Mike has had to work super late this week so the kids and I have been on our own. Tonight I decided to let them carve their pumpkins. All was going so well as I helped scrape their seeds and let them scoop them out. I took a few pictures and was even thinking thoughts to the tune of, "Who came up with carving pumpkins? That was only the best idea ever. And why are my kids so darn cute and good?" Goldie happily instructed me how to carve her pumpkin and was seeming pleased with the results. Penny wandered about trying to eat off of the giant spoons we were using to get rid of pumpkin seeds. Daisy carved her pumpkin quite expertly with not so much as an ounce of help from me (though I wasn't altogether certain she should have the knife). Abe worked on carving the face he had painstakingly drawn on his pumpkin. All was quite perfect.
Then . . . Abe cut off one of his pumpkin's teeth. He immediately began to despair that all was lost, but I quickly found toothpicks and promised all would be well once we stuck it back in. He then wanted me to finish the job of cutting. Unfortunately he had drawn very tightly spaced detailed little things which made cutting them out nearly impossible. Soon I had severed another tooth -- more assurances of the toothpicks sticking things back in place were followed. We made it through this just as Penny decided things were no fun anymore and began to whine. Abe insisted I cut out the "beard" on his pumpkin -- which was pretty much touching the mouth and the bottom of the pumpkin. Careful as I tried to be, in a moment or two of minute error, the pumpkin's lower jaw was completley severed! (I can't type that now with out chuckling, but at the time it was the last straw). The reattached teeth now unattached themselves and Abe began to cry and insist that he didn't even want a pumpkin. About this point Penny took up serious serious scream crying -- yanking and pulling on me. I tried to calm her (though I was getting frustrated) as I vainly told Abe we could still fix it or we could do a totally new pumpkin tomorrow -- even as he grumped off to the other room his life and any fun of the evening apparently ruined. The girls were begging for candles and Penny was now hysterical as I tried with mounting frustration to fix the disaster of a pumpkin and call hopeless reassurances (hampered by Penny's cries) to Abe.
By the end, as I forced Abe to come take a picture with his makeshift pumpkin (jaw loosely attached -- one tooth lost for good), tried to calm Penny who had really no apparent reason for her total and sudden insanity, and did my best to scoop up pumpkin pulp and newspaper (one handed due to Penny)-- dropping half of it all over the floor because the newspaper had disolved, I am not sure whether I was ready to start crying myself or simply start screaming.
Still, after a few tense moments I determined to try and salvage the miserable evening by going ahead with our planned tradition of cider and doughnuts. I warmed cider as I tried to get the furious Penny into jammies so I could just put her to bed. Abe sat gloomily by needing and not getting my attention. I set the girls' cups next to them saying, "It's very hot, wait til I get you a spoon so you can sip it. . . ." I turned my back to lift Penny from my bed where I'd left her only to hear a sputter and then cry of anguish as Goldie apparently tried to gulp her cider (oblivious to my words), spilled it everywhere in her shock and began to sob.
Anyway, it didn't get too much worse after that because I put everyone to bed post haste. But, amidst all the joy and fun there are plenty of those moments sprinkled in. It is alright. Even as I sit here now with the sound of Abe turning pages in his room (I can hear that over the baby monitor -- which means he is under his covers with a flashlight reading instead of sleeping), I think (well, partly I think, "How am I supposed to handle another baby?"), but another very real part of me thinks, "I am grateful I am a mom. My kid's are great kids. That wasn't really so bad and even almost makes me chuckle now -- more often I need to remember that I will shake my head and laugh later. Life is pretty good."