Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Sweating the Small Stuff

I am in the middle of re-rereading "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff" by Richard Carlson and trying oh so very hard to not let things get the better of me at the moment. I've been feeling a bit overwhelmed by the fast-paced period of long queues, end of the school year, perfect present buying, socialising, extra expenses and cooking for break-up and Christmas parties. I know I'm not alone. Of course I'm not. But somedays Zoloft can only do so much.

Today was one of those days when you wish your kids could live at the North Pole - the furthest place I can think of that has a guaranteed return date of December 25. I don't wish them away for ever. Just long enough to let my heart beat return to it's normal rate, and allow me to think without the constant stereo of screaming twins, the demands and bickering of the older two who should know better and the ever-present velcro koala attached to my left hip.

Today, I ditched the idea of a shopping centre and battling it out with the masses, and headed to a nearby suburban shopping strip. I'd like to say that with all my education I'm a pretty smart person, but today proved that I am far from it. A simple exercise of pushing a pram with a 3 year old twin on each side was not as simple as I would have thought. And Lily was not in a good mood from the time she woke up. I should have taken that as a big warning sign that the day was not going to get any better than it was at half past 7. Still, I had things that I needed to achieve today to avoid a snowball effect of Christmas catastrophes. 
Don't be fooled by her cute exterior.

The greatest warning sign that it wasn't going to be an easy shopping trip was Lily crying in the car that her right knee was cold. Turning the air vent to face the window, her hair was now too cold and her knee was now too hot. 

"Don't look at me!" she growled at me. "Every day I tell you you not look at me!" 

5, 4, 3, 2, 1, exhale. "Ok, Lil."

"You not talk a me, too."

At the carpark, I turned to the girls and gave them the run-down. "Will we run around and scream in the shop?"


"Will we play hide and seek under the fruit and vegie tables in the supermarket?"


"Will you smack each other on the head and say rude words?"


Lily sighed. "Then what can we do?"

"We can walk nicely and safely and use our lovely manners and listen to Mummy."

"Yes," says Gracie.


"I told you not you look and not you talk a me. Dickhead."

And, breathe...

This is where I should have known better than to take them out of the car. But I did.

Crossing the road at a very difficult intersection, Lily refused to hold the pram. Finally, an opportunity to safely cross arose and I headed out, Lily next to us. I looked at her and praised her. "Good girl! Keep going."

Down she dropped, in the middle of the road, her pink princess dress fluffing out around her. "You look at me! Don't look at me!" and lay with her head in her hands on the asphalt. Pulling at her arm to get up, she lashed out kicking and flinging her arms around wildly, as I tried desperately to drag her possessed body from the centre of what was now a very crowded street.

This isn't the first time this sort of thing has happened to me with one of my errant children. When Ella was the same age, she refused to hold my hand as we crossed a busy road, and as I held on tightly to her little wrist Ella dropped - her body a dead weight under my grip, and I felt it click (or was it crack?) from somewhere in that tiny 3 year old arm. Several hours later in the hospital, after xrays and extensive questioning from the triage nurses ("Mummy hurt my arm coz I was naughty on the road") it was deemed to be an unfortunate dislocation of the elbow due to chronic naughtiness.

And here I am. I survived to blog another day. I'm hanging onto a thread of tranquillity though. But I will try very very hard to remind myself not to sweat the small stuff, because it is all small stuff, no matter how obnoxious my small stuff can be.

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