We win

Last night was another rough one.  Liam is still sick.  He’s doing just fine for as long as his medicine lasts, but as soon as it wears off, he’s right back to being feverish and miserable — and it wears off several hours before he’d due to get more.  Also, medicated or not, whenever he lays down, he gets all clogged up and can’t breathe.  Poor guy . . . and thus, again, poor parents.

I got a little more sleep last night — I mostly slept from about 2:00 until about 5:00 this morning — but that was only because Dan took on more of the middle of the night visits to the boys’ room.  All totaled, I’ve had less than 6 hours of sleep over the past two nights.  And while that’s not nearly the worst I’ve had it, it’s no fun (especially because there was, unbelievably, no nap for the boys yesterday either, and only a 20 minute nap for Liam today).

Today, I got up to bravely tackle the day.  It’s a holiday here in Austria (but not for the UN) so B didn’t have school but Dan did have work.  Dan offered to stay home (he has leave he can take for sick family members) but I figured I could manage, since I didn’t have much planned today and our friends are here — in case I needed a moment to catch my breath, or a hand with something.  Then, I managed to get back to bed for an hour this morning, because after I got Liam down (around 6:30) and B woke up immediately thereafter, but I was able to convince him to lay down again for an hour.  I was tired, I was feeling rough, but, I thought, I could handle it, as long as I had enough coffee.

And then, we had the trifecta of mommy meltdown fodder.  While the boys were sitting at the table having breakfast, I came back from retrieving more Cheerios to find that Liam had emptied our entire new package of napkins onto the floor.  I felt overwhelmed and quite a bit frustrated, but I was still ok.  Still, I texted Dan to tell him that I might, upon further reflection, need him to take the afternoon off today . . . especially because I was imagining my mental state would be pretty rough if we went another day without a nap.  This was followed, moments later, while I was preparing some much needed coffee, by hearing Benjamin chant, “Fling them!  Fling them!  Fling them!”  I rushed back to the table to see Liam scooping his Cheerios and milk, by the spoonful, and (as requested) flinging them against the wall and windows.  At that point, I texted Dan again to tell him I would, indeed, be requiring him at home this afternoon.

And, just in case I wasn’t 100% certain I was making the right decision, I then proceeded to spill the contents of B’s potty all over the bathroom floor.  No worries at that point that I was overreacting to my current mental state by having Dan come home.  I was in full pre-meltdown mode:  frazzled, sweating, stressing out, feeling overwhelmed, on the verge of absolutely freaking out about something that would have made me sigh and roll my eyes on a better day.

So, Dan come home (with lunch!) at the middle of the day and stayed home, to take care of all of us.  After short naps for everyone, B did a major faceplant on the floor resulting in a bloody nose and a very fat lip (he used the ice packs pretty liberally though and looks amazingly good now).  And, Liam’s fever has now stopped responding so well to the ibuprofen, so he has an appointment with the pediatrician tomorrow.  I hate using a leave day on something that seems so minor, but I’m really happy that today didn’t end in tears, screaming or any lost tempers . . . especially from me.  I call this a win.

Finger paint

20130427-150429.jpgI don’t know how I managed it, but somehow, in my nearly 5 years as a mom, I’ve managed to never before delve into the world of finger paint. For Benjamin’s second Christmas, he got an easel, including paints, brushes and paper for painting, which we’ve used sporadically. Honestly, it always seems like so much trouble — getting everything set up, trying to contain the paint in the general area of the paper, dealing with the resulting mess — that we don’t do it very often. When we lived in Virginia, I’d set it up sometimes in the kitchen 20130427-150451.jpg(with the easy to clean up tile floor) and since we’ve been here, I’ve actually set it up on the terrace a few times. The boys always enjoy it when we get it out, but the mess is usually pretty significant. We still have a few marks on the walls from our last painting adventure, and I never manage to get all of the paint out of their clothes.

I guess I always imagined that finger paints would be worse. No brushes, actually requiring the kids to use their hands . . . it seems like if brushes were a mess, finger paint would be a disaster. I think that’s why we never did it. Yesterday, though, I was feeling brave. B was off of school (teacher training day) — it can be so hard on days like that to not 20130427-150508.jpghave the day turn into an entire 10 hours of tv and video games. I’ve been thinking ahead to the summer, when I’ll have both boys home, and reminding myself to be proactive about getting us all involved in activities together, so yesterday I (rather bravely) asked the kids what they’d like to do that didn’t involve anything electronic. Liam voted to build trucks with Legos (which we do a lot — I’m rather an expert) and Benjamin wanted to paint. I had a little moment of panic when I imagined setting up the easel, getting everything out, containing the boys and paint and then cleaning everything up. And then I remembered that the finger paints at least claim to be “washable”, and we wouldn’t need an easel or anything fancy — I could just set them up with the paint at the table in our living room and some sheets of computer paper. So I decided to give it a try.

20130427-150531.jpgAnd we had a great time. After a tentative start (both boys were worried about making a mess . . . I think mommy’s mess-aphobia must be catching) they absolutely loved it. I was really surprised to watch them get in to it — Benjamin was full of messy enthusiasm, squishing the paint between his fingers and experimenting with the outcome of mixing colors, while Liam was dainty and purposeful with his choices. (I had expected the opposite.) B made several handprint pictures, while Liam refused. B made a butterfly, Liam made a rainbow. They both laughed and giggled and showed off their pictures to each other.

20130427-150544.jpgTruly, we all had a wonderful time. And, as it turns out, the paint was easily contained at the table. (And it actually appears to be washable. I got it off of the kids and off of the table without a problem, and it seems to have come out of their clothes as well.) The boys loved it — they had so much fun playing and making a “mess” (which really wasn’t bad) and being creative, and they couldn’t wait to tell Dan about it when he got home. I’m so glad that we’ve (finally) discovered the joy of finger painting. It was well worth the trouble.