In times of stress I become brutally efficient. It doesn't make for a fun vacation (it's spring break), but it does ensure that the world doesn't come crashing down around us. Unfortunately, once I am in that mode, it is hard to switch off. I become She Who Must Be Obeyed and Must Not Be Crossed. During times like this Lily counters by turning into She Who Will Not Be Denied or Ignored.
My efficiency comes from my mother's side of the family. Lily's attention seeking comes from my father's. Together it is like gasoline and matches. I clearly remember my father emerging from the bathroom with his head shaved completely bald the evening of my grandparent's 50th anniversary party. I also remember shaking my head in shock and my step-mother referring to him by a name that starts with an a and ends with an e. In hind sight, I know he wasn't trying to piss us off. He was nervous and it got out of hand. I really can't put how I understand it into words. I just get it now. This knowledge has kept me from throttling Lily this week. She doesn't mean to be so obnoxious, she just doesn't know what to do. I, on the other hand, am too dang tired to deal with her.
I have this intense need to organize this place. It took an entire day to clear out her bedroom. The end result was three trash bags, three donation boxes, and three Advils for Mommy. Not only does Lily take after my father, she takes after my paternal grandmother. My grandmother could not throw anything away. After her death, we found closets full of unseen photos and mementos, all along side of scraps of felt and half finished craft projects, all of which had been nibbled by mice. Lily's room was very much like Gramma's closet. As I was throwing away broken bits of toys and scraps of paper, Lily kept peering over my shoulder and hissing "What was that?! I might need that!" I almost snapped at her "Gramma, calm down, I'm not throwing away anything important!"
Luckily, the rest of the time the weather has been beautiful and I have been able to send her outside.