Craig is on his way to Minneapolis for work tonight, and it just so happens that we had one of those nights tonight. UGH.
It had been a relatively decent day. I had a bit of a wacky morning, though. The other day the neighbor's plow guy got stuck for a good couple hours on the edge of the property, digging a pretty significant rut into the grass (and providing great dinner prep entertainment). This morning as I went out to shovel, he pulled in the driveway to apologize and say that he'd fix the grass in the spring. He offered to plow out our driveway today, and initially I said no, but he insisted. He proceeded to get stuck twice, for a couple minutes each time, due to some really bad technique on his part. I was a little panicky, but eventually he was done. I headed off to the gym and got a great workout in, then had a pretty low key afternoon. I did manage to hang up a new smoke detector and start the curtain process in Jacob's room.
The problems started when I went to pick up the boys. I picked up Jacob first and found out he'd been suspended from the afterschool program for tomorrow because he punched a teacher in the stomach. Anyone that knows Jacob knows he wouldn't do that maliciously, but he does have a temper and it clearly went horribly wrong. As he tells it, he got mad playing a game and meant to punch the air in anger (which he does quite a bit), but somehow ended up hitting a teacher instead. I know there's no excuse, and we're both very unhappy about this, but at the same time I know how upset Jacob was and I know that he didn't mean to do what he did. I sort of wish there was some sort of discussion or appeal in cases like this, but so far nothing like that has ever been offered up. Believe me, I will push for it if it comes to that. He may be impulsive, but I know he's not dangerous. Regardless, he's out for tomorrow and I have a feeling he's only a step or two away from getting banned for the year. That would be bad. We're going to make an effort to go back to his therapist so he can work through a few issues--his anger, his issues with his brother, and his renewed compulsive handwashing, which hasn't been an issue in a long time. The therapist never works great with his schedule, but particularly now with me off, we really need to do it. In the meantime, electronics are off limits--no iPad, no Wii, no power over the TV (meaning, it may be on, but he cannot choose what we watch).
Carter has been particularly difficult lately, as well. While he can still be sweet and fun, recently it's been a near-constant stream of "no", jello body/stiff body, mischief, and general battling. He freaks out when it's time to leave daycare, he melts down waiting for dinner, he is constantly getting into everything he shouldn't, he's always bugging Jacob, and he's constantly testing. While Jacob had his own brand of trouble, Carter is far more creative, getting into everything. Tonight he was cranky about eating his dinner and somehow dumped the rest of his plate on the floor. After dinner he was constantly trying to hang out in the dining room while Jacob did his homework, which I knew Jacob would find distracting, so I was constantly moving him back to the living room. Then he started hitting me in anger, so he spent some time in his room. Then he tried getting into Jacob's room, even though he knew he shouldn't, and I was in the midst of talking to Jacob so I put Carter in his room and closed the door. By the time I opened it, he had somehow pulled out most of a roll of garbage bags that I keep in his cabinet for his diaper pail. It took me no less than 10 minutes to re-roll the giant pile of connected bags.
How bad was it? When I mentioned to Jacob that he had to take a shower tonight, he eagerly ran to the bathroom and started getting undressed. He never does that. He kept saying how excited he was for tomorrow morning. Why, you ask? Because it will be a new day. And hopefully a happy day. Yep, it was that bad.
I know that I have my issues, too. My temper flares pretty easily some days, particularly on ones like this one where it's under constant assault. I feel like I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place. If I'm too calm, it seems like the message doesn't get through. The alternative is me yelling, and that doesn't set a good example. Carter pretty much laughs at me no matter what, and Jacob just gets indignant. The funny thing is that the stuff that Jacob pulls with us all the time drives him nuts when Carter does it. I keep hoping he'll see the similarities, realize how nuts it drives him, and start working on his behavior himself. God knows I need some work, too.
Sometimes this job is just really stinkin' hard.