Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Find The Funny

I had one of those days today. It was the kind of day where that bottle of wine in the fridge taunted me every time I went in there to get someone a juice box or the strawberry jam. (I didn't succumb--I need every last one of my wits about me when I'm the lone responsible adult.)

So after a while of dealing with crazy frustrating children (whom I adore and are super-cute, of course!), I started to try to Find The Funny in my day. It's a very helpful way for me to remember why I took this mommy gig in the first place.

Here's something funny--me, trying to walk out the door! You don't fully appreciate this simple action before you have kids. When you don't have kids, and you need to go somewhere, here's what you do: grab your keys, maybe a jacket, get in the car, and leave. Aahh, now THOSE were the days!

Here's a general idea of what it takes to get me and the three kids out the door.

T - 60 minutes: I mentally go through my Going Somewhere Checklist to identify things that could be done right away. Usually, there's not much that can be done this far in advance, but I will try to make a guess as to when Sean will need to eat next, and if it's any time in the next 2 hours, I'll see if he needs to eat.

T - 58 minutes: Put screaming, offended baby down, as he clearly didn't want to eat.

T - 57 minutes: Do dishes or something else constructive (like write on the blog or Facebook!).

T - 45 minutes: Start gathering up crap for my big bag, such as diapers, wipes, snacks, drinks, my wallet, money (ha!), 9,000 soldier peopleguys, cell phone, car keys, hat for the baby, extra outfit for the baby, extra outfit for Morgan (just in case she "forgets" the potty), the Leapster, pens, pencils, notepads, Epi-pens, bottle of wine drink for me (if applicable), toys for the baby, 9,000 teeny tiny puppies, and a partridge in a pear tree. If we're heading to swimming, the list is even longer.

T - 35 minutes: I begin to sound the warnings: "Hey everyone! We're leaving for Ballet/Chess/Etc. in 15 minutes!" Since they have no concept of time yet, I could say "4862 zillion minutes" and it would mean the same thing to them, which is "Huh? Did Mom say something?"

T - 25 minutes: Sean needs to eat suddenly. So I get him going, and think, great--we've still got time. Only now, I have to orchestrate the Ryan and Morgan logistics while nursing and I can't move, which makes things difficult, because they know they have me. Also, I probably shouldn't talk during this logistical operation, since every sound I utter makes Sean pop off and grin at me. Which is cute, but really annoying all at the same time, since later, when I'm driving the car, he'll decide he's really really hungry and it will be all my fault.

T - 20 minutes: Tell Morgan that it's time to try the potty. Tell Ryan it's time for him to find his shoes. Lather, rinse, and repeat.

T - 18 minutes: Put the non-nursing baby down and physically put Morgan on the potty. Both children are now screaming hysterically at me. Ryan is off in Ryan-land, having battles with peopleguys. His explosion noises add to the volume.

T - 17 minutes: Put my hand on Ryan's shoulder and wait for him to look at me, so as to provide myself with the illusion that I have his attention, and then tell him to "Go. Get. Your. Shoes." He drops his toys and runs off. I am temporarily deluded into thinking that I'm making progress.

T - 15 minutes: Locate Ryan in the kitchen, where he has apparently begun laying out the makings of a 5 course meal. Ask about shoes and receive blank look in return. Remind him that we are going to X and we'll be bringing snacks, whereupon he insists on an exact accounting of all said snacks and evidently believes that he and he alone is the veto-holder in the snack realm. I take a deep breath, consciously choose NOT to engage in this particular battle, and tell him to choose something he thinks he would like and put it in my bag, and then "go find your shoes."

T - 10 minutes: Sean has had a complete and utter diaper FAIL. Strip him naked, send Ryan for a diaper, realize I haven't seen Morgan in a while, all at the same time.

T - 9 minutes: Start calling Morgan's name. She has evidently gone completely deaf. Throw diaper on Sean and send Ryan to find his shoes.

T - 8 minutes: Find Morgan A) in the pantry--which has no light, she just stands in there in complete darkness, B) starting up a computer game, or C) hiding under a table which means that she really needs to get to the potty now (she's still not quite over that New Baby Potty Regression Phase--she just needs to know that I'm really super truly serious about this potty thing, and so must test and test and test and test).

T - 7.5 minutes: Put Morgan on the potty and run upstairs to find an outfit for Sean. Find Ryan in his room playing with LEGO. The socks he had been wearing have mysteriously disappeared. When asked about this, he claims that I told him to take off his socks and cannot believe that I had ever once asked him to put on his shoes. Hmph.

T - 7 minutes: Make Ryan cry with impatient "Get your shoes on NOW!" and dash downstairs to find Morgan, completely naked and unwiped, doing ballet moves in the bathroom. Sean has fallen over and gotten stuck next to the ottoman and is screaming into a puddle of his own drool.

T - 6 minutes: Sean is upright and half-clothed, Morgan all wiped and supposedly washing her hands. Ryan zips through the family room at full-speed and out the back door onto the deck, leaving the door wide open. Err?

T - 5 minutes: Sean and Morgan are clothed and playing together on the floor of the family room. I go outside to figure out what happened to Ryan and only then realize that I'm still in my pajamas! I check to see where he is and decide to leave him there while I go up and change. Decide that Morgan and Sean would not be safe together for too long (not ill-intentioned, but she is only 3 and her lovin' is the rough kind), so I scoop Sean up, tell Morgan where I'm going, and head upstairs.

T - 4 minutes: Comforting sobbing Morgan, who thought I had left her "forever" because she didn't hear me when I told her I was going upstairs. Sean is sad, too, because he's a sensitive soul. Still need to get dressed.

T - 2 minutes: Feeling good, now, we're gonna make it. Morgan, Sean, and I are all dressed, bag is packed. Yup, we're good.

T - 1 minute: Call Ryan in from backyard. He comes in, covered with mud. And no shoes. Send him up up UP hurry UP to change. Make sure there's a backup pair of shoes in the car.

T + 3 minutes: Ryan is hysterical, because he can't find his SHOES and how can I expect him to find his shoes when I never give him enough time to find his shoes and why does he have so many shoes anyway and why won't I help him find his shoes, BLAH! I (semi) calmly tell him that I know there are backups in the car. Not helping, as evidently he HATES those shoes and they're not soldier/archaeologist/peopleguy du jour shoes and therefore he can't wear them.

T + 5 minutes: Figure it's time to get out of the house before I explode, so finally load Sean up into his carseat. Start loading things into the car. Ryan is still having a fit about the Unfairness of Life or somesuch (I'm beginning to learn to tune such stuff out). Can't find Morgan. Crap.

T + 6 minutes: Find Morgan in the kitchen fixing herself a snack of milk and ketchup and let's just say she's not afraid of spilling. Wipe up what I can, and try to ascertain whether the milk she's spilled onto herself will begin to smell by the time we leave wherever we're going. If not, I don't change her shirt and pick her up and strap her in the car. Sean is screaming by this point, as he is always freaked whenever he's in the car and it's not actually moving. Ryan is still sniffling and Never Going To Listen To Me Again.

And here we are, only 10 minutes late getting out the door!

This wasn't my exact day, only a general approximation of each and every single time I need to leave the house. :o) You should really be amazed that I get ANYWHERE EVER, let alone on time.

Yes, I do like my little Find the Funny trick! Very cathartic! This post is dedicated to any parent who has lost their kid's shoes on purpose just to make him mad. :o)


Diana Hsieh said...

OMG, I was laughing so hard by the time I got to T - 7 minutes that Paul asked me whether I was okay. And every time I tried to read on, I'd reread that segment and find myself unable to continue. It was just the end of my rope.

You have my congratulations, woman!

Anonymous said...

Ugh, so this is the "funny" part of parenting? :( And people ask me why I don't want kids... I absolutely don't have the patience for all that.

Jim said...

My youngest is now 17; it seems the time lines and the roles are inverted.

At T+5, she tells me for the first time that I need to take her somewhere five minutes ago. The minutes tick away as I can’t find my keys that she borrowed, want to eat first, and whine about how unfair it is that she can’t give me more notice to plan, or an accurate itinerary.

However, as she is more and more independent everyday, I cherish every moment of her time that I can get, even if I have to drop everything, including any cash in my pockets, in order to share that time with her.

Rootie said...

"I don't want that toy car!" screams, throws a fit just before leaving the house. Half hour later, screams and crys a fit because "that toy car" is not along with us.

Tell me again why I'm adding another one to my family?

Oh yeah, I remember now -- "daddy daddy daddy! daddy's home!" running child collides with a whump, a jump and a hug.


Kelly said...

You bad bad BAD mommy! Not giving him enough time to put on his shoes! You should be put in Mommy Jail (AKA: A trip to Aruba). Jenn, you have my kudos for finding the funny in all that. Your positive attitude rocks!

John Drake said...

That was hilarious! I can totally relate.

Rootie - ditto!

Allergy Mom said...

I "only" have one, which is more than a match for my organizational skills, or lack of them. This was hysterical. Somehow I imagined that having multiple kids meant that it was more of an assembly line and later kids weren't as hard to maneuver. Wow. Three times one is exactly that.

Kelly Elmore said...

Now I appreciate you even more for meeting us out for lunch every single Friday! Tomorrow, I'm going to buy you a drink!

Rational Jenn said...

Thanks for your comments everyone! I had lots of fun writing that post and of course it tickles me that it cracked up some other people, too.

Diana--thanks very much! :o)

Anon--I can totally see why someone would NOT find the funny in that experience. Many years ago, I would have felt the same exact way. But then something changed and I started to become amused by such things, and now here I am!

Jim--It's hard to imagine my kids as teenagers, but I'm doing my best to cherish every second, too. And I will obviously give it back as good as I'm getting!

Rootie--Congratulations! And no, these people don't make sense.

Kelly--Yes, I am a bad mommy and proud of it!

John--I know you're in the trenches with me and glad you can feel my pain. How many do you have now? Is it your third that's on the way?

Allergy Mom--I imagined that the older kids would be easier, too--and they are--in a way. Whereas the little ones need help dressing, etc. the oldest can dress himself. Sigh. If only he'd DO it!

Kelly Elmore--I'll take you up on that drink!

Ardsgaine said...

My daughter loves bathrooms. At least, I assume she loves them because it takes her about five times longer to come out of one than the rest of humanity. It is inevitable that when I am really pressed for time, she will suddenly discover an urge to go potty. We've had this argument so many times that, when we're getting ready to go someplace and she needs to use the bathroom, she will ask me, with trepidation, "Is it the last minute yet?"

She's 12, btw, in case you were thinking it was going to get better rsn. ;)