Feeding an Army

Tea Party at Grandma'sIt has been said that when Wife cooks dinner for our family it must be like cooking for an army. Well, that’s not quite true. The children are still quite young and their portions are limited, as well as their attention spans.

Wife also does not cater to special wants. Though, most of the children have not yet figured that out. They still persist in complaining about the food before them, which is a dangerous prospect. Complaining about their meal could give them no meal at all. Wife hands out portions to each child according to what she judges the child will eat. Second helpings are allowed, but Lord help whatever child does not finish their seconds, it might have been better to have complained about the food.downloaded  June11-2013 1732

Table manners, or discipline, are at times to be wanted. The other day #6, covered in barbeque sauce, leapt off the bench, for no apparent reason, and ran for all he was worth into a pile of clean laundry across the room. Wife and I were the only ones to notice. All the other children were engrossed in their own conversations of doings. #4 was pointing out the stake and corn on her plate to #3 saying, “See, we’re eating corn beef.”

When the children grow bigger (especially the boys) Wife will indeed be feeding an army. Hopefully a discipline like the military will also come with age. But until then, it is more like feeding a band of guerrilla fighters. They’re always willing to complain, always ready to flee, and more than capable of leaving a disaster wherever they go.

Poolside Wonders

Fun in the SunMy parents wisely installed a pool at their house to insure that their children would always be within a close proximity, at least during half of the year. Even if their children don’t want to come over, their grandchildren would, if only to swim. And so I find myself almost drug by my children into my parents’ pool quite often.

This last weekend my mother broke out the barbeque. She ran the barbeque because my father was busy installing the new door she wanted. She also enticed my children over which in turn looped me into helping my father and brothers with the door. The truth be told, I did very little.

The most help I lent to the project was to chase my children away from the construction and back into the pool. It felt like herding ducks back and forth. They all seemed to scatter when I approached and I had to catch them one at a time and toss them back into the water. Yet, their curiosity kept pulling them back to the sound of hammers and nails.

Thankfully the door was finished about the same time as the hotdogs. Children, sopping wet, waited in line for hotdogs right off the grill. As they munched their meal, they formed up another line to inspect the new door. Once they had approved it, they found their own places on the deck to eat.

In the relative calm, my mother was picking up loose tools to help put them away. When she came across a cup filled with nails she inquired where it should be put. My youngest brother responded, “Don’t worry about it mom. Those are bad nails.”

My mother set the paper cup down on a chair to toss into the trash later. My children heard something about “bad nails” that drew their interest. They again formed their own line to peer into the cup one at a time to see what “bad nails” looked like. After satisfying their curiosity they again set down to finish their meal.

It never ceases to amaze me how children can at times be so civilized, yet, be so disordered at other times. And people wonder why I am already turning gray.Relaxing at the Pool

To Vaccinate or Not To Vaccinate

Here’s something that is a little controversial, vaccines. I have heard and read all kinds of opinions on the matter; from those who staunchly believe all children should receive every vaccine known to man at the very moment the child exits the birth canal, to those who are convinced that vaccination was the cause of their child’s autism. With this wide array of conflicting opinions, I thought I might as well add my own just so that you and everyone else could get even more confused.

The never ending wait... at the Doctor's office.

The never ending wait… at the Doctor’s office.

We did in fact vaccinate the first six children. With the way the pediatrician talked about it, if we did not immunize the children bad things would certainly happen (like polio or the start of the zombie apocalypse). After dealing with that I believe that pediatricians must get paid a bonus per shot, because of the way they push immunizations onto unsuspecting parents. I began to feel like I was dealing with a used car salesman, rather than a doctor. I’ve known some pediatricians who will not even become the primary doctor of a child, if you do not first get the child vaccinated. Not all pediatricians do that of course, but they are always harder to find.

Now, every time one of my children got their shots (it sounds like we are talking about dogs doesn’t it?) the child would get a slight fever. The doctors always said that was to be expected, and we never questioned it. So we would deal with the three or four feverish children for a week or so because it had to be done.

Then something happened in our family. Two of my sisters went into the medical field. Now understand, my mother did not vaccinate myself or any of my eight siblings; so as you can imagine, when my sisters started working at the hospitals, they had to get all the vaccines required. After they did, an incredible happened; neither of them got sick, no sniffles, no fever, no nothing.

So… here’s our count, six out of six children (all under two years old) got feverish every time they got their shots. Two out of two sisters get every vaccine under the sun and got nothing.

I am starting to believe that vaccines are really designed for adults and are only pushed onto infants because they cannot run away. Needless to say, #7 is without vaccinations. So far there has been no apocalypse…

At the birth of #7... dad is telling the nurses, "Please no shots!"

At the birth of #7… dad is telling the nurses, “Please no shots!”

 

Post from Wife: Happy Father’s Day!

Our Father in Heaven, I thank you for my Daddy. He was there to  raise me, protect me, and guide me all through my childhood and even into motherhood. He played a major role in guiding me to the father of my children. His example of sacrifice and faithfulness caused me to search for a man with the same virtues. I am also thankful for the father who raised my husband, and helped to mold him into the man he is today. Thank you Father of all Creation, for placing me where I am with these generous men who strive to provide for their families in all aspects of life.

In honor of this Father’s Day, I wish to share with you all, the joyous moments of each of our children’s births, making my husband a father each time.

Daddy with #1

Birth of #1 and my husband as a father.

Daddy with #2 (and #1)

Father of 2.

Daddy with #3

Naps with #3

Daddy with #4

Proud Daddy with #4.

Daddy with #5 (and 1st son!)

Finally a SON! #5

Daddy with #6

#6 rocking with his Daddy.

Daddy with #7

A very tired pair… Napping with #7.

Reality and Children?

It never ceases to amaze me just how differently children see the world. As if our eyes evolve over the ten or so years into something close to reality. Either what they see doesn’t exist, or what you want them to see, they can’t; as though we see in color while they see in ultraviolet.

We can be looking at the exact same cage at the zoo and my little ones just can’t find the gorillas, but they see the blue jay up in the tree or they freak-out at the spider in the bars. Any parent knows what I’m writing about, or if not you will in good time.BIG SPIDER

Here’s another, #2 just got a puppy, and the puppy and his poop are her responsibility. Now when I found puppy poop in the front room I gently informed her to “CLEAN IT UP!!!!” Then for some reason the flustered child was unable to locate said poop. After what seemed to me a reasonable time of pointing it out, I nearly had to put her nose in it.

And it’s the same when they clean their rooms. “Mommy, it’s clean!”

Wife doesn’t even have to poke her head in. “No it’s not! Look, there’re toys there and there, and what about all the dirty laundry? Do you see it?”

“Yeah, I guess so.”

At times like that I even wonder if we are speaking the same language.

However, I do see something in their eyes that makes me remember magic. When I’m holding the baby and he is looking into empty space with amazement and wonder written all over his face and my mother says, “Oh, he’s looking at the angels.” I speculate if he really is.

When the #4 is tracing out with her eyes the lines in rocks, I am curious if she can see something in the granite that eludes me.

When I see all the children huddled up on a bolder watching the same sunset they have seen all their lives, I wonder what I am missing.

Too often I think we adults are sucked into “reality” and loose out on the beautiful world God gave us. I find my mind crowded with taxes, phone bills, credit card bills, and grocery bills. I get so caught up in the rat-race I almost forget the green leaves, the blue skies, and deep waters. But God has blessed me, for always before my eyes are the ever present smiles of my children, and in my ears is their never ending laughter.

We all seem to loose reality now again. Sometimes me, and sometime my children.puppy food

Work and Repercussions

I stood in shocked silence as the scene played out before me. Don’t worry, no one was hurt or damaged. Instead I witnessed #3 brought to tears as #1 performed the chore of #3.

It all started when Wife and I were in our bedroom conversing. I foolishly began to lead the conversation. In only a couple of sentences I had Wife gagging on some idea that apparently did not agree with her pregnant state.

She called out for #3 to bring her a glass of water… as she felt my water from last night was unsuitable for the purpose.

Unknown to Wife, #3 had her head in the sink brushing her teeth. #1, observing her sister was occupied, jumped into action and got the water for her mother.

Now that was when the problem started. #3 caught her sister half way. “AAAA! I wooor ga do dat!” she mumbled through a thick froth of toothpaste and the toothbrush still in her mouth.

“I’ve got it,” replied #1. “I’ve got it!” thrusting out her right hand to ward off her oncoming sister.

“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” shouted #3 grasping for the glass while at the same time carefully avoided dripping the white froth that circled her mouth. She knew she would be in trouble with her mother if she dripped toothpaste on the carpet.

“Honey, I didn’t know you were brushing your teeth,” Wife piped in. “Go finish brushing. She’s already brought it to me.”

“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” #3 stomped back to the bathroom in a flurry of blonde hair. A couple of rooms over I heard the bathroom door slam and bounce back open (the latch is broken.)

When things just don't go you way

When things just don’t go you way

I had no idea what to do. Before me was a child who was absolutely offended that someone else did her work. It is true that Wife and I have attempted to instill a good work ethic in our children. We only want them to perform any task they undertake to the best possible outcome of their abilities. I suppose that this outburst is a proof that at least #3 has taken our lessons to heart.

I mean, I knew we were good, but I had no idea we were that good.Belly Love

Walking on Four Legs

What walks on four legs, then walks on two legs, and finally walks on three legs?

The answer, as everyone well knows, is a man.

I open with this whimsical riddle because my children find the transition between legs very frustrating. We can always tell when a child is about to crawl due to its disagreeable temper. And again, right before the child starts to walk (or run, in some cases).Crawling Away

#7 is going through the change right now. Though he crawls all over the place like a weasel, his pent up frustration bursts forth when he finds himself left behind by his siblings. You see, he understands just how the world rotates… around him. But he also seems to understand that he can’t keep up with the world and its rotations. Thus his outrage is made known.

From a more practical standpoint, the next step our little boy will take will be… a step. But until then, he is still asserting his authority of gravity. By that I mean he demands to be held by his mother or sisters at any opportunity to prove without a doubt that gravity has no hold on him. We haven’t yet told him, but when the new baby comes gravity will in turn begin to assert itself.Just Can't Walk

They have all been like that, fussy until they can crawl, and fussy until they can walk. After they can walk, they find less important things to fuss over. Possessing the slew of children that we do, we have a good idea of what to expect.

On a side note, #7 is quite nearly crab-walking against the couch. He can at least work his way into arms reach of his mother. For all you young parents out there, do not leave your baby to crab-walk on top of the couch, as it ends the baby often does not.

Wrenches in the Gears

In my household, the unexpected is to be expected. Very cliché I know, and not at all original, but I was at a loss of a better way to describe it. You see, with nine individual people in the house, someone is bound to throw a wrench in the gears.

Mother's Day

Mother’s Day Breakfast, complete with omelet and tea.

Last Sunday there were at least two women who would have noticed that I did not write anything; they are my mother and my mother-in-law. To you two, I offer in writing my profound apologies. I have been told that writers are lazy by nature… well, they’re right. BUT, in my defense I have been quite busy with Pre-Mothers Day, Mother’s Day, and a whole brigade of viruses that we thought had been defeated two weeks ago; but were really laying in wait for us to drop our guard and open the windows. Sneaky little assassins.

Out of a clear sky the younger boys were struck with the flu, again. Through a busy week Wife did battle with her miniature foe, and finally succumbed herself, again. Unfortunately when Wife was laid up with the flu, it happened to be the weekend that some of her extended family was arriving at her parents’ house. The following day I threw in the wrench by catching the same bug. Two weeks planning for this reunion and my family got sick, one… at… a… time…Down for the count

And so I move on. It’s in my caricature to hold on and ride out the storm. But Wife on the other hand steams onward through thick and thin on a steady course. While Wife was down I carried on with the care of the children. When Wife was back up she not only set to right the house I had neglected but also the children I had not neglected. With the skill of a watch smith and the finesse of a drill sergeant, she set her skills to work pulling wrenches out of all points of the house and children. With an energy previously unaccounted for, she set all to proper working order.

I stayed in bed with my flu and kept my wrenches to myself.

A Flu Week in a Single Night

With all the seasons I could get stuck with, ski season, duck season, football season, swim season, or even planting season, but no I was stuck with a late flu season. Of itself and because of Wife, flu season is usually not a trouble because of her incredible gifts of organization. When the flu hits us the cards most often fall like so:

 

1-     One child gets the flu (nine times out of ten, it is the preschooler)

2-     One or more come down with the same virus while Wife has the first on the mend.

3-     One to three children are sick at a time as the flu makes its run through the house. Between sick kids healing meals, Wife some how keeps the laundry caught up.

4-     The one who brought the flu home in the fist place catches it on the rebound just to monopolize Wife once more.

5-     I catch the flu on the weekend and get Wife’s undivided attention.

 

A week of the flu season – max.

Now here’s what happened. Wednesday Wife calls to inform me that she will require help that night as she is unwell. I am amicable. As I did help create the children; I, with great vigor, will endeavor to take charge of my beloved’s responsibilities of the children through one night. She however neglected to tell me that she was not the only one ill.

I found four children complaining of “stummy aches” and the last three just plain sick. I could handle that though. Wife does it all the time. All I have to do is do what she does. So, taking a leaf out of her book, I went to lay out blankets on the floor of the living room so they could watch a movie to take their minds off their illness. So…… where does Wife keep the blankets?sick children in a row

I gathered the children and bunched them all together. I figured that way when a child started throwing-up I would be able to find the kid. I did not have long to wait.

I was wakened from a dead sleep by a “Mom!!! So-n-so threw-up!”

#1 left a trail of vomit from the kitchen all the way into the bathroom. That just about set the tone for the night. As soon as the carpet was cleaned and #1 was back on the couch #5 began throwing-up down his shirt and onto his pillow. That was when I almost added my own contribution to the mess.

Understand; as I am writing about vomit covered pillows, I am trying not to get queasy myself.

At one point in the night, while I was changing #6’s pajamas Wife got up to help clean the bedding, and was quickly chased back by her own stomach cramps.Sick mess of children

I confess, I now believe Wife to be made of something equal to cast iron. Twice, I ran from a child in order to calm my own stomach. There was a huge pile of vomit caked blankets and sheets in the laundry room. And the pile of sick kids in the front room resembled a kind of blanket covered mass grave.

To put the matter in a nutshell – we had an entire flu week condensed into one night; and I was in charge. How did we survive?

 

Sand piles

king of the hillImagine a gigantic mountain of golden sand, the finest of grains tumbling between your toes. A rolling sandy slide on the other side promising to fill your shorts up.follow me The treasures hidden just beneath the surface if you only dig down far enough. The clean grains that fall right off you and don’t stick to your hands like clay or mud. The fresh smell that a pile of sand gives off after it has been recently turned.  On top of the artificial hill you feel like you are on top of world itself. You can now imagine what my children feel like.

Race ya to the top of which peak?

Race ya to the top of which peak?

Now imagine all your children engaged in a free-for-all brawl on top a pile of unstable dirt complete with rocks and all kinds of unsavory subterranean insects. Multiple blonde heads have transformed into chestnut brown. Their little faces are sporting raccoon-rings around their eyes. There is dirt in pants, dirt in diapers, and dirt in eyes. You have lumps on heads from rocks, scraped knees from rocks, and stubbed toes from rocks. You have a crying baby, weeping children, and all around mayhem. You can now imagine what Wife feels like.

Imagine now a bathtub full of dirty, giggling children all splashing each other while desperately avoiding their mother as she makes the shampoo rounds. There are children scrubbing, squirming, splashing, as well as screeching, squealing, screaming. Wife is scolding one for splashing water out of the tub at the same moment as she vigorously shampoos out all of the dirt that was dumped into the hair of the younger sibling. The children are dried, dressed, and sent to bed. And on the way to bed I hear one child say to another, “Tomorrow, lets play in the sand pile again.” There is agreement all around. You can now imagine what a warm spring evening feels like in our home.

Truth be told, if not for Wife, the children would not get bathed.Dirt fort