since that only seems to get him more upset. I take Maeli upstairs to Eric, and pick up Danny’s preschool bag. Danny tells me defiantly, “I’m not wearing shoes, I won’t put them on” in the apparent hope that I care enough about whether he wears shoes to get him out of going to preschool. I don’t 🙂 So I just pick him up and carry him over while he whimpers on my shoulder. I set him down in a chair and he stands on the table stamping his foot… and I leave. Presumably once I leave he calmed down again pretty quick.
So, back at home it’s time for me to shower and get ready to go to Sam’s class. I get all ready, feed Maeli and take her over to my friend’s house. She agreed to watch Maeli and Danny while I was helping at the school but let me know that her mom would be the one doing most of the watching. I guess she’d forgotten to tell her mom I was coming because she wasn’t expecting me, but she cheerfully took Maeli anyways and I headed off to the school.
When I walked into the office to sign in I realized that I’d left both the snack bucket and the immunization form in my car, but I decide that I’ll get them after helping. We start doing stations and I get a text from the girl watching Danny and Maeli. Luckily I was wearing my Pebble so I was able to glance at my watch and see it, otherwise I probably would have ignored any incoming messages until after class was over. The text said, “Sorry to bug you… so after preschool Anna said ‘Danny you’re going to go to Kashe’s.’ Danny promptly ran home and in the door. And locked it. He won’t open it. So… I know you’re coming home soon. We’re just trying to get Danny to open it.” My heart sunk. Not because this was unexpected, actually I had thought through this earlier in the day and thought that I needed to make sure our front door was locked before I left… and I thought it was. Obviously, I had forgotten. My mind started racing through how they could get in to him, while still trying to guide the kindergartners through doing their W page in their alphabet books. I don’t have a spare key outside or anything like that so I thought I was just sunk and I’d probably have to bug out early to go get Danny. Then I remembered that we have a keypad on our garage so I texted back our garage code. My friend was able to get in and find Danny, who had come inside and was hysterical because (obviously) no one was home. She showed Danny the text from me that I’d be coming home soon and I guess that was enough to convince him to go to his friend’s house (all of 4 doors down) of his own accord.
Once Sam was packed up we hurried out to the van, grabbed the snack bucket and immunization record to bring back into the school. Returned both of those items to where they needed to go and turned in my visitors badge. We got back to pick up Danny and Maeli. Crystal tells me about their adventure with Danny (she was supposed to still be asleep since she’s a nurse and is working tonight). She also tells me how Maeli cried at her mom every time she would look at her while I was gone 🙁 While we’re talking my phone keeps ringing from the school, but I decide they can leave a message and I’ll call back when I get home. Sam however didn’t agree with that plan and answered it for me. So while I’m loading kids into the car I’m talking to the school nurse. She tells me that the paper I brought in was not sufficient and that Sam had 3 shots to get, not just 1. My brain is a little frazzled but I remember that there should be two separate immunization records in Sam’s folder – one that has most of his shots, and another that records the two shots he’d received earlier this year. She put me on hold and was able to find that, but I still need to get her an actual immunization record, and not the receipt saying he’s received the immunization, for the shot he received yesterday. At this point I sort of feel like I should have expected that and agree to get her the right thing and hang up.
The Moral of the Story
So, as you might imagine, I’ve spent a lot of time lately feeling like I look in that picture at the top – e x h a u s t e d. What you might not expect though is this – I love every minute of it. That’s not to say that I sit there in the doctor’s office while Sam’s bleeding and freaking out thinking, “Wahoo! This is a blast!” but I wouldn’t trade those crazy experiences for anything. I love being involved and helping out and doing what I can do to help make this world a better place. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to raise these kids and have these crazy adventures. This is what life is all about, and even though it’s tiring, and messy, and stressful – it’s also wonderful, and exhilirating, and joyous! I love being there in Sam’s class and hearing about how he’s well liked and polite. I love seeing Danny’s face light up as he comes home from preschool because he’s excited to show me all the cool things he’s done. I love watching Maeli discover new things and learn new tricks. I can honestly say that when people look and tell me, “Looks like your hands are full” I can truthfully answer, “but so is my heart.”
In Doctrine & Covenants 58:27 we read, “Verily I say, men [and women!] should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;” At the end of the day I may be totally worn out and able to fall asleep as fast as this little girl –
But, I’m also able to answer the question, “Have I Done Any Good in the World Today” with a loud and resounding – YES! And that’s the best feeling I could ask for.
So while I appreciate the urgings from friends that I can just say no to more things and to take more time to take care of myself… I don’t plan to slow down. I’m involved in a lot, but I’m happy being busy. The things I do might not always be done as well as I would like, or as quickly as I would like, but I’m happy to be able to do them.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go take care of Maeli. I’m not sure what she’s gotten into but despite having been inside all day, and having showered this morning… she suddenly smells like dog poop. While I investigate what she found and get her cleaned up you can enjoy this video that I think will speak to anyone who has found themselves in the midst of adventures like mine.
(If the video won’t play here try this link instead)