Some days are like that
My husband, Brian, tells me that sometimes I stare Crazy in the face and say, "Bring it on." Tuesday was just such a day. Faced with two appointments in town several hours apart, I thought it would be wise to fill the time in between with oodles of errands. For seven hours. With six children. In one van. Together.
I must have had sunstroke when I planned it because somehow it sounded like a good idea when I penciled it out. Armed with my to-do list and a sack full of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, I had high hopes for the day.
The day went south before we left the house, and echoes of my favorite children's book began bouncing around in my head. "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day" begins with this line: "I went to sleep with gum in my mouth, and now there's gum in my hair."
Alexander's day grows progressively worse. He drops his sweater in the sink while the water was running. I had sink issues of my own — namely a sink that started leaking, creating a puddle on the floor on a day when all I could do was put a trash can under it, close the door and hope nobody used the sink.
At Alexander's school, the teacher likes Paul's picture of a sailboat better than Alexander's picture of the invisible castle. I thought of my own invisible castle — a half-finished, day-past-deadline column sitting on my computer while I waited in line at the gas station. I brought the column with me to work on in between errands but forgot to charge my phone, so I couldn't send it in.
I pulled into a friend's driveway and ran over a bolt. Marge gave directions to a tire repair place as the tired hissed at me. I fretted and worried I'd miss it and the tire would go flat and the kids would wake up crying, and I was so wrapped up in my concerns that all I heard was: "Go down and turn, then you'll see it on this side of the street." Her instructions were probably more detailed than that, but I was too busy feeling sorry for myself to pay closer attention. I made it, but the angst didn't end. I was full-on grumpy.
That's when I really started thinking about Alexander. I bring the book out for my kids when someone is having a bad day. Sometimes that someone is me. In the book, Alexander feels left out and insignificant, and that leads to him being quarrelsome. I do that, too. When we read about Alexander, we talk about how some days it feels like nobody ever listens, and the disagreeable feelings just multiply on those days.
The book helps me explain things to my kids, but it also helps me focus on how to comfort my children when they have frustrating days. In Alexander's world, it is devastating that the cat doesn't want to sleep with him and that he has to wear his railroad train pajamas. Those slights seem so insignificant, but they remind me that to each of us, our problems seem insurmountable at the time we are facing them. Some days, we all, like Alexander, want to move to Australia.
We made it home after a long day in town to tackle a mountain of dishes and a farm full of chores. It wasn't pretty. At the end of the book, Alexander's mom reminds us that some days are like that. Even in Australia.
Rose Godfrey is a speech pathologist and homeschooling mom in Meridian. Her homeschool blog can be found on the Appeal-Democrat website at appealdemocrat.com.