Once upon a time I had these grand plans to be a fun Mom/Nanny. We were going to go out all of the time! The park, museum and places unknown were going to be our everyday experiences. Every now and again I start thinking that way again. Then I take all four of these little hooligans somewhere and by the time we get home I swear that I.will.NEVER do that again. It’s always the same thing, I don’t know why I think it will be any different…
At first one of two things happen: Big C REALLY wants to do whatever we’re doing, and thus is all excited and hyper acting or Big C really does NOT want to go wherever we’re going, in which case he wines/moans, drags his feet and picks fights. This is on top of two two year olds who think getting dressed to go bye-bye is some kind of endurance exercise for me (let’s run and laugh and take off all of the clothes she just put on us! yay!). Also, during this time Lil C (who is 5 and perfectly capable of getting himself ready to walk out of the door) is doing nothing to get ready, and is probably getting out a toy/game that will need to be put away before we leave.
Once we get outside, the toddlers immediately run into the yard rather than wait to be put in their car seats. I catch one and wrestle them into their seat while the other rolls in dirt. The big boys are fighting. I catch the other baby and wrestle them into their seat. The big boys are a) still fighting and b) not in their seats. I yell at the big boys to get in the car. They continue fighting.
As we drive to our destination, I play music to distract everyone. The boys fight over it. Ladybug drops a toy or takes off her shoes then screams at me for the entire trip to get it for her. Lil G wants everything Lil C has. Lil C wants everything both babies have. There is a fucking toy store in my seat and yet three children cannot be kept entertained for 15 minutes. Big C plays his iPod with the volume up so loud he’s in danger of violating noise ordinances.
When we arrive at wherever the hell we were going, I have an inner debate about just going back home, but decide to buck it up and stay the course. You know, follow through and boot straps and all that. We assign buddies (i.e. one big kid + one little kid) for the parking lot. The boys fight over who gets to be the chosen baby of the day’s buddy. I end up carrying one and holding the other’s hand while the big boys run ahead and forget all about us. They usually go into the building/onto the playground and just generally get ahead of themselves and me. Often I’m left to negotiate a door with both littles by myself.
Once inside/established at our destination things go smoothly for approximately 4.6 seconds. Then littles start trying to run off, bigs fight some more and people start giving me the hairy eye (not 100% true, I do often get compliments on how well-behaved they are in public, but a so frustrated by their private behavior at this point that everything irritates me). Everyone wants to do something different and Big C alternates between being up his sister’s ass and telling me “it’s not my fault if she falls and breaks her neck.” To which I reply “if she falls because you were up her butt it will be” and he gets all pissy. Lil C will take this time to vanish. He is a master at wandering off.
We find Lil C, and I start the “we’re going home soon” routine. Because “soon” means “at some in the next hour when I’ve had ENOUGH” and who knows when that will be. At this point I am exhausted and red-faced and aggravated and just want to go home and have a glass of wine and SIT DOWN. Because I am fat and have RA, but also because four children suck the life out of you at like octo speed.
When I have finally had enough of the fighting, running off, fighting and hairy eyeballs, I do make them leave. Getting back to the car is done at a snail’s pace. Once again bigs have forgotten the whole “buddy” concept and left me to wrangle toddlers who do NOT want to get back into the car. They do want to look at rocks and run. away. The big boys are fighting, again. I’ve finally reached my wit’s end with the fighting and tell them to be silent until we get home. So they start arguing with me and asking me for the specific conditions of the silence (i.e. if a car is coming and going to hit one of the babies can I make noise?). The irony is lost on them. I get the littles strapped into their seats while saying “Silent means don’t ask me all of these questions (OOH, I thought I just couldn’t talk to my brother…). Get in your seat and put on your seat belt.”
Finally everyone gets strapped in and we drive home. This drive is much like the drive to our destination, except one or both toddlers falls asleep. Which I prefer.
When we get home the big boys rush to the door, stand in my way while I try to unlock the door, then take off their coats/shoes and leave them in the floor (right next to the bin where they belong) in front of the door. I make two trips to carry in sleeping babies. If it can be swung, I stay in bed with Lil G after carrying him in. Usually I have to get back up and break up the fight that has erupted in the hallway right in front of the bedroom doors.
At this point I am exhausted and frustrated and grumpy, nothing has gotten done at the house and the children are no happier than they were before we left. So I swear to never, ever, do that again. Until I forget the misery and decide to do it again…