We are leaving for vacation next Tuesday and between now and then, I need to do all the laundry, go to campus this Tuesday and Thursday and to two work-related dinners on Monday and Wednesday. I need to organize and pack suitcases for 75% of the family. I also need to prep as much as possible for Zuzu's birthday party, as we get back on a Thursday and her party is on Saturday.
I went back and forth about where to have it and how big to make it. Originally, I had big ambitions: invite all her classmates! Have it at a visitors center at a park! But then I recognized my party planning reality (and, ok, I went on a preschool field trip and witnessed what it's like to be surrounded by her classmates) and decided to keep the guest list small and have it at our house. Intimate but really special, right? I only invited four of her little besties, plus Coco. And Elsa and Anna.
My mom was giving me a hard time about outsourcing the birthday cake (I have a friend who is a chemistry professor and a baking wiz, so I decided to take advantage of her talents). The thing is, the cake is not my favorite part of the party. The decorating is my favorite part. So I am playing to my strengths and doing streamers and snowflakes and cute food labels that none of the party attendees can read or appreciate.
I am trying to get all of the shopping done and favors completed and other details taken care of so I can execute it all the day after I return from a ten day "vacation" otherwise known as living with and caring for my children full time in another state with a disrupted sleep schedule. (I'm not complaining about it, I'm just saying I don't necessarily expect to return refreshed and rejuvenated.)
All this to say, I drove back Sunday evening. Zuzu sobbed as we left, slept for two and a half hours, then woke up to cry some more about how much she missed Grammy and Bops and she wants to live with them. (And David and me and Coco, too. A big, multigenerational family, all in my parents' house in Nevada. Hashtag good times.)
She ordered me to turn the car around several times. At one point, she announced, "I LIVE WITH GRAMMY NOW." I said, "Fine. But we are going to visit Daddy."
She replied, "I wish Daddy didn't live so far away from us."
They were happy to see their daddy and since the nap schedule was haywire, they stayed up way too late. But they actually slept in (thank you, black out curtains) and I got up early enough to have my coffee and make a bunch of to-do lists.
I was nailing the SAHM thing! Of course that feeling didn't last long. By lunch time, things had veered a bit off course.
Breakfast went smoothly and I felt all smug about setting them up with a Pinterest-inspired car wash thing. A bucket of water, sponges, towels, and their cozy coupe and other little ride on car. Based on Internet research, this was supposed to buy me like thirty minutes of wholesome fun slash half an hour of no one whining for a snack or a show.
Meh. They seemed to see through the whole child labor scheme and instead wanted the sprinkler and Popsicles and bubbles and OMG I AM NOT TAKING REQUESTS RIGHT NOW STOP MAKING DEMANDS.
I changed them back into dry clothes, loaded them up, and headed to the dollar store (a HUGE treat because they loooove to browse and tell me what to put on my list for "next time") and then the grocery store.
I bought a loaf of wheat bread and they begged for a slice to eat in the car because they are ALWAYS hungry. I think I fed them hourly.
Shopping went smoothly, but then we had lunch.
They ate meatballs, berries, more bread, and plums.
The grocery store had perfect, delicious plums, and the girls were delighted to have them with lunch. I offered them as an appetizer to quell the incessant demands for food as I prepared their plates. They were eating them so fast that I had to quit cutting up meatballs and take Coco's plum away so I could cut out the pit. I didn't see that Zu had popped the whole thing in her mouth. I was literally cutting it out, saying aloud, "there's a hard center to these plums, so you don't want to eat that part" when Zu made a funny little noise and her eyes got wide. I looked at her, realized what was happening, gasped, said, "Spit it out!" And she kind of gagged, then swallowed.
When I saw she wasn't choking, I made myself take a deep breath because I didn't want to scare her. I said in a super cheery voice, "That's ok! Next time lets not eat so fast, and I'll cut that part out!" Then I picked up my phone and started googling. Internet has mixed reviews on plum pit consumption.
So I called the pediatrician's office. The nurse suggested we "watch" to make sure it comes out.
Fortunately, tomorrow is a Daddy Day! Perfect timing.
Zuzu asked who I was talking to, and I said, "I called the doctor to make sure the plum stone won't hurt your tummy. They said it's ok, but you need to show us all your poops." I figured I'd get her used to the idea. She was oddly excited by this prospect, and then said so sweetly, "Thank you for calling the doctor, Mommy."
(I've already seen two huge poops--a side effect of the constant eating--, both announced with much pride and enthusiasm. Gag me. I do not envy David tomorrow.)
Coco went down easily for her nap, so I was telling myself that sometimes good moms have kids swallow weird stuff and this was not a reflection on my competency as a parent. I was ready to fold and switch the laundry (so domestic!). I told Zu she could go out and feed the chickens a handful of wrinkly grapes I had found in the fridge.
As I was carrying the laundry basket upstairs, I heard a scream that stopped my heart. It was followed by hysterical crying and I dropped the laundry and bolted up the stairs, two at a time. I was imagining a fall from the swing set or some terrible freak accident, but in fact a chicken had mistaken Zuzu's thumb for a grape.
Rather than tossing the grapes, she'd been trying to feed them from her hand, one at a time, the way she and Coco fed wild strawberries to baby chicks at my parents' house. Well, our bossy chik'n sisters weren't being nice about it. Between tears and unintelligible screams, Zuzu shrieked, "She BIT me!"
I know it hurt, but she does have a flair for the dramatic, particularly on a no-nap day. I had her run cold water over her thumb and that calmed her down. It didn't break the skin or leave a mark or anything. I tried to tell her it was an accident, but she was adamant that it was NOT an accident. "I am SO MAD at that chicken! I am never feeding them again!"
We'll see how long she holds a grudge. I can tell you that she moves pretty quickly from, "I'm not your kid anymore!" to sweet and unprompted, "I love you, Mommy," but I am not in the habit of biting her fingers.
Work on Tuesday should be a nice respite from the onslaught of snack requests. But I'm already planning Wednesday's adventures at home. At least I can count on them keeping it interesting.