Some days are more interesting than others… and by some, I mean lots… and by interesting I mean challenging … and by challenging I mean, well, frustrating … and by frustrating I mean that life in a house of teens and toddlers can present some exhausting challenges. Many of which are similar in theory but acted out using different techniques.

Take today, for example. It started like any other day. Multiply bodies racing out of bed, gulping down breakfast, gathering goods and heading for the door and the mad rush to school. Business as usual.

The interesting parts came later. As I sat on the couch explaining to one TTO that he would be going to the Tutoring Place for a session to help him prepare for his math test, I got some push back. Lead balloon would be a great description of how well that went over. Heels dug in deep, words flew, volume increased.

On the other side of me, Future Hoarder of America had been wailing for about thirty minutes. None of us can understand what put a burr under his saddle. Our inability to understand jumbled words frustrated the little guy even more.

Finally, Slow Walker comes in. Apparently the commotion could be heard outside where he had been playing with a friend.

Here are the players: Mom, TTO, Slow Walker, Jack (“FHA”)

“Mom… What’s wrong with Jack?
“He keeps saying something. I can’t figure it out.
“Blllblah… RRRIINN PPPPPP!!!!!!!!”
“Kay??….” – That’s my friend Lisa who dropped by to bring back something she had borrowed. Of course I can’t hear her because I’m the meat in a tantrum sandwich. It takes me several minutes to realize she’s there, my house looks like a tornado just blew threw, and my kids are whining and screaming at me.
I walk out and greet her without a care in the world, “Oh… Hi Lisa.” (Maybe she’s the Calgon Lady sent to take me away!)
“Hey…Sorry to just drop in..”
“So glad you did!”
“I’m NOT going!!!”
       “MAAAAHHHWWWMMM!!! Bllllblll…ppppiiippp RRRr!!!
“Were you back there reading with the kids?”
(Uh – No. I had succumbed to Sponge Bob (which I despise) in a futile effort to get the little one to stop yelling at me… How nice she thought I might be reading.)
“Well – not really.”
“Do you need to go back?” she peeks past, realizing that WWIII has officially started in my back room.
“Oh… it’s okay,” I say as if I haven’t a care in the world. I usher her to the front porch and close the door behind us. Always a good tactic. Shut the door. Pretend you’re somewhere else.

I go on to explain the situation. She has teens and can totally relate. We’re then interrupted by Slow Walker.

“Mom… He wants a Ring Pop.”
“It’s ‘Ring Pop’… that’s what Jack keeps yelling.”

You’ve got to be kidding me. Apparently, Steel Trap is still pining after the box of ring pops he saw when we were leaving his swimming lesson before lunch (5 hours ago!!!). First of all… WHY do establishments torture us moms by putting those things at toddler eye level. Okay, so I know why, but give me a break!! It takes everything I have not to move the candy myself just to avoid the inevitable show-down and tears when I say “no”.

Lisa encourages the swift kick (as in out of the car) on the tutoring front, feels my pain with the whiner, then races to her car for safety.

Somehow we manage to calm FHA (Super Brother Slow Walker steps in and saves the day by distraction). Then TTO and I get in the car and head over to drop him off at the Tutoring Place… and by head over I mean emphatically drive to make sure I’m communicating my frustration… and by communicating, I mean silence on his end/mini-life-lecture on mine … and by drop off I mean kick out of the car. I’m pretty sure he audibly growled as he got out of the car.

I could have done a better job preparing him, rather than springing the tutor gig on him at the last minute. Needless to say, I had very little hope of productive time at the Tutoring Place.

But, as usual, the kid rose to the occasion (because he always does… I just forget in the heat of the moment.)

He walked tall into the establishment and extended his hand to the owner and tutor he had never met, “Hi… My name is TTO. Thanks for helping me today.”

What?! Who is that kid?!! I stood back … proud of my guy. Not only was he Manner Man, he was graciously going beyond the funk.

There I stood wondering, as I so often do, why do I give into the stress? Somedays the road feels about as firm as quicksand. I hope, as I learn the path of this teen stuff, I’ll realize that the firm is always there… I need to quit struggling so much in the inevitable patches of murk.

… and to wear my mouth guard. Apparently, I’m under stress and clinching/grinding my teeth. :)

Thanks for walking it with me.

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