Wednesday, June 11, 2008

No more pencils, no more books...

This is the first time I have thought, I can’t do this. When the baby first came, I revelled in being superwoman – getting my seven year old out the door to first grade, my five year old out the door to preschool, my two year old changed and fed and settled in front of Dora or building train tracks, the baby changed and nursed. Sometimes we’d walk up to the coffee shop or we’d go grocery shopping, and I would think smugly, I CAN do this. But the baby came in February when it is cold and grey and icky and therefore perfectly acceptable to hunker down on the couch under blankets watching TV and making cocoa for lunch. Now it’s June, and it’s sunny and breezy and hot hot hot. Everyone is sticking to everything and we’re all melting and cranky.

It's been so unseasonably warm, in fact, that as mentioned in the previous post, I have hauled the plastic wading pool up from the basement and filled it up, letting the boys run around and throw water at each other, and eat their lunches out on the front lawn. I can manage the making of lunches and getting of popsicles because my brother is here, but he will go home tomorrow and the day after that will be my seven year old’s last day of school, and then, THEN, it will be me and all four children, every day, all day, for twenty-four hours, the whole long hot summer.

How am I going to contend with the seven year old and the five year old screaming at each other over Pokemon cards/stuffed animals/crayons/whatever, starting at the crack of dawn? How am I going to cope with the seven year old’s constant repetitive requests to spend 'just half an hour' on the computer? How will I peel the toddler off me long enough to nurse the baby? How will I handle the baby’s need for cool and sleep and still take the older boys swimming?

(Aside: This reminds me of the conundrum I ponder every single time I drive over one of this city’s many bridges – if the bridge were to collapse when I was halfway over, how could I save four children and myself, when none of them can swim? When we are at the pool, must the seven year old (who can swim) stay in the baby pool where I can watch him constantly, or can I trust him to go into the bigger pool with his friends and be very careful and check in with me? If the two year old slips in the baby pool, his head could still go under water – do I force him to hold my hand the entire time? If one of the older boys needs to be rescued, is it permissible to rip the Baby Bjorn off my chest and lay the wailing baby down on the concrete pool apron? (Of course, I’d pick him up again right away as soon as the drowning boy was saved.))

How will I keep my ears from bleeding due to the constant chatter and running commentaries?

How will I keep us all from going completely bonkers and not killing each other? (After all, I can only spend so much money on Pokemon cards, dudes.)

More importantly, how will I keep the neighbors from calling CYS when I lose my shit ALREADY at 730 in the morning?


Velma said...

Seriously? You have NOTHING going on for the older ones? You poor thing. This is the first summer I'm NOT scheduling the jabeezus out of the kids. Are there any teenage mother's helper types you can hire cheaply? Say, a high energy 14 year old with a babysitter's certificate?

BabelBabe said...

I have a couple camps lined up, and swim lessons, but that means I have to pack everyone up into the car and shuffle them there, only to pick them up again several hours later. and, unfortunately, around here, responsible teenagers know they are worth their weight in gold and charge accordingly. i still have my usual babysitter, but even SHE gets two weeks vacation. *I* want two weeks vacation....

blackbird said...

You need a mother's helper - as in a young teen. And, after she goes home you need a mother's helper as in a rum and coke.

Sarah said...

Ditto what Blackbird said. Make the rum & Coke strong.

Unknown said...

My mom used to have nightmares about a bridge collapsing while the three kids were in the car. Which to save?

Maybe this is why we learned to swim almost before we learned to walk...

Badger said...


(a) you just will. Minute by minute or hour by hour, whatever works.

(b) just wait until one/all of them is/are TWELVE and TOO BIG TO CARRY OUT OF A BURNING BUILDING. JUST. WAIT.

(c) I don't have four, I only have two, but they are 19.5 months apart. My mantra once upon a time was, "Someday they'll both be in school." Substitute "all" for "both" and THERE YOU GO.

(d) lots of alcohol.

Suse said...

I can't help you with the bridge thing (all five of you will die so I wouldn't worry too much) but the pool thing I have dealt with, so:

Yes you can put the wailing baby down somewhere safely. He will be FINE and another mother will come pick him up until you can return.

No you do not force the 2 year old to hold your hand the entire time because that way madness lies. If he slips and his head goes under, you will be by his side in an instant to lift it up. He will be FINE.

The seven year old must stay with you for the majority of the time with the promise of 30 mins in the big kids pool while the other two get 30 mins sitting by the side of the big kids pool eating ice creams (he gets his ice cream later).

Did we deal with the five year old or doesn't he count?

Also, what Badger said. One day very very soon they will all be able to swim and they will all be in school and during the summer you will be the one sitting by the pool with the ice cream looking up from your book to do a head count only every three mins.

Does that help? Probably not.


delta said...

I second Suse!

Stomper Girl said...

Excellent pool advice from Suse.

I would also say maybe you could let your mothering standards slip while you get through this demanding period especially with the toddler / babe in arms scenario. Maybe get some new dvds from the library and employ the pixel nanny to save your sanity. Relax the computer time limit in return for help/good behaviour from the big boy. I hate the heat too, but I do try for one outing a day to release the crazy boy energy, somewhere where they can run the fidgets out of their legs.

Good luck!!

Hungry in LA said...

I suppose selling them at a profit is out of the question?

Rum and coke rum and rum rum rum.

jenny said...

hey, at least you waited until seven thirty so you've got me beat today.

Badger's by day, minute by minute - whatever works.

+ alcohol.

Sarah Louise said...

Darling, you will be fine.

It's Thursday so you're going a little crazy, DH has been working all week. (I'm guessing.)

Because you were excited about the summer Monday when you fed me oatmeal cookies, the "they can eat breakfast at 10" stuff.

And, I haven't moved yet, so you call me. I have some mornings off and all of Monday. I won't take your kids, (which you know) but I will be an adult for you to talk to.

Plus, you take advantage of that gem of a babysitter. Be in denial about her two weeks for a bit. (What two weeks?)

And of course, everyone is right about the rum and Coke.



SL (your not-a-mom friend)

Jess said...

*feverishly writing this all down*

You've got good advice. And as a last resort, you could use my son's suggestion: 'It's too HOT to wear pyjamas - why can't I just SLEEP in the shorts I want to wear tomorrow??'

and not dress them for the morning run.

(there are much greater sins!)

BabelBabe said...

oh boy. i have already slipped - my kids sleep in their t-shirts and underwear all year long. men.

MsCellania said...

1. 12 year old Mother's Helper.
2. Vacation Bible School (or camp or whatever it's called - anyway, almost free or very low cost).
3. Late afternoons/evenings at pool. Take bread/peanut butter/sack of crackers and cheese for dinner. Shower the kids in the community showers. Dress in shorty pjs and to bed, to bed when you get home.
4. Toys R Us or some other toy mega store. Let the kids play with EVERYTHING. Then put T and Q in double stroller and stroll briskly around and around the store, supervising and the 2 older ones as 2 little ones sleep in the buggy, getting your exercise in the meanwhile.
5. Movies/popcorn in whatever room has the A/C. You and the 2 little ones nap, while 2 oldest ones watch a movie. Turn off phone and no answering the door.
I have done and still do all the above. I grab a gf's 3 and 5 year olds every few days as she has a toddler and a brand new baby and is worn out. We do outdoor water play for 2 hours and then indoor popcorn and a movie. Her 3 year old generally falls asleep, as does my 7 year old. Is there another mother whom you would trust to come over while her kids play with your kids, and you could catch a nap while she's there? I bring the kids to my house, but it might work better for you or your gf to do it at your house?
Does your school district offer anything over the summer? Youngest gets morning summer school for 5 weeks.
Sorry if these are old ideas and I'm just pissing you off by suggesting them.
Ah - have that rum and coke a bit earlier?

Miz S said...

The Internet Ladies are all very smart. I have nothing to add except that I feel for you.

KPB said...


welcome to my world?

So not helpful I know. But I know you will know what I mean.

What Blackbird said and what Suse said.

KPB said...

Oh, and buy the two older boys a DS. It is the best bribe/negotiating tool I've ever known.

And last summer, Felix was off at the diving pool - inside - while I was with Oscar, Jasper and Grover outside. And Grover went in purely because he had to as I had to.

And so it goes.

Oh, and also - just stop the brain frazzling what if. I can say this because you know I do it and am just coming out of such an intense period of anxiety I was too scared to be left caring for my kids on my own.

Don't worry about how you will get through it - just go hour by hour.

Caro said...

I only have two kids and I already lost it. Don't feel bad.

I yelled at Azure and a lady looked at me funny in the store. Basically it was something I needed Azure to do that I knew FULL WELL she was capable of doing. But of course she was playing the helpless card. Grrrrr. So yeah, I lost it. Well, there goes my Mom of the Year Award.

I loved Badger's and MsCellania's tips. I am trying very hard to keep mine busy this summer too.

Have you ever made homemade popsicles? That will use up at least ten minutes of an endless day? :-)

Rent LOTS of movies from the library. Squirt guns are good for the backyard if you allow them. Make homemade snow cones. Today we are decorating picture frames for Father's Day. Too bad clean-up and set-up take longer than decorating.

Now I'm rambling. Bye.

Paula said...

I think bb and Suse have it covered.

And really what Badger says is true. You just will.

And? You can always vent to (at) us dear.

And maybe you can PAY Primo to help out with small stuff.

Sarah Louise said...

I have been reading Anne Lamott's Plan B and now "get it" a little more. So I would add

*read Anne Lamott a lot*

oh, and of course, the library (which you know.) But you could drive out to MY library...which might be fun, a field trip...

SL, your so very clearly not a mom friend