You could say I am in a perfect temper for Halloween today. Everything started out well. I made smiley-face blueberry pancakes and The Child and I had a 'calendar meeting' at breakfast. She came to the table dressed and brushed. All good. Then it was time to leave and I sent her to get on her shoes and socks. That's when all hell broke loose.
First she's diddling around trying to find socks. This is because more often than not she just shoves clean laundry into whatever drawer happens to be standing open, with no regard to the existing system. I'm still Mother of the Year at this point (what with the smiley pancakes and all), gently noting that we have certain drawers for certain articles of clothing precisely because it makes life easier. She gets the socks on. Then the brimstone starts leaking. There are no shoes to be seen. I know one pair has already been loaned to one of the M Street gang for her Halloween costume. But what of the two pairs of sneakers? It dawns on both of us, at about the same time, that they are at the neighbors. Not The Neighbor's, to whose home I have a key. No, no. They are at the home of one, possibly two other neighbors, all of whom were at that moment also getting their children off to school.
Here's the problem with the M Street Gang: they never wear their clothes. Or, more precisely, they all change, half a dozen times, in each other's homes, leaving their own clothes behind and making off with items not their own. Things I've never seen before are constantly turning up in our laundry and sometimes members of the gang have shown up here attired completely in ensembles belonging to the Child. There have been a few occasions when The Child has been sent at the last minute to fetch a pair of shoes or coat before we have to go somewhere. So far she's been lucky.
But here we were, 5 minutes past time to leave and she's got no shoes. None. It is my fervent hope that there wasn't a CPS caseworker just happening by our house at 7:45 this morning. It wasn't so much the screaming, which has (sadly) happened before. Rather it was the tone of the screaming...husky, resonant, and yet in no way tuneful...a disturbing sound issuing from both my throat and the front of my head. It was not pleasant to be the agent of that sound. It was not pleasant to morph so quickly from gentle, smiley-face pancake mom into someone liable to order a huntsman to take The Child in the woods and bring back her heart in a crystal box.
Never mind that my anger was justified. Never mind that I gave her a pair of my shoes (2 sizes too big) and don't give a damn if she's mocked all day for wearing clown shoes. It is one of the fundamental principles of life that you have to take care of your own stuff and if she's going to leave it all over the countryside then she's going to pay the consequences. I sure as you-know-what am not going to go running around trying to fix it for her or she'll never learn.
I know all that and it's all fine. The blood has stopped streaming from my ears. But geez, what a crappy way to start our day.