Day 71: Human Touch

The wind was still blowing when we woke up and the whole morning was kind of a train wreck.

Today the wind was full of rain. At first I thought that was helping to cool everything down but then it became something else –tempestuous.

It was the kind of day when the girls started asking to watch television and melting into hysterics at 9:30am. The kind of day when if we needed to do something upstairs, everything they needed for survival was downstairs. And they couldn’t agree on anything so their tempers flared one after another instead of simultaneously. Even when they were having fun, they were using a maniacal type of laughter that only ever indicates trouble or imminent injury.

It’s unfortunate but at some point people do have to get things done in this quarantine time. For me that meant that this morning was dedicated to bathroom cleaning and vacuuming. Apparently this was devastating news to them because it meant we were not having crafty time. I did attempt to let them watch tv but as luck would have it the internet was out. My morning tasks weren’t sending any tingles down my spine either, but I want them to learn to take the good with the gross in life, so I tried singing Mary Poppins while vacuuming.

In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun and snap! the job’s a game...just a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down.

It lifted my spirits but only seemed to distract them from their misery for about 30 seconds. Then I reminded them how much they like reading stories together in mommy’s bed. In true fashion one thought that sounded heavenly and one thought the idea was so offensive that her ears almost fell off her head.

Eventually they kicked and dragged themselves up the steps. After sulking around a while, looking at pictures books suddenly became interesting to both of them (Thank God…)

We then enjoyed this gorgeous 20 minutes where they just devoured the books. One after another they ran to their rooms to get more and more books to pour over. I was delighted and relieved.

With the cleaning nearly finished I made a fatal mistake: I assumed that they could maintain this heavenly peace for a while longer while I jumped in the shower to clean it and myself. (If you decide to do something like this–don’t say I didn’t warn you.)

I don’t think I need to describe the screaming, screeching, lunacy that erupted while I was trying to scrub the grout with a toothbrush–naked. I had already started and I really don’t like doing this kind of cleaning so I needed to see it through. I called over the noise of the shower that they should march themselves into the bathroom and somehow I got them to close the door so that we were all trapped in there together. I figured at least if they were going to wake the dead it could be in a closed space. Staying in the bathroom with me apparently was a near death experience but total calamity was averted after a few excruciating minutes when one of them miraculously got the idea to play hide and seek.

It was actually so cute to listen to them, counting sometimes in English, sometimes in German, and seeing their excitement at finding each other. Better yet Little Bean would forget whether she was supposed to be hiding or seeking and spontaneously start counting from her hiding place.

The saga of drama continued however when the party moved back downstairs and suddenly just like before everything of interest was upstairs…Are you kidding me? I rolled my eyes so much today that I really wondered whether my second grade teacher was right when she said they were going to get stuck.

The thing that kids have going for them besides the cuteness (which I’m sure is a huge part of their survival over the centuries) is the snuggles. It’s not the rational, reasonable understanding from adults that they are just learning and need a little patience. No—it is definitely not that. Because after listening to them for more than 12 hours, it’s near impossible to be reasonable and patience? Well –just no. No–it’s the cuteness and the snuggles that keep us from getting totally unhinged.

But snuggling with them two minutes after they almost made you lose your mind or better–getting down on their level at the height of a tantrum and hugging them doesn’t just benefit them. It’s not just for their survival, it’s for ours. It’s a well-documented fact that human touch releases oxytocin, a hormone that lowers stress. So it turns out that these crazy, little monkeys who cause my shoulders to go up to my ears from stress, are also the very source of the stress-relief. Well-played mother nature.

In this time of Corona when we are hardly allowed to hug any other adults, it sure is nice to be overrun by two snuggle bugs in spite of their penchant for driving me bananas all day long. It’s like everybody says, this phase won’t last long. Later they’ll be causing my stress and won’t be interested in hugging me at all. So with that, snuggle up y’all.

Until tomorrow,


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