Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A Day in the Life

Okay, to those of you who don’t have any kids yet, I’m going to let the cat out of the bag for you and give you some excerpts, some “a day in the life” entries of life with five kids. None of this is either made up, or elaborated upon; it doesn’t need to be. What’s the saying, something about "truth is stranger, or crazier, or wilder than fiction?" Here goes: (sorry so long)

It’s 6:30 in the morning and I hear Naomi, like clock work, starting to fuss. I get up looking forward to bringing her back into bed for our usual snuggle/nurse/ease-into-the-day session. But as I open the door, Abigail is standing there with no pants on saying, “I pooped in my pull-up, but I took it off and threw it away.” “Okay, don’t sit down!” Get Naomi up, give her to Daddy. Clean Abigail up which takes quite some time, it’s quite a mess, quickly dress her. I hear Chris saying, “Smells like this one’s got a poop, too.” Change Naomi, Abigail’s begging for a drink, send her upstairs to find Isaiah for a drink. Quickly nurse Naomi, head upstairs, get the babies in their chairs for breakfast.


Meanwhile, I do my morning thing. It’s tricky: I busily make Chris’ sack lunch and coffee, while making sure Naomi has enough food on her tray. You don’t want to give her too much at once because then she starts throwing it on the floor. She’s not exactly allowed to do that, but she thinks she is when I have my back turned making sandwiches. She also only wants a limited number of any one cereal before she tires of it and wants something else: 10 Cheerios, 8 kix, 15 Corn Chex.

“Screeeeeam.” “What’s that? Oh, you want what Abigail has. Rice Crispies, of course.” I get one forth of a piece of bread spread with jelly, hear Abigail asking for a drink again, start making her drink, give it to her, the jelly makes it about three-fourths of the way across the bread and Naomi is perilously standing in her highchair. She wants to get down, I know this trick. It’s called eat every half hour for five minutes throughout the day. At the exact moment that mom has wiped the mess from the table counters, and high chair and swept, is the when I get hungry again. “Oh no, you are going to sit and eat.” Tighten the buckles that she weaseled out of and change the cereal. Here, drink your milk. Splat! sippy cup on floor.

What was I doing? Oh coffee? Better start it. Now to that piece of bread with the jelly. I’ve got to make these sandwiches. But I hear kids outside, kids that have not yet made their appearances for the day, are side stepping the norms of dressing, eating, brushing hair and are out swinging on the swing set and holding pet bunny. I cease my sandwich making endeavor and commence the oft-repeated speech. Which one? Oh the “don’t go outside until you're dressed, you haven’t eaten breakfast yet, you’re not going to vacation bible school until your room is clean and frankly, I need someone to help me with Naomi because Isaiah is still dressing,” speech. Dirty feet girls come inside, and sit down to eat breakfast.

Chris comes upstairs with a tie question. I’m comatose in the morning and generally don’t talk unless it’s to give “speeches.” I nod in zombie-like approval and get back to the lunch endeavor. Naomi (aka Houdini) has weaseled out of her buckles and is standing again in her high chair. This time I get her down. Fine, I guess I’ll just feed her again in a half hour. Chris leaves, it’s a half hour till VBS. I get dressed, put in contacts, brush hair, a tiny bit of makeup, do a quick pick up on the bedroom. The laundry basket is overflowing from the weekend. Come back upstairs and girls are doddling over their breakfast, still not dressed, their room and hair are both a mess.

8:30 Leave for VBS. Isaiah wants Trevor from school to switch to his class but Trevor already switched to Jeffrey’s class who has Pastor Bates (senior pastor) as it’s coach, very full class. So then Isaiah wants to switch to Ross’ class but he sees Nicholaus on the way and so he gets Nick to be in his class and we’re finally all happy (whew, only three or four trips back and forth from the basement to the parking lot with Abigail and Naomi in tow.)

Go back home to plan meals for the week before grocery shopping. Relatively uneventful: Naomi pulls Karis’ doll chest on top of her, China breaks. Naomi finds open granola bars in pantry, does a combination of eating it (it’s been a half hour) and spreading it all over the floor while I make my list. Both Naomi and Abigail have shoes, usually. But recently they have gone missing so I take two barefoot kids out to Target in search of clearance items. Bingo, all the sandals are on clearance only there’s not one Abigail’s size. That’s okay, here’s some sneakers, let’s get out of here before Naomi’s screeching gives the sales ladies hearing loss. We get to the car, Abigail is wearing the sneakers but we never paid for them (I paid for the other things and didn’t notice she had them on.) Go back inside, pay for the shoes, ($4.98 but it’s something), sales person looks at me like I’m Amish and head to Wal-Mart.

Abigail says in the car, “There are some boys at church that I am shy of.” Me: “Oh really?” Under my breath: “I thought I had 13 more years before this.”“Who are you shy of?” Abigail: “I’m not going to talk about this right now.” Exact quote.

Now I am very happy heading into Wal-Mart that both my kids actually have shoes on. Animal crackers purchased in Target temporarily put a damper on Naomi’s supermarket screeching as she slobbers all over herself. (At least she has shoes on now, did I already say that?) We fill the cart to overflowing by buying the minimum we need to get by for the week. I believe in planning ahead, I tell other people about how much it helps to plan ahead. Deep in my heart I know it’s the best way, it just doesn’t always happen, can’t imagine why. But it happened today.

We hurry so as to not be late picking the kids up from VBS and find the “shortest” line we can. It only has like a gazillion people in it. At some point while waiting in line I realize that I need to go to the bathroom, bad. Naomi is getting fussy and I start doing a little dance. But then, 20 minutes later after we are finally checked out, I decide I can hold it at least until I get to the church; don’t want to be too late. The kids are waiting for me with their friends, they worked out this swap, Isaiah’s going to Nick’s house, Emma’s coming here. Fine, I’ve got frozen stuff melting in the car and Naomi screaming because it’s two hours past her nap and she hasn’t eaten anything in, like a whole half hour.

We drive home and I still haven’t gone to the bathroom yet. Main goal in 10 minute ride home from church: keep Naomi awake. I do a little dance at the red lights, please turn green! We finally get home and I get to go to the bathroom, I put Naomi down for her nap, carry in groceries, try to get frozen and refrigerated items put away first. Girls are hungry for lunch but need to finish cleaning room first. I rush around (the usual, I can’t think of one time today where I wasn’t rushing) putting away groceries and making kids lunch. Abigail and Emma keep getting up from the table. Nobody eats much, I give the “I’m not feeding you again in a half hour” speech and throw away a bunch of sandwiches. Abigail is tired, fussy, falling apart, needs to go potty, screams at Karis on the top of her lungs outside of sleeping Naomi’s door, gets a spanking from me, get’s put down for her nap (whew).

I totally forget about eating lunch myself, which I later regret, but plow on with putting away groceries and loading up the dishwasher. Wipe the counter, table, sweep, lot’s of dishes from yesterday didn’t get done (that happens on Sundays, I walked with the kids to a park in the late evening, then Chris and I watched the stupidest movie ever made, Meet Joe Black.) Once the floor’s swept I notice all kinds of spots and dirt on the floor. Get down on my hands and knees and scrub the whole kitchen/dining floor. Notice all the spots on the carpet. Get out the carpet cleaner and start scrubbing the carpet. I remember as I finish the carpet that I meant to wire the new (as in Craig’s-list new) rabbit hutch today, the sides were able to be lifted off the wire floor (just in time, a stray cat was seen climbing the cage later in the day).

As I’m outside I remember that I had been meaning to work on the backyard everyday for the last three months so decided that now is the time (which is pretty much the only way things get done, no plan.) I tell the girls that even though they have a friend over, they still have to help. They help a little but I quickly realize there’s not a lot they can do. Piles of our remodeling trash need to be put in contractor bags, I need to clip 3-foot-high dead weeds that I had used round up on, trying not to scatter the seeds. There is this plastic trash can that I put dead weeds in and it’s right where the rabbit hutch needs to go so I try to move it. Here’s the nastiest thing that happened today. It’s really hard to move because it’s full of water. The rotting weeds are pretty much the worst sewer smell you can imagine. My grand idea is to take a knife and poke a couple of holes in the bottom and drain the nasty thing, then move it. This trash can is right next to the house and for whatever reason, after awhile, the putrid trash water starts seeping up through the floor in the workroom. Lovely. No time to worry about that: Naomi’s up, she’s hungry, thirsty and poopy.

The girls have been having a grand old time in their…yep, you guessed it, their mud pit. There’s something about a freshly scrubbed kitchen floor that makes a kid just want to say: let’s go jump in a mud pit and now I need to go inside to go to the bathroom. Actually, Karis and Gloria only had their feet and ankles muddy, but their friend is covered in mud, it’s up to her knees, elbows, in her hair, all over her second outfit. Her mom’s going to come get her soon so I try to get her cleaned up in the hose. In the meantime, Naomi is crawling around the backyard and goes straight for…yep, you guessed it again, the mud pit. She’s also wearing her only pair of shoes that we know exist just purchased from Target this very morning, the ones that used to be white.

Friend’s mom arrives to pick-up Emma and return Isaiah. They spend about an hour looking around the house for a little Bible Emma can’t find. Karis saw it by the swingset, not by the swingset any more, maybe it’s here, maybe it’s there. I spend this hour trying to hold Naomi; I don’t want to put her down in the house because she’s covered in mud. I also have to pick clothes up from the cleaner’s. Meant to do that this morning, this afternoon, sometime. After friends leave, Abigail and Naomi get plopped straight in the bath. Karis supervises them while I start supper. Right before the pasta water is about to boil, both kids start crying. They want to get out of the bath but Karis isn’t good at rinsing the shampoo out. I think to myself for the ten thousandth time that I need to buy one of those shower heads on a hose. That would solve all my problems.

The bath water is the color of clay so I start draining all that water out to rinse them with fresh water. Karis wraps Abigail up and takes her downstairs to get dressed, I get Naomi out. Shoot, the pasta water is boiling like mad. I set naked Naomi down, she’s cold and wiggled out of her towel, dump in pasta, turn heat down, try to find a kid who can lend a hand. They have this disappearing trick that they do. It’s called, when mom is going to need help, like at dinner time, disappear and she won’t have enough time to find you so she’ll just do the job herself. The other version of the same trick is, when you’re given a job, like go put the bike’s in back which should take about five minutes, make it take a lot longer. In fact stay outside and piddle long after the job is done so you won’t have to have anymore jobs.

Kids are rounded up: disappearing lecture. Kids start unloading dishwasher, setting table, picking basil for pesto. I am broiling chicken, chopping broccoli. Relief comes when Chris walks in the door and Naomi leaves her post at my legs whining. Abigail also plays with Daddy. We finally eat at about 6:30. Chris goes out to mow the lawn, we do dishes, get little ones ready for bed. Naomi down by 7:45, girls down by 8:00. Abigail gets up about 3 or 4 times between 8 and 9 because her tummy feels sick and she has to go to the bathroom. Chris and I play one round of speed scrabble and then head to bed. I lie in bed thoroughly tired but strangely unable to sleep.

As I was writing all this down, I started to think that it really is funny. Not that anything extraordinary happened, it's just all the little things put together: Abigail taking off her own poopy pull-up, Naomi wiggling out of her buckle and standing in her high chair on the brink of disaster about a hundred times, barefoot kids in Target, almost-stolen shoes, bathroom issues, clean floors followed by mud pits, me cooking dinner and giving the kids a bath at the same time and let's not forget, sewer water invading the house. All in one day. One thing is for sure: there's never a dull moment.


Melissa Schuster said...

Oh Leslie...I can so relate to this post. (I use the example of the book, "If you give a mouse a cookie" to explain to Joel what my days are often like. Never a dull moment!

Jeanne said...

Leslie, your hilariously detailed account brought back many fond memories. I always wondered how so many little things could go wrong in one day. Remember when Cory at about 2, went running out the front door naked, heading straight for the street and I went down the stairs after him and sprained my ankle so bad at the bottom of the stairs that I actually heard a crunch sound. I had to keep running, through, because a car was coming and Cory was still running. I finally got to him on the other side of the street, and sat down in the grass crying, and just started yelling for help, because I couldn't move. Some kid told their mom that a crazy lady was sitting in the grass yelling help.

Mary Anne said...

Oh man, Leslie, this is so crazy! Great story! Thanks for taking the time to help all of us who have not yet had kids understand what we are getting ourselves into...

Leslie said...

Hi Mary Anne,
Well it is helpful that they usually come one at a time so you can kind of ease into it :)

Betsy said...

I agree about that stupid Meet Joe Black movie it was about 3 hours too long.Bleh

Rebecca Nugent said...

Thanks for your post, Leslie. It made me feel better about my discombobulated week!

Kendra said...

Leslie, I had some real laughs out of this one, twice. This has so many true to life events that have happened to me too, just with two kids, so not as compacted into one day. Anna was forever pulling off poopy pullups, she liked to decorate her crib and walls with the contents on occasion. Thankfully she is done, next Micah....

Laurel said...

Leslie, I loved this! Laughed all the way through. I'd love to read one when you add homeschooling into the mix of daily life. Wow. Anytime I feel overwhelmed with my two, I will remember this!