Thursday, January 15, 2009

Ninja Turtles Don't Hit

and other things I never heard myself say before I was a mom. I swear I'm going to write a book someday full of the random things I hear come out of my mouth now that I spend my days following wee ones around.

Just let me smell your butt. I bet this one doesn't get heard most places. But believe me, when you're chasing around 8 kids and 6 of them are in diapers, you really need to identify the source of that smell before it gets out of control. Especially since a part of you knows that you've been missing a sippy cup for a few days and the last time you saw it, it had milk in it, and it was somewhere around here, and if you don't find it soon, you're going to have to evacuate and disinfect the whole house.

Get that out of your mouth. Or better yet: Get that out of your brother's mouth. How many people spend their time inserting things into other people's mouths? People who are not frighteningly creepy. Pretty much just the small ones I spend my day with. I cannot believe the things they will put in their mouths. Only a kid thinks that it's a good idea to spend all their energy removing the outlet cover from the outlet just so they can then suck on the outlet cover. It must be a real treasure if it was stuck that hard in the wall!

Just because you want to, that doesn't mean it's a good idea. Oh, so many people could stand to learn this one. M will be a year old in March (how crazy is that? It seems like just yesterday I was wondering what we were going to do with a third baby), and she's just insistent that absolutely everything she wants to do is the best idea ever. But I want to eat an entire magazine! But I want to crawl behind the toilet! But I want to suck on the soles of my brother's shoes! But I want to nurse from 9:30 PM to 6:00 AM without interruption, either by your need to sleep or by your desire to roll over or by your eventual need to get up because my brothers are up!

Could you be quiet for just three seconds in a row? I've recently realized that the whole "count to 10" thing is just ridiculous. I was talking to my sister and she commented that counting to 10 just gives her enough time to pause in her anger; she's just as angry as she was 10 seconds ago, possibly more since she's had enough time to think about it. Me, I'm the other way. I get angry quickly and calm down quickly. I keep thinking of the old parenting advice to count to 10 before you get mad. Let's see, I'm standing in my living room. Z, just home from kindergarten, is angry that E, 3, has taken something from him and is starting to whine and yell. E is running around with the toy, chattering at 90 miles a second about the toy he's swiped and about how excited he is for the next time he's going to get to see a certain cereal commercial with me so I can see how funny it is. K, 3, is parked on the couch, sullen because I've told him he can't take toys away from his friends. When I asked him to listen, he yelled, "I DON'T LIKE YOU!" and swatted my face. When I told him it wasn't okay to hit, he screamed, so now he's in time out on the couch until he agrees to listen and be nice. A, 2, is sitting on the floor crouched over his most treasured possessions, all the cars from the "Cars" movie and several "Thomas" trains. He's shrieking "NO!!!!" every time M looks in his direction, because he's certain she's going to try to take them all away. She, however, is clinging to my leg, possibly getting ready to bite it because she feels that the attention is insufficient and so is the acknowledgement of her distress. She may have an ear infection but I'll be damned if I know when I'll be able to have it checked. And Baby A, 6 months, is banging in the saucer, sobbing because she doesn't want to eat or play or nap or crawl, but she doesn't like being set in the saucer. And now the phone rings.

At this moment, I am pretty much at my breaking point. This is the moment where I am going to snap and yell at someone for something utterly inconsequential. ("How many times have I told you not to play cars on the coffee table? There are a thousand other perfectly good places to put cars!") And this is the point where I'm supposed to stop, take a deep breath, and count to 10 before flipping out. But the problem is that I can't find 10 seconds in a row in which to breathe, where I don't have to answer a question or referree a fight or feed or change or console someone. And if I did have 10 seconds in a row, all the fight would go right out of me and I wouldn't need the 10 seconds anymore.

And that, dear readers, is why I spend so much time in the bathroom. Sometimes that's the only way I can get 10 seconds in a row to myself.

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