July 15, 2009

Treatment Plan

Yesterday I took all five children to the pool, and I will just pause here a moment to receive my medal. No---TWO medals. AND we had a picnic, so that would be another medal please.

When we got home, I'd expected them to be tired out from swimming and also mentally stunned from chlorine fumes, and I'd thought that in ANY case my awesome few hours of medal-winning parenthood would buy me a few hours of peace and consideration. I guess I was imagining the children saying to each other, "Mother was so kind to us this morning and gave us such a lovely treat! Now let's give HER a lovely treat and entertain ourselves quietly!"

Instead, I ended up LAUGHING because their questions and requests and needs were SO! INCREDIBLY! CONSTANT! Seriously, if I made a little timeline and charted the children's needs, the timeline would be three layers deep to include all the overlap. One child would say, "Can we go to the park?" and I would say, "Are you effing kidding me? No, not today, honey," and another child would say, "Can I have a drink?" while the first child said, "Well, can we go to Target?" and I'd say "Sure, go get it" to the second child and "NO, honey, we're home for the day," to the first child, and then a third and fourth child would start fighting and get to the point where I could no longer pretend they could work it out themselves, and then the first child would say, "Do you want to hear a great joke?" and the fourth child would say, "I NEED TO GO POTTY!!" and I would say "Oh, no thank you, honey, not right now" to the first child and "Ooooo-kay, go ahead then" to the fourth child, and then the fifth child would open the baby gate and the third child would shriek "HENRY IS OPENING THE GATE!! HENRY IS OPENING THE GATE!!" and the second child would say, "Can you get it for me?" and and I would say, "Okay, I'll be right there!" to the third child and "No, no, honey, leave the gate closed" to the fifth child and "NO I THINK YOU CAN DO THIS YOURSELF" to the second child, and the third child would say, "Henry sure is a naughty baby, isn't he!" and the first child would launch into a long description of a comic strip he read once, and then the second child would call from the kitchen, "I spilled!" and the fourth child would say "I NEED HELP WITH MY BUTTON" and the fifth child would fall and hurt himself and start crying.

So by the time Paul got home, you can imagine what a frazzled wreck I was. Here is what I self-prescribed: LEAVING EVERYONE IN A CLOUD OF DUST. We put the kids to bed at 7:00, and I was out the door before their bedroom doors had clicked shut. I drove the minivan with ONLY ME in it. I listened to music without input or interruption. I stopped furtively at a den of iniquity and got a fish sandwich, french fries, and diet Coke, and I ate while driving to Target.

At Target I got a cart and I put my PURSE in the baby seat. I browsed without having my concentration constantly interrupted. The only question I answered the entire time I was there was "Can I help you find anything?" I easily stayed out of the way of other customers, without having to hiss "SINGLE FILE you oblivious dimheads!" to children spreading aimlessly across the entire aisle. I spent, like, ten minutes just looking at make-up, and didn't have to park the cart in the center of the aisle to keep grabby/throwy fingers away from the merchandise.

Then I drove home, listening to music and not talking. Very, very pleasant. I was still fretful and frazzled when I got home. But! I was better than before. One cannot expect a full recovery from a single dose of medication.

43 comments:

Amanda said...

Pool time should be reserved for right before dinner. They get wiped out, are quiet for dinner, and go directly to bed. I LOVE evening pool visits.

I only play a doctor on the internets, but after that day, I think you need several more doses of your medication. Even a z-pack is 5 days!

Linda said...

Amen, sister.

When my twins were young, I didn't even have the energy to leave the house at the end of the day, but I would have a glass of wine poured and be heading up the stairs to the jet tub when my husband stepped through the door.

Now I have 3 total and your description of the constant demands is right on.

Laura said...

I have five siblings and I remember these days as I had the joy of being the oldest girl! You are one funny lady!

d e v a n said...

I may have to try your brand of medicine because yesterday I was looking around at the chaos that is my life and wondering if I even know who I am anymore.

Smiling Mama said...

Excellent treatment. I think it needs an explicit "once a day" attached to it!!

Jess said...

But! You forgot to mention the most important thing, which is that you have apparently passed on your love of Target to at least one of your children. Which is EXCELLENT news.

maggie said...

I am the oldest of five (born within five years) and every time I read one of these posts I feel like I need to send my mother flowers, chocolates and a Target gift card. HOW DID SHE DO IT?

Leeann said...

I just love you.
I did the exact same thing last night, right down to the "den of Iniquity" except I slummed it at Walmart instead.

Not nearly as relaxing as Target for sure, but I only have three kids so I am not as deserving,LOL!

Today I am off to Target in preparation for MY TEN DAY, NO KIDS, NO HUSBANDS, ALL GIRLS BEACH TRIP.

Before you hate me, remember how I said I love you?

xo,
Leeann

Angella said...

Solo shopping trips are like a piece of heaven.

As for the rest of your day, I award you ten medals (two for each kid).

Lisa said...

Hahaha. My life in print. I was just thinking yesterday, how summer isn't very fun anymore. The three weeks we have left feel daunting with 5 kids.

But that may have been my lack of sleep from 4th child needing help finding and filling his water cup at 1:30 AM and from 5th child wanting to go potty at 3 AM.

Glad you got to escape to Target. I'm looking forward to my book clubs in the coming weeks. I will run from the house, without looking back...

-R- said...

I love your writing.

Pickles and Dimes said...

Oh my god, I'm getting twitchy just reading about your day. Gah. I do not fare well when faced with constant interruptions (hence, my near-panicked scream when confronted with a lunch meeting after two consecutive days of having to work through lunch while being interrupted a kazillion times).

I think I shall borrow your strategy this afternoon and take 15 minutes off work to "run an errand."

P.S. I was convinced your story was going to end with you saying "Go ahead," to one child and having another child thinking you were talking to THEM, and ending in chaos. :)

Anonymous said...

Your account of the day is great - this blog could easily be a NYT best-seller! Question: Are you OK with stopping at 5 kids?

Penny said...

wow, I can't even bring 2 kids to the pool by myself. You definitely need a medal.

Whimsy said...

Take two (more) of these and call me in the morning.

Melanie said...

I had to do the same thing yesterday, only I left and one child was still up. Such a weird feeling to put my purse in the part where the babies go!

samantha said...

I need a nap now.

Elizabeth said...

Um, I have ONE, and yesterday the constant demands from ONE were making me feel more than a little mentally unhinged. You are my HERO.
Also, I love the fact that your kids ask to go to Target. You are raising them right, that's for sure.

Kri said...

5 kids at the pool plus a picnic deserves sainthood, not just a medal. You are very funny. I love that your get away is Target. I guess that I go there enough during the week with my son that I never think about going by myself.

My get away is the library. Our local branch is open until 9 a couple of nights a week and it is the best thing in the world to go there without a toddler and be able to BROWSE for books for ME! Sometimes I just sit in a chair and read! Alone! Heaven.

Kristin said...

Ummm..that's supposed to be from Kristin, not Kri. I keep doing that.

Alice said...

heehee, i love that the kids think of target as a destination - they must love it as much as you do :-)

Kim said...

Do you understand that knowing what my greatest wish is in this world that even I get what you're saying? Just reading that made me a little panicky. I'm glad you were able to get away for awhile.

Alicia said...

That third paragraph? IS MY LIFE. Target is like a playdate for my four.

Courtney said...

HA! ha ha ha ha HA!

"One cannot expect a full recovery from a single dose of medication."

LOVE it!

Giselle said...

5 kids? Pool? By yourself? Picnic included?

You should be going to a Target in Hawaii. You deserve more than a local Target.

sitting on the mood swing at the playground said...

I think you need another does of medicine immediately.

I went to Target by myself today...at one point I may have been skipping I was so happy. I loved being able to look at whatever I wanted for however long and I wanted with the option to go back two or three times.

Crystal said...

I've only (only! HA!) got 3 kids, but I am so there with you. Except not the pool, because I'm not crazy.

Lora said...

Target is my official Safe Place.

It's the only place to go where I am 100% okay. If it looks like I will have a tagger alonger (husband or boy) I lie and say I'm going to Walmart and no one wants to go to Walmart.

Christy said...

1. I was just thinking the other day that I should get a medal, and I only have three kids.
2. Pools, in general, are hours of prep and clean up for such a SHORT amount of actual fun time.
3. I'm always hopeful that some activity in the morning will result in quiet time for me in the afternoon. Nope. Never happens.
4. I definitely share your love of Target. And browsing without having to hiss at small children.

Serial Mommy said...

HAHAHA!!! i've had those days!!! it's usually when i institute a no whining/complaining/bitching day..you start with me, upstairs you go! i don't care what your complaint is, upstairs you go! and why is it they can stand there and SCREECH at the top of their lungs at WHAT the 2/3 year old is doing but they can't, for the love of their life, STOP HIM???? would it really be THAT hard that instead of SCREECHING at me, to just stand in the way??? REALLY??? THAT HARD????

Belly Girl said...

This was seriously the funniest thing I've read in a long time. How you have 5 children and still manage to write THIS funny is absolutely beyond me. I would have given you 4 medals.

nonsoccermom said...

I just have to say that you are totally my hero. I just have the two kids PLUS I work outside the home full time and today was one of those days where I had to bite my tongue to keep from screaming "SHUT UP! JUST. SHUT. UP!"

Sadly, the little one doesn't even speak in sentences yet.

You deserve far more than two medals, is what I'm saying.

Kristi said...

That is the most amazing description of CONSTANT NEEDINESS that I have ever read! Brava! When my kids do that my husband calls them BottomFeeders - as in "Leave mom alone and quit being such bottomfeeders!" His support is just endless.

Kristin.... said...

I am having one of those days today. I like your remedy!!!

the new girl said...

Next time, follow those meds with a chaser..

A couple of tablespoons full of Nutella, STRAIGHT FROM THE JAR.

You're welcome.

Miz S said...

Have I ever mentioned that children who graduate from college and are in their twenties make for a really ideal parenting situation?

Sam said...

Duuuuude. That sounds like better medicine than anything I can think of on my own. Target with a fish sandwich in one's belly. AWESOME.

Anonymous said...

I'm the oldest of five, born within 4 years. This is why I am not having more than two kidlets. Not only was my mom frazzled and exhausted and depressed a lot of the time, I didn't get individual attention, and neither did anyone else.

Good luck with your "medication"!

Swistle said...

Anonymous- Too bad she didn't have a Target!

Steph said...

Awesome! This supports my secret, unpublished (shhhh!) theory that the more fun stuff you do with kids the more they expect, so we should all just stay home and stare at each other day after day all summer. ;) This is hard to put into practice, however. That's why alone time in the minivan with music CRANKED is very good and quite essential.

Kelly said...

I heart you. that was a hilarious post...esp. the "conversation" paragraph with the kids.

yeah I ran my kid to taekwondo and swim lessons to the tune of 2.87/gallon gas and its on the other side of town which here may as well be a neighboring suburb. and its over 105. I'm waiting for my medal to arrive in the mail. I bet its going to be sooooo pretty! I can't wait!!

tripleblessings said...

Brilliant post! I have triplets who do that constantly overlapping conversation thing all the time, and I usually struggle with the multi-tasking required, and create more chaos.
Yes, you deserve a bunch of shiny medals - maybe you could find some at Target tomorrow! Try the aisle with the birthday party favours?
Thanks for the smile!

Summer Nicklasson said...

hahahahahaha! Wow you DO deserve a medal. Man I feel like a total heel right now for ever bitchin about ONE.

BTW, I, too, adore shopping at Target for stress relief. I call it "slow shopping" and it can take a good couple of hours. Feels great!