So you know it’s been a non-stop crazy train ever since Hayley was born. Adjusting to 5 kids has been an adventure, and by adventure, I mean the kind where you get attacked by giant spiders only to escape into a snake pit and barely make it out alive then eventually get ambushed by a tribe of angry cannibals. Basically the kind of adventure where even Indiana Jones would be like “dude, no.”
But guess what’s crazier than having to deal with 5 kids? Having to deal with 5 kids alone. All day.
Last week, my domestic helper went home for a 3 week vacation so it’s been just me with 5 kids and let me just say right now that I’ve never been more tired in my entire life. It’s been 16-hour days with zero downtime where every minute, it’s like somebody’s on fire or in mortal danger.
It’s made me question all my life choices up to this point.
My days are like playing a very elaborate game of “how can I do the most number of things at any given moment?” Like if I activate the play doh corner for Finn and Theo, I can buy 20 minutes of quiet to put the baby to sleep. Tru and Kirsten can keep an eye on the boys while working on their homework. Then I’ll put baby Theo to bed and hope Hayley doesn’t wake up and cry.
If by some miracle both babies are napping, I’ll blitz clean the house, clear laundry and prep dinner in advance while going through the big kids’ 听写. In between, we’ll ride out the mayhem one insane minute at a time with toys, books, coloring pages, playground time, and intermittent mommy-curling-up-on-the-floor-rocking-back-and-forth-time. And that’s the plan for a good day.
On the slightly less good days (which is everyday), I’d be feeding the baby and just as she’s falling asleep, someone would scream because someone else was breathing too near to him and by the time I break up the fight, the baby would announce with her wakey eyes that sleeping time was over. Which makes for a tired, grouchy baby for the next 3 hours. Play doh corner would turn into an exercise in let’s see who can smear sticky stuff in tiny crevices around the house and dear God, I can’t even look at this mess right now. I’d try to cook and the baby would cry so now I’ve managed to add cooking to the list of things I can do with one hand.
One time, I took a quick shower (with the baby in her bumbo next to me in the bathroom) and when I came out, Theo was covered in Pokémon temporary body tattoos, even his face. It’s when I discovered that temporary tattoo is a poor name because this stuff lasts forever unless you scrub it out with rubbing alcohol. Do I have rubbing alcohol lying around for such contingencies? Sadly, I do not.
Another time, we couldn’t find Theo in the house and we were all on a panicked manhunt for the missing baby, only to discover that he decided to take his scooter out for a spin without telling anyone. When we finally found him, he was all like “don’t worry mom, I just went for a walk. I’ll come back later ok.”
Maybe I’m going about this all wrong. Just look at hamsters. Hamsters have 12-20 babies at one time and hamster mommies don’t get all flustered about handling all the babies alone. They just lie down for a nap as and when they wish like it’s no big deal. And hamster babies don’t mess around because they know that those who don’t fall in line get eaten. If the kids are flinging food around during dinnertime or being all whiny about how this food is gross and can they not eat this for dinner, they end up being dinner. Mom will be like “Remember your 11th brother, the one who ran out of the house without asking? Of course you don’t. He doesn’t exist on this earth anymore.” Boom, problem solved.
But then in the midst of the madness, I’ve discovered that kids will rise to the occasion if you just give them a chance to. Tru and Kirsten have been a tremendous help, watching the babies in between doing their homework. They would make up fun imaginary games for the boys to play and take turns carrying Hayley while I cleaned stuff. Finn would come up to me and ask if there’s anything he can help me with because he wants to “make my day better”. Even Theo would take toys for his baby sister and sing to her.
I’ve also got a husband who comes home to do the dishes and clean up the house so while it’s been crazy, its the kind of crazy I’m thankful for.
I just need to survive the next 10 days COME ONNNN!!!