Sunday, September 11

The Things We Didn't Know

Haha...I have to start this post out with a little chuckle because what I'm about to say kind of makes me laugh...partially because it seems so obvious and mundane, partially because we've all "been there" and partially because I have come SO far and grown SO much in the last four years...

...nutty as they've been.

I had one of those moments earlier today when I was remembering what it was like to not be a parent-- to be young, married, childless and in the midst of young children who are not yours.

Kind of crazy, overwhelming, and irritating...quite frankly...depending on the kids.

Those moments always kind of made me raise my eyebrows, drink a little more coffee (or wine, depending on the moment and situation) and serve as a reminder to enjoy my "free" time just a little bit more...

Alright, that last one is not completely true...because you never, ever, truly understand how much kids change your lives enough to change the way you live before you have kids. You simply:

A) just try to avoid kid ridden situations more ardently for a while and,
B) allow those moments to serve as a really good dose of birth control for a while.

Now that I'm on the other side I just kind of laugh at moments like this morning...the moments that prompted this blog entry about being childless in the midst of many small children.

We just returned from a short family "vacation".  Participants in this "vacation" included Scott, myself and our girls, my sister, her husband and her two boys, my parents, my brother and his wife (who are expecting), and then, just for the last night my other brother and his girlfriend. We all stayed in one house together. It was a large house, but was still one roof.

I keep putting the word "vacation" in quotes, because, I really need to explain...perhaps I should link you back to the last "vacation" Scott and I took with the girls to Erie, PA just two short months ago.

This pretty much had the same feel.

Fun to see new places and new things, but not really relaxing...except maybe for brief, brief moments...and vicariously through my brother and his wife who read books, played games, and drank coffee sans children in the midst of the chaos.

Here is what this morning looked like (and, for the most part, all 9 mealtimes over the last four days)...Scott was making omlettes in the kitchen while everyone attemtpted to sit around a 12 foot, solid wood dining table on long benches while simultuaneously feeding our children and putting out the "fires" that kept errupting. There were four kids...this morning, for example...

our vacation dining room

1. Ava (4) had already finished breakfast and was tapping people (like my brother's 20 year old girlfriend) on the shoulder with one of those stick ponies (with the soft heads and the long poles) that you pretend to ride on to say "hello".
2. Noah (3) had just finished going to the bathroom, and came running into the dining area, pants and undies around his ankles proclaiming that he needed to be wiped.
3. Ella (2) was being tattled on for hitting, scratching and otherwise just being plain crabby and mean to all other kids for most of the weekend.
4. Landon (1& 1/2) was attempting to run away from Ella, get someone to play with him and and opening and closing doors as he hobbled around simultaneously trying to keep up with the other kids and stay away from Ella...and sometimes Ava who liked to try to pick him up under his arms as if he were some sort of life sized doll and carry him around the cabin.

This was all before my brother's lovely 20 year old girlfriend got up to go to the bathroom herself and us parents, all being happy our children had left us alone long enough to eat finally heard Ava and Noah tapping and yelling at the bathroom door..."Kaylee, Kaylee...what are you doing in there? Let us in!"

We finally hollered from the other room that they should leave her alone.

My brother (who is expecting with his wife) filled my younger brother and his girlfriend in at the dinner table that these sorts of things happen roughly "every 12 minutes" or so...

...and he wasn't joking.

Aaron...the young, unmarried brother, admitted that it was all a little overwhelming this the nicest way of course...

"I don't know how you guys do it," he added with wide eyes and a grin.

And Cliff and Dani, the expectant parents said they were taking notes.

I laughed a little to myself because I know that many of those "notes" might as well have just been left for trash in that very cabin.

I wrote some of those notes myself...

Like the time I went out to dinner with friends, while I was pregnant with Ava, and was thinking about how chaotic the table was...and wondering why their kids weren't sitting in their chairs, eating their food, or generally just being peaceful and enjoying their meal...

my kids will be different is of course what I thought.

ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

did you hear that laughter wherever you are?!

Oh, the things we didn't know.

I suppose I wouldn't have it any other way...perhaps because I don't think there really is another's just all part of serving your time as the parents of toddlers and young children.

At least the kids want to be in the same room as what will seem like just a few years I imagine we'll be dealing with protests about how much time they actually want to spend with us.

To my brothers and their women...It's not that bad. I swear.

...Or, perhaps you just get used to it.

three of the four "trouble" makers

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