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  • Stacey C.

Back to School Shennigans

Fall, that beautiful time of year, when the leaves are changing, the weather gets cooler and many of us prepare ourselves and our children for a new year of learning. For most people, this is also the time of year when we go back to our routines and structured lives. Gone are the loosey-goosey, lazy days of summer.

For most people, it is a seamless and welcome transition, but things run a little differently at the Chart farm. “Austin, I need you to feed the dogs, and the goats are loose in the driveway… round em’ up!” I yelled to a sleeping Austin, trying to be louder than The Tornado, who was covering her eyes with a blanket, throwing a tantrum and screaming, “No mama, No!” as I was trying to change her diaper and put some clothes on her naked body. Austin grunted at me. I gathered the diaper bag, with all of Tiva’s clothes for the day, my purse and keys and headed out to the car. “Where is her car seat?” I mumbled to myself as I threw our bags in the car. Then I remembered it was in Austin’s car because he picked her up from daycare on Friday and we didn’t use my car at all during the long weekend. Sighing heavily, I ran to his car, struggled to buckle her seat into my car and went back in to collect my naked baby and head to daycare. By now, I was sweating. “Ewww, No! Yuck!” my tiny Tornado wailed, flailing like a fish out of water as I tried to buckle her in her car seat, which happened to have a few little crumbs in it and made it simply unbearable for my prissy little princess. Brushing the crumbs off of her seat, I tried speaking to her in a soothing tone, hoping it would work to calm her irrational behavior. I learned this technique from working in Behavior Health, as they always talk to people in that soothing, ‘I know you are about to lose it and go ape shit on me, so I will speak in calming tones’, voice. It worked and I buckled her in.

After swerving and herding the goats with my car, encouraging them to stay on our property, I was finally on the road. Whew! Now I was flying, (safe and within the speed limit, of course) and trying to make up some time. All was going well until I hit the school zone. Drat! Today was the first day of school for many students and now I was stuck going 20 mph for the next half mile. This is one thing I dread about school starting. I decided to call my amazingly wonderful daycare lady extraordinaire and explain to her that I was running late and why Tiva is coming to her without any clothes on. She of course was understanding and was even waiting for me outside when I pulled in her driveway 15 minutes later. She scooped up Tiva and cuddled her in a bear hug and they waved bye-bye as I pulled out of the drive and on my way to work.

I arrived to work with 8 minutes to spare! I drew in a long breath and finally felt somewhat relaxed. The morning went fairly smooth and before I knew it, it was time for me to have a little R&R at home during my lunch hour.

When I arrived home, the first thing I noticed was that the main gate to our property was shut. Oh no, I thought, remembering that the goats were loose this morning. Austin was at the computer when I walked in the house. “Where are the goats?” I asked, having not seen them when I pulled in the driveway. “I have no idea” He said, not bothering to look up from the computer. “Didn’t you bring them in?” I asked. “No, I saw that Alyssa shut the gate…” came his reply. I decided not to worry about them for the time being, and made myself a sandwich for lunch and sat down to call Tiva's daycare provider.

For the past month, I have been working on filling out the mounds of paperwork required for Tiva's upcoming appointment at the University of Washington Fetal Alcohol Diagnostic and Prevention Clinic. There were a few questions asking what her strengths and best qualities were and what are our biggest concerns. I had my response written, but not wanting to leave anything out, I wanted to consult with my daycare provider to see if she had any concerns I needed to add. After speaking with her, I was happily surprised that what she said matched almost word for word what I had already written. I was reassured that I indeed was not going crazy and that we are both on the same page. I now had all the information I needed to send off her paperwork in preparation for her appointment.

I told Austin goodbye and headed out to my car, feeling accomplished for having finished the paperwork. I was backing my car out of the driveway, and that is when I saw them. Zoey and Zucchini were munching on my shrubs on the far side of the house. "Nooooo!"

I love gardening, well, I love having a garden with beautiful flowers and these damn goats are making it pretty hard to have any kind of beauty in my yard at all. I have one thing blooming at that side of the yard and that is my lovely Don Juan red climbing rose... and wouldn't you know it, that is EXACTLY what the goats went after - well that and the big old trampoline. Goats eat EVERYTHING! One time when Austin was little, he leaned his new bike against the goat fence and in the morning, his bike no longer had a seat. Hard lesson, learned. Anyway, I was not going to let them eat yet another flower in my yard, so I dialed up Austin. "You found the goats?" he asked as he picked up the phone, "yep, by the trampoline in the side yard" I replied. "I'll put them in the back yard," he said, to which I immediately replied, "don't you dare or they will eat my last tree!" At one point, I had 3 trees in the back yard which were beautiful and provided some much needed shade. Last year they killed the second tree by eating all of the bark off of it during one of their "freedom tours". I am down to one tree and I am NOT going to sacrifice it to the goats. "Put them in the front horse pasture (not ideal because they would eat the nice barn shelter) or the back holding area near the back barn" "Okay, I'll put them in the back." "Fine." It is settled and I won't worry about the goats. This time I was confident Austin would take care of it.

The rest of my work day was pretty uneventful and when 5:00 rolled around, I was in a rush to leave because Austin had a school meeting we needed to attend at 6:00. Of course Lance was still at work, so I had to rush to get Tiva, then rush home to get Austin and then back in to school for his meeting. When I pulled in our driveway to pick Austin up, however, the gate was shut. Again. "Don't worry," I told myself. "I am sure he just didn't open it after he caught the goats and put them away". Austin came running down the driveway to greet me, looking quite handsome and spiffy in some of his new clothes I bought him for school. "Where are the goats?" I asked, hoping for him to tell me they were in the back holding area. "I don't know." was his response. Now I am pretty easy going and patient, but this was not the response I was wanting to hear. I could feel my face get hot and my blood pressure rise, so I decided to change the subject for a minute, before I totally lost it, so I said, "You look really nice." And his response was, "Thanks, why do you have a banana peel in your hair?" "A banana...?" then it came to me. Tiva was given a banana as we were leaving daycare. She ate the banana and gave me the peels. They were kind of slimy because she had sucked every last bit of banana out of them, so when we got close to our house in the country, I thew them out the window. At least that is what I tried to do. I know I am not supposed to litter, so as that peel went out the window, karma came and hit me in the back of the head with that same slimy banana peel - and I didn't even know it. As I released the peel from my hair, I also released some of the stress from my day. Austin and I laughed and he told me that Zoey was back in goat land and he suspected that Horny was in the goat barn, though he didn't see her. Whatever.

Fast forward through the rest of the day...It is now 9:30. The dishes are done, Our Tornado is bathed and sleeping in her crib and here I am reliving my day. The goats were out again when we got home from the school meeting and I again used my car to herd them back to goat land. Lance did not get home in time to put T to bed, so I got the honors tonight. I love when I get to rock her and cuddle her. It does not happen often, she is not much of a cuddler and when she is, it is usually with Daddy. She is a Daddy's girl, but gives me cuddles on occasion and it is so sweet, I savor every single precious moment.

Tomorrow Austin starts his senior year of high school. They grow up way too fast. I can't lie, I am teary right now thinking of each of my kids and how quickly they have grown up. Even though I get so frustrated at times, I am trying to learn patience, because in the blink of an eye, they are taller than me and making fun of me for my lack of computer knowledge and then they are gone... doing their own things and making their own life. I am learning to savor every moment, even though Austin is making fun of me right at this very moment and saying I might want to read some other blogs so I can know what they actually are. "They are not just stories, mom..." It's all good. This blog is our story, our unconventional fairy tale and even though every moment isn't always happy or good, we will live happily ever after. Good night.

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