Today was a stressful day. Not because of any one thing, or any big thing, but rather a bunch of tiny things that wore away at my sanity little by little.
There was paperwork to compile for an appointment tomorrow. There was the knowledge that I had managed to book an 11 a.m. appointment and a noon appointment 15 miles apart, and neither could be moved.
There were school runs to do and gas tanks to fill and budgets to mend in the aftermath of the holidays.
And my girls, in true kid spirit, ignored me much of the day until those crucial moments when I had a phone in my hand, trying to sort out paperwork, switch our homeowner's insurance, make appointments. When Baby G had gone home and Lily was finally napping, I stretched out myself, knowing a nap was out of the question but trying to relax, only to be bombarded with multiple requests to play Memory or to 'snuggle' (which sounds cute but is about as relaxing as cuddling a whirling dervish when Anna isn't really tired). I got texts with things that had to be handled immediately, followed by phone calls, until I gave up on relaxing and started dinner.
But in between, there were some wonderful moments.
I was driving Anna to school and Mary was fiddling with my phone, which she knows she's not supposed to do.
"Mommy, that thing kind of looks like a snail!" she announced. I had no idea what she was talking about so I just went with it.
"Nice," I said. "Mommy likes snails." (I do, and have for years. I have no idea why. I also like llamas and owls, in case you were wondering.)
"ME TOO," she said with joy. "I love them because they're all slimmery."
I couldn't help but grin. It was such a random, made up, perfect word for a snail. I laughed.
"AND SLIMY!" continued the girl who hates to be dirty or sticky or unkempt.
"I like them because they carry their houses on their backs," I said.
"They do," she confirmed. "So if they get scared, they can just pop back in! They don't need to run home, they're already there!"
She sounded so confident in her assessment and proud of herself that it made my morning and I insisted we call grandparents so she could share her knowledge.
This afternoon Anna brought delightful randomness. It started when Mary approached me and asked if it was true that you should never tell secrets.
Now, I'm a child of the 80s. I was raised on Stranger Danger and all the paranoia that goes with it. Yes, I know statistically the odds of a kidnapping and such are low, but that doesn't stop me from worrying. So I started in.
"Well, sometimes," I said. "If it's a fun secret, like a birthday present. (It should be noted my kids are crap at keeping presents secret.) But if it's a secret that could hurt someone, you should always tell Mommy or Daddy so we can help."
Mary nodded solemnly.
"And if there's smoke, get on the floor!" Anna muttered as she walked by.
Thank you, Fireman Sam.
Then I walked down the hall and saw that the dress up tote had exploded all over Lily's bedroom floor. Anna was in a state of disrobe and Mary was walking on discarded dresses.
"No!" I said. "Pick up in here, and Anna, put some clothes on. Put on a dress up or put on your school clothes, but you can't be naked."
"I DON'T WANNA HAVE CLOTHES!"
"Put some clothes on or you're going to lose a privilege."
She glared at me but pulled on her shirt and leggings.
"Thank you Anna," I said. "Do you want a tutu?"
"No, I want three," she said, tugging on her shirt.
And suddenly, I wasn't annoyed about clothes anymore. I tried to suppress a smile (when Anna is growly she does not like to be laughed at).
"Okay," I said, "but do you want your black tutu skirt?"
"No fanks," she said, and wandered off, bad mood forgotten.
And somehow, dinner got made and appointments were confirmed and bills were paid and documents were collected. They even managed to sneak in a game of Memory with Daddy while I was on the phone handling insurance stuff.
And we have a new word to boot.
Oxford English Dictionary, I'll be consulting you about adding 'slimmery' to next year's edition.