I Blame the Kitchen Island

Saturday, October 17th, 2009 | Connecting the Dots

We have, in our kitchen–oh, who am I kidding, it is the kitchen–a very large island composed of granite tiles and a sink. Behind it lies the 3′x9′ kitchen space; in front, four barstools and then the living room. This means that when friends are there I can cook and be in the thick of things, it means kids can do homework and art projects and I can empty the dishwasher, it tends to mean that I absolutely never sit down, since I can interact with everyone from behind the island-and it means that when the island is a mass of dishes and chaotic junk, so am I.

So we’re going to blame the fact that I never really managed to clear the breakfast dishes, let alone the pile of Halloween decorations, the accumulated art of a week of three kids at a school that encourages artwork or the proceeds of the morning’s trip to the farmers’ market when we consider that today just felt like an uproar, and that it involved Rory’s biggest tantrum in months, one that still makes me feel sick to think about, one that felt as though we’d traveled back in time to the end of July, only without the pleasant weather.

It began with the apple peeler. Rory wished to have an apple. She wished to put it on the twisty peeler and peel it herself. I agreed, she did so, and then Wyatt wished to have an apple. And to put it on the twisty peeler, and to peel it himself. You should know that we had company, that Sam and Rob were preparing to leave for hockey, that it was 5 in the evening, and the kitchen counter was, as previously stated, and grand pile of dishes and crap. I shoved some crap out of the way to suction the peeler to the counter. Rory peeled. Just as she finished Wy climbed the stool to peel, he was anxious, and she had been very, very careful to get every bit of peel and only the good sliced part of the apple into her bowl, which she had also done very, very slowly. Now she wanted to get her core off, and clean off the peeler before she relinquished it. Slowly. Because Wyatt was waiting. Very slowly. Very slowly. No, wait, there is still a tiny bit of core…

Wham! Wyatt does something–a sudden move, or a hipcheck, or a shove, I can’t be sure–and Rory and her bowl and apple fly off the stepstool onto the floor. It looks like a big fall, and I am rushing to scoop her up, and probably to kill Wyatt or at least to question his involvement, and I am frustrated, because by five, I cannot TELL you how many small children had fallen tearfully for one reason or another today and I was sick of it, but still–as I said, it looked like a scary one for the faller, and I was rushing around the island–

To see the dog going to eat a piece of Rory’s apple, and Rory CLOCKING the dog with her bowl.

Now, I know she was angry. At Wyatt. At herself. At life, which had caused her to lose her very carefully prepared apple, and at the dog. But oh, she nailed the dog with all the vindictiveness she could muster, and the dog is 13, and deaf, and really not in the best of health, and not hurting that particular dog–for reasons of kindness and also because that dog is getting a tad unstable–is just one of the cornerstones of life here.

So instead of Wyatt being punished, Rory got sent to her room, and oh, she was outraged. OUTRAGED. (By sent, I mean carried up and dumped unceremoniously on her bed.) After a few minutes, I went up, took her on my lap, talked to her about how angry she had been, asked if she fell or was pushed, accepted her howl that Wal_et PUSHED me, told her I would punish Wyatt, too, agreed that she was very very angry at the dog, yadda, yadda.

She howled the whole time. Howl, Howl. Gasp, Gasp. Gulp, Gulp. Kick, Kick. There were enough pauses for me to be sure she understood things–such as that she was ok to come down now, and that I was going to punish Wyatt, and that I understood about the dog–but the shrieking never really stopped. ANd we still had company, and Sam packing for a sleepover, and apple all over the floor and the counter and have I mentioned the breakfast dishes, and just the general layer of crap all over the floor of the house, of endless, never ending, oh-my-god-it’s-an-episode-of-Hoarders CRAP? I really think it makes everyone feel unbalanced.

Anyway, she wouldn’t STOP. And I went downstairs, and it just turned into one of those battles of the wills–would I go up and carry her down all cuddled up? Nope. Would she stop screaming and just COME DOWN? Nope. She went on for half an hour. I want mommy. I WANT MOMMY! I WANT MOMMY! AAAAHAHAHHAAAHHHHHHHHHHHAHAHAHHAHHHHHHHHHHAHAHAHAHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You get the idea. But you know, I was gentle. I went up. I talked. I cuddled. I sympathized. And oh-I did punish Wyatt. But I’m not going on the power trip come carry me down the stairs like a princess action. One by one, guests went to the stairs and listened and admired her lung power. Eventually everyone left. And she came downstairs, still full of resentment, and I made Wyatt apologize, and things got back to normal faster than you might think. But I feel sick thinking about it. And I feel sick thinking about the piles of crap, and the fact that after I clear up the piles of crap, tomorrow, around about one, there will once again be piles of crap, and that after those are gone, more piles of crap will arise in their stead. I just want to THROW IT ALL AWAY.

Oh, but that would be totally unenvironmentally sound. I should recycle it, right?

So, to recap: Rory spend a goodly chunk of the day hating me. I can feel her future shouts of you’re not my mother reverberating through the house, accompanied by the fact that Mama Deena and Baba Mike would never, ever treat her this way (not true, but it won’t matter). I am feeling intensely overwhelmed by crap ownership. Everyone fell, pushed or whined his or her way into my bad graces today. The only kid I can stand is on a sleepover, and then has an away hockey game tomorrow that involves a three hour drive, and I really can’t see my way to dragging all of them to it, so I feel a) guilty that I am not going and b) disappointed that I will not see it (HE’s EIGHT. IT’s 90 MILES AWAY. WTF?) and c) sick at the thought of spending all Sunday with them in the car in order to take them to a hockey game which I will not see because I will be a) taking them to the potty, b) buying them crap to eat and c) following them around whatever the hockey arena is like because they won’t just sit and watch. Oh, and also pretty sick about my five or six hours alone with them instead. Whoopee. ANd the crap. We had such a nice weekend in the house last weekend, and I thought I liked not going anywhere because it is so easy, but I didn’t go much of anywhere today and it still wasn’t fun.

Plus I haven’t seen Sam all weekend. Hockey, hockey, and more hockey, and a sleepover, and hockey again. Hockey will consume 9 hours this weekend. I resent hockey.

Possibly because I have to resent something.

I can hear Rob doing dishes downstairs, and probably resenting those. Bleh.

I do have moments when I’m happy, happy happy. But I don’t tend to post about those, because who wants to hear that? So, if that’s NOT what you wanted to hear–this is the place. The house of the not particularly happy, happy, happy.

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6 Comments to I Blame the Kitchen Island

Heather O.
Saturday, October 17, 2009

First, I totally understand your loathing of CRAP. With 4 kids, I accumulate so much crap every week that I’m thinking we may have to build a bigger house. Second, I sympathize with the tantrums. While Ash is more of a whiner, he can scream like nobody’s business. I swear the kid could do voice-overs for horror movies. I vacilate between feeling bad for him (he did just come home the same week Rory did) and wanting to rip his head off. It’s a tough road we walk but I know we’ll make it in the end.

Ninotchka
Sunday, October 18, 2009

Oh, honey. You know I’m right there with you. With all of it. The sibling fights. The tantrums. The screaming. The MESS (that I too want to throw away and let me tell you, sometimes I just do). Just yesterday I delivered yet another soliloquy about how unfair it is that I AM ALWAYS THE ONE… I know I don’t have to explain it to you. I finally had a moment of clarity where I delivered a brilliant synopsis of my domestic life: Everyone else in this house does chores in between breaks. I take breaks in between chores. Let it sink in and it will make sense. I love being a mom, I love my children: I don’t love (and that’s putting it mildly) being a janitor/disciplinarian/cook/SLAVE.

Beth
Sunday, October 18, 2009

So there with you!! The crap is endless, the dramas never seem to end….man I love reading your blog! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read one of your posts, and thought, that is EXACTLY how I feel about my life!!!

cynthia campbell
Monday, October 19, 2009

OH MY GOD ! I am so with you there with all the CRAP! WE have an island of CRAP too! I want to throw it all away too! Won’t they send another one if it is all that important! RIGHT! Except for the pictures, the love notes from dd…..the toys can go…..the paper can go…..the clothes , we can buy more. It can just all GO in the trash. The screaming it can GO! The needing to eat…it can go! OH I’m venting here OK…I’m better now. Thanks nice to know I’m not the only one. I do need the cellphone though…can’t go.

Lisen
Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Yep. I hear ya. And I have been surreptitiously throwing tons of stuff away lately. If it sits somewhere too long, it cannot be important enough to be put away so into the garbage or the recycling bin it goes. It feels GREAT. And as for how wasteful it might feel, I am vowing to simply buy less crap from now on for balance.

And it is a darn good thing that Chloe and Rory were not adopted into the same family. Their tantrums together would blow the roof off!

anon
Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Did Wyatt also get sent to his room for pushing Rory off the stool? I’m sure you know this already, but kids at this age are very concrete thinkers. I might be angry too if I were Rory, for getting a bigger punishment than her brother for similar misdeeds. She is too little to understand the intricacies behind your punishments.

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