When you are pregnant and have four kids ages 5 and under, your days are hectic. That`s the polite word for it anyway. Some days are pure, unmitigated awesome. Everyone`s happy, sharing, hugging, and helpful. They`re so exhausted from being so awesome that they ASK to nap and then actually lay down and sleep for 2 hours. They wake up refreshed and go about playing together, and even clean up the toys they`ve scattered on the floor on the first request. These beautiful little gifts, who are clean, have no tangles in their hair, and haven`t spilled even a drop of water on their well-fitting clothes coo at your belly, and say how much they love their baby brother. They eat whatever you made for supper and say it`s the `best supper ever` without even requesting ketchup. When they`re done eating they ask to leave the table (please) and then put their own dishes neatly on the counter. They read stories together, play a little more, then ask for bed time because clearly there`s no more energy left after a day filled with fun. After taking themselves to go potty one more time and getting in their pjs (the oldest two anyway) they saunter off to their room, giving big hugs and kisses to Mom and Dad and each other, close their doors, and go to sleep on their own.
I`ve had a few of those days. Well, maybe one. Maybe that`s mostly the odds and ends of good moments cobbled together. Either way, there are days when I see them off to bed that the smile on my face is not from exhausted delight that for five seconds I may have quiet time. This is not one of those days. And it`s only noon.
It all started last night. The kids went to bed at their usual hour (upon their request), but instead of playing in their rooms or even going to bed (ha!). There was clearly a full moon because literally every 2 minutes both sets of kids were opening their doors asking for something. Or complaining. Or having to pee. I know your bladder is tiny little man, but there ain`t no way you need to pee every five minutes. They were testing my patience for sure. I was on the phone so I couldn`t exactly exercise my full parenting authority, so instead I ran up the stairs (yes, ran. Even at almost 33 weeks Mama`s still got some cheetah speed), gave them the darkest, scariest look I could, and closed their doors. I took toys away. I put a gate in front of the boys` room. I pulled out some of my hair. Good times. Finally, at 10pm I went in, tucked them all into bed one last time, and had a chat with the boys about the consequences of getting out of bed that they would not soon forget. I am mean Mama. Fear me.
So they finally slept and importantly let baby girl sleep. I was pretty wound up but I fell asleep after another hour or two (or three). All was well with the world. Until I was awoken by the shrill cry of the oldest boy. He had wet the bed again. It was just a little, but it was the third day in a row (routine change clearly in order). And he woke up 5 minutes before the alarm went off for the start of my husband`s day. There was changing, soothing, throwing a towel on the bed, then the dream of temporary peace. Smarty pants boy waited until 10 minutes after his Daddy left to start his usual routine of coming out into the hallway 100 times until he had successfully woken up the entire clan at least an hour sooner than they`d normally get up by themselves. Thanks kiddo.
So we got up. Had some breakfast. Put a smile on. The first few hours of the day went remarkably well all things considered. They was cuddling, quiet playing, and some laughter all around. Thinking I`d take advantage of the communal good mood, I set up to give the boys their haircuts for Easter. They were starting to look pretty shaggy around the ears and the clock was ticking, so I went for it. For the first few minutes big boy was pleased. It tickled even. Then, for less than a millisecond the clippers slowed down on a thick patch of hair. Drama. Screaming. Kicking. Tears. Unfortunately we`d reached the point that if I didn`t continue he`d look ridiculous, so I had to sit down behind him and lock my legs around him while I did my best to finish quickly. Big girl wanted her bangs cut next. Quick. Easy. Perfect. Baby girl wanted a hair cut too, which not only did she not need, but might have been a disaster. Cue baby drama from her. Moving on. Little boy gets his hair cut. Again he thinks it`s fun to start, but for no particular reason melts down within a few minutes. He`s smaller so a little tougher to hold still but I somehow manage to get it done. Getting kicked is not my favourite. But I got it done. Victory.
After all was said and done the boys were giddy. They love the results if not the method. While admiring my handiwork I noticed all four of them had claws like baby wolverines. Normally I`d just let it go, but with all the hitting the average toddler racks up, I knew they`d be slicing each other to shreds in their mini battle royales. I don`t know how things work in your house, but my kids seem to be convinced that fingernail clippers are tools of torture and that I am using them solely for the purpose of gleefully causing their slow, painful demise. It took far longer than it should have, but I managed to cut the nails on 40 fingers and 40 toes.
I`m sure my neighbours and any passersby are convinced I am a serial child abuser based solely on the volume level of my house this morning. And that was just the morning. Praying the day turns around a little, but in the end I can`t help but smile at my life. Sure, there are days when I feel like I`m never going to win a single parenting battle with them, but that`s not so bad. I get to spend every day loving them in their littleness, and helping them grow into the men and women I`ll always be proud of. I just hope I can continue to grow with them and be someone they`re always proud to call Mom (or even Mommy. I`d be okay with that). I`ll keep clutching to that while they`re clutching to me.