Today I suspect that Andrew and I could be taking part in some sort of trial parenting test; like someone has arranged a series of challenges for us and if we pass them then we will be awarded a child. If so, they should have been filming us, because we're flailing and flopping our way through these times.
Our friends Kim (whose praises I have previously sung) and Fr. Chris have been so brave as to leave their four children in our care this week while they went to their conferences. I just returned from El Paso (I'll have to say something on that soon) to join Andrew after he held the fort down for a night with the kids. He was asleep sitting up on the couch when I arrived. He said things were holding together pretty well until the puppy put her wet paws and snout in his lap. Why was the puppy wet? Well, the puppy had been playing in the toilet. Things went downhill for Andrew from there. "Maybe it's easier if you don't start with four of 'em," said Andrew as he fell asleep.
Yesterday, I was on as stand-in-Mom/taxi-driver. I was up making lunches, playing in the park, walking the dog, carting kids to play dates; I made dinner, ballet, gymnastics and scouts and even got an ice cream date into the day. Andrew got home from work and managed bath and story time while tucking in the youngest and then fit in an episode of Glee and a hockey game. In short, we rocked it, but not without being rocked ourselves. Who does this stuff and who does it more than once?
This morning we overslept when the alarm didn't go off. Rushed the crew out the door while I performed a monologue that ran something like this, "Turn off the TV. Get dressed. Get dressed for cold weather. Pack your bag. I already filled out your reading log. Unpack yesterday's lunch box. Didn't I ask you to unpack this yesterday? Who left the bathroom door open? How did the dog get the whole roll of toilet paper? You get dressed for cold weather, too. Find your jackets. Turn off the TV. Get in the car! Buckle your seat belts. I'll buckle your seat belt." We delivered the children as the bell rang.
Andrew went to work in yesterday's clothes, because I didn't bring him any new ones (I thought he'd go home). I suppose he's just getting his co-workers ready for when he no longer has any thing without baby spit on it. He couldn't shave because the razor batteries were dead. I got to the school without brushing my hair or my teeth - it just occurred to me that I'm sure the children didn't brush theirs. I've never been so happy to be far from 3 o'clock in my life.
While checking in with Andrew over the phone, he asked how I was holding up. "This has been an enlightening experience," I said. From the back seat, I heard Margaret (age five) repeat, "This has been a friwghting mystewious."
Yes, she knew that what I really meant by "enlightening experience" was "frightening mysterious."