Friday, July 14, 2017

{SQT} The Firstborn Returns

Watching the clock: I'm 35 weeks' tomorrow . . . 

1. Baby Shower Breakfast

A dear friend who believes subsequent babies deserve a baby shower as much as the first one organized a little breakfast for me. I was just tickled to have breakfast at a restaurant with some gal pals, which was especially refreshing seven days into eleven days of solo parenting! (I hired a babysitter for my tykes that morning--the only few hours I was off duty the whole time.)

It was an absolutely beautiful meditation for me to look around the table at 8 ladies who have cumulatively 47 children (plus two current pregnancies). All have intact, first marriages, most of which are 15-20 years in duration) and that isn't due to luck, romance, or sheer love-sweet-love because I've known these ladies for ten years and know of the major stressers in some of their lives, stress points that cause many couples these days to divorce. Their marriages are a testament to the Catholic teachings on marriage, the graces of the sacrament, and the obedience of the couples. So very beautiful and so much good fruit!

2. Summer Camp

John and Chris came home from the wilds of New Hampshire! Please check out my blog post about summer camp by clicking here.

3. Starting to Crack Up

I surprised my own self by how well I parented for the first six days of solo parenting--patient, kind, with such low expectations of relaxed summer days--but Chris was gone a total of eleven days and I did start to crack up and lose my temper. The turning point was one particular No Good, Overwhelming Day, which I describe below (from a cooler, calmer place) and which I trust will cause my reader to understand why this 34-week pregnant mama temporarily lost her mind.

One morning, dawning bright and beautiful, the children begged to play outside before breakfast. I rarely say yes to this frequent request but hey, it's summer, now is the time of day when it's cool, sure! I'm a good mom!

Note that the kids had already spent significant time that morning being mischievous and receiving consequences from me--time I had to sit and supervise--so I thought getting outside might get their wigglies out.

Know that afternoon thunder and rain storms have graced our city almost daily for a month plus our sprinklers run early in the morning, so our backyard is a mud pit. If you wanted to have one of those mud race-and-obstacle courses, you could host it in our back yard.

Therefore, I told the kids they could play on the driveway without taking a single step off of it: ride bikes, roller skates, climb the trees, bounce balls, etc. This is a common instruction when it's muddy and they know it well.

Margaret and Mary can dress themselves, so they got out there first before I could. I was dressing the little boys. Then Joseph dashed out ahead of me by five minutes.

Thomas was so excited that I was taking him outside to play--since, at 23 months, he doesn't get to play outdoors unless I go supervise, and you can imagine how often this rotund, pregnant mama does that in 90-degree heat and oppressive humidity--but as soon as I got downstairs, the other kids presented themselves covered heavily in mud from head to toes. It was like they lay down and rolled around in it!

Because I have pregnancy brain (and other moms will know what I mean), it did not occur to me that, of course, I should have hosed them off outside first. Instead, I marched them through the house, upstairs to the bathroom.

It took me half an hour to clean them off. Mud got tracked through the house and bathroom on the brand newly cleaned floors. Baths were required. The caked tub had to be scrubbed out. I thought the clothing might be ruined by rinsing, spray stain remover, pre-soak, and extra rinse in the load did actually get the grime out. All the while, the toddler was justifiably weeping throughout because he was denied his play outdoors.

I was still recovering, now three hours having passed without this mama eating breakfast, when the boys busted into the pantry and stole and ate chocolate. More discipline was meted out.

That really was enough for my day. After breakfast and clean-up, I let the children go play in the Bonus Room where their toys are. I was working in the kitchen: the Bonus Room is just up the stairs, with no door or anything, so I can supervise by ear. They are all of ten feet away from me.

Joseph found two pounds of dried lentil beans--locked up and dedicated to a science kit I used years ago back when I actually did science experiments with my tiny tots--and proceeded to throw them like confetti over every square inch of the bonus room, which had just received its monthly vacuuming treatment two days prior. 

Please imagine the scene, if you will: all the bookshelves: filled with lentil beans; all open toy bins: filled with lentil beans; the wooden blocks: filled with lentil beans. Four hundred square feet covered in a patina of dried lentil beans. The horror, the horror . . . 

I had enough sanity left to march the two little boys to quiet/nap time (whose time it was anyway) so I could lay down and rest for an hour, as I knew I wouldn't hardly be able to see those lentil beans to clean them up for the RED I was seeing instead.

Later when I emerged, speaking in that scary whisper voice that is beyond the yelling kind of angry, I experienced my only tender moment of the day: apparently during quiet time, the two girls had discovered the shocking lentils and, having no idea what had happened, had begun diligently cleaning them up because they didn't want Mama to be upset. I joined them in their efforts and the three of us working hard for an hour got the job done.

I was really tired by that point in the afternoon, and feeling lonely for some adult conversation. So, when the phone rang and I saw it was a friendly relative, I dared to answer the call even though it was the middle of the day, my children were awake, and they weren't duct taped to chairs in order to keep them out of mischief. Thus, it is clear that the next results were all my fault.

My children were playing in the garage (no car parked in there), which is a known, allowed play area these days when it's 95-degrees outside because our garage houses a lot of toys and caps at 80 degrees.

After only five minutes on the phone, I was made aware of a situation and had to hang up rapidly. While appropriate distribution of blame remains questionable, I do believe that certain parties were goading other certain parties to do the mischief, which makes everyone carry some of the blame.

One child made a giant pile of stuff on top of other children, and by 'giant pile,' I mean: all the winter coats which hang on the garage wall, the five bins' worth of the children's shoes, the laundry basket full of all the children's socks, the collection of winter gloves, the collection of winter hats, all the outdoor balls, four five-gallon bottles of water, various cardboard boxes, and three plastic bins.

I saw this pile and wished I could light it as a bonfire. Alas, we had to clean it up, which we did as a family after yet more discipline was administered.

And then after dinner--which I mercifully allowed those beasties to eat--I had to load up all the kids to run some time-sensitive errands.

After that day, I never quite recovered my composure and struggled with temper until Chris returned.

4. Bugs

Plus, there were bugs.

When you live in an area as hot and humid during the summer as the tropics, you get bugs like you're in the tropics.

My children's legs are shocking, each covered in 20 to 30 mosquito bites from the knees down. They look like they have a plague of some kind.

We have ants seeking refuge in our house.

One day, my daughter caught first what appeared to be a GIANT stink bug . . .

. . . and in the same day, a huge stag beetle.

And then there was the morning I did battle with the largest cockroach I've ever seen in this house. I waddled downstairs for morning coffee, only to find this unwelcome visitor in our den. I knew what to do: get the broom and dustpan, capture the invader, deposit him into the toilet basin, and flush him to his doom.

Only this cockroach was so big and strong that he clung to the porcelain and withstood the first flush.

He withstood the strength of six flushes! Between each whoosh of water, he would shake off his giant wings to dry, ready at any second to fly . . . onto me?

I ran to the kitchen and filled a large plastic bin with water, raced back, relieved he was still where I left him, and splashed a really overwhelming amount of water on him so even this beast lost his footing and was swept into the toilet, to die a death by drowning. Good riddance.

Once presumably nice bug we found was a unusually large cocoon hanging in our back yard.

And five minutes later, we discovered a 3-foot rat snake slithering through our back yard. We watched him happily slide across our yard, under the gate, and into the back woods.

5. Prenatal appointment

My 34-week appointment was fine, with blood pressure creeping just a bit: will it spike into a danger zone like last time or remain safe? There were some tears, but that's pretty normal at this hormonally charged stage.

6. Other Events

We had music lessons, Esther rehearsal, swimming with Daddy, a tea party in celebration of a little friend's birthday, and my very last personal training session until postpartum--because really, it's just a big wink-wink joke these days to think I can do anything more than trudge slowly at two miles an hour while trying not to cry.

I went grocery shopping and actually went into the store (with kids), which deserves its own mention. I dropped by the thrift store to make donations again, this time having culled 22 books: Chris, you're welcome!

All week, we've been reading aloud "Wild Animals I Have Known" by Seton and various Shakespeare plays by Nesbit. I've begun reading about the logic stage in Classical education.

7. Bonus Reading

Dr Bruchalski's Incredible Stories: Kleenex warning! Note especially the story of the abortionist who delivered the anacephalic baby, and the story of the Lovanix (sometimes God just likes to show off big!).

For more 7 Quick Takes Friday, check out This Ain't the Lyceum.

1 comment:

  1. I am proud of you for keeping your patience for so long- before the horrible day occurred. :) I want to be the fun mom, the calm mom, but when Jason is out of town I am an overfilled balloon just waiting to pop at the slightest touch....So, again, I am proud of you for the sacrifice you made for your son and impressed that it took you so long to loose it! :)