A Bad Word

In the living room, #4 and #7 had a disagreement. Nothing abnormal there. Siblings are bound to fight every thirty minutes or so.

“No! It’s my turn,” #4 shouted.

A sibling fight is like the weather. Sometimes they are fair, while other times they are foul.

Weather is brewing.

Weather is brewing.

“You un assss-ole!” #7 snapped.

And then, every once in a while, we get an earthquake.

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How Seasons Change

I remember a time when the children’s comfort was our daily goal. To keep the child happy and dry held our undivided attention. Unless she was sleeping, the baby did not leave our arms. And Heaven help us if the toddler’s socks got wet. I suppose you might say we learned that the children are not as breakable as we first thought.breakable Continue reading

Late Night Encounters

The night was dark and encompassing. The moon felt it was necessary to hide herself, causing the shadows to seem deeper. In the stillness, the sounds of the night were hushed, and the household rested without trouble. I was lost somewhere in a dreamless sleep, until I was yanked back into the night by the blood chilling cries of #7.

The last sight of day.

The last sight of day.

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Salt In The Wound

Wife has been close to pulling her hair out for the last few days. She is quite the accomplished little home doctor, but when her patients won’t follow the prescription, well I guess that will drive any doctor insane. So, the two little boys, again, took off their Band-Aids. Continue reading

The Different Faces of Mischief

The children all seem to pass through some mischief phase or another. With all our children, one right after the other, I would have thought that Wife and I would be able to correct any misbehavior almost before it happens. Well, it so happens that while all the children fall into the same patterns, they, very cleverly, find very different way to execute them.

One little face.

One little face.

Wife, now seven and a half months pregnant, waddled out to the porch like a penguin in high-gear. The screams that modulated between annoyance and terror, all stemming from the miniature lungs or #8, were the cause for Wife’s swift pace. And when she burst through the screen door, she was met with a sight that sent her temper up to match her quickening stride. The fourteen month-old, #8, was pinned down by his two year-old brother, #7, who was attempting to run over #8 with a big-wheel.

Another little face

Another little face

Like an avenging angel, Wife swooped in and with a blur of motion had #7 by the scruff of his shirt. He looked up with an expression of horrified amazement, as if to say, “Where on earth did you come from?” But after that he had no time for conscious thought, for he was caught in the whirlwind of his mother’s wrath; and before he knew what happened, he was whisked away in a tornado of arms and legs and left nearly spinning on his bed with the strict command to, “THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU DID!”

GET OUT OF THE WAY!

GET OUT OF THE WAY!

Wife then lifted up and comforted #8, and as he laid his head on her shoulder she turned and notice #5 and #6 for the first time. #5 piped up, “We saw him runnin’ over the baby, we saw him!” And next to his brother, #6 was nodding his head. It would have been better if he had said nothing.

Wife’s motherly instincts became indignant, and her flash-powder-temper had already been ignited. “Then why didn’t you stop HIM!”

At that point, the National Weather Service satellites recorded a second tornado blowing through my house which has taken hold of two little boys.

Here I must stop my wit for a brief moment and declare a wisdom that I had previously overlooked. The children’s bedrooms consist of bunk beds, sheets, and pillows. No toys. No books. No stuffed animals. All Wife’s design. Which means, when children are sent to bed, they have nothing to do but sit in bed… and start the crying that always accompanies discipline.

When I got home at the end of the day, all three boys were still in their beds, fast asleep, some four hours later. And bed-time-out worked. I know now #7 learned that #8 is not a speed-bump, for he has not tried to ride over him again. On the other hand, #8 keeps his distance when #7 in on his big-wheel. And #5 and #6 have learned that they are their “brothers’ keepers,” or at least they plead ignorance after the fact…

Improvement of Patience

At times, God seeks to improve one’s virtues; and apparently I need to improve the virtue of patience. I think of God like a blacksmith. He gathers materials, mixes the ratios, heats it to an unbearable temperature, and then strikes it repeatedly with a very large hammer until it either bends or breaks. #7 is my hammer.

The little year and a half old boy had a bottle, warm pajamas, and was sleeping with his eldest sister who would cradle him in her arms all night, provided he would stop spinning. Apparently that only meets his standards for half of the night. Usually sometime after midnight he wakes up and begins to cry. His banshee like wailing rings through the house like a lost soul. #1 tried to comfort him, but he was as soothed as a cat in a cold shower.

The midnight fury of a one and a half year old.

The midnight fury of a one and a half year old.

When Wife stumbles down the hall to attend him, she most often rocks him back to sleep or lies down with him; at the same time putting herself to sleep. A mother’s instincts I suppose. But she always puts #7 back to sleep and silences to house.

On the other hand, when Wife is busy with the #8 I get up to put #7 back down, I have to battle with my own disposition of looking for a short-cut. When I lay the boy in bed, I tend to do it in a hurry. Slap a bottle in his mouth and tuck him under the blankets. At that point I find myself of listening to his cry between sucks sounding like an old-fashioned air-raid siren.

You see, he would cry in between sucks on his bottle, just to make certain that we all understand his discontent. His siblings, and I do mean all six, that sleep in the same room, have learned to tune him out.  He has quite literally cried wolf too many times. While he cries and kicks and rolls, the rest of our brood roll over and ignore him.

In defense of my quick and ill conceived actions, it all happens at about one thirty in the morning; and unlike the child, I have to go to work before the sun shines. I am not only frustrated at an apparently unsatisfied little boy, but also at the clock which had no concern for how fast it was spinning while I can’t sleep because of the wailing.

I watched the minutes turn into hours, and every time I thought I had #7 asleep, I was wrong. At last, I gave in and held him until he was certainly sound asleep. And after he was in bed and I could crawl into my own, I saw I had only one hour before my alarm clock went off.

I could have been angry. I could have despaired. I have simply been frustrated. But I was too tired. So I patiently waited for the coffee pot to fill.

The End of the Line

At some point every young child has to learn that their parents are the absolute authority. A contest of wills, so to speak. I believe that it sets the tone for the majority of their relationship. In my household, that contest usually happens when the child is between one and three years. With some children it seems to last an entire year. When the child grows to that point (known to some as the terrible twos) Wife and I must be firm, but even I was unaware of just how firm we could be.Leashed

#6 is just conceding to our authority, while #7 has just started to resist. And so, he foundEnd of the line himself in the middle of a forest tied to a tree. Now it sounds worse that it was. If you have read my last post, then you know we had just been camping. It just so happens that was the time #7 chose to be… uppity.

I have heard someone say that a one year old shouldn’t be expected to respect boundaries. Well, I say that if there is a newborn in the picture and a slue of siblings that

To

To

need tending, then he’s going to respect boundaries real quick. And those boundaries include, keeping within sight of his parents (meaning keeping out of the road or out of the forest), and keeping out of the fire (meaning keeping all limbs out of the campfire no matter what.) And that combination led to the leashing of #7 to a tree.

He screamed at his mother. He screamed at me. He screamed at

And Fro

And Fro

the leash and the tree. He stretched the tether as far as it went and screamed. He swung to and fro like a pendulum and screamed. He wrapped the leash around the tree and attempted to pull it over, and when that did not work he screamed. When the other children came over to play around the tree with him, he

ran to the end of his line and

And the tree did not move.

And the tree did not move.

screamed.

No matter how hard anyone tried to distract or comfort the little boy, he would not be soothed. “Liberty before security” apparently is his motto. While I might encourage that attitude later in his life, right now father and mother know best. He’ll see it my way eventually.End of the line

 

*No children were harmed in the writing of this post. #7 was released upon the return to his natural habitat.*

Smoke and Mirrors

With a large family, we never truly leave any of the growing stages behind us. We have always had one to three children in diapers. As soon as one is potty trained, the next is ready to start. We are yet to be without the terrible-twos. And we just can’t wait for high school.Brother Teaching Brother

So, as soon as #6 learned to stop emptying the cupboards, #7 was hot on his heels with a vengeance. This toddler would empty out the plastic cups in the time it would take a normal person to turn around. Wait, it gets better. #7 in a misguided attempt to help or with malicious intent, takes the clean cups and plates and throws them away, yes into the trashcan.

Wife and I now have the household searching the trash before we throw anything away. And when I approach #7 about the matter, he only laughs. He just won’t talk reasonably. When Wife lifted him out of his mess making operation, his eyes rose to upper cupboards with a grin as if to say, “So that’s where you hide the good things.”

His little grin just about touched either ear as he set his charms to work. When I pointed at the mess, he giggled and pointed at the stove. When I scolded him for his inattention, he buried his face into Wife’s shoulder with a loving hug.

I am more than a little concerned that the boy is perfecting planned distractions. Out of a blue sky he started a gut wrenching belly laugh that soon had the rest of the children laughing along with him. Wife and I were at a loss as to what the cause could be, and as we search the room for what could be so funny, the incident was forgotten. In other words, “Ladies and gentlemen, I give you #7 with his smoke and mirrors.”Mess Maker

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.