Friday, February 24, 2012

THE Bike Ride

A few weeks ago my (very in shape) friend Emily and I decided to take our little ones to a local greenway with our bikes and double trailers.  We had four children in tow: Sadie (3), Griffin (21 months), Rowan (7 months), and Snow (7 months). 


The day was gorgeous-sunny with a slight wind.  It took us about 15 minutes to piece together the equipment, couple the trailers to our bikes, and load up the kiddos.  Sadie was reluctant to ride in our trailer (because she wanted to be in her mommy’s, “the flat one” & because she is 3 and a she) but after a little convincing decided to join Griffin and me.  Everyone was strapped in and we were ready to go…just before I mounted my bike, the slight wind blew it over.  My response to Sadie’s look of distress was, “It is going to be okay!  The bike fell over because we are on gravel and the kickstand wasn’t secure!”  The little confidence she had collected in riding with me was completely shaken but she is brave and persistent so we pressed onward—until I realized that my keys were missing.  We hadn’t made it very far so we pulled our little caravan over and I ran back for the keys that apparently landed in the parking lot when the bike fell. 

The next 1.5 miles were the “Eye of our Storm.”  Emily and I were able to chit-chat, the kids were settled with snacks, no major issues to report.

Thirty minutes into our journey Sadie was in need of a change of transportation so she switched spaces with Snow.  Snow was content with where she was originally seated. After the change she momentarily placated the adults, but she soon began to fuss.   About 10-15 minutes later the fuss had turned into a full-blown meltdown.  Again, we pulled over and switched babies.  At this point I had Rowan and Griffin and Emily had Sadie and Snow.  Please bear in mind that each time a child is moved they are being taken out of a 5-point harness and repositioned in another 5-point harness.  Snow continued to protest her disapproval of the choices made by the adults and so Emily and I decided to turn around and head back to the cars.  I remember stupidly making a comment along the lines of, “This proves that boys are easier than girls.”  Rowan heard me and decided to challenge my statement.  Truthfully, he was hungry.  With two babies crying Emily and I begin to pedal faster.  And, by the way, YES-the people that our entourage passed were quite amused.  In an attempt to comfort Rowan, Griffin began to pet him on his head.  Surprisingly, this didn’t help and Rowan began to cry harder and so Griffin retaliated by hitting him, repeatedly, on his head.  Still pedaling, I turned around and used THE VOICE to discipline Griffin, who began to cry.  Just in case you aren’t keeping score, 3 of 4 children are now screaming.  Poor Sadie had resorted to plugging her ears with both hands pressed firmly into either side of her head to block out the wailing (Emily and I were jealous that we couldn’t join her). 

For the next 15 minutes or so we pedaled as hard as possible.  The slight wind blowing against the trailers causing just enough resistance made the last leg of our journey quite difficult.  I have never been so happy to see our cars!  My legs felt like jello and I was certain that cement had filled my shoes.  Emily immediately carseated and bottled both babies.  I retrieved Griffin from the trailer and realized he had soiled his diaper.  Awesome. 

Sadie and Griffin proceeded to run around in a nearby harvested cornfield while I dismantled the trailer and loaded the bike.  Feeling resourceful I used one of the giant boulders dividing the field and the parking lot as a changing table.  I have failed to mention that Griffin HATES to have his diaper changed-in ANY environment.  I laid him across the boulder and he gave me the “your kidding” furrowed brow.  Midway through the procedure with Griffin’s head hanging off the other side of the rock I realized I was out of wipes.  Sadie had come over to survey my handy work and I asked her if she would please go and get some wipes from her mother (still attending the babies).  Sadie responded with, “Well, no, you can’t use my wipes Laurie because…they are special wipes and they are just for me to use and for Rowan to use and for Snow to use because…they are special wipes.”  All this being said while Griffin’s feet are being held above his head, hiney exposed to the elements and two friendly black labs that had come to sniff and observe.  Needless to say, Griffin and I were both very thankful that Emily had heard my request for wipes and appeared with enough to complete the job.

After the older two enjoyed a few base jumps off of the boulders and into my arms it was finally time for our adventure to come to an end.  

Friday, February 17, 2012

Don't Judge

ATTN parents of my previous students:  I take back all quasi-judgmental thoughts I ever had regarding your parenting skills (well, most of them anyway)!

My son and I recently visited one of my teacher friend’s classroom to see her pet “shish, shish!”  The kindergarteners love to entertain/try to teach him and I enjoy catching up with my friend.  The teacher and I were engaged in a brief conversation when out of the corner of my eye I see my sweet child run towards the manipulative shelf grabbing several large plastic bends of small items (counting cubes, magnetic letters, marbles, colorful poms) and blindly slinging them over his shoulder at the speed of light!  He wasn’t even looking up to notice where they were landing!  One of the brighter and linguistically advanced students observing the whole fiasco exclaimed, “THE BABY IS ON A RAMPAGE!”  I was shocked. The kindergarteners were shocked.  And, even though she is forever the picture of grace, I am sure my teacher friend was appalled.  It was a Kindergarten Natural Disaster-a State of Emergency.  So, I ran over and made a futile attempt to reprimand the little tornado and encourage him to pick up some of the hundreds of pieces and what does he do?  He grabs another bend of small objects and sends it flying!  Mortified, I decided to hold my thirty-one-pound man-child while crawling around and collecting the pieces.  The teacher calmly sent some “buckaroo helpers” over to assist me and five buckaroos/ten minutes later, peace was restored. 

So, here’s to the “throwing phase” ending quickly and me figuring out this whole parenting thing.  Prayers will be greatly appreciated!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

“It Has So Much Character!”

I remember the day very clearly:  My husband and I anxiously showed up at the inspection of our first home to meet the inspector annnnnnd the current homeowners.  LAME.  My husband tried to keep up with the professional and I tried to make small talk with the natives.  Mr. Homeowner gave me a quick tour of his “handy work” leading me into the kitchen where he beamed with pride and boasted, “Here’s the dishwasher.  I installed it myself!”  I am sure my gift of shamelessly wearing my emotions on my sleeve graciously allowed my face to read, “OBVIOUSLY!”  The dishwasher, instead of being flush with the underside of the counter, hung down-roughly two inches-by two thin metal mounts.  Lovely. 

Fast forward to the present:  Today as I was unloading the dishwasher (putting away the bowls and mugs on the other side of the kitchen) my soon-to-be two-year-old son decided to climb up, stand on the open dishwasher door, and JUMP.  I shouldn’t have been shocked at the sight of the entire dishwasher tilting forward, door forming a ramp to the ground with both baskets hanging out!  Oh, and my son was still standing on “the ramp.”  I calmly removed him, simultaneously held both drawers inside the dishwasher, closed it and shoved the entire thing back into its original position.

I have decided NOT to turn the thing on until my husband returns from work and let’s hope it stays in place until then…