Wife and I took the children to the zoo, joined by my parents and most of my brothers and sisters. All together, we made up a party of nineteen. Not the biggest party the zoo had seen, I’m sure, but large enough for us. We traversed the San Diego Safari Park like a pack of escaped monkeys, jabbering and pointing, with small children hanging from our backs. Continue reading
Our vacation had finally arrived, a road trip to my uncle and aunt’s home in Washington. We planned the route. We planned the day trips. We did not plan to be nursed back to health by my aunt once we arrived.
While Wife was down with the baby, recovering from the birth, I took most of the children shopping for some much needed groceries. That way I killed two birds with one stone. Wife got some quiet, and we all got to eat. Everybody is happy. Continue reading
What do we do with our children on a trip?
For the first time, EVER, we took a cruise. Yes, on a boat! We sailed off, into the sunset, away from the problems of the world. We were as careless as a crow playing in the wind. No cellphones, no work, and no children. Well, almost no children.
A three hundred mile trip can take about five hours. With traffic, it could be driven in five and a half to six hours. Add nine small children into the mix, and we are up to somewhere around seven hours. “Why all the math,” you ask. Well, because math is the first tool utilized when planning a long weekend… or mini-vacation… depending on who you ask.
This was a family trip you understand, otherwise I wouldn’t tell you about it. Continue reading
In celebration of nothing in particular, just because the day was before us, and to make Wife smile and the children grin, I took the family out to breakfast after Sunday Mass; an event that only happens but once a year. Almost everyone was excited, but not #6. He fell to pieces when we turned away from donuts at the back of the church; and he continued to be upset until the gentle sway of the van rocked away his self imposed sorrows.
When we arrived at the restaurant, #6 very nearly had another I-want-a-donut-melt-down. However with the promise of chocolate-chip pancakes, he at last relented and soberly joined his siblings as we trooped in. After only a short wait we were led to our seats, and found ourselves two seats short. Not to worry, no one was left to eat on their feet. Two chairs were quickly robbed from some unsuspecting party who thought they had extra seats; no longer.
Comfortably seated, Wife and I set to work to ordering for the children. Then we set to work assuring the children that their food was indeed on the way. Then I realized that we always seem to be seated in the exact middle of the dining room. More than a few fellow diners seemed to watching our table as if we were the morning’s entertainment. I wanted to stand up and begin shouting, “Yes folks! Step right up! See with your very own eyes, eight children that can not only sit in their chairs until the meal is through, but also use a fork! Step right up!” However, Wife would have seen it as bad form. I remained seated.
At the end of the meal, when Wife was gathering up the leftovers, I looked over at #7, who was my charge this time. There he was, happily scraping gum from under the table. There must be a special place in hell for people who stick chewing-gum under tables; leaving a revolting treat for two year-olds, and a horrible surprise for their parents. It really doesn’t matter how hungry I was; after that, I was finished.
A great big thanks to the anonymous gum-chewer. Over the years, you’ve saved me thousands of dollars. If it wasn’t for you and your booby traps, we might eat out more often.
A very rare and wonderful thing occurred this last Friday in our household… Dad found a babysitter and took Mom on a date. There was a mixture of relief and upset from our children. Relieved that Mom was leaving so they weren’t going to be put to work, upset because they wanted to go too. So I told them, to ease their worry, that Mom and Dad had to keep building our relationship outside of home duties because once our nest is empty we will have to go back to entertaining ourselves. So every now and then Mom and Dad need to be together without so many beautiful distractions. They all seemed to agree that they would survive one evening without us.
It was a Friday in Lent so our restaurant choices were limited, but we enjoyed some fish tacos at Rubio’s. Our beloved babysitter was willing to watch the 7 month old, so we got to watch a movie without worrying about a squawking baby. It was an evening that I was able to really focus and listen to what my husband wished to talk about, but there is no evening in our lives that is complete without some talk of our children and our plan of raising them. Even while we were dating we always discussed our future children, the ones that would be, God willing. Apparently God was very willing. Now that we are expecting #8, a boy by the way, we still cannot seem to pass the day without at least one conversation concerning our little charges.
I feel rejuvenated and loved by the man I call husband. It really takes a lot of effort to go out for a date. But every now and then, he makes sure that we get our time to focus on and uplift each other. It is one of the many instances that I am reminded why I married him.
This weekend we took the children to a special treat, the circus. It was to be their first time to the big-top. Clowns, acrobats, and the flying trapeze; all this was new and never before seen by their amazed little eyes. I was as much looking forward to the reactions of the kids as I was to the actual show, and between the two, I came out entertained and exhausted.
#5, the two year-old, was very exited to see the animals before the show. He pointed out the elephants, tigers, and lions to everyone in our group at least twice, and to some of us three or four times. For him the show could have stopped right there. In fact he thought that it did. As we were leaving the animal area and were walking to the circus he twisted around in my arms to face me and ask, “Are we go home now?” To his delight the show was just starting.
During the first part of the show I had #4 sitting on my lap. I had to move her from her seat to my lap so she could see over the man in front of her. Wife saw the little girl arching her neck and standing on tip-toe, and knew it was only a matter of time before she ended up tripping into the man’s lap. When #4 could see, she was quite quick to learn when to clap, or at least she never stopped clapping. She was like most of the children, completely engrossed by the entertainers below.
Shortly before intermission, I noticed #2 drawing into herself. She could not take her eyes off the rings below, but she was no longer participating either. After a little coaxing, I finally got her to admit what was wrong, “It’s too noisy!” she shouted above the din. I shouted to relay the words to Wife, who then took a baby blanket from her bag and wrapped it around #2’s ears to muffle the sound. She enjoyed the show much better after that.
During the intermission a clown wandered his way up to our row. He was a little guy with a red nose, bright blue outfit, and equally bright blue hair. As he passed by #5 the little boy’s eyes snapped onto the clown, or more precisely his hair. He kept watching the clown like he might watch a tarantula crawl across his bed. You could see the wheels turning in his little head as the clown walked up and down the aisles; #5 seemed to just know that something about the blue-haired man was very, very wrong.
As adults we forget that people aren’t supposed to have chalk-white faces and blue hair. Total strangers aren’t supposed to hold children at random and smile at every camera in sight. And they are NOT supposed to honk their nose at any time what so ever. #5 knew this, why didn’t anyone else?