While my sister in law ran to Walmart to get some much needed supplies for our afternoon of sewing and then the supper we had to plan for the evening, I took charge over the 4 kids while she did the quick errand. Their ages were 5, 2, 1 and 1.
What do you get when you have 4 hungry, half starved, thirsty, tired and famished kids? A fun lunch. Slightly crazy though.
While Vicki finished making the sandwiches before she left, we were greeted at the door by two smiling children holding two dandelions that had not yet blown their seeds. Before I could stop the two year old, dandelion fuzz was all over the kitchen floor as he happily blew away. Vicki handed me the broom and I shielded off the advancing one-year-olds while quickly sweeping up fuzz that only wanted to scurry and scatter all over the floor like a thousand little fleas. Meanwhile, the one-year-olds were enchanted by the broom.
As we began lunch, the two older children were happily sent outside to eat. After coming in for more food and then going back out to their ongoing picnic, us moms were alarmed by the wail coming from outside. Upon finding the injured child who was rendered speechless because of the sandwich in his mouth and the wails that permeated his vocal chords, the 5 year old told us he fell off the step. Just so you know, our back steps are more than able to hold 2 children and could easily hold a whole quiver of young. But, nope. A little bottom slid too close to the edge of one step and fell off the side. As if the rest of the step wasn't good enough to sit on. WHY?
Children have a knack for always asking 'why' but I think that it's the moms that deserve the privilege of asking and knowing why sometimes.
After lunch, an energetic one-year-old robustfully shredded an old phone book while the other one-year-old looked on and sampled some of the pieces. The two-year-old wailed at the dilemma of a phone book being destroyed and repeated in unneeded tones in a very high decibel, "Gee, Gee, GEEE, GEEEE, GEEEEEEEEEE, GEEEEEEEEEEEE...." (the pet name of the one destroying his beloved phone book) while sorrowfully looking on at the destruction happening before his eyes. I assured him we could get another phone book while quickly attempting to remove the paper from mouths that would otherwise need the hymlick maneuver, or "hemlock" maneuver as my husband calls it.
After settling that issue, I gave the girl one-year-old milk from her bottle but of course the boy one-year-old coveted it with much anticipation as he looked on to her enjoying the banquet of bottled milk. I brought him his juice bottle which he happily took but the girl decided SHE needed the juice instead. That desire was transformed by the tight fists and loud wail and scream. In other words, a temper.
As I dealt with that new set of problems brought on by the obvious temper, she would immediately respond with sign language when I asked her if she was "all done" being fussy and then if she wanted "more" juice. It was amazing and rewarding to see her level of joy sky rocket when I could tell just by looking in her face that she knew mommy understood her fully. And to think she didn't have to scream to get what she needed. Wow. What a revelation for a one year old. If only she knew the whole language of signing we could eliminate a lot of unneeded and unnecessary and unprofitable and unwanted fits.
I noticed that usually the only reason a child would go outside was to just turn around and come back in. I'm not sure if they were just checking to make sure the sky was still blue or that there was still grass in the yard, but they were only out long enough to turn around and come back in. It made for many opportunities for fingers to get smashed in the door so I had to be on a constant look out everytime the door moved. There was usually an audience waiting to get through the door so I was definitely wise to be on guard. This is another riddle that has me puzzled and I would just love to know why there is fun in coming in and out, in and out, in and out....
When the older two decided to go outside, I thought I'd get a break. Don't ask me why I thought I'd get a break because when it comes to children, outside and doors, there is no rest for the weary mother. This time, I got a dress up party around the coat tree instead.
The kids tried several different coats on before deciding on which one to wear outside. As the coat tree swayed and rocked, Landon settled with his own coat but Tierra (5) had to wear one of mine. It was warm enough to go outside without a jacket but I guess it didn't matter to them. Tierra was quite content and happy with her sleeves rolled clear to China just so her hands could poke out and her skinny little legs sticking out from the bottom of my coat that hung past her knees.
They were only out long enough to check the color of the sky so I'm not sure why there was need for a coat in the first place.
It was a dilemma for any of the kids to go out or come in because everytime a door would open, both one-year-olds would make a fast dash on hands and knees or fat little feet to get to the door before it shut again. It was as if they were both in an evacuation mode. Try shuffling two babies, a two year old and broom with fuzz all over the floor while the 5 year old simply comes in the house.
I was surprised at the complication set before me when one member of my flock would make a move that attracted the attention of the rest of the group. One could simply look out the window and the whole gang would get roused. And when one would actually go outside, the rest of the kids would attempt that as well. Since going out the door would automatically garauntee the catastrophe of coming in the door right after, each latch of the door handle brought two waves of excited children around the door. I finally started locking the dead bolt and was thankful that my attempt worked.
Landon's latest word combination is "diaper shape." When he needs to go to the bathroom, he starts panting, "diaper shape, mommy, diaper shape." It means diaper 'change.' After we "shape" his diaper, he's happy. Just after Vicki got back, he had to have a diaper shape. But he would only let Vicki do it and made a desperate attempt to keep the wipes close to her when I was cleaning him up... "NOOO, Veeki diaper shape..." he would say when I'd reach for another wipe.
Soon it was time for all the babies to get their diapers shaped so they could go down for naps. I was surprised at the level of quietness that was in our house while all four children slept and we worked on a sewing project. It was a pleasant time to sit back and relax and actually get something done besides sweeping fuzz, swiping paper out of mouths, organizing juice bottles and shaping diapers.
Though it may seem like just another day, I have to wonder sometimes if it really is. Each day can flow into the next without any real change in routine --or catastrophe as it seemed today-- but is it maybe more special than it seems? Each moment, each hour, each day is filled with opportunities for teaching, training, loving, caring and many pauses to take time out for, as Landon would say, a diaper shape.
What a change in perspective comes when we take just another day and live it as if it's our last. And a transformation comes when you treat each diaper shape that way too.
Monday, May 1, 2006 (couldn't get this posted until today.)