Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Girls gone wild

Yesterday I got a glimpse of what life would be like if we had three children under 5.

And how can I possibly convey how draining it was? Convey how completely and utterly taxing it was on my entire body? Convey how it tested every ounce of my patience right down to the molecules in my toenail cuticles? Convey what it does to a person to be surrounded by noise-making, primary color-draped plastic for hours uninterrupted? Convey how at the end of the day, I could barely walk up a flight of steps without ramming into the walls out of sheer exhaustion?

How about this: If I had access to a blowtorch, I would personally solder my uterus shut.

It's not that the kids didn't behave. In fact, they were wonderful. While Jerry and our friend Roger were working on the patio, I watched his daughters -- Kali, who turned 5 a few days ago, and Emma, 2 and a half. (And I'm pretty sure that half refers to parts per million of caffeine. Or maybe cocaine.)

They never stopped. Not once. Not even when they accidentally rammed into a bench or a tree or a toy and fell over. They would just get up and continue along on their rampage of crazy. They're like those self-propelled vacuum cleaners -- once they hit an obstacle, they just spin around and keep going.

And the talking. Oh, the talking.

What's that mean? What's Daddy and Jerry doing? Why? Can I have some milk? Can I have some more? Can I hold the baby? Why's she doing that? Why does she put everything in her mouth? Where's Toby? Can he do that trick again? Why's he running away? I want that. Can I have that? Can I throw it? Why not? Why does Hanna Montana sing all the time? Watch this! Kelly! Watch this! I know, but watch again! Watch! My HANDS go above my HEAD! Can I show you my dance moves? Wait. That's not right. OK now watch. Now. I'm ready now. Kelly? ... Kelly? Why are you stuffing the grass in your ears like that? And poking the pine needles in your eyes?

I think the most difficult part was having to be the best version of myself for so long. They demanded all of my attention and required every ounce patience and understanding and mediation skills I had to offer. When I thought I had nothing left to give, I dug into my reserves and pulled out another smile.

Sure, there were times I thought about calling a cab and simply laying down in the middle of the road waiting for it to arrive. Particularly when I asked Emma if she would like some carrots and after sweetly replying "yes," she proceeded to scream "NO!" when I placed them in front of her. Then she swatted them onto the floor.

After explaining to her that it's perfectly acceptable to change her mind, but not get angry about it, she repeated the process with Cheerios. THERE IS NO REASONING WITH A 2 YEAR OLD. End of snack time. Period.

But in between the moments of chaos and flying vegetables, the girls really were a lot of fun.

I loved facilitating a game of imagination where we turned a big blanket into a car, and the girls invented all sorts of different places to visit. It was nothing short of amazing to see their minds at work.

But by no stretch of the imagination will I ever want that many kids that close in succession.

I'd rather buy a blowtorch.

11 comments:

Jennifer Suarez said...

My two girls are 3 years apart and it's PERFECT. I would like 1 more to add to the mix soon though, and considering my oldest will be turning 5 this year, I will be close to what you described.

I don't think it's the number of children as much as it's the AGE that makes it so exhausting. From 18 months until 3 years... they are ... well... for lack of a better word TERRIBLE 70% of the time. The whole carrot/cheerio incident I'm sure you'll be experiencing with Allison soon enough.

But regardless... I can tell you this. After seeing how my 2 girls play and interact with each other, I could NEVER imagine having only 1 child. 2(+) kids is an amazing thing

Ray said...

Hahaha! Yes having kids that close in age can drive you crazy. I'm glad you're smart enough to know that, you should wait until Alli's older to have another. =)

My cousin for instance: She has 3 daughters. One who's turning 11 in August, the other who's 8 and the youngest just turned 7 last month (well used-to-be-youngest-anyhow!). And now she JUST had a BOY (yes after three girls) on June 25th! So that's four children all under the age of 12.

But people do it all the time. Don't know how they do it, but they manage.

Well, take care.

Anonymous said...

I am at work and laughing OUT LOUD!!! This was one of your best. The talking part was so true. You are great Kelly!

Anonymous said...

Oohh. The "terrible twos!" My cousins are going to be four and two at the end of the year and they're the exact same. The younger one doesn't talk that much yet, but THEY DON'T stop! Oh, and don't touch the sparkly crayon! You don't want to know what happens when someone breaks it...


Congrats for living through it!

Amanda said...

On a roll! Love your stories.

HeyJade said...

I have a two-and-a-half-year-old...and it's true, there is NO reasoning with 'em.

It was not only a look at what it would be like to have more than one kid at a time, but definitely a look at things to come. Your sweet angel will be two soon...get ready! Haha.

Karen said...

My son and daughter are 6 years apart. I think that's the best way.

But you sure captured the lives of little girls perfectly!

Anonymous said...

My brother in law and his wife have 3 kids, they are 6,4 and 1. I seriously don't know how they do it.

After visiting with them I am exhausted. They are so much fun to be around though. I'm just glad I get to leave after a few hours.

~Kirs

jsi said...

What an afternoon you set up for yourself...whew! You deserve an uninterupted naptime with popcicles waiting for you when you get up.

It is striking how much effort is required to continue to hear all the words that can get spken by the young ones of our species. I can recall a phrase I needed to use after #4 was a fluent speaker...sometimes I just had to tell #s 1,2,3 &4 that I had heard too many words and I needed a time out from listening.

Being with that many little ones requires a great deal of energy.

Now add a brand new infant and you know exactly how I met spring 2000.

It is true there is no reasoning with a 2 year old, there is only understanding, "os so that's how it goes." You are very right, snack time is over until every little carrot and Cheerio is picked up off that floor.

Candi said...

So... no trying for twins this year? :)

the_plainsman@xanga.com said...

No wonder those parents pushing those triple seat strollers in the mall have that dazed, glazed over look about them! God Bless them.

At least a three year's spacing, if you and Jerry do decide to have more, will result in less overlap when paying that college tuition!

Growing up an only kid was not bad, though, I think it resulted in me being more resourceful when neighborhood playmates were not around.