As with any new year, this one started off with a lot of hope for a peaceful year full of great experiences, family, and friends. Unfortunately, as a newbie to this thing they call school, I didn’t realize that what the year was actually going to start off with was a lack of routine. And not being a fortuneteller, I didn’t know that we wouldn’t be able to recover from it.
Since Christmas Eve fell on a Sunday, our winter break began on the 22nd of December, making our last day of normal routine the 21st. By the end of my time at home, which was ten days, Riley had developed some disturbing traits. She had a propensity to snarl in very normal social interactions and began egging on her sister to do bad deeds. She was getting into trouble just for the fun of it. All very un-Riley like things to do. I began to worry. Both Lesley and my mom assured me it was just the lack of routine. Things would go back to normal soon, and the old, much better behaved Riley would return. Surely not, I thought. Something else had to be the matter with her. How could routine turn a person into something she is not?
The first week of the year brought another unusual routine that caused some trouble for us. Still out of school, Riley spent her time at Grammy’s house or the Y for camp. Both activities she loves but also activities her sister loves. Needless to say, daycare drop-offs were not the best. No matter, I thought. We’ll be back to normal within a week.
The Thursday night of the first week of the year, Riley developed a high fever and a sore throat and was pretty lethargic. Feeling bad for her, I also felt secret joy for myself that she already had alternate plans to go to Grammy’s house, so I wouldn’t have to scramble to decide what to do in the morning. She enjoyed her day of sickness at Grammy’s house, but poor Maddie came home from daycare feeling crummy. Crummy soon turned into fever, which was followed closely by sore throat and being lethargic. She barely moved from the couch all weekend, and when her fever spiked again Sunday night, it was time to take her to the doctor. As it turned out, she was battling not one but three illnesses. To give her more rest, she had her own sick day with Grammy on Tuesday. The total days of normal routine stayed firmly at 0. No matter, I thought. We will be back to routine by Wednesday.
As we were. Until Friday. Friday brought the first real winter storm of the season, turning the town into a sheet of ice covered with a decent layer of snow. Riley experienced her first snow day off of school. I missed half a day of work, and my parents were again on call. No matter, I thought. We’ll be back to routine by the start of next week.
Monday came, and the winter weather stayed. Luckily, it was Martin Luther King Jr day so schools were already closed. Not luckily, Maddie’s drop-offs were still terrible as she heard about all of the fun things her sister got to do. Also as a side effect of her illnesses, she had decided that all her clothes going forward would be pj’s and continues to refuse to change out of her pj’s in any shorter time span than four days. Needless to say, mornings were miserable. No matter, I thought. We’ll be back to routine by Tuesday.
Nope. Snow day again. Riley went off to Lesley’s in the afternoon, and Maddie expressed her duress vocally. I was feeling defeated and began experiencing many of the negative feelings I imagine Riley was feeling when she was going through her awful phase just a few weeks earlier. Lesley and mom were right! Lack of routine can turn you into someone you’re not.
School finally reopened, but normalcy didn’t return. That Thursday, Riley had an epic spill in the kitchen, which resulted in a sizable puncture wound in her head. We spent the night at the doctor’s office. Routine did come the next day, which brings our grand total of normal days for 2018 to four. Since it is today officially one month since the last time we’ve truly had this thing called life in check, I can’t help but think, Surely we will be back to routine this Monday.