Monday, May 24, 2010

A quick blast about

Just a quick update because I wanted to toot the horn of a local mom business. I've been getting Perfection Cleaning BC to come into my house for a few months now, and I have to say, they are really helping me keep this place clean. Fantastic cleaning service.

If I could just get my laundry issues under control, I'd be thrilled. Have a happy day off!

Friday, May 21, 2010

The difference between one kid and four

You know how you see these families in the grocery store or at the park? Kids dart back and forth to the parents, and you lose count of how many appear to belong to that tribe. It appears that you've stumbled across what can only be deemed as a 'large family', and your curiosity grows in relation to the number of children that poor woman seems to have hanging off of her leg.

Have you ever wondered what it's like to have four kids? Well, you've come to the right place. Although I am by no means an expert on large families (and my family is definitely not the largest I've come across), I can put my own experience into plain English for you.

You have a child, or two. You get the hankering for a third or a fourth, and you ask yourself 'What's one more?' I am here to tell you, one more is one more. One more little person to feed, one more bout of teething, one more series of record breaking lack of sleep. But, on the same token, one more is one more sweet, pudgy little person who you love just as much as you love the others. You sacrifice more, you have less free time, and you might even crack up along the way.

Too vague? Let me break down my experience for you.

Grocery Shopping
  • One child: One cart, once a week, and if you avoid crabby times and give in to buy a toy, you'll have a pleasant experience. You might even be able to drink coffee as you peruse the aisles. Get everything you need, forget nothing from you list, and go home to make an epic dinner because you have everything you needed.
  • Four children: Two carts, two parents, 4 grouchy kids who HATE grocery shopping even if you bribe them with a treat & a viewing of the toy aisle. Four toys later and your bill is over $400 for 8 jugs of milk, eggs, and nutrigrain bars. You go home, unload it all, and realize you have nothing to make for dinner. Open up box of cereal that was purchased for the toy inside and pray that there are enough nutrients in the box to feed the horde.
  • One child: You are exhausted and you end up sleeping on the floor as the small person plays around you. The house is quiet for nap times, so you get a lot done and they have a decent rest. You do not need to wake them for car pool or preschool pickup, so a great routine is established. Need to go out at night? Put them in the stroller and they sleep until you carry them in and put them in their beds. 
  • Four children: You have a king size bed and there is someone between you and your husband and someone beside your husband on the other side. A foot makes its way over your husband near your face, and you need to protect your nose against possible nightly headbutts. You turn your body around and sleep at the end of the bed but wait, its damp down here. Oh no, the bed wetter took off his pull up again. Get up, change shirts, kick the cat because he's under your bed, sleep for what seems like five minutes then get up and get them ready for school. The phrase, "Shhh, the baby is sleeping" is said so often you'd like to get a tshirt and just point at the phrase while you drain your second bucket of coffee for the day.
The Park
  •  One Child: Look, she's so cute as she toddles across and plays in the rocks. You have a book, a blanket, some snacks, wipes, and even a juice box. You spend two hours watching your child play happily on the swings, strike up a conversation with another mom who is having a similar, relaxing moment, then toddle home and put your child down for a nap. You are relaxed, revived, and feel like a good parent. 
  • Four children: Head count! Who's missing? One, two, three, where's four? Do you see four? Oh wait, he's with three. It's just a scrape, really, wipe it off on your shirt. Yes, they are all mine? Yes, I definitely have my hands full, but thanks for saying that. I've never heard that one before. Someone is climbing to the top of the slide and going down backwards, that never ends well. Four has a rock in his mouth? Sorry, mommy just has this half bottle of water. You guys need to share! Share! No floaties! Sip, don't spit!  We'll get a band aid when we get home, just put moms sweater on it. 
  • One Child: Give them a duster or a wash cloth and have them follow along. Your house is easy to keep clean, and their one tiny toy box just gets pushed away when they go to bed. Beds are made, blinds are dust free, and if you get behind you should feel no guilt in calling in a cleaning service. 
  • Four children: Four dusters in hands, a light saber dual breaks out over the coffee table. Your rock fountain is knocked over because the cat wanted a drink and they thought it would be funny to let him drink from there. Your vacuum cleaner bags fill up almost overnight and you have super clean floors because you turn it on as entertainment for the baby. Because you are constantly vacuuming, you have no time to pick up the toys, socks, and other crap that litters your floor, so you go around them. Occasionally you lose a sock to the vacuum, which causes 2 boys to open it up and dissect the contents of the bag until they find it.  Dishes are washed by the kids, oops, the floor is soaked and so are you. Don't lick the sugar from that plate, that's disgusting!
 Sound like fun? As you can see, there is a significant difference between one child and four. I remember what it was like to be a new mom to one; the sleepless nights, the worry, the 24/7 guard duty. It doesn't change, it just becomes amplified like a stereo set to HIGH 7 days a week.

The next time you are watching your beloved child at the park and you eyeball a stressed, tired mom across the way who seems to be counting heads, send some sympathetic vibes her way. But, also know that she feels just as lucky as you do, if not more so. After all, I have 8 little arms to hug me good night and four sets of kisses when I wake up in the morning.

Now, if I could just stop the head butting.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mother's Day 2010

I think the hardest part of being a mom is living in the moment. Somedays it's difficult, because you really just want to be anywhere but here. I find my brain works like this:

La la la la, oh, there is a baby on my leg. Ok, put the baby to bed. La la la la I wonder what's going on on Twitter today? La la la. Look, something to clean! (not in the moment)

Or this:

Aren't my babies cute? Look at them playing so nicely together. No, no, don't beat your brother over the head with his splint. That won't be good for his ankle or his head. Wait, wait, don't crack that egg over the floor. Ok, now we have to start all over again. One second, don't get up before you wipe! OMG, there is poop everywhere!!! (Living in the moment)

I went to a mother's day tea yesterday, hosted by my 4 year old's preschool. One of the teachers read this, and I'm sure she did because it definitely gives a room full of mother's some prospective. Especially me I think, after a week of fevers, sprained ankles, and no sleep. So do yourself a favor this weekend and heed the advice of the ultimate housewife, Erma Bombeck. Kick a few toys and cookies under the couch rather than sweeping (but don't leave them there, I know a mom that does that and OMG, when they moved she had a colony under her couch) and get out and play with your kids.

Happy Mother's Day!

If I Had My Life To Live Over

by Erma Bombeck

If I had my life to live over, I would have talked less and listened more.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded.

I would have eaten the popcorn in the 'good' living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.

I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television - and more while watching life.

I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for the day.

I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn't show soil or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I'd have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, "Later. Now go get washed up for dinner."

There would have been more "I love you's".. More "I'm sorrys" ...

But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute... look at it and really see it ... live it...and never give it back.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Life is like a....ladder

I was painting the trim of the house the other day, and I was in a bad mood. I've been feeling a lot of guilt for things lately, and if there is one thing that will lock me in a corner and make me feel claustrophobic, it's guilt.

I won't go into details about why I feel guilty. It's mostly family obligations, etc., but it did make me think that I'd like to please be able to go about my life without feeling this crappy all the time.

'Letting it go' only works until those who make you feel bad get up in your face and make you feel guilty again. It's frustrating really, and it always seems to lead me to the question, "Is this all there is?" Translation: What is life about anyway?

Because I was standing on a ladder at the time, I decided that life must be just like a ladder. Once I started to think about it, it all made sense.

Good things happen, and you go up a few rungs. Good things like marriage, babies, accomplishments. Exciting things happen, like moving or new jobs. You go up a few rungs again. You feel as though you are on top of the ladder. Unfortunately, as with ladders and life in general, you can either stay at the top or you can move back down a few rungs. I have no problem with the up and down, but what if you were solidly stuck in the middle of that damn ladder? You never really went up, you try to never go down. It's debilitating. Although I believe that personal life circumstances can restrict you somewhat from forging ahead, it shouldn't stop your progress completely if you really want to climb a rung.

You could also see your daily life as a ladder. For example, if you are having a very stressful day and you wake up to rain, gloom, and laundry, the thought of something exciting or adventurous right around the corner is enough to get you through a very long day.  I like to travel, so sometimes I feel as though I have to look forward to something like that, no matter how far away it is. It's ok to take four kids on a trip in my head, not so much when I actually have to pack a bag.

My point? Life is pretty boring when you are solidly in the middle of a ladder, when every single day you can expect the same. Also, how do you teach your children to keep trying to get up there if you aren't a good example yourself? I think the biggest difference between the me I was when I was in my 20's and the me I am now? I think I'm too tired or too scared to climb!

But I admire and am happy for everyone who does. Happy rainy Monday Vancouver.