Wednesday, October 28, 2009

One I can hold, not squishy, with a little bit of green.

Any guesses on what today’s pithy title refers to?

Those were my eldest son’s requirements for his pumpkin patch pumpkin. Joshua attends an outstanding pre-school and this week the school arranged a field trip to a local pumpkin patch for its “Junior Bankers.” In addition to a fun hay rack ride, each child got to pick out a pumpkin to take home. And while the ceremonial picking of the pumpkin was supposed to be the highlight of the trip, ask any of the three year olds what the best part was and they will tell you without equivocation, “RIDING ON THE SCHOOL BUS!”

Did you know that God cares about field trips too? There were 32 three-year olds participating in the pumpkin fun and approximately 17 parents had signed up to go along. About a week before the adventure the school sent out an e-mail that indicated there may not be enough room for all parents on the bus. The e-mail encouraged parents to form car pools and even volunteered to coordinate the car pools if parents requested. I can only assume that the e-mail did not engender the hoped for response because the day before the trip an e-mail was sent to all of the parents indicating that only 6 parents would be allowed on the bus…and I was one of them!

I didn’t ask to be one of the six parents on the bus. I didn’t go to the director and indicate that I couldn’t possibly car pool since my van is, literally, filled with car seats. I didn’t raise my hand and demand special treatment since I am paying a small fortune to the day care every week. I didn’t try to explain to Joshua’s teacher the melt down I knew would come if Joshua got to school on Tuesday and learned that he had to ride the bus without Mom. I merely planned on being one of the first parents there so I could rely on a first come, first served argument, but in reality I knew that probably wouldn’t work. So I simply held my breath and hoped and prayed that I would be able to ride on the bus since that was really the source of Joshua’s excitement. Then the e-mail came out. I exhaled and, most importantly, I no longer had to hedge when Joshua bounced up and down with the thought of riding the school bus with Mommy.

Now I know there are many of you out there that will see all of this as merely a coincidence or a random event. And, who knows, maybe the school did select the parents at what they considered random. But I choose to see something bigger and, yes, even divine at my inclusion. Because my little three-year old has been through a lot this year too. And he needed something that was all his to share with only his Mom. While we can tell him over and over how special he is and how there are so many things he can do that the babies can’t do, sometimes he just needs something concrete. Sometimes, he needs an experience that puts him on top of a world without babies. Sometimes he needs to be able to act silly and look at trees and big trucks out the window of a big yellow school bus. I wish you all could have seen the joy on his little face.

So thank you, God, for the best ride on a school bus ever. And thank you for caring about the little things in life too.

And yes, Joshua got a great pumpkin. It was just the right size, wasn’t squishy at all, and on the back side was just a little bit of green.

Monday, October 19, 2009

One-Third of a Day in the Life

Mom and Dad have 3 jobs.

Job #1 starts around 5:30 a.m. and involves getting everyone up, ready and out the door by (hopefully) 7:30.

Job #2 is the actual job that pays us and allows for the purchase of food, formula, diapers, you know, those little things.

Job #3 begins at day care pick up and lasts until the blessed hour of (hopefully) 8:00 when all Gausmans 3 and under are in bed…if not yet asleep.

Yes, that is an approximate 14.5 hour day. And we haven’t even counted the 11:00 p.m. feeding. On a good day when all the stars are aligned and smiling, this is what it looks like. You don’t even want to know what a bad day looks like!

5:30 A.M.
Dad is up and in the shower.
Mom catches a few more z’s.
Babies are starting to twitch, but no one is truly awake yet.
Joshua is usually still asleep, but he has been known to sneak into Mom & Dad’s room at this early hour (how did we get such an early riser?!?!?).

5:40 A.M.
Dad has probably fallen asleep in the shower.

5:45 A.M.
Dad is out of the shower.
Bottles are warming (Thanks Dad!).
Mom is either still catching z’s or tending to any awake baby or Joshua.
Mom is trying to deny the fact that she needs to get up and dress babies.

6:00 A.M.
Babies are (hopefully) mostly dressed.
Dad is (hopefully) mostly dressed.
Mom is (hopefully) sitting down to feed one baby.
Joshua is snuggling in to watch a Special Agent Oso while the babies get fed.

By 6:15 A.M.
Babies are all (hopefully) being fed.
2 are being “boppied” (yes it is a verb) and one is with Mom and Joshua having its young brain warped by the powers that are Disney.

6:30 A.M.
Special Agent Oso finishes his special assignment
Mom motivates Joshua to get dressed on his own by playing the “big boy” card. Thank God he can dress himself. Mom overlooks the bright red sweat pants with the orange t-shirt and the blue socks. And what size are those pants, Joshua? How can they be that short already?
Mom makes mental note to scouer the van for loose change for new pants for the 3 year old.

6:45 A.M.
Dad takes Joshua & a baby downstairs for breakfast.
Oops, you need to take two babies now…can’t leave Matthew on the bed since he can roll & William has lost all interest in the ceiling fan.
Don’t forget to feed Haley, and put the bottles together, and pack Joshua’s bag, and get anything you might need for the day, and put the car seats out, and start the dishwasher so there are clean bottles tonight…Prozac not included.
Meanwhile, Mom draws on all of those articles she read in days of old and really does reduce her “beauty routine” to 20 minutes.

7:05 A.M.
A time warp takes place and somehow we’ve accomplished nothing…

7:30 A.M.
We’re supposed to be leaving, but just now putting the babies in their seats. It will take another 10 minutes to actually get everyone in the car. William throws up everywhere…and oh yes, he needs a new diaper along with the new outfit.

7:40 A.M.
3 babies? Check!
1 Joshua? Check!
1 spastic yellow lab? Check!
Bottles? Check!
Joshua’s backpack? Check!
Badges? Check!
Mom & Dad? Check!
Pull out of the driveway….Don’t hit the trashcans on the way out.
Did I brush my teeth?

And that, my friends, is the end of Job #1. Job #2 is a breeze comparatively. And Job #3, well, I’m not sure you’re ready for that. Perhaps that will be next week’s post. :-)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

William, my little William

Last night, William fell asleep in my arms.

It had not been an easy night. There was much crying and consternation from all four children. William had been particularly inconsolable as he wailed through the entire time it took to get all four children in their PJ’s and ready for the babies’ 7:00 feeding. Nerves were raw, words were harsh, and the enormity of the situation weighed on Mom and Dad’s every thought. It was one of those nights where we literally had to push ourselves through every action with dogged deliberateness because if we did not force ourselves to move and act we would be paralyzed by the sheer size of the tasks in front of us.

And then, with Paige and Matthew asleep in their cribs and Dad reading Joshua bed time stories, William fell asleep in my arms. He stopped crying. He stopped flailing. And he just was. I could feel his breath, somewhat labored from his cold. I could watch his dream smiles. I could feel his toes twitch periodically against my stomach. His arms were wrapped around me as if in a hug. He was beautiful and perfect and mine.

Every parent loves their children but there are moments when the intensity of that love hits you with such force it literally takes your breath away. Last night, looking into his face was the first time I had felt that way in longer than I care to remember. And, suddenly, everything seemed just a little bit more manageable. The laundry mountain seemed not quite so high. The bottles seemed not quite so numerous. The 5 hours of sleep we’ve been averaging seemed like more than enough. The road ahead was navigable again.

So I did my best to make a memory of that moment and I tucked it away as one of the reasons we’re doing all of this.

Thank you, William. Mommy owes you one.