My mom's favorite expression: "Don't do ---- or your name will be mud!"
How fitting. I have a kid who acted out today who I will fittingly refer to as "Mud". And while he was not the only offender today, he was the main act.
We started off this morning with a bang. I woke up with a whopper of a headache, and no, I was not drinking last night. I must have slept on my pillow wrong or something because I had a really bad tension headache when I woke up. Then the kids (yes, "Mud" and his accomplice) came upstairs fighting. First thing in the morning. A fight. And it wasn't just a little argument either, it was a full blown fight. I sent Mud and the other one away to their rooms so I could wait for my Tylenol to start working before I dealt with their silly fight. It did eventually get dealt with and we ended that with a prayer. I figured that now maybe our day would get better.
We had plans to go to the pumpkin patch but first we needed to at least clean the playroom before we left. Mud gave me a real hard time about it. He was very upset that he had to empty the garbage and became belligerent. Because of this and all that happened that morning, I decided that we would not be going to the pumpkin patch after all since the kids didn't earn it. They were pretty disappointed but I figured I have to be firm with my punishments some time.
So we went to the bank instead. However, the kids were making a big effort to be good and get along and my own mood was improving, so of course, I gave in and told the kids we could go to the pumpkin patch. That was a mistake!
For one thing, we went with our regular shoes. Remember, we had left not intending to go the pumpkin patch because I was trying to be a good and responsible mother that followed through with her threats. I had completely forgotten that it rained the day before and the fields were extremely muddy. The mud was so thick that it looked like we were wearing shoes made out of mud. It was also windy and cold so the kids hurried up to pick their pumpkins, which I appreciated.
Except for Mud. This was the same kid that gave me a hard time this morning about emptying the garbage. I had told the kids before we went to the pumpkin patch that they needed to stay nearby--or at least close enough to hear me call for them. But some of the kids get really into their hunt and go far and wide to find the perfect pumpkin. Mud was one of those kids and went completely across the pumpkin field where he couldn't hear me calling for him. He saw us waiting in the car and we waited and waited and waited. In the meantime, I was trying to pound shoes together to get off some of the excess mud, though not much was coming off because it was so thick. All this time, I kept calling and signaling for Mud to come back. He saw me, but ignored me and continued on his great hunt for the perfect pumpkin.
I then had to trek across the muddy field in my summer shoes with the mud around my feet getting thicker and heavier. You can bet that I gave Mud a good talking to, I was so irritated about the whole thing. We then clomped our way back and got into the car.
I had drove the van down the hill closer to the pumpkin patch because I noticed everyone else doing the same thing. It only made sense and I sure didn't want to slip and slide trying to roll pumpkins up a steep hill back to the car. Everyone else drove out of the pumpkin patch just fine, so I thought I would be okay too.
As I tried to get the van back up the hill, the tires kept slipping, spitting mud everywhere around us. I put the car in park--or so I thought, but accidentally put it in neutral--and down we slipped down the hill, sideswiping a tree and nearly crashing into the pumpkin patch. I then tried another part of the hill. Same thing. Mud flying everywhere, then sliding down the hill. The kids thought this was funny. I did not.
Of course, people were discreetly watching us make a spectacle of ourselves. Every time I looked their way, they went back to looking for their pumpkin as though they didn't notice us at all careening down the muddy hill in our minivan. As all of this was happening, I remembered what Dennis had said about the tires and us needing new ones before winter. Ohhh, so that's what he meant. The tires were bald.
It did not help that this Mud--who had been giving me trouble all morning long, then rolled down his window and screamed at the top of his lungs: "WE NEED HELP!!! SOMEBODY HELP US!!!"
You can bet I jerked his head back in the car, I was so embarrassed.
We finally did make it out of the pumpkin patch but I had to drive way out and around. I'm not sure I was in the "allowed access" as the pumpkin patch is connected to Scream Town. We even had to enter a little bit into the Scream Town area but not enough to see anything--unless you count the mannequin sitting in the ticket booth with a hatchet in his head. Thankfully, the kids were looking out on the other side of the window so they didn't see it. (They're easily scared and I wouldn't want them to see that sort of thing yet anyway. They did a pretty good job by making it look as real as possible.)
So we drove home in our mud-splattered van, with our mud-caked shoes, mud on our pumpkins, mud on our hands and faces and of course, our clothes. When we got home, I gave the kids what I thought were very clear instructions about carrying their shoes straight into the basement to wash the bottoms of their shoes off in the set tub. I made it clear that I expected only the older kids to do this and that I would take care of the younger kids shoes.
But then Mud came upstairs carrying drippy mud all over the kitchen floor and carpet. He told me he was done cleaning them and they were "clean". What I saw was gloopy mud dripping in huge clumps all over the floor. I sputtered and sputtered, unable to form the words: "You're dripping mud all over the floor!!" while he just stood there with this confused look on his face, wondering what I was trying to say while his shoes continued to drip and drip and drip.
I finally just grabbed him and brought him downstairs, telling him how his shoes were dripping mud everywhere. I intended to just do the cleaning for him--until I found the downstairs coated with huge mud puddles everywhere. While I just stood there, wondering how in the world that happened, my eyes traveled to the set tub where it was overflowing with muddy water because the kids had not bothered to take the plug out.
This part just exasperates me all over again. Why didn't they take the plug out??? Why on earth would you think it's ok to leave it in, as the water creeps higher and higher and spills all over the floor??? But wait, it gets worse, because in that muddy water, was floating five pairs of shoes!!! Yes, the kids thought that the easiest way to get rid of the mud was just to submerge the shoes altogether--even the kids who were not supposed to be cleaning their shoes decided to just throw them in.
Oh, if only I could tell you how much detail I went into as I told the kids to please only wash the bottoms of their shoes. Not the tops. I even explained why they couldn't let the top of their shoes could get wet. Because then the whole shoe gets wet. I went even further: if your shoes gets wet, we have no back-up shoes for you to wear for the rest of the day and we have church tonight.
Yes, we have church tonight and I thought that my only problem would be getting all that mud off. But now, because our set tub is so clogged with mud (after I finally got the plug out) it won't go down. I cannot wash the shoes off with the hose because Dennis disconnected the hose and stored it who-knows-where. I cannot wash the shoes anywhere because the mud will just clog the drains there too. I have to wait for Dennis to get home to get the hose out to spray all the shoes down, except there won't be enough time to get the shoes dry for church.
My headache is back.
The moral of the story: stick to your punishments. There was a good reason why we weren't supposed to go the pumpkin patch today. And if "Mud" hadn't been so disrespectful this morning, hadn't made me trek across a muddy field to get him when we were supposed to stay nearby, and hadn't dripped muddy water all over the upstairs, I wouldn't be trying to figure out how to clean five pairs of muddy shoes and a muddy house. Thus, he has earned the title "Mud" for the rest of the day.
Isn't it ironic how when you want to teach your kid a lesson, it totally back-fires on you and you learn the lesson instead?