This one was requested by "Doc". When I was little, we did family vacations once a year. We did not do many vacations as a family when the kids were little. "Doc" was a resident and then a new attending, starting his practice. There was not much down time for him, so if a vacation happened it was me and the kids. Anyway, I finally got a day with all of us together and wanted to take the kids to Sea World. You are probably asking, "What kind of nut takes four small children to an amusement park?" Yeah, me. I am not sure if "Doc" didn't like amusement parks before this day, but I know he wasn't a fan after.
"Mommy" loves horses. The Royal Lippizaner's were performing at the small SeaWorld near us. I convinced "Doc" that we should take his day off and relax with the kids at SeaWorld. It was a beautiful summer day, not too hot or humid until..... We pulled into the parking lot and started walking to the park. The kids were really excited, mostly "Mommy" and "Calvin", "Mini Me" was not even two and "The Blonde" was only eight weeks old. We no sooner got into the park, then the sky opened up on us! Rain poured, only for about ten or fifteen minutes but enough to soak us. I convinced "Doc" to stay anyway and dried off and enjoyed the Lippizaner's. It was worth every second and the rain just to watch "Mommy's" face light up!
After the show we walked around the park and enjoyed some other shows. Maybe this day was going to work! Not so soon. We had to stop for a bathroom break. We rested on a bench as we took the kids to the bathroom. "Doc" was holding "The Blonde" and keeping an eye on "Mini Me". I no sooner got back to the bench with "Calvin" and "Mommy", "Mini Me" toddled right off the bench! A lot of crying but no injury. We can handle this, we are a doctor and a nurse, right?! Don't worry, we can still salvage the day.
So, we walked around an enjoyed more of the park and of course the kids got hungry. First of all, the food at these parks is extremely expensive but that being said, everyone got a sandwich. "Calvin" really wanted a Philly Steak sandwich. I do not know why, because he had never had one before but he was getting one now. He was so excited and talkative and everything for him was in high speed. Did I mention that he was too excited to chew his food? The next thing we knew, "Calvin" was choking and "Doc" pulled a piece of meat out of his mouth that I swear was a foot long. I got "the look". Come on, there were just a few small incidences, everyone was fine. Let's just march on and enjoy a beautiful day with the kids!
It was finally time for the Shamu show. "Calvin" and "Mommy" were pumped! They wanted to get splashed, so we agreed to sit at the top of the "splash zone" so they could get splashed just a little. Why not, we had already been drenched by the rain earlier. "Doc" always liked to hold the babies facing forward with his arm around them and his hand between the legs. "The Blonde" was getting to watch Shamu too! Wouldn't you know it, she pooped. I took her to a nearby bathroom to change her diaper while the rest of the family watched the show. After four kids, you get pretty quick at diaper changes, even really bad ones and this was a bad one that required an outfit change.
"Doc" had a weird look on his face when I got back. What could possibly be wrong now?!! I sat down and he pointed to the man in front of us. He had what looked like mustard on his shoulder, but it wasn't mustard. I don't know, maybe some dripped on him when I left with "The Blonde"! What do we do? Do we tell him? How do we tell him? "Excuse me sir, our baby pooped on you. Sorry. Why are you upset? Birds do it to people!" No, that didn't seem like it would go well. If we don't say anything, maybe he won't notice. Of course he will notice, his family will notice. But he won't know it was from us. What do we do?! We did not have to decide after all. Shamu did a massive jump and water sprayed all the way up to our section and soaked the man in front of us! We got a little wet, but not much. There is a God!
"Doc" had enough. We were going home and there was no more convincing him that we were going to salvage this day. So we had several disasters and it is one of the stories we love to laugh about. This one's for you "Doc". I love you.
It was not very often that "Doc" and I could get away for an evening. Going overnight anywhere without the tribe was highly unusual. Let's face it, if you could find someone willing to watch six energetic and creative kids the cost of paying one to three babysitters would be astronomical. If I were to be honest, and I will, there were days when I did not want to watch them!
It may be one of the reasons "Ninja" and I became friends and why I love her. She was crazy enough to take on that task!!! You just have to hang on to a friend like that!
I truly do not remember where we went but I do remember that she had the kids alone with her during the evening. How do you entertain six kids? Parking them in front of a video game was not an option. I did not allow those in the house. They couldn't play outside because it was dark. Here's an idea! Hide and Seek in the Dark. Sounds good right?
First we establish the rules. Actually there was only one rule. This is good - not a lot to remember in the heat of the game. The rule is: NO RUNNING! An excellent rule, especially since we have a beam right in the middle of our kitchen. They had a ball. I can only imagine the giggles and screams as they scared each other in the dark!
Until...... The lights were turned on and blood was found. One look at the "Blonde" told the whole story. As soon as the game started, she took off running and ran smack dab in the center of that kitchen beam. Of course, she continued on so as not to interrupt the game and more importantly, she did not want to get in trouble for not following the rules. I am sure the "Ninja" went through a quick moment of panic. "How do I tell my friend that I broke her child?" No worries. Remember, I know what my kids are capable of.
I need a little break from the heavier discussions.
Interesting - both "Mommy" and "Mini-Me" decided to have pictures of my grandchildren done on Saturday. Because she lives closer, I went with "Mini-Me" to lend an extra pair of hands. The memories came flooding back. Now I know I am aging because when my children were born, their hospital photos consisted of a blue or pink blanket depending on whether they were male or female and a quick photo that made them look like little monkeys because the picture was taken right after they got drops in their eyes. I don't care what anyone says, those pictures were not cute. But we bought them anyway and handed them out proudly didn't we?!
First official pictures were never taken until around six weeks. At that time photographers just didn't do that. Now, we like to get pictures in two weeks or less. Babies are posed in cute things like bowls and baskets and are often naked. A newborn without a diaper is cute and potentially messy. I am amazed at how the photos come out - and a little jealous.
So I went with my daughter to help. Wait - no one ever helped me!!!. Imagine this scenario. Six small children ages 6 months to 11 years. The 11 year old is a perfectionist and needs to look perfect. Oh yes, she wants to hold the "Surprise". As "Mommy" it is her entitlement. But wait, "Calvin" who is all energy and motion wants to hold the "Surprise". The "Surprise" is a boy and should be held by his brother, not a girl! "Mini-Me" and the "Blonde" are indifferent to the whole thing and "Pook" is not interested in not being muddy or unable to play for that period of time. So, I finally handle the dispute by giving in. "You will both have pictures taken holding the "Surprise"."
To some degree, you want them to be dressed nicely for pictures. That can be accomplished without too much fanfare. The girls are of course anxious to be "dolled up" and very cooperative. "Calvin" and "Pook" are placed in nice clothes but promptly become half naked and/or sloppy multiple times enroute to the studio. Thankfully at this point, the "Surprise" is somewhat compliant due to age or lack thereof.
"Doc" has often said that those group photos are more a statement about me than how beautiful our family is. The ability to corral six children, get them into dress clothes, get them to a studio without a fight or a black eye and then have them smile in a perfectly photogenic way is no small feat. By the way, I gave up on the perfect picture when "Calvin" was born. He was rough and tumble and if I waited for bruises and scrapes to go away we would never have had a photo of him. I also gave in on facial expressions - if that's what they want to look like for posterity, so be it. It is what it is.
All in all, we have some stunning family photos that were taken throughout the years. I would like to think that the family love always shined through. Others would say, I should have been a drill sergeant if I was able As for me, the kids looked great but I was always disheveled and near tears and definitely ready for a relaxing glass of wine when all was said and done.
What is it about small children that can reduce a mature adult into a blithering idiot? Seriously. With babies, grown ups can start talking in nonsense syllables within seconds! Or they talk in a ridiculous sing song pattern. I don't know. I have caught myself doing it once in a while with my new granddaughter. I worked really hard when my children were small to talk to them like they were real live human beings. I think I did a pretty good job of it. We did not use a lot of baby words. Actually, our biggest problems came when I used terms that were from my past. They absolutely "lost it" the first time they heard me refer to a television as a "boob tube" and an "idiot box". They always accused me of making up words and I often had to prove my case with a dictionary.
That isn't to say that I did not make up words. I have also found that small children alone and in packs can cause an adult to "snap". It just takes a pair of rolled eyeballs, or a "whatever" or too much noise or them saying your name over and over and over..... I know that every mother in the world has threatened to change her name from "mom" or "mommy" to anything! At any rate, it just takes one thing and "snap" you find yourself angry enough that you cannot complete an intelligent sentence! Made up words come out of your mouth, you stutter, you call people by the wrong names and even occasionally forget who you are. Rest assured that every child will remember every single incident like this. Mine still talk about those "moments" and they find great humor in it as adults.
Don't worry moms. God has a great sense of humor. I have personally witnessed the same phenomena happen to "Mommy" and "Mini Me". And you know what? I thoroughly enjoy watching it happen. There is a lot to be said for poetic justice!
Wife, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Nurse, Grandmother, Friend...that's me in a nutshell!