Reality hit as the sounds bubbled to the surface of my consciousness. Snow. Enough to justify the snow pants. And the mittens. Boots, scarves, hats, shovels and Ta Da! The snow plow--which of course is connected to the new 4-wheeler! Yeah, baby! Ugh.
"Mom! It snowed! Feel my hands! I rode the 4-wheeler with Daddy!" This was Little K as she crawled into bed with me and stuck her arctic hands up my shirt. 7:45 a.m. My fuzzy, gradual awakening process became a jolt into reality. Nooooo. I tucked my toes into the rice pad at the bottom of my bed, trying to catch the last drops of night.
|No, not my bedroom. Sigh.|
|Again, just fantasy. Wish it had been contained like this.|
Handsome Prince and his eager side-kicks had been up and at it for a long time. (Some of them were more willing than others.) Together, they had plowed the neighborhood. He made breakfast for everyone and then settled in to work from home so that he could go to the Kindergarten program later. He's such a morning person. I'd have to hate him if he wasn't so handsome and princely. He puts me to shame.
By 9:00 I had run through the 5th grade spelling list twice (the first time under a pile of little girls, and with only one eye open, the second after I'd migrated to the rocking chair), snuggled Caboose with a bottle, signed several papers, nagged, called for family prayer, and braided two wads of hair. (Braids were later pulled out and redone--wacky hairstyle for Dr. Seuss Day was not wacky enough. Whatever.) "Have a nice day!" The final public school victims disappeared, as Little P joined K and Caboose in the pile on the stinky Mommy in the chair.
The four of us read a book, did some speech homework, kindergarten homework, read some sight words, and practiced P's part for the program later that day.
I'd been indexing a batch from 1622--how cool is that?--and was compulsively obsessing about finishing the dang thing before the time was up and it was taken back into the pile for someone else to do. So, I freed my arms from the girl-pile and did a little rush job on the laptop.
This was how my neighbor found me; (rotting in my own filth, surrounded by the combined chaos of the snow-party and getting-ready-for-school fallout, typing on the computer underneath a pile of girlies) She had come to drop off her girls, Little R (5 yrs) and Little A (3 yrs). I watch them for a few hours on Fridays. They are the cutest kids ever, and play really well with mine. Easy-peasy. Usually.
Somewhere in there, everyone ate breakfast and got dressed.
Caboose has a problem keeping her hands out of her diaper, so she MUST wear a onesie at all times, and we have to sing action songs while I'm changing her. She's getting really good at "My Hands Upon My Head I'll Place" and "Eensie Weensie Spider." Little R, the neighbor, insists that it should be the "Itsie Bitsie Spider." I don't want to make her feel bad, but she's DEAD WRONG. I'm just saying. Check your facts, ma'am.
I finally washed, brushed, deodorized, self-maintained--it was 10:45 am. About time. When that phone rang, I was feelin' jazzed! Ready to go! Sure I can watch your kids for about an hour! Bring 'em on! The more the merrier!
Please leave that sweet baby! Oh, she's so cute. No, no. She'll be fine.
Baby registered her severe disappointment at being left with one so obviously incompetent. THIS was not where she desired to be. (Did I really think that the same kid who wouldn't even let her own Daddy tend her would be happy to see me? Huh.) Her head smelled DIVINE. Oh, I love baby smell! Mmmm, mmm.
Possibly, I was in a little over my head. When my friend returned and I opened the back door to call her boys in, I couldn't help but notice that Caboose was also in the backyard, without a coat, on the bouncy-horse. Um. Grand-mal tantrum as I carried her inside. (It was snowy out there, remember?)
As the two little girls screamed, we chatted non-stop and peeled the boys out of their borrowed snow accessories, found their shoes and socks and I sighed as they headed to the car. LOVE that lady! I'm not sure how we even did it, but I felt as though I'd had a full therapy session by the time she got her kids herded to the car. Friends are such a blessing!
She's going to teach one of my kids a piano lesson each week. I'm going to teach the rest of them, and having her teach them, too, will keep us motivated. I hope. I'll babysit her kids once a week whenever as a trade.
I had just finished clearing off the kitchen table as Little P (boy) and Little K (girl) arrived. I've been tending them (and their older sister K) this week as their parents find a new home out of state. (Their aunt gets them in the afternoon and has been spending the night at their home.) I'm their mother's visiting teacher, and she is my massage therapist (I trade babysitting) and my dear, dear friend, and I'm gonna miss her and her sweet kids like nothin' else. Plus, the lady has the "Gift of Hands" and I'm a tangled ball of stress just thinking about losing my own personal masseuse.
While some of the crew built block towers ("It's the Leaning Tower of PLAYSA!" "NUH UH! It's PIZZA!" "Playza!" "Pizza!" "PLAYZA!" "PIZZA") I crept to the bedroom for some chocolate. Poor Handsome Prince.
I think he was starting to miss the office, in spite of the commute. I slipped him some chocolate, as something more enjoyable was totally out of the question.
I rushed back to the kitchen when the screaming started. Three little girls all rushed at me with a tattle. They were having a hard time taking turns on the cushion, sliding down the stairs. I'm the mean neighbor lady who doesn't entertain tattlers. "I have full confidence that you'll be able to work it out."
I also say things like, "Are you whining in my house? I'm not your mommy, do you need to go home and whine to her?" and "If it's on the counter, you can eat it. If you pull it out of a cupboard, that's being naughty."
I even once put my hands on my hips and eyeballed a brat, "Are you crying about a treat that you got at a party? Seriously, you're sad that you only got a sucker and not a gummy? Wow. I'm sorry that you had to come, I didn't know that candy makes you cry." That one sobered up and got happy fast.
I'd pray for patience if there was some sort of guarantee that it could happen immediately.
For some reason these reflections made me remember that I was supposed to go into the Jr. High to meet with Lil' Mama's cantankerous substitute that afternoon. We'd tried to meet with him the day before, but he was in a faculty meeting. The whole situation is one long, drawn-out dramatic story, but suffice it to say that the epic would have to continue into next week, as the Kindergarten program was at the same time. I called the school and sent Lil' Mama a message.
Corn dogs, yogurt, apples and milk all around, with a lot of great entertainment featuring knock-knock, chicken-crossing the road and Lady Gaga jokes. (She likes her meat raw, raw, raw raaahh... You poke 'er face!) Hilarious. The new Lady Gaga jokes came from our little visitors, and they just had 'em rollin' in the aisles.
"Everyone get shoes, coats and head for the van! It's time for Kindergarten!"
|I'm serious, this is almost exactly our van! We have a running board.|
(Just for the record, this process took no less than 15 minutes, and every single child got wet in the snow on the way to the van, in spite of the clean sidewalks. Why use the sidewalk if there's still snow on the yard? Both Kindergartners left their coats and backpacks in the house for me to remember.)
Here is what naptime looked like:
Usually, naptime is sacred time. I plunk Little K in front of a movie, rock Caboose to sleep, and then enjoy my lunch and a good book. It is almost one full hour of a Break. That day it didn't pan out, but most days it does. I start hanging by a thread emotionally if it doesn't happen. And I HATE sharing my food. I've trained the visiting neighbor kids to honor naptime, and most will not disturb me during this time.
Any meal that I spend at the table either involves:
1. Wiping someone's poopy bottom. Every mealtime. I'm not kidding. It's a conspiracy.
2. Holding someone on my lap.
3. Pulling little hands out of my food.
4. Telling little people to climb off the back of my chair and SIT DOWN.
5. Jumping up to get something for somebody.
Or a combination of several of these.
It is important to the Handsome Prince that we eat dinner together as a family, so I bend over backwards to make it happen, but it is not my favorite time of the day.
|NOT our house.|
(I know, teach them manners...blah, blah. They'll grow. The big people are civilized. The littlest one is Helen Keller.)
Thus, naptime (LAAA! Can you hear the angels sing?) is MY TIME and not negotiable. But it didn't happen Friday.
Big sister K (who we were babysitting) was on her way home from school as we were headed to it, so a neighbor said she'd watch her until we returned from Kindergarten. We found her and sent her to neighbor's. (This was OK with her mom.)
|Gives you a general idea...|
Grandma and Grandpa were at the program, and A's mom met us there. There is nothing better than a Kindergarten production. Totally cute. It cracked me up when they were singing a song about being nice to our friends and two little girls were bickering so passionately that the teacher had to separate them. That Little P is the cutest kid! She memorized her part and I was so proud of her!
Little P and her friend G cornered me afterward and talked me into taking him home with us to play. I gave them until 5:00.
Handsome Prince walked home with the pink dragon so that there would be room in the van for all of the carpool kids. (And friend G--who just happened to have blue spiked hair that day. )
By the time we got home, it was time for the two Ks and their brother P to go home with the aunt, and R and A left the school with their mom, so for a couple of minutes the only visitor was friend G.
Nellie L gave me the low-down of her day, and then I left the kidlets with Lil' Mama so that Mr. Cool and I could go get his snowboard tuned up and find him a pair of snowboarding boots. (Handsome Prince is taking the oldest 5 back to the slopes on Monday night and asked me to help them get ready.) We stopped for fries and shakes first, as he had just come from track and I needed to self-medicate with food.
On our way home, we stopped for a couple of pizzas, as Lil' Mama was going to have a couple of friends over, and I was NOT cooking dinner. Mr. Cool left for a friend's house and Nellie L, who had slept all afternoon went to a party. Lil' Mama and her friends left for the neighbor's.
About that time Mr. Lamadingdong and Princess walked in from their pizza/video party, and I sent the little girls to get ready for bed while Handsome Prince, Mr. Lamadingdong and I reviewed the plans for the BYU merit badge pow wow the next morning.
Handsome Prince mentioned that the classes were all over campus, so he decided to go along to help Son find his way. Oops. I hadn't even thought about how Son would get there in the first place. I had been so very organized by printing out all the forms and filling out the blue cards. Just as I began to congratulate myself for BEing PREPARED, Handsome Prince pointed out that each merit badge had some requirements that were supposed to be completed before the clinic. ARRGGGGHHH!!! Fortunately, we had been doing some of them, and he was mostly prepared. (Kid has already volunteered 9 hours at the nursing home.) Some is better than none, some is better than none.
I started to threaten a tantrum when my search for an appropriate field trip that would "count" as one of the requirements came up fruitless. I remembered just in time that I was an adult and decided to deal with it and plan an excursion.
Miraculously, I was able to get the youngest four girls to sleep by about 9:30. We had scriptures, prayer, teeth, pjs, and then I read to them from the Little House on the Prairie series that we've been following.
There is always someone who needs one more drink, or can't find their special pillow, or who needs some cold medicine...I inevitably loose my patience at some point every night. You'd think I'd learn...
Anyway, once the Princess, Lil' P and Lil' K are all finally in bed, I lay down with them and listen to their prayers. First P, then K, then Princess. If the order is interrupted for any reason, all heck breaks loose.
Then the best part of the night, as we read. I've been known to continue reading long after the last dog dies. Ahhh...
Caboose knocked off really early, probably because her nap was so short. Just as I anticipated sinking into a luxurious early bedtime, I realized that half of my children were not even home. Mr. Lamadingdong straggled in from playing night games.
Lil' Mama's friend's father came to pick her up, and wasn't I embarrassed when it was 10:00 and I didn't even remember where she was! I thought they were downstairs--they were next door.
Worked on my Primary Sharing Time as my scripture study for the day.
Mr. Cool finally came home, and we were almost all in and accounted for. But Nellie L's party hadn't even begun until 9:15. I was never gonna go to bed.
When I tried to call Nellie L and beg her to come home, she didn't answer, so I loaded up Lil' Mama and we drove to the party. I asked Lil' Mama to just go in a sort of feel her out. Let her know that I was wishing to go to bed, but that I knew that the party had only been going on a couple of hours, and that she is 17 years old, and should be able to be out late. But if there was any possibility of her leaving early, I would really appreciate it. I sent the sister in so as not to embarrass anyone.
Luckily, Nellie L was feeling generous, and the party was ending anyway. Hooray! We were on our way home. I made a wrong turn (we were only two blocks from home, but did I mention I was tired?) and the girls started teasing me.
I pulled over and let 13 year-old Lil' Mama drive home. She did a great job and we all arrived alive.
After a few final conversations about each teen's night, (No kidding, this can go on for hours!) and the whole, "Go to bed, now!" routine, I finally crawled into bed and slipped my toes into my warm rice pad. Ahhh....
So thankful for the angels that watch over my kids and the Holy Ghost that whispers direction to me all day, and for a merciful Lord who bridges my gaps. So grateful for such a network of family and friends and their love. So thankful for opportunities to serve. Thankful for a purpose and for opportunities.
We were safe ALL DAY. I never wondered where my next meal was coming from.
I love being able to witness little children as they grow and progress. They say and do such cute little things, and the love that comes from them is amazing. What a luxury to be able to be home with them! I'm honored that the little ones would let me comfort them, and that the big ones trust me with their confidences.
I'm so thankful for a warm house and comfy bed to sink into at night, with a strong righteous man lying next to me. He is so cute and rumpled when he sleeps, and I often wake in the night to find that he is holding my hand, or spooned up next to me.
I immediately fell into sleep.
This happened about 2:00 a.m.
You get the idea...
One of my neighbors had me over for lunch once, and she asked me what I do all day. Obviously, every day is not like this, and maybe I'll write about what I imagine my days are like another time. I try to clean through the house and prepare dinner before the kids ever arrive home from school, and naptime is usually the only constant. There are doctor/dentist appointments, and I volunteer at the school. Occasionally a migraine stops me in my tracks. Kids get sick, or need a ride somewhere. Mr. Cool practices driving. I go grocery shopping, to the library, do Primary stuff, and I really try to go to the temple once a week. (It has only been once this month, however.) The kids volunteer at the Animal Hospital, Auto Bahn fix-it shop, and the nursing home. They do scouts and Young Womens' and Achievement Days. The list goes on and on. Many nights I fall into bed, exhausted, but then my mind races into all the things I'm failing at, or my list for the next day, or the potential dangers and heartbreaks lying in wait for my kids. Some nights I'm an idiot and I putt around reading a book, or indexing, or ahem, writing in my blog, and I'm up wwaaayyy too late. Handsome Prince likes to shake things up once in a while. I always wish for more sleep in the morning.
Anyway, my neighbor's question made me think a lot, and here is the result. Friday, March 2, 2012.