N, 7 months

N, 7 months

I think the most common question I get these days is, “How do you manage to do all that and care for 4 young children?” 

I have learned that the 2 most difficult times to manage is when I am sick and when I am trying to prepare for a trip.  Just the fact that I have to spend 1/2 as many days packing and preparing for the trip as I will actually spend being on the trip should give you an idea.  Nonetheless, I thought you might enjoy a more detailed overview of just how I get it done.  Here are a few examples of time spent preparing for this upcoming trip:

Scenario 1

  • Start cleaning master bathroom
  • Go wipe M so she can get off the potty
  • Resume cleaning bathroom
  • JR and M want to help
  • Assign JR and M to wipe down tub and demonstrate
  • Resume cleaning bathroom
  • Finish cleaning toilet to discover JR and M playing doctor in the shower, using the cleaning wipes as bandages on their legs
  • Give up and move on to next project

Scenario 2

  • Start packing using freshly laundered, folded, and put-away kids’ clothes
  • JR attempts to help by pulling out a pile of pull-ups and dumping them all over clean bedroom
  • Help JR clean up pull-ups
  • Find M adding undesirable clothes to the pile
  • Thank M for her help, send her downstairs to play, and separate the desirables from the undesirables
  • Get JR and M’s clothes stacked and hide them in master bedroom
  • Go into A’s room to start packing his clothes
  • Discover that A has opened his sock drawer and strewn socks all over floor
  • Clean up socks
  • Resume selecting A’s clothing, stack, and hide them in master bedroom
  • Forbid children to touch piles of clothing in master bedroom

Scenario 3

  • Ensure children are distracted with safe play
  • Sit down at computer to organize trip
  • Research and select hotel and call to make reservation
  • Hear a cry
  • Hang up phone and take care of child issues
  • Return to office and make hotel reservation
  • Hang up and hear M misbehave
  • Deal with M, then re-distract her with play
  • Return to office to plan trip
  • Pull up mapquest on computer
  • Hear a loud bang and then JR scream
  • Run to kitchen to find JR and blood
  • Locate source of blood (mouth)
  • Try not to lose my hearing amidst screams as I grab ice
  • Sit JR on counter and hold ice to control bleeding
  • Ask M to take care of A for a while
  • Slow blood flow and locate source (cut inside upper lip)
  • Clean up JR and blood in kitchen
  • Research when to take child to doctor for cut lip
  • Have no luck finding info
  • Use best judgement to decide that the cut will heal fine on its own
  • Hold JR for a while to keep ice on lip and control swelling
  • 30 minutes later, bleeding stopped, and JR emotionally recovered, convince JR that I have to get back to work if we are going to go to the farm
  • Ensure JR is comfortable
  • Return to computer and research mapquest
  • Finish trip planning
  • Check on JR and discover he has a very fat upper lip
  • Double check cut to ensure I didn’t overlook something
  • Feeling comfortable that it will heal fine, move on to the next project

Scenario 4

  • Actually get a lot accomplished while children play outside for several hours
  • Wake N, put him in his Bumbo seat, and go to kitchen to get his food
  • Hear a loud crash and the sound of water running
  • Locate source of sound near N
  • Realize that N has grabbed a handful of my flowers and pulled the entire vase over, thoroughly soaking my clean carpet with dirty flower water
  • Pry flowers from N’s fingers
  • Clean up mess as best I can and lay light blanket over damp area to keep kids off
  • Feed N (away from flowers)
  • Put N down to play (away from flowers or vases of water)
  • Go to kitchen to prepare lunch for children
  • Check on N to find the M has decided to use the wet and yucky blanket to cover up N
  • Thank M for taking such good care of N, remove blanket and toss in laundry pile, and give up protecting wet spot on carpet

As you can see, I can still accomplish the things I need to.  Sometimes, it just takes 2 or 3 times as long and twice the effort as when I did it pre-children.  Hey, kids keep life interesting!