Despite two sick kids and two more who may be coming down with more of the same, despite having many things on my to do list left undone, despite floors that haven’t been vacuumed in a week, despite all this and more, today I feel very successful. Today I feel like a domestic goddess.
The day started early with Sophie and Ben screaming. I did some consoling of unhappy children long before I got out of bed and started breakfast. But despite all that we somehow managed to get out of the house by nine to run to Target. Though I bought four packaged of diapers for Anthony last week, I bought them a size too small. Little man has grown, as Friday’s checkup revealed. And having two midnight diaper leaks (all over him and on my nightgown too) made me realize it was time to change now. So back we went to return diapers. But I resisted temptation to get just one or two things more. Diapers were all we got. Then, since the trip to Target had been completed in record time and Anthony seemed content to snooze a while longer, we stopped at the playground on the way home.
Our first trip to the playground this year did not begin on an auspicious note. Sophie took a tumble before we got out of ht parking lot. While I was comforting her (a little tricky since Anthony was in the sling at the time) Ben and Bella ran on ahead to the play scape. Ben began to climb and the older woman who was there with a small girl who I figured was probably her granddaughter took it into her hands to lift Ben down off the ladder he was climbing. He began to scream bloody murder, of course, at having a stranger manhandle him. Heck, he’d probably have screamed if someone he knew had done the same but he was especially offended at this weird lady who had violated his dignity.
I put him back up on the ladder but he continued to scream and cry. It wasn’t made any better by the fact that the little girl kept trying to push past him and the grandmother was hovering nearby. Eventually I led him away to sit with me on the bench and have some Cheerios and water. It took him probably a full twenty minutes to calm down. Longer before he was wiling to leave the bench to go play with his sisters. It took a couple of tries before he was really ready to go. The first couple of times grandma was too close and he came fleeing back to me. Finally they retreated to the other side of the playground and he felt safe venturing forth.
Unfortunately by the time he was ready to be independent again, Sophie had wandered back with a glassy look in her eyes. I asked her why she looked like she wasn’t having any fun. She came and sat with me and asked for some Cheerios and water. Then she started complaining that the sun was in her eyes. I didn’t have a sun hat for her so I tried to just pull up the hood on her jacket. She complained that her head hurt and asked if we could go home. I tried to call Ben and Bella but they were having too much fun.
I set a timer on my phone to appease both factions but before it went off Sophie began to sob so I went to put her into her car seat.before I grabbed Ben. She was sound asleep by the time we got home and the playground is only about a mile from the house. I put her on the couch and she slept there for the next few hours, waking occasionally and trying to get up, only to sink back into oblivion once again.
While Sophie and Anthony slumbered I started a loaf of bread and began folding the mountains of laundry that had been piling up. At some point we realized Sophie was burning up and dosed her with some tylenol. Poor thing was 101.5 and her cheeks were bright magenta. Then while the bread was in the oven, Sophie woke herself up vomiting profusely all over the couch and Theresa grabbed her and sprinted to the bathroom. I’m so glad she was home today as I was in the middle of nursing Anthony and so was not able to leap up quite so swiftly.
So more laundry, including Sophie’s favorite quilt. I decided that soup was in order for dinner given the state of affairs: Ben coughing while he napped int he office, Sophie throwing up, my sister still feeling ill and Dom complaining of an upset stomach after eating a deviled egg that had been on the counter for too long. But Dom hadn’t got around to making stock on Saturday because we’d all gone to Home Depot and afterward he mowed the lawn and planted the lilac bush we’d bought and then grilled up some steaks and eggplant for dinner.
I’ve never made stock before; but I’ve watched him. I decided to just do it. Four pounds of chicken bones, two gallons of water, some carrots, celery, onions, peppercorns, bay leaves and bouquet garni—three hours later I had a pot of stock!
I made a chicken soup for dinner. Diced carrots, celery and onions, beet stems and leaves, half a head of kale, some elbow macaroni, a can of cannelloni, and a couple of diced chicken breasts. Everyone agreed it was awesome.
Five years ago I couldn’t have imagined navigating a day like today. I was intimidated by things like bread baking and stock making. Not to mention taking four children anywhere. As much as I feel like I’m perpetually behind, I know I’m actually managing quite well.
So my house is still a mess. But my family is clothed and fed and the sick ones are tucked safe in their beds. I managed to hold my tongue and not tell off the well-meaning busybody at the playground. I think I’ll call today a success. And tomorrow I’ll vacuum and clean. If the sick children let me.