It is 9:19am. I’ve now reheated the same mug of coffee three times. I have forty minutes before the baby wakes up and I begin the 45 minute process of getting all four children into the car so I can make it to yoga at the Y and only be 5 minutes late. Nevermind that everyone is currently fed and dressed. Nevermind that I am, for once, fed and dressed.
Someone is crying.
Ain’t happening today folks.
“I need thirty minutes of you people playing outside. Then I can love you today.”
Didn’t happen on Tuesday either, when, despite starting at 8 o’clock, we didn’t manage to make it out of the house before 10:35 and in all that time, I didn’t have a single sip of coffee or a bite of breakfast. Pulling out of my driveway for the second time that morning I decided I’d rather eat a Dunkin Donuts breakfast sandwich in the lobby with my book than make it to yoga anyway.
Of course the lobby was overflowing with Silver Sneakers who like to arrive an hour and a half before their class begins to catch up on gossip and share senior citizen discount trade secrets.
I ducked into the empty-looking game room off the main hallway and in my surprise to see three older ladies playing bridge in the corner I blurted, “I hope there isn’t an age limit on this room. I just need a place to escape my kids and the party in the lobby so I can eat my damn breakfast in peace.”
If I offended them with the beginning of my sentence they had more than forgiven me with the eventual recognition of raw mommy desperation.
Needless to say, I didn’t read my book that morning, and I was more than just full of egg and cheese croissant when I left. I guess it’s true what they say. Though slow, and somewhat dangerous behind the wheel, senior citizens can serve a purpose in society.
Last week was no different, I’m sure of it. But somehow last week I was coping. Maybe more than coping, in fact. I was downright pleasant last week. I feel certain that it isn’t possible for my children to be more or less needy from one week to another.
And before you say, “You’re the one who wanted four kids,” I am going to take the liberty (because this is my blog) to say that four kids is really freaking difficult. In fact, remove just one kid from the equation and it is a completely different and more pleasant experience. And honestly, it doesn’t even matter which kid goes. When Eliott is gone, Carter steps up and pretends to be more responsible. When Carter is gone, nobody is fighting with Eliott or Isaiah.
When Isaiah is gone, the older girls’ mess is contained to one area (and they quietly hide it believing if I can’t hear them I’ll never know what kind of a mess they are making) and if Avery is out of the picture, well, shoot, I’m just plain happier. For all her beauty and for all my experience, that baby is a force to be reckoned with and generally speaking, a bit of a life-sucker right now. (Yes, she sleeps well. Finally. But God help us all when the woman needs anything because though she has no vocabulary, she’s more than makes up for it in sheer volume and inability to grow weary in asking.)
I have coping mechanisms. I do. And every once in a while I have a big picture perspective. I do get glimpses of the sweetness of each kid, usually once a day, and while these do not have the power of say, a Xanax washed down with Bud Light Platinum, they do make it mostly worth it as my eyelids close each night (that sweet moment of silence where I can almost pretend like tomorrow will be different and somehow better).
And certainly things could actually be worse. They have been worse. I need to remember that. I also need to, again, keep tally of the little things:
- Neighborhood pool not five minutes away.
- Access to trampoline in neighbor’s back yard, not fifty feet away.
- A finished basement playroom and children who both can, and will, entertain themselves, even if their only game is what I like to call “Tornado: the Aftermath.”
- A cleaning lady. (I’m embarrassed to admit I would be drowning without her.)
- The YMCA and one hundred and fifty minutes a day (times 4) of childcare should I choose to use it.
- Neighbors who enjoy my children more than I do.
- A two-year old who is quickly showing that he is as type A as his father, and manifesting this genetic curse in the form of picking up after his sisters.
- An 8 year old and a 6 year old who have been trained (in less than a month) to fully clean up the kitchen after every meal.
- Avery’s eyelashes. (I had to find something.)
- Discovering that the source of John’s anxiety for the last 6 months had absolutely nothing to do with circumstantial stress but was completely caused by his asthma medication (Singulair). When his prescription lapsed for three days he was halfway back to his normal self, and now, in just one month of being off the stuff, he’s functioning at 100% of his normal emotional level. This is huge people, when every other week I might be operating at a solid 30%.
It’s 9:57am. I’m going to go wake the baby, put on my shoes, top off my mostly empty mug, and perhaps be early to yoga this morning.