#8 appointed himself my honorary second shadow. When I tramp through the house, or out in the yard, he was not far behind. Because of that, I have started walking very quickly to give myself some space. Continue reading
Working with my little boys fills me with pride. The same kind of pride I feel when a job is done, or when I see American soldiers standing at attention. The pride of something of mine going right. Yet, these boys are as frustrating as containing spilled paint. Continue reading
Artists are an odd bunch. Yes, I realized that was a blanket statement made by one who is not an artist. Someone on the outside, who does not understand their thoughts or feelings. Well, if you had been sitting there at my table, you might have felt the same. Follow me down the rabbit hole and I will show you.
So… it has been a while. I understand rumors began to sprout up about our mysterious disappearance from the blog. Let me put your mind at ease. We have not boarded a ship bound for adventures unknown. Nor have we been driven into hiding by distrustful parts of the government determined to regulate family size. And while an idyllic cabin hidden away by year round snowcapped mountains may be appealing, the forever un-melting snow would send me looking for more temperate weather. In short, we are still where we have always been. But for reasons I will explain, I have been unable to approach the blog. Continue reading
From time to time I am surprised at how deep parental instincts go. I am not speaking of maternal instincts, nor feminine insight. I mean that parental discernment that somehow crosses the genders; the ability to know when a child lies, that sense when you know someone is missing, and the judgment to not kick at the small warm lump at the foot of the bed. So, when I shifted in my sleep and my foot touched a warm body, something told me it was not a pile of blankets.
I received a voicemail from Wife. “Do you know what your daughter did?”
Have you ever noticed that when a child does something wrong, the child ceases to belong to the mother?
Over Saturday, Wife and I carried out whispered conversations with each other. Our subject was the terrorist attacks in Paris. The aim of our conversation was how to tell the children. They had already heard something about the attacks, so we needed to talk to them soon. These events of absolute evil are always best coming from their parents, even though we feel like we are leading them across quicksand.
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.
While within my crowd of children, I thought back to how I got in this mess. Looking back, it seemed like such a long path, but it went by so quickly. It must have been on the downward side of the mountain. I went through the archives and thought this one was a good reminder. I hope you enjoy.
Throughout the years of our marriage, Wife and I have heard countless people comment on how hard it must be to raise so many children. Their expressions vary. In some faces, I have seen a fearful expression as if we slept in a bed of snakes, and added to the number all the time. While others seem to look on us as if we ran some kind of prison camp. There are plenty of folks who encourage us. But whether pro or con, terror or pity, nine times out of ten, our family is met with a gasp.
So, I thought I may explain how ended up with all these children. Perhaps those in the gasping crowd might gleam some understanding. And those who already sympathize, might enjoy the read.
Ready? Here we go.
As I see it, with one child I could conceive the ease of the task. After all, the parents have a two to one ratio with the child. We had the upper hand. It was also possible to gang-up on the child.
With two children, the odds were even, but we still had a fighting chance. I could take the first while Wife took the second. Or at the very least, their mother could keep a hold of both children at the same time.
Three was the hardest. For the first time we found ourselves outnumbered. If the children scattered, one could always get away clean. I found it not unlike squeezing putty in my fist, the tighter I squeezed, the more splooged from between my fingers. And worse, the children were too young to entertain themselves, or more importantly, each other!
But the fourth child, oh the fourth is the cruise baby. At baby number four, our first child had become old enough to be a big help with the other two children. Momma finally got her little helper. #1 quickly went from go-for (go for a diaper, go for a blanket, go for your sister) to a real honest-to-goodness holder (hold the diaper bag, hold the purse, hold the baby) and she would accomplish her tasks with real, enviable zeal.
From then on, the rest of the children were gravy. Everyone does their share to help, and with children, the rule truly is “to each according to their abilities.” For example, the other night I watched the children while Wife went to a baby shower. When she drove into the driveway, #3 spotted her first and alerted the rest of us. Immediately #4 joined #3 at the window, aggressively watching their mother park the van. #2 did not move from her spot on the couch watching the movie. #5 and #6 were suspiciously missing. In the meantime, before Wife could open the front door, #1 completely cleared off the dining table. See, “to each according to their abilities.”
I hope this has cleared the air now.
And for those who teeter on the edge of insanity with three children, and can’t take any more, I offer my unsolicited advice. Take the plunge, the water is not as cold as you think… or maybe you just get used to it. Either way, I give you permission. Have yourself a fourth, have your cruise baby, and above all… enjoy!