Sweating and Swimming: Repost

As a mother of three kids very close together in age, I’m constantly facing the internal struggle of whether or not to leave the house with my children.  I want them to enjoy their childhood and experience story time at the library, free summer movies, and play dates, but I also don’t want to kill them.

So as I left the house today with lunches made, towels and sunscreen packed, three children dressed in swimsuits, I also left with a mild sense of dread, for based on past experience, this day at my friend’s pool would be anything but relaxing.  For me, that is.

Getting there is half the battle, and boy that battle was a tough one today!  For children who were excited about swimming, they sure didn’t get ready with much enthusiasm.  And Chloe–does her body have a little sensor that indicates when her mommy has just put a new (cloth) diaper on her, allowing her to release the effects of her iron medicine plus prune juice?  The bathing suit that took ten minutes to get on the wiggly baby now had to come off.  Ten more minutes to wipe a squirmy heiny and put a bathing suit back on, and we were on our way (again).

Once we arrived, the other half of the battle could begin.  Before I had even finished setting out the kids’ lunch on their towels, Caleb and Hannah Grace had each taken a turn pulling the valve from the lemonade pitcher, releasing a wonderful mess all over the table and floor of the screened-in porch. I was so happy I got to clean up those messes twice, and apparently, so was Chloe.  While I was cleaning, she was eating everyone else’s lunch.  Peanut butter sandwiches, whole grapes–everything this mommy had restricted from this one-year-old she put in her mouth.  Of course the cut grapes and cracker pieces I set out for her remained untouched.

The pool is a wonderful, refreshing idea for combatting this horrid Georgia heat, yet the pool only works if one gets in it. Hannah Grace won’t get in the pool, Caleb won’t get out of it, and Chloe won’t stay put.  She wants in the pool, and less than 30 seconds later she wants out.  I felt like a jack-in-the-box climbing in and out and in and out, chasing after the baby one minute, and yelling at Hannah Grace the next to leave the lemonade alone.  It’s near impossible to watch three children when they’re all in different places. And when it’s 96 degrees outside and probably that percentage humidity, if I’m not soaking in a pool, I want to be inside–not chasing after children!

And so, I’d like to apologize to the group of mothers who sat beneath the umbrella, enjoying their lunch and adult conversation, jumping in the pool to cool themselves, and then resuming social time: I would’ve loved to socialize, as well.  In fact, I am a pretty pleasant person, but seeing as my baby won’t stay in a float for two minutes before climbing out, my middle child wants to be pushed on the swing–the only child, by the way, who wants to swing instead of swim–and my oldest child insists on spraying every kid in the face with the water gun but then cries when anyone sprays him back (sorry about that, too), I think embracing my role as antisocial, crazy mother is best.

And while I’m apologizing, I’d also like to apologize to any mothers of only girls.  My son doesn’t understand the concept of dropping his pants out-of-view before peeing behind the shed.  We are working on modesty in my home, but that lesson hasn’t stuck, yet.  I am pleased that at least Hannah Grace did not take her bathing suit off this time as she did at a previous swimming engagement.

And to the woman who brought the 100-calorie snack bag–no, you didn’t finish your snack, but my children did.  While I was putting Hannah Grace in time-out for taking your food, Caleb came out of the pool and ate the rest. Think of it this way–now you only had a 50-calorie snack.

So to my dear friend, I always appreciate your invitations to come swim, but I don’t think I can bring my children when there is a large group. That, and the fact that I don’t think you’re going to invite us again since my daughter peed on your carpet.

This picture's not from the pool, but I'm sure you understand why.

As we get ready to head out of town with my family for a few days, I thought this post from last year would serve to remind me that the craziness always leads to a funny story! I hope your summer is filling up with memories that you will treasure, if not now, at least in a year! What’s a memory that you have that, at the time, brought you frustration but now brings you laughter?

 

The Haunting Spirit

There once was a dog who was a bit weird. He would sit in corners and shake for no apparent reason. He refused to go outside to pee, spreading his legs as wide as he could muster in an attempt to not fit through the back door when being thrown out, and he would jump at said door until the pads of his feet bled. However, despite his apparent disdain for the outside world, if the front door were opened, he would make a mad-dash to escape.

His frustrated owner would often tell him If you hate it here so much, why don’t you keep running?

But, alas, the dog would always return, or, at least, he was always returned.

A certain husband was in love with this dog. In fact, he was so in love with this dog that he would never feed the dog in the morning or put this dog on a leash to take him outside to do his business (since the leash was the only way to drag him out the door and keep him out).

This certain husband would not entertain the thought of giving this crazy dog away.

And a certain wife loved this dog because he was hers, but she didn’t like this dog. However, her love for this dog compelled her to take him to obedience training while she was nine months pregnant.

The training didn’t stick, and after the baby was born, the dog still refused to go out when the door was opened for him; however, he made his case known that he was not happy with his life-situation by peeing on the carpet every time a certain wife with a 17-month-old and a new baby nursed her new baby upstairs. Every time.

As a last-ditch effort, this wife called a very expensive dog-whisperer, even though she really couldn’t part with that kind of money. It didn’t matter–the dog-whisperer never called her back.

Finally this wife had had enough. Despite her husband’s love for the dog for whom he did not feed or walk, this wife called a rescue agency. After all, she was in desperate need of being rescued. After crying and having her therapy session on the phone with a woman from this agency, the arrangements were made, and this dog is now in a good home.

But his spirit lives on.

Someone else has taken his place. Yes, the child who was in the womb of a certain wife during the obedience training felt the spirit of this dog and has decided that she must vindicate him.

This child was trained in the way of the potty at 21 months old. Nevertheless, the child with the spirit of the crazy dog has taken on his ways.

Every time a certain mother mops the floor, this child with the dog spirit pees on it. Every time. Sometimes twice.

And a certain mother has a certain warning for this certain child:

You don’t remember Baxter, but I do. I gave him away, and I will give you away, too. Your grandmother’s house is waiting….

Enjoying the New Carpet

4 spit-up spots

+

3 pee-pee accidents

+

2 poop stains

+

1 pink silver polish incident

=

10 reasons why we should not have gotten new carpet!

Of course, Matt and I knew what we were getting into, and in fact, always said that we would NOT get new carpet until all of our children were housebroken.  However, when we decided to put our house on the market during this terrible housing crisis, we knew our only chance to sell without giving our house away would require our house to look as close to perfect as possible.

And our old carpet was anything but close to perfect.  We can’t take sole responsibility for it’s condition–the carpet was original to the home, and the home is 13 years old.  I will say that we did more than our fair share to speed up it’s deterioration in the last three-and-a-half years that we have lived here!

When I was scrubbing out the pink stain from the silver polish that my two-year-old so lovingly spread onto the carpet (this polish only appeared after getting the new carpet, of course), I began to cry.  That evening, I had a nightmare that I was having a party with a group of women that I didn’t know, and someone spilled salsa on the new carpet.  One of the ladies curtly spoke, “We couldn’t get the stain out.”  A huge pinkish red circle tarnished the beautiful carpet.  A few nights later, I had another bad dream, and one more involving marker all over the walls and furniture followed.

So a couple days ago, when I was cleaning spit-up out of the carpet, I thought to myself, “I wish I had my nasty carpet back.  This stress is not worth it!  This house better sell fast!”

A few minutes later, there was no evidence of the spit-up, just as the previous poop, pee, and silver polish stains vanished before it, and I scolded myself.  How could I even think that I wanted my old carpet back?  It was disgusting, and I had always looked forward to the day when my children would choose the commode over the carpet to relieve themselves so that we could live in a house that didn’t look yucky.

I realized that I did a lot of looking forward and not enough looking around.

When I was younger, I couldn’t wait to get out of college and get a job.  Then I couldn’t wait to get married.  Once married, I would wonder how life would change with children.  When I had my two-year-old, I looked forward to retirement, and then when he hit three, I changed my mind and looked forward to him starting school so I could have a little break during the day.  Then his sister turned two, and his other sister was born, and I looked forward to Matt’s retirement again.  How fun to enjoy marriage without kids and travel the world!

Right now I look forward to moving to Alpharetta and lessening Matt’s commute so that we can enjoy more time as a family.  A husband home earlier in the evenings to help with the children means a wife with fewer gray hairs! And, of course, to make all of this happen, I have to keep the carpet spotless!

Except I don’t know that we’re moving to Alpharetta.  God never promised me that everything I plan will happen as I hope. In fact, He hasn’t promised me tomorrow: “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” (James 4:13-14).

If it is God’s will, we will move to Alpharetta, but if it’s not, we better figure out fast how to make more family time with the time we have.  I better smother my two-year-old every day with hugs and kisses because when she’s 22, I might not see very much of her when she starts her first career.   I better find a way to treasure the stains on the carpet because they are a reminder that I’m blessed with healthy, rambunctious little children.

I better enjoy my new carpet.  If we don’t move, I know very well that the carpet won’t look this pretty in a year, and it will be a looooong time before we buy any more.  And I better not lose any more sleep over it; there are far more important things in life than stainless floor coverings.

Reasons You Might Go Completely Gray Before Age 35–Part 2

10. You single-handedly have paid for your doctor’s BMW.

9. Your daughter’s cry is indistinguishable from a fire engine’s siren.

8. Your nephew gets a bloody nose on your watch because you didn’t differentiate between the softball and the golfball your son was pitching.

7. Your daughter gets run over by a Power Wheel containing the aforementioned son and nephew.

6. Part of your morning routine is cleaning banana out of your daughter’s ear.

5. Your two oldest children haven’t taken a nap in eight days.

4. Your baby hasn’t slept more than fours hours straight at night in eight days.

3. Upon your noticing pencil markings all over the wall, your son blames his aunt saying she allowed your nephew to do it.

2. You caught your son peeing on the wall but didn’t catch your daughter when she peed in front of the baby gate in her room (apparently, she called for you, but you thought she was a fire engine siren).

1. You have to change your baby’s wet crib sheets–but she didn’t wet them.