I must've reached my limit.
Tonight, Audrey took a second spill, a second blow to the head. (Earlier, she fell off a chair, and shattered a outlet cover with her head. Just as I was settling down in my room for five minutes. That type of crying will put the catnap on hold, I tell you.) She was playing with Ryan and a friend of ours, and for whatever reason, decided to hang off the back of Ryan, arms around his neck (shoulders?) and wriggled just so, Ryan moved backwards, and they both fell. He fell on top of her, and she hit her head on the corner of the wall. It made a horrific noise, I mean, it could have been his water bottle hitting the floor that made the noise, but it really sounded awful, and after this afternoon, I could only imagine that her brain would be reset to "scramble".
As we left the building, after I threatened Ryan with his life so I could check her, I decided to remind him (and all of them) that they need to be more careful with each other. They are growing, and getting stronger, but have not yet developed control of themselves yet--so there is quite a danger of someone getting hurt.
A rational argument, yes, but this is how it came out:
"Ryan, you are twice her size. Twice! Aren't you close to like, 100 pounds, and she's what, 50? You land on her like that, and she snaps her neck, she could die, do you want to kill her?" Ryan looks scared. Good. I'm about to lay into the two of them again, when Ben does something to Nolan, and Nolan flicks him, hard, on the arm.
It's a good thing they were out of my reach.
"Hey! Do you guys not hear me? I am just telling these two to stop hurting each other, and now you're doing it? GIVE ME THAT", I hold out my hand to Ben, carrying his new faux aikido knife, and put it in my bag. "Ben did something stupid with it to me, so I hit him," Nolan explains.
"That is not okay. I'm tired of you guys getting physical with each other. Someone is going to get hurt, and I swear to God, unless there is a bone protruding through skin, I am NOT taking anyone to the ER right away, you will suffer, for half an hour at least, because this is ridiculous. I'm tired. I'm sick. You're Dad is gonna be late getting home tonight, and I still have to feed you people when we get in. We get home, you get physical, I don't care, it's bedtime for you. KNOCK THIS SHIT OFF."
I realize that the attention span of the kids is probably not enough for them to catch all of that. And I'm not speaking right now, I'm croaking, and paying dearly for that speech as I type this, owwwch, my throat.
I noticed as I ranted that Nolan adopted that time-honored look--the one where the teenager looks at you, like they are paying attention, but really are looking through you, not truly listening but riding out the storm? The one he will probably use on ranting girlfriends, the same look his father adopts when he's had enough of my emotional outburst of the moment....the look that made me want to punch him just to get it off his face.
I felt myself ball my fist and take a step back as I recalled the look once we got in the door. I was upset in the car, spent, Mommy-meltdown on the horizon, I cried a little because my head hurt and really, I was done. But now, all I have is this ball of rage, and it's a good thing that once we got home, everyone went to their separate corners.
After I handed out the Nyquil. I'd have put it in dixie cups with Koolaid, if only to amuse myself, but I have caplets, so I took mine, and handed some to Nolan. (Who says he is sick now. Ryan is better. Audrey is better too. Ben looks to be escaping the scourge unscathed.)
Then I went to make dinner.
And I found cutting up the semi-frozen chicken breasts unusually therapeutic.
Maybe if someone else pisses me off in the next half hour, I'll make chocolate chip cookies, too.
I'm gonna have to remember this, to tell them when they have kids of their own, how homecooking saved their lives.