I have been reading the Sane Woman’s Guide to Raising a Large Family by Mary Ostyn, a mom of 10 kids, some biological and some adopted. I don’t know that my family really qualifies as “large,” but four kids seems like the tipping point, so I thought I’d check out how someone else handles it. Last night, I read this passage:
Whether you have one child or ten, there will be times when the nine-month-old flings oatmeal on the carpet or the three-year-old throws up in the night — three times — and the seven-year-old loses his shoes — again. But in a large family, the frequency with which this stuff happens can be overwhelming.
My advice? Expect the chaos. The more fully you embrace the chaos factor, the happier you’ll be as a mom.
Fast forward to tonight.
After dinner, we decided to take Michelle Obama’s advice and take the whole family for a walk. We loaded up Lucy in the stroller, put a leash on the dog and off we went. A few blocks into the walk, Eleanor dramatically announces that she stepped in dog poop. In flip flops. Which meant the poop was all the way up her ankle. We may have laughed a little, which made her mad, so she stormed off ahead of us. Then Lucy decided she wanted to walk, so after some blood curdling screams, which I’m sure caused the neighbors to peek through their blinds, we unstrapped her and she takes off. Less than a block later she tripped over an uneven part of the sidewalk, scraped up her knees and sent her forehead bouncing off the concrete. OK, forget it, Mrs. Obama, we’re going home.
We arrive home to find a package on the front porch. While Eleanor goes to wash the poop off her leg in the kids’ bathroom, I open the package and find that it’s the step stool I ordered for the little kids.
I am so excited about this. Ayub has finally started going to bathroom by himself. For months, we had to go with him because he was afraid the lions would eat him if he went in there alone. (I don’t make this stuff up.) Now the only thing stopping him from total bathroom independence is the ability to reach the faucet. So, of course, even though Eleanor was still in the bathroom washing the poo, I took Ayub and the stool in there, too. As I’m showing him how to get the faucet on, I look up just in time to see Lucy has also entered the bathroom (that’s right, there are now four of us in a tiny bathroom) and she proceeds to stick her hand in the toilet. I shove Ayub out of the way and grab her, only to realize that the toilet isn’t empty. That’s right, there’s a floating log. GAG!! So I grab Lucy and rush to the kitchen sink to wash up, only to realize that we’re out of hand soap in there. Back in the bathroom, Ayub somehow falls off the stool and injures his boy parts. (Again, I don’t make this stuff up.) Let’s just stop and tally that for a moment. Girls covered in poop = 2. Injuries = 2.
I don’t know if it was because I had just read that chapter on chaos or if I was just in an incredibly jolly mood, but I didn’t let it get me down. I’m a bit of a control freak, and even though EVERYTHING that happened after dinner tonight was out of my control, I had to laugh and take it in stride. This is my life now. This is who we are. Covered in poop and banged up, but loving every minute. And I guess I knew that eventually, we’d make it to that magical time of night known as BEDTIME.