Yesterday was a challenge.  Or a lot of them put together.  I’m trying to find the last few (hard to find) parts for this daggum plucker, and I don’t know if it’ll happen by this weekend, when I SO need it.

After the girls slept SO late, the whole day was a little delayed.  I went to the local tool/bolt shop where they quoted me $38/apiece for some bearings I can get online for $9.  Of course, the $9 might not get here very quickly…  I ordered another thingamabob to save Hubby the trials of fabricating it *just right* (and that piece needs to be just right), and came home to unload lumber, mark it for cuts, and mark around the barrel-tub for the holes we need to drill.  The third time came out right.  Payday is tomorrow, and we’re (again) out of apples and most other fresh items, which makes snacking hard.  I haven’t cooked or baked a lot lately.
In the midst of this “shop” work, I was trying to keep an eye on the kids and keep the chickens out of the garage.  Big Sister came to tell me something, starting with, “I’m sorry to have to tell you this, Mama…”  
That’s never good.
She continued, “I was walking by the laundry room, and my shoes were sticky, and I looked around to figure out what was going on, and there is a big bunch of laundry stuff spilled out like a flood.”
I just stared at her.  “What?”  Earlier, Little Artist had been bagging up several items from the pantry (to play with, of course) and left them out. I had instructed her to put them all back, so I knew she’d been in there (our laundry room is also our pantry is also where our furnace lives).  I sent Big Sister to retrieve Organique from the now-turkey house where she was crawling about (ick!), and hollered for Little Artist to come quickly.  
She’s been having a hard time lately.  A very hard time.  It takes great effort on my part to get her to obey or comply with any instruction, and it’s always met with howling objections of some sort or another.
I took her inside where we both surveyed the scene.  The earlier-almost-full 3 quart jug of laundry detergent was on the floor, aiming downward (of course) and the pump-top had come loose, spilling the contents ALL OVER the floor, into the hallway a bit, and under laundry hampers, mop buckets, the dryer, boxes of rice milk and ziplocs and ingredients for homemade laundry detergent (which I haven’t made yet), into socks and mittens and dust bunnies that had moved into crannies.  I tried to be calm.  I explained (somewhat passionately) that this was a big mess, that the laundry detergent wasn’t something to waste, etc.  She was surprised and dismayed at the mess too.  She had been aware that the jug had been knocked off the dryer, but didn’t know it had opened up.  I explained further that this was why I was constantly telling her (and everyone) to stay out of things not their business, and to clean up and put away things they’d played with.  Her disobedience in ignoring one mess (knocking off the detergent) had led to another mess, a far more expensive one, in terms of money and labor.  And let me tell you, after hauling lumber and everything else, I was already hurting.  I wasn’t in the mood for this kind of additional labor (or any kind, really).
And how was I going to clean this up?  Could some of it be salvaged?  How far did the pool spread?  I really didn’t need this right now.  I can hardly reach the floor as is, and I certainly can’t get on my knees here…  What do I do?  Tears of frustration threatened as I shook my head in disbelief and looked through kitchen drawers for some kind of answer.  I needed a flat scoop, I supposed.  A dough cutter would have to do, and a container.  Little Artist kept trying to slip away (as is also usual these days), and I kept barking at her to stay in one place, and not to move.  Soon I was slipping around (not good for someone who looks like me…), trying to scoop up dirty, gooey laundry detergent.  I let my frustration win out, with each new discovery of items soaked and puddles of detergent along the wall where the vinyl curled up and exposed wood.  Would the floor be ruined?  The wall?  I just kept on with the admonitions and lecture.  She couldn’t understand (or wouldn’t) my instructions to get a garbage bag, and couldn’t/wouldn’t hurry at all.  She kept saying, “I don’t know what I’m doing!”  I was stuck where I was, and couldn’t assist.  She was crying now, and complaining of tired feet from standing there (I know she’s only five, but sheesh!  I need to teach her diplomatic ways of complaining to a pregnant lady!).  She wanted to go rest.  I wouldn’t let her out of my sight.  She was yelling and crying now, changing her complaint and request with each bellow as I stepped out of my shoes and filled a mop bucket.  Then it was, “I don’t know what I’m doing!  I just don’t know what I’m doing anymore!  I just don’t want you to be angry!  I wish this didn’t happen!”  These were the most honest words she’d said all day.  My tears spilled into the bucket as I prayed.  God, what do I do here?  How do I make such a mess of life?  Please help me do right.  I’m just so bad at parenting.  What am I thinking?  How can I reach her?  I hobbled to where she was and crouched down to tell her I was sorry for being angry.  That I also wished it didn’t happen, but it did, and we must take care of it now.  I hugged her and told her I loved her, and that I always love her, even when I was angry.  She calmed down quite a bit (but still complained when I told her she could sit there instead of elsewhere) and I began to mop the slippery mess, hauling bucket after bucket of suds away.
There is still goo in the corners, under the vinyl, and under the dryer (probably) and it wasn’t the last battle of the day, but I hope that something is salvaged.  Like the quart of so of detergent that I filtered through a paper towel, I hope that God teaches us a new dynamic, or inspires me with the key to reach past her stubbornness from day to day.  I pray that next time some disaster presents itself at the worst of times, that I can handle it far, far better than I did yesterday.  Please, God.
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