It's Day 9 of Our Christmas 'Break' and Only Two-Thirds of Us Have Cried Today

For fun I count how many times they say "Mama" while I prepare a meal they'll never eat. At 29, I quit counting.
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7:07 a.m. It's day nine of our holiday break. The inmates are beginning to take over the asylum. My resolve is weak, and they know it. Today I will try to appease them with a sugary breakfast and unlimited screen time.

7:09 a.m. Netflix isn't working on one of the iPads. I know this, because the taller one came to me, wailing as if she'd lost her beloved pet. Part of me completely understands her terror. I bark at her, anyway. There are far more important things to shed a tear about in this world, and she retreats, sulking into her room.

7:11 a.m. The small one reminds me that I've promised to let her buy a tiny palace pet toy today. I vaguely remember promising her the tiny creature if she would just "go play while I read my new Felicia Day book." Dammit, what was I thinking? Maybe, I can talk her out of it. Ha.

8:09 a.m. They've been watching questionable cartoons for almost an hour now. I was going to fold some laundry but I figured reading more of my book and updating you, would be a better use of my time. The small one interrupted my reading to ask: "Mama, what does this world doesn't have?" The little word wizard is trying to confuse me. I'll have to watch her closely, today. She's up to something.

10:29 a.m. Sorry, it's been so long between updates. I attempted to shower, alone. I no sooner applied shampoo when I heard the first screams. I made a mental note to buy a radio for the shower. Surely, there is something that can drown out the screams. Do I sound cold? I assure you these screams are calculated. I finish my shower in record time, even though I know as well as I know anything, that the issue is a minor one.

The cat wanted out and they thought it was too cold for him. Demons.

11:37 a.m. I'm getting hungry and they are getting twitchy so I think a ride in the van might be for the best. At least then, they will be locked into place in their booster seats. "Let's head into town." I said. Today is snowy and cold and will require many layers of clothing and Gore-Tex. Once we are bundled and ready to move into the van I hear the word wizard speak.

"Mama, I fink I peed."

12:29 p.m. We finally reach the Tim Horton's drive thru. I've been dreaming of an Iced Cappuccino. The thought makes me generous and I offer to buy a Candy Cane donut for the eldest. The youngest is still dreaming of her new toy and there is a small moment of peace in the van.

"Can I get a small Ice Cap made with white milk and a Candy Cane donut please." I say into the speaker.

She replies with the dreaded words: "Our ice cap machine isn't working, right now." She says this as if it doesn't really matter and that there is something else that would appease me at this moment.

I know this to be a lie. I feel that familiar rage build. This happens all too often and you would think I might be prepared. I stutter out another order, one that I don't really want, and probably won't drink, and I sulk while I wait in the car line-up to pick it up. I tip my usual amount but I don't say thank you with as much cheer because I secretly think they have been too lazy to refill the machine.

1:00 p.m. We arrive at the mall. It's packed because Christmas was just days ago and people need more stuff. Who am I kidding? We've come to get more stuff, too. How do I get into the toy store, grab the damn toy and get out without the kids being drawn in by some hypnotizing display or another. I grab tiny hands and move quickly to the back of the store, their little legs struggle to keep up and someone takes poorly placed lego box to the shoulder but it is a small price to pay to avoid a giant Star Wars display that would almost certainly have them begging. We arrive at the small selection of tiny, colorful and ultimately useless animal figures. The small child chooses one. I grab hands again and make for the cash, thinking this might not be as bad as I thought. Her sister reminds me that she has a gift card to spend at another store in the mall. My head drops. This won't be easy. I find myself wishing I had brought my Toblerone for strength. I fish around in my purse and find a mint. It will have to do. We make our way though the mall.

2:14 p.m. We made it back to the van with a stupid mouse and an even "stupider" giant-eyed stuffy. Only two-thirds of us have cried so far, today.

2:35 p.m. Is it really only 2:35 p.m.?

4:31 p.m. Maybe, I'll start supper. I feed the children gummy worms and encourage them to go to the basement to play so I can concentrate. They take the worms and scoff at my suggestion. I scowl and they stay closely underfoot. For fun I count how many times they say "Mama" while I prepare a meal they'll never eat. At 29, I quit counting.

4:49 p.m. They were arguing over something. I don't know, I wasn't listening. I laughed out of sheer exhaustion when the eldest came to plead her case regarding the argument. This was troubling to her and she ran to her room and slammed the door. I must remember this strategy for the future.

5:35 p.m. He's home. He received a rock star welcome (from the children) and we eat.

6:09 p.m. We begin "family movie night" and take a quick picture for Instagram. You know, to prove we are doing this parenting thing right.

8:00 p.m. We start the bedtime routine. The eldest, although dramatic as hell, goes quickly to her bedroom after brushing because she's likely looking forward to her time away from the rest of us. The little one fights it like she's on a sinking ship. It's his turn to lay down with her, in our bed, because she has decided she'll sleep nowhere else. I watch them disappear into the bedroom before I grab the corkscrew.

8:03 p.m. What the fuck! Netflix isn't working. I may have shed a tear.

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