Don't think of this as a long-winded post. Think of it as the brilliant product of synchronized sleeping (that is what I call it when all three of my kids are snoozing at the same time, a rare occurrence). If you don't like fun times or bathroom talk, don't bother reading.
There were several titles I came up with for this post:
"three kids- don't leave home with them"
"how I endured a kung fu kick when I tried to take all my kids to Kung Fu Panda"
"5th disease to the 3rd degree"
"urinals in the target bathroom"
"mother's day out (of her mind)"
And so begins my synopsis of the past couple weeks trying to entertain my kids.
When we got back from Colorado and Stonewall, I needed a few days to unwind, unpack and tackle six loads of laundry, so began a week of "hunkering down." Which my kids do not like. So by Friday, we were ready to do something fun.
First outing: Kung Fu Panda Matinee
Actual outing: Kung Fu kick to the rear end
Lesson Learned: Don't let your son lick the cinema floor
I called our sitter to see if she could come watch Audrey so I could take the older two to Kung Fu Panda, I asked her if she would be here at 1:00. At 1:30 I called her and she said she was almost to my house, but she was having some car probs and she would be a few more minutes (mind you she is already 30 minutes late). So I called my friend, Delia, who was waiting for me at the movies, and told her the kids are loaded up in the car and as soon as my sitter got here, I would be on my way. Then my sitter called back and said that her car wouldn't move. I asked if she was stranded and she said yes, so I told her that I would pick her up (when she was on the way to my place she was only a mile and a half away), bring her back to my house, leave her there with Audrey, and then take my kids to the movie. So, I put Audrey in the car, called Delia and left my garage. Delia had already bought our tickets, so she told me to drop off the kids with her and then get my sitter. So, I called my sitter back to find out her location and she started describing this place 40 minutes from my house! I bailed on my sitter after she bailed on me, and took three kids to a very funny, but very age inappropriate movie (they liked the 2nd five minutes and then they were lost). *** Edit*** I didn't really leave my sitter abandoned, her daughter-in-law picked her up. I got Kung Fu kicked as I tried to keep a six month old, a two year old and a three year old still and quiet. Whether it was the cinema floor, or one of the 72 crying, whining kids in the theater, I don't know, but somehow McClaine picked up 5th disease. And we didn't discover it until our next fun outing (after Avery and Audrey were exposed- hence the title, "5th disease to the 3rd degree."
Next outing: Children's Museum
Actual outing: A gas station, dirty park bathroom, Target men's bathroom, pediatrician's office
Lesson learned: Call ahead, or stay at home
Kids are up early Monday morning, so I get them all dressed, fed and loaded up in the car to drive to the Children's Museum in McAllen (30 minutes away). Even though I made Avery go to the bathroom before we left, 10 minutes into the trip she says she has to go poo-poo. I told her she had to wait, we were almost to the museum. We pull into the parking lot and Avery is crying by now, lot is empty, sign reads, "Museum Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 9-7, Saturday and Sunday 10-5." That's right, folks, closed Monday! So we drive to the closest gas station, no parking spots. This is a bad thing when it takes 12 minutes to unload all the kids, put Audrey in the snuggli, McClaine in the stroller and try to get avery to hold open the heavy doors. So we skip the gas station and head to a nice local park. I thought, we already drove to McAllen, we might as well stay and play. BONUS: they have a bathroom. So I park, unload-three car seats, a snuggli, a stroller and a tearful daughter who has to go poo-poo. The bathroom floor is covered in sludge, and there are no toilet seats and no sink!!! Avery climbs on the sick toilet by herself, since Audrey is in the snuggli, sits there for 20 seconds and then says, "I don't have to go." Three wet wipes and half a bottle of hand sanitizer later, her hands are kind of clean enough to go play. So they do. For ten minutes. And then McClaine gets a dirty diaper (and I mean, up-the-back, dirty). So I lay him on the park bench and take off his pants to notice a rash covering his entire body. I use the last two wipes to try to get him clean and realize there are no more McClaine size diapers in the bag, Audrey diaper it is. 10:30 am. Call the pediatrician- what a surprise! They can't take me until 1:30. Awesome. So now I get to spend three more hours in McAllen- might as well go to Target (usually a paradise), buy some size 4 diapers, hit the snack bar for lunch and go to the bathroom since I have had to go since 10. First I will nurse Audrey in the car at the park (way more private than the Target parking lot) and the kids can watch a dvd. Passenger van pulls up next to me while I am nursing Audrey in the front seat, "Hidalgo County Juvenile Boot Camp." Awesome again. 8 teenage, juvi boys exit and ogle at the nursing mom. 11:30 am. Audrey in snuggli, Avery and McClaine in one of those extended, toddler toting, impossible to stear Target shopping carts and I make a bee line to the bathroom. When did they put urinals in the women's restroom? Oh, they didn't, you mean I just brought my three children into the men's restroom? And even better, I have to ask for someone to help me get this shopping cart out of the restroom and into the ladies' room? Love It!!! Size 4 diapers and $90 later (you Target shoppers know what I mean), we are cramming down hot dogs at the snack bar and I look at my cell phone. 1:25. I call my pediatrician's office to tell them I am running a few minutes late and they sympathetically say, "no problem, we will hold your appt. until 1:40." Awesome! That means 12 minutes to load my children in the car, 12 minutes to unload them and negative 9 minutes to drive to the Pediatrician's office. With some maneuvering and safe, fast driving and mercy from the Lord through the receptionist, we make it to the doc's office to find out that McClaine has 5th disease and has already exposed the girls and we just need to "wait it out." So we do, the whole week, hunkering down at the White House.
Which leads to some very grumpy kids, an exhausted mom and our next outing.
Last outing until my kids are teenagers (or all potty trained and walking): Mother's Day Out
Actual outing: Mother's day out of her mind at the children's museum
Lesson Learned: Call ahead or stay at home
There is a great Mother's Day Out program that my friend Jennifer has been raving about. She got me all of the registration forms and told me all that I needed to bring for my kids' first day. No pre-registration necessary. $25 bucks for all three kids. 9 am-3pm, sanity, rest and freedom for mom. And even though it is in McAllen, so is the mall, Starbucks, Barnes and Noble, Target, Ross and all my other favorites. So last night, I packed backpacks, lunches, laid out clothes, gathered immunization cards and registration cards and prepped my kids for the Super Fun day that they were going to have. I woke up at six this morning, showered, put on makeup, did my hair (as I may actually try on some clothes without three kids in tow) and got dressed. Woke the kids, nursed the babe and pumped some milk, dressed and fed the kids, loaded them up (12 minutes) in the car. As I drove to McAllen, I am sooooo excited that I have found a program that takes kids 6 weeks old- 6 years, drop-in any Tuesday or Friday that you want. So we find the church, unload the car (12 minutes, snuggli, stroller, two backpacks, diaper bag and purse), lug across the parking lot and are greeted by the sweetest people and cutest decorations- FOR VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL- no Mother's Day Out this week. VBS for 4 years and older. Load up the car (12 minutes and a very disappointed mommy) and head to the Children's Museum because it's Tuesday and I know they are open. I park at the museum, consolidate bags, put Audrey in the snuggli, McClaine in the stroller, Avery walks and we head in- straight to the bathroom before the playground b/c I am a smart mommy. Avery goes to the bathroom and we go out to the playground before it reaches 100 degrees. I chase McClaine to the top of the highest point and Avery says, "mommy, I have to go poo poo."
Outing: Time with Jesus
Actual Outing: Isaiah 55 and John 4:14
Lesson Learned so far: Don't try to climb Mt. Everest when you are dehydrated
Taking care of three children is tough. Outings are unpredictable. Insanity is probable if you try to be a Godly mom without hydrating yourself in the Living Water. Guilty as charged. Teach me, Lord, how to drink deeply, how to be hydrated so I can raise three kids and have fun outings in a way that glorifies you. More to come. I am still learning and synchronized sleep time is over.
"Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. 2 Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare." Isaiah 55:1-2
"but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." John 4:14