The day I brought the hubs home from the hospital was a difficult day. It was made easier by sweet friends and neighbors bringing me food and a wonderful MiL who was willing to watch the pre-schooler until I could get the hubs home and settled.
The hubs was in a lot of pain and didn’t have a lot of mobility. He’s 9 inches taller than me and outweighs me by at least 80 lbs. And yet I had to help him out of bed, onto his crutches, and into the bathroom. Thankfully he was on powerful pain meds and he slept through most of those first couple of days home.
My stress and anxiety level was high. I felt like I was juggling a million balls, and if someone even knocked me slightly or threw a wrench into the juggling mix, I would drop all those balls. I had things running smoothly. Both lunch and dinner had been brought. The kids were home from school and playing nicely and quietly. There were 10 loads of laundry waiting to be folded, but I ignored them hoping they would go away until I could mentally deal with them. I was calm, cool, and collected, but teetering on the edge of a meltdown. That’s what happens when the most important person in your life almost dies the day before.
Then my daughter threw a wrench.
“Mom, I have to make salt dough for school tomorrow,” she said.
I said, “Okay, where’s the note from your teacher? Where’s the instructions on how to make it? I don’t just know intuitively how to make salt dough.”
“She didn’t give me a note or instructions. She told me today that if I didn’t bring it by tomorrow she would give me a 0 on this project,” she said and then she broke down into tears.
The anxiety was high in the house and I had already had one meltdown that morning on the kids when they wouldn’t stop fighting. I hate the constant fighting.
And just a little background on this teacher (she’s not my daughter’s very capable and wonderful homeroom teacher…in her grade they do rotations with all the teachers). She has threatened my daughter before. Because of her ADHD, she does not do well with threats. She’s needs structure and discipline, but most importantly she needs compassion. She freaks out easily.
At this point I was really pissed that this teacher would require something without even giving me or my daughter any instruction on how to do it. I was pissed she had threatened her again. I was pissed that this was being asked of me on a day that I just couldn’t handle it. I was pissed that this teacher made my daughter cry. Again.
So, I took my frustrations to the Facebooks. And I let loose. I was so pissed at this teacher I wrote her an angry missive. Thankfully I have really great friends and they immediately offered sympathy and salt dough recipes. Some even offered to make extra for what they were making with their kids and send some to school for my daughter
And then I had an idea. Why do I have to do everything? My daughter is a tween-ager and very capable of measuring out some salt, water, and flour and stirring them together. So I made her do it herself. And she had fun. I taught her how to turn on the oven. I was a little surprised because my dad taught me how to cook at an early age and by the time I was her age I had a whole repertoire of homemade breakfasts I would make (i.e. pancakes, waffles, crepes, french toast…all from scratch). By the time I was her age, I knew how to work an oven (although our oven is digital and mine was not growing up).
So yes, I was almost brought to my knees by salt dough. After it was said and done, and I had calmed down, I ripped up the mean note to the teacher and took my Facebook rant down.
My daughter and I learned valuable lessons that night. One, she learned how to use measuring cups, follow a recipe, and use an oven. I learned that problems, no matter how tiny, in the right context will break you, and you can’t let them.