the eighth

Halloween is not my favorite holiday. But with kids I came to terms with it and will accept it until the kids get old enough that I don't have to care any more. I do, however, love giving my kids new experiences. We had traveled to the pumpkin patch last year with her. I was pregnant with them and have the unsightly pictures to remind myself of that. At the time she would have nothing to do with sitting cute on a pumpkin to take her picture. I was very hopeful that this year would be different. Hopeful. Hah, what a joke.

I spent the day before planning. Early breakfast, early nap, quick snack and then off to the patch. We had been talking about going to the pumpkin patch for the past few days. I was trying to pump her up. Trying to use the pumpkin patch as a bribe to be good. The day started off wrong. Breakfast at 11:30 (I guess that is not really breakfast anymore). She resisted taking a nap and then only slept for an hour. Dear me. I should have seen the signs.

We loaded up the truck. Three kids - check. Diaper bag - check. Bjorn packs (2) - check. Water and other life supplies - check. We were off. I was excited. I just knew this would be a special experience. I had remembered the camera and was determined to get a picture of the five of us. Ten years from now I would be able to look at that picture and smile at our first "patch" experience as a family. Little did I know this one would be hard to forget.

We arrived, packed up the boys and all held hands. We walked into the patch. Pumpkins were sparse, but it was the week before Halloween. It was more about the experience and not the pumpkins, but I encouraged her to run for them. Run for the pumpkins little girl. It was beautiful. A little back ground music as she ran through the grass on to the dusty field of pumpkins would have been perfect. She bent over and picked up an odd shaped pumpkin. She turned, looked back at us. She threw the pumpkin on the ground. She picked up another with the same intent. I hustled over with a baby attached to my chest, so running was not an option, and told her not to throw the pumpkins. People were looking at us. She muttered something and walked to the next. We managed to keep the poor pumpkins in tact by moving on to something different. She talked and laughed at the animals. My eyes teared up as she gibber-jabbered at the sheep that sat chewing his cud. Wow. If only I was so excited by such small things.

We were walking back to the front of the patch, back to the truck when she saw it. I had hoped that she would be so interested in the pumpkins that she would miss it. She didn't. There it was. In all it's glory. A huge red bouncy house in the shape of a ship. How could we say no. Well, we could, but.....

I should have known. I should have known with the way things had panned out so far - late breakfast, short nap, spiked pumpkins....

She went into the bouncy house and never came back. Our five minutes were up and her turn was over. She could have cared less if the world was coming to an end. She could have cared less if we had left her there for the rest of her life. With babies attached to our chest, we could not crawl into the bouncy house. She finally emerged after going down the slide. He had to make it a sneak attack and grab her as she peeked out the door. It was over. Right at that moment the day had taken a dark,dark turn. We became those people. We became those people that others talk about. Those people with there hands full with babies and then a screaming, crying child. Except our child spits too. She was mad. Wait, not mad. Furious. There was no rationalizing with her. I had been here with her before. For him, it was his first experience. She had hit the point of no return. It's birth control.

We wrangled her into her car seat and then into the house. She continued melting down and seemed to need a moment to her self. I took off her shoes and put her in bed. It sounds so graceful in words, but trust me, it was far from that. I was wrangling a spitting cobra. Again, birth control.
As I closed the door behind me, it took all I had not to have my own fit. She continued on for a while and then silence. About ten minutes later, she came downstairs and in her sing-songy, lisp voice turned her head to the side and asked for some raisins. I asked her the magic word and she sweetly replied, "please."

the seventh

I am aware that my actions (as a human being/mom) have an affect on my overly spirited, challenging two-year old. That every breath I take and each word I utter are being stored in her little mind, only to come back to haunt me in the near future. I have accepted this and do everything in my power to think before I act and have some kind of filter before I talk. I have tried to convince my husband of this fact as well. He is still in a bit of denial.

It had been one of those days. You know the type - on the verge of tears, ready to scream until the whole world goes silent. Completely questioning how I got to this place...oh, ya. Sex. Why don't they teach you this in high school sex ed? Anyhow, he had offered to help me put the kids to bed. Smart, smart man. While he was trying to corral her and get her in pj's I tackled the boys. She is like herding cats and they are like dressing a slicked piglet. He told her to take her pull-up off. She, in her spirited fashion, wiggled out of the pull-up and flung it towards him. He picked it up and playfully whacked the diaper across her face. She laughed in complete glee. I glared. I glared into the depth of his soul.
"Really?" I asked. "That is not a good thing to show her."
He giggled (like a child) "It's okay. It's just silly."
No wonder I call him my first born child....

The next morning, while rallying the troops, she took off her pj's and her diaper. I figured something was up because she was much to willing to comply with my wishes. She slipped out of her diaper, and while I was on the floor gaw-gawing at them, a soft "thwack" hit my face. Without even looking up, I knew. A soft, wet, full overnight diaper had just run across my cheek. I lifted my eyes only to find her looking so very pleased. In my nicest morning disciplinary voice, I told her "That's not nice. We don't hit people with diapers." In the back of my mind I am thinking why, why do I even have to be saying this? And while my mind was formulating an answer (not quite enough coffee), she chimed in with a cheery, "It's okay mommy, it's just silly."
He's dead meat.


the sixth

The shuffle of little feet across the carpet. The suckling slurps on the nipple of the bottle. The endless laughter at such simplistic things. The tantrums complete with crocodile tears, stomping feet and screaming "no's."
The whisper of  "I love you" uttered with a slight lisp.  The horrid smell of dirty diapers. The clanking of forks on plates during 6:00pm dinner. The spring-sprong noise as the Jumper-roo is in full effect. The Cheshire cat smiles when they lock eyes. The silence of sleep. 

The middle of the night, placing my hand on their chest - just checking. Lurking in their room. Listening to their innocence. Knowing that in the morning the clanking, clattering, chatting, screaming, crying, laughing, talking, playing, smiling will all begin again. I too shuffle my feet across the carpet. Closing the door behind me, whispering I love you (without a lisp).


the fifth

It goes with out saying that I am in love with my kids and I would never turn back the clock. We have been truly blessed. Words do not express the feelings when you hold her for the first time, see him smile or hold them in your arms and hear the words I love you. It's a euphoric feeling. But when I hear friends and co-workers talk about having kids, I can't resist putting in my two cents....well, usually it's more like 25 cents (two cents won't get you crap these days). I often warn not of the pain of childbirth (believe me. I pushed out twins with a faulty epidural), or the huge financial impact (hello, three kids in daycare full time), or of the various hormonal repercussions of pregnancy and postpartum (gotta love crying or freaking out for no reason). I warn of the life change.

It is a cliche, but kids change your life. Literally, your life as an individual will no longer be your life. It is now their life. Your life will revolve around them. At times that is wonderful and at times it is a bad dream. Kids complicate things. 

I truly long for the ability to just pick up and leave the house within five minutes and only one trip to the car. Days were spontaneous. Dinner was unplanned and uninterrupted. Empty weekends. A quiet Friday afternoon became busy with drinks and dinner with friends. Sundays were filled with long afternoon naps and a load or two of laundry. Weekdays were waking up, working, relaxing then doing it all over again. I almost hated weekends because I would be bored. Now like any mom, any down time is spent figuring out how best to spend any extra moments - laundry, vacuuming, moping floors...it is a toss up. Staying in bed all day drinking coffee and reading a good book has certainly gone to the birds. Reading anything other than baby food jars and Bambi is a bit of a pipe dream these days.

Of course things won't always be this busy. This too shall pass and another season of our lives will begin. But to those who are "sans" kids I say, live it up. Enjoy the simpleness of it all. Of course I was on the receiving end of this exact advise and look where it got me.