Things are not looking good. M and I took the kids to REI the other night, and in the car ride over I snapped. My son's incessant talking was causing my head to ring. In fact, it felt as if his whiny high voice was right intside my brain. I did yoga breaths for as long as I could and then I asked J to be quiet.
"Why?" he asked.
"Because Mommy's ears hurt."
"Why do your ears hurt?"
"Because you've been talking a lot and my ears are a little tired."
"Why does it mean that I make your ears tired?"
I let out another forceful exhalation at the corner of Broadway and John and looked to my husband for help. We were stopped at the light; I could have just stepped out. But I stayed put. After all, we needed a tent. It would be fine once we got there. The kids could loll about in tents and play with folding chairs. I just needed a moment of peace.
An hour and a half later, we were dragging J off the play structure at REI and paying for a cart load of camping crap (or Crapp, as the word is used in Neal Stephenson's The System of the World, which M is reading) while he complained bitterly about being removed from the giant plastic tree. I survived the car ride home by singing "Baa Baa Black Sheep" to the children. In the time it took M to get J out of the car, upstairs, and into pajamas, I had put the baby to bed, brushed my teeth, and crawled under my covers. M came in later and lay next to me.
"You should think about calling those psychiatrists," he said.