Thursday, December 13, 2007

Three Broken Glasses and Jelly on My Pants

Today I made a terrible mistake. I decided to leave my 5--year-old and 3-year-old at the table to finish lunch while I ran up stairs and quickly vacuumed the fine coating of dog hair that decorates every square inch of carpet in our house.
From these innocent pictures, you'd never believe the havoc these two can wreck. But, trust me. They know havoc wrecking like area plumbers know our main drain and laundry room (really well).

As I finished the last area of carpet, I heard my eight-year-old call to me.

"Mom, ***** broke a glass!"

Our 3-year-old has been known to break dishes. Since she can't bend her arms the easiest way for her to drink is with a straw. After some trial and error, we figured out that a coffee mug, because it's heavy and won't tip over, with a bendy straw works best. This worked well until the advent of her wheelchair, and then she got the idea that she wants to carry her dishes to the dishwasher. Normally, I would find that great, but since she's three, there's not enough lap for her to hold her dishes while she wheels.

She ends up wheeling and holding her dishes at the same time. The first problem this presents, of course, is if there is any food or drink left on her dishes. If there was at the table, that quickly changes as the food and drinks move from the plate and cups to the floor, wall, my clothes, the ceiling...

The other problem is that she will lose her grip on the dish as she's wheeling, and that's the worst time for her to lose her grip. The cup doesn't just fall, it gets launched across the room, as her arm (which is straight) is moving forward in a strong and swift movement at the precise moment that she loses her grip.

So, today, when our oldest daughter told me of the broken cup, I wasn't that surprised. Fortunately, coffee mugs usually don't shatter.

Unfortunately, that's not what happened.

I walked in the dining room to find our dining room tablecloth hanging off the table. There were broken dishes on the floor, salsa on the table, chairs, floor and wall. There was also salsa on our border collie. Both girls were crying. The dog was shaking and cowering.

It only took minutes to gather that the girls had been goofing around when they were supposed to be eating. The five-year-old had been pushing the three-year-old in her wheelchair (something she's not allowed to do, no less!) and the wheelchair got caught on the tablecloth, and pulled it and the dishes off the table.

Needless to say, I won't get mom-of-the year award for my reaction. Any person who has said that I'm a saint for adopting handicapped children would certainly revoke that honor if they saw me react to the salsa/milk/peanut butter and jelly/glass shards mess I was facing.

After my meltdown, I put both girls in separate rooms for time out. I was so angry I couldn't even look at them. My older three were great, and helped me get everything cleaned up. I think they were worried I might be sent off to an insane asylum if things didn't get fixed. No matter what their motivation, they were so helpful, but, sadly enough, my daughter cut her finger on a piece of glass (only adding to my anger toward the younger two!).

After it was all cleaned up(which took 45 minutes, and got my clothes nice and sticky), I sat down, and tried to focus my thoughts. I called the little girls together to talk to them. Still angry, I explained to them how their disobedience had caused me great pain, and it had hurt them. They like to pretend that under our table is a "Choo-choo train" and they had an assortment of toys that were ruined in the ordeal. We talked about sin and how our sin hurts other people and ourselves. We talked about forgiveness and how love stays the same no matter. It was a great heart-to-heart.

Then I asked them what they thought.

The three year old looked at me and said, "Look mom! We match! I got jelly on my shirt and you got it all over your pants!"

My five-year-old said, "Should I put shoes on now?" I had told her she had to wear shoes to protect her feet in case I missed any glass. "I'll get my pink boots. They'll protect my feet and they look great with my jeans."

I'm so glad this was a learning experience for us all!

1 comment:

alison said... their comments after your 'deep' discussion. Since we are in the process of adopting our 3rd child (2nd SN) we hear 'how great we are' all of the time.....if only they could see me when I lose my cool for the 10th time in one day!!!!