I work outside the home part-time. When I’m at work, FPD is home and vice versa. I also own a small business, so when I am at home, I spend my time juggling the kids and answering emails, Facebook messages, etc related to both the business and adoption. My days inside the home are a lot busier than the days I actually get up and go to work. They’re more physically demanding, and sometimes more mentally taxing.
I wouldn’t trade them for the world. In fact, when I’m scrubbing bathroom floors as three small people hang in the doorway singing, dancing and asking endless questions about upcoming events (Dolly), I am the happiest. Sometimes though, I’ll have a day that is just so ridiculous that I’ll think…does anyone else live this way?
I know other people do. I know other moms of large families or of kids with special needs do live like this and will understand my day in the life saga of last Tuesday so very, very well.
It all began with a 5am wake up. It always does, whether I’m going to work or not, I get up early to make sure I’m ahead of the kids so that all my attention can be focused on getting them ready for the day and getting the 56 million things that need to be done around the house on my “day off” (what a complete misnomer that is). By 6am when the kids’ alarm goes off, I’m ready to go. They’re not. It takes certain children (ahem…Bubbly and Giganto) several gentle, and then not so gentle, prods to get their feet to hit the floor. There are several threats of earlier bedtimes.
My focus is solely on getting them OUT in the morning. The three “tiny Chinese” as they have been dubbed, either don’t have any place to be, or don’t need to be there until later. So, skin and hair are lotioned, liars who said they brushed their teeth, but didn’t, are re-directed back to the long line that has formed outside the bathroom. They receive a stern lecture about personal hygiene, and then, and only then, because I’m not above withholding food if you’re disgusting, everyone hits the kitchen for breakfast. Someone wonders who Boko Haram is and why there is this ancient feud between Muslims and the western world (Middle-Middle), while another wonders what time Thomas the Train starts on PBS (Mighty has now woken). I shake my head because the questions come faster than I can answer them.
Once they’ve all eaten the breakfast I had no part in making, because they can eat the perfectly good cereal that comes from the box, they all start to funnel outside, where it’s cold, because we live in the midwestern U.S., and its January. One kid can’t find his mittens, and then does, but they’re on his brother, which causes a fight that leads to crying. One has every homework item in his bag, but outside his folder, so it’s now shoved into a wad at the bottom of the backpack. He has already received a stern lecture in the morning for lying about his dental hygiene. I remind him that this is two. A third one will cost him any dessert that may come for the children later. He takes it like a man, but rolls his eyes at me. Meanwhile, the Diva is crying in the corner of the garage over something yet undiscovered. Turns out, she’s just cold, because again, this is the midwest, in January, and she “HATES IT!” Me too, girlfriend, me too. And, I’m out here in my running clothes, with no coat.
FPD doesn’t help with this process because he was on-call last night, where he was in the ER, interpreting for what seems like the entire latino population of the city, until about 4am. He got up about 15 minutes ago, stumbled to the bathroom, got ready, and is now going to drive the kids to school and then go for a half day shift in the clinics at a different hospital. Contrary to the occasional misconception, we are not independently wealthy. We work our butts off to pay for this crew’s needs. With a wave and a “HAVE A GOOD DAY!”…they’re GONE! I love them, but ‘see ya’, we need the time away from the house, and each other.
I look at the Google Calendar and remember subcontractors are coming to look at the house today to try to help us solve the aforementioned long line for the bathroom. Maybe convenience will inspire better dental hygiene? Doubt it. The three “smalls” already ate during the mad rush and now begin the morning tradition of following me around, everywhere I go, in a tiny line. I draw the line at watching me pee. While I stand strong on this front and go to the bathroom solo, Poppy finds a pencil that someone has left on the counter and proceeds to draw a picture on the wall. Thank God for Magic Erasers. The two girls need a bath and the boy needs a shower. On his days home, FPD never does this, so this is always saved for me. It’s just how we divide the workload. I slip the girls into the tub and multi-task by cleaning that bathroom as they play. Two seconds after I move to scrubbing the floor directly outside the bathroom Dolly declares herself done with this bath because Poppy looks like she might poop in the tub. Two seconds later, after dolly has just exited, she does. Good awareness there, Dolls. Those are some awesome self-preservation skills you’ve acquired.
So, my run isn’t going to happen because now there’s THAT to clean up. Mighty gets a shower, which he does mostly independently, and I begin the process of mopping the dining room floor. During this unsupervised time, Poppy manages to pop out her prosthetic eye and put it into the toy bucket the kids are currently gathering toys from. Dolly finds it and brings it to me because “this does NOT belong in there.” I wrestle it back into her eye socket with a stern “no, no eye!” It’s out again 15 minutes later. We’re going to be doing this dance all day. I just know it. I silently pray we won’t do it while the subcontractors are here, because they probably won’t take it in stride the way we all do around her.
They come. She takes her eye out. Good grief. I pride myself on being able to get it back in before they notice. Too bad the barf that has just hit the end table in the living room can’t be overlooked. Turns out, Dolly did NOT eat breakfast with the other kids, she ate it AFTER I gave her morning heart meds. That combo of empty stomach and ‘yucky’ meds always causes vomiting. Good one, super mom. I clean up the barf while all the subcontractors look on with a raised eyebrow, probably thinking about how they’re going to go home later and kiss their spouses for only having a normal amount of children.
I leave them there to be thankful as I take the trio, load them into the giant van, and take Mighty to 4K. I am allowed to pull right up to the door, where I can leave the girls, one of whom is still vomiting, in the car, while I run Mighty to his line. I warn the teacher that we have this vomit action going on, that I think it’s med induced, but that if Mighty starts looking queasy, she should take that seriously and move him quickly away from all things upholstered. She knows, and I hope, loves us, and thanks me for the heads up. After this, it’s back home to pack our bags for tomorrow’s trip to the Children’s Hospital for Dolly (a three hour round trip drive) after a four hour shift at work, so packing has to be done the day before. I don my home made haz mat suit to scrub the boy’s bathroom *shudder* before it’s time to go back and get everyone again.
By now, FPD has come home from his shift at work. He has to take a separate car to pick up, because I need to attend an IEP meeting for the child we feel needs Speech services. I never mind these meetings. It means my kids are getting the help they need. There are just so many places I need to physically sign on the forms, and there’s so much on them that I don’t even understand. The staff is so great about it though, and nothing in this meeting is at all a surprise. Our sweet guy still has a lisp that I find endearing, but unless I’d like him to be constantly be compared to Mike Tyson when he’s grown, we need to correct it. At the meeting, it’s mentioned that they are wondering if Mighty could use some Speech and Language help. Yes! I was wondering that too! Thank you for noticing that he is occasionally hard to understand and for knowing that kids with Dwarfism do occasionally have problems with their ears that makes speech more difficult! If it were in any way appropriate to kiss everyone in that room, it would have been done. Instead, a date is set to discuss Mighty, and I leave the meeting on cloud 9 knowing what great peeps I have in my corner.
I rush to my hair appointment where I am now 10 minutes late. The stylist is cool with that because she and I have an understanding. I am always late, but I will always tip big. We spend the next 90 minutes attempting to cover all the grey hair that the morning rush, the prosthetic eye removal, the vomit in front of the subcontractors, the never ending cleaning and the still yet to come evening Science Fair, have given me. She is successful, and I leave feeling good.
Oops. My tardiness upfront at this hair appointment has pushed us to behind schedule on FPD getting the elementary aged kids to the Science Fair. So, I tell him to go, leave the trio of smalls with the middle school aged kids for the ten minutes it will take me to get home. I pass FPD on the main road that runs past our house, him now in the big van, me in the ‘small’ 9 passenger car. Two ships passing in the night. This life isn’t easy on a marriage. I get home where FPD has my dinner waiting. all plated and ready for me. God, I love that man, even if I do never see him.
I sit with the middle schoolers, eating dinner and chatting while the trio destroys the living room, Poppy takes out her eye again, and I manage the chaos by, for now, ignoring it (fine, you win, just hand me the eye). The day winds down, the Science Fair is declared a HUGE success, people funnel off to bed, and I spend a couple more hours answering emails and doing laundry.
As I lay in bed, I have to laugh about what a giant, ridiculous, mess of a day that was. FPD is sound asleep next to me.
–FullPlateMom, who almost wanted to wake him and tell him that tomorrow is NOT my circus, and therefore, these are NOT my monkeys anymore. Tee hee!