Sunday, December 03, 2006

Automobile Meltdown

Yesterday after Marcie's Little Gym class and Casey's soccer experience (which was followed up by the usual "copcorn" he likes to eat now), Jason headed off to work and I packed up the kids to trek a mere 30 minutes away to a friend's house. In my head, I'd planned to leave our house at 10:30, arrive at my point of destination at 11:00, depart my friend's house at 11:30 and be home at noon, in time to feed the kids before Jason had returned home.

(If you are wondering why I'd travel an hour round-trip to spend only 30 minutes at my friend's house, I can't tell you. I mean, she'd be worth the distance anyway, but the purpose of the trip was for Mother's Day gifts for my mom and mother-in-law. As much as I'd like to tell you all about the super-cool things I got, I cannot because my mom occassionally checks in on my by reading this blog. So you'll have to check back in May to see what it was all about. Suffice it to say this was a one-time opportunity, so I lept at it.)

So I got out the door relatively on-time. I had thought to stop and pack up lunch for both the kids (though I did manage to forget a bib for Marcie), which was wise on my part. I arrive around 11:15. And waited. And waited. And waited. Now this was not the fault of my friend. And truth be told, Casey didn't mind at all. In fact, he was having a ball. Literally-- there were some other boys his age there-- and of course their puppy golden retriever, so Casey had free reign to run all around the back yard playing fetch. When he tired of that, he discovered the stairs. On the landing was a pile of tiny, fluffy toy mice (or "mouses" as Casey insisted on referring to them). He rolled them down the stairs. He tossed them off the landing. He piled them up on the coffee table and slid them one-by-one off the edge. He carried them over to the cats' climbing toy and dropped them off the ledge, making an "Aaaah!" sound. He was in heaven.

Marcie on the other hand was not as pleasant. I mean, she is a pleasant child, to be sure. As long as I'm holding her. Despite her newly found walking abilities, she was not going to let go of me. I don't know if she was just overwhelmed by the shear number of people there (a distinct possibility), or uncomfortable with the number of strangers there (another possibility) or just tired (certainly could be the case), or if she was reacting to me having been away from her all week at work (I'm hoping this was not the case). In fact, I was thinking back to every other semester of final exams-- and very consistently, Casey has become more clingy just when finals rolled around. It's like a sixth-sense these guys have: Mom has a very important test coming up that requires oodles of studying, so I'm going to become as whiny and needy as I possibly can, making it seem as if no one but Mommy will do-- even though I've been ignoring her for weeks. . .

Anyway, once we finished up with the reason for our visit, it was almost noon. Casey plopped down to eat his lunch, and I set up Marcie in my friend's daughter's high chair. She was not pleased to be out of my arms, but she is just too heavy to hold while feeding-- and there were too many people to sit on the floor. She gobbled down her food, but when I turned my back to wash the spoon, she burst into hysterical tears-- and it didn't really stop from there.

Actually, that's not true-- it did stop momentarily. For about the first five minutes after I'd packed the two kids back in the car to head home. But then it started. She was wailing. And when Marcie cries, her eyes get all puffy and swollen, and the tears streaming down her pudgy little cheeks, leaving burn-like marks. So when I got to a place where I could pull over and stop, I did-- thinking I might be able to console her (and calm down my pounding headache). Bad idea.

Once I stopped the car to get out and check on her, her crying became worse. She looked at me as if to say: How can you leave me strapped in this carseat when I'm so obviously upset? I told her I was sorry she had to stay buckled in, but we would be home soon.

Well, once I stopped the car for Marcie, Casey wasn't going to sit back and let his sister get all the glory. And he started wailing. WAILING, I tell you, not wimpering. Real alligator tears and all. I told him I was sorry, too. I begged him to stop crying. I asked him to breath with me, and tried to help him. All to no avail. Finally, I took a deep breath, resolved myself to just make it home (thinking they'd probably fall asleep on the way anyway since it was just about nap time by now), and got back in the driver's seat and set off.

Well, my patience were thin. My head was throbbing. My stomach hurt because I felt awful that they felt awful. And I was irritated that Casey was fake-crying. I couldn't even hear the radio over their wails. Not that it was great music-- it was just Bear in the Big Blue House, after all. Finally, after I shouted out to Casey to PLEASE stop crying, I could take it no more. So I turned up the volume until I could barely hear the noise in the back seat. And it suddenly. got. very. quiet. Then, just as I turned the radio nob back down, Casey said in a clear, cry-free voice, "Mommy, it's so loud. Why so loud?"

I almost wanted to laugh. Marcie resumed crying almost immediately, but Casey remained quiet the rest of the way home. . . Marcie fell asleep as we turned the final corner onto our street, and then (of course) immediately startled awake as soon as I removed her from her carseat. And then, she was inconsolable again. Every time I tried putting her to sleep, she just stood at the edge of her crib screaming and crying and carrying on. So I did what any mother of a child she'd known for only three months or so would do . . . I held her. And held her. . . and held her.

She skipped her nap yesterday and barely stayed awake through dinner before she crashed for the evening. I'm still not sure what tripped her off in the first place. The last time she got this upset was when she got her five shots at her one-year well-baby visit. I guess that was only last week-- it seems a lot longer ago already . . .

I sure hope the Mother's Day gifts end up being worth it!


Julie said...

Kids DO know when we are under the most stress don't they? I hope you do well on your finals!

Latka said...

...maybe I'll adopt a 5 year old. ;)

Danielle said...

Whew! So sorry. I know how those car rides go. I've had a few like that myself with Emma and Nicky. Those are the days when I contemplate wearing ear plugs just so I can maintain my sanity! :)