Here's a warning for you. Usually I try to be at least somewhat upbeat in what I write, or at least not totally downbeat, but this post is not going to be that way. I'm just going to take advantage of anyone reading this to rant a little about the second half of yesterday.
The first half of the day was fairly decent. Janey went to summertime school, I got some needed housework done while she was there, and took a nice little nap. I picked her up, and got a fairly halfway okay report (she had bitten herself a few times and freaked out a few times, but had good moments too---an aside here is that I bet for a lot of parents, that would be one of the worse reports of a school day they have ever gotten, but for me it was, well, not great but okay), got her home, managed to give her a shower and wash her hair, which she had not been wanting lately, got some dishes done although the hot water wasn't somehow coming out hot...nothing extremely wrong with that first half of the day.
Then, about an hour after her shower, I was starving. I hadn't eaten lunch yet, and it was about 3. Janey was on the couch playing with her iPad and pretty happy, so I went into the next room and quickly microwaved a frozen meal. I was heading out to eat it near her to keep an eye on her. She was walking toward me, and as often is the case, it took me a minute to register that her hands were completely covered with something like chocolate, that isn't chocolate, that is much worse than chocolate. I looked at the couch, and realized it was covered with said substance, the floor was scattered with it, and the iPad was complete fingerpainted with it. This kind of situation is truly a 2 or 3 person job, but there was only me in the house. I followed the routine I've worked out---grab her first, head to the bathroom, clean her up (which is easier said than done, and I'll spare you the details), go back to the scene of the crime, make her sit on the other couch and tell her in extremely firm tones to STAY THERE, and start the fun cleaning up. It took a long time. Thank goodness I had the foresight to buy the best iPad protector cover I could find. It's saved the poor iPad about 5 times now. Removing the cover and cleaning it was the last step in the ever-entertaining sequence. Needless to say, by that point my food was cold and I wasn't hungry any more anyway.
So, flash forward a bit. We need to pick up Freddy at his summer job, which is about a 45 minute drive away. Tony was home by then, and I decided Janey and I would ride along with him, as my exciting outing out of the house for the day. Janey usually enjoys a car ride, and the first leg of this one wasn't bad---she screamed the first half, but then calmed down (and I again had the thought---for many people, that first part of the car ride would have been the worse car ride of their life, but I've developed pretty low standards for what is okay) We picked up Freddy, and then we were idiots. We were all starving (I still hadn't eaten) and right next to his work is an Old Country Buffet---the one restaurant we sometimes attempt with Janey. We decided to go. Well, this was an OCB we hadn't been to before, and I swear it was the most happening place I've ever been in my life. Picture a huge room completely filled with families, millions of little kids, long cafeteria style tables, balloons and cotton candy and excitment all over. I guess they have some kind of special summer night deal for kids, and boy, did the local crowd take advantage of it. It was a loud and rocking place. So did we do the sensible thing and realize it just wouldn't work for Janey? No, we did not. We went on in to eat. You can pretty much write the rest yourself. It might have been okay, if there had been any french fries, but for some reason, there wasn't. That set Janey off. She started to scream. And the whole place, apparently eager for some dinner entertainment, stared at her. Adults, kids, waitstaff, the whole crew. They all stared. I am not overstating this. I was in the center of a huge room of staring, judging eyes. We stayed as cool as we could. I led a screaming Janey up to the buffet, found her some chips and salsa, and got her back to the table. For a little while, she ate some salsa and was a bit okay, but when she started to scream again, I gave up and took her out of the car, after having stuffed in a few bites of I don't even remember what. Tony and Freddy ate for a bit more, and then we were off for the ride home.
The ride home---oh, yes. It was hell. Janey screamed the whole way, with intensity. We were trying to hear about Freddy's day, to regroup after the dinner, to just get home, and she screamed. And bit herself. And at one point, bit Freddy, although he managed to not get much hurt. And flung herself around. I tried my damnest to talk to her in calming tones, to sing to her, to do whatever you can do in a car to comfort a child who is completely totally freaked out. It was one of the worst 45 minutes I've ever had. I was never happier to get home, and Janey had worn herself out to the extent she collapsed and slept.
Normally I'd try now to sum this up and put some kind of spin on it, to figure out what I'd done wrong, to see the day from Janey's perspective, to learn from it, to not just be completely negative. But for just this once, I'm not going to. I'm just going to close here, with all I can really think of to think---I hope today is better.