Thursday, August 17, 2017

Scrambles and Scribbles ~ Herd Control

When I babysat for a living years ago I experienced what I called "Black Thursdays" This was the morning where I had two extra kiddos bookended with an odd and very socially awkward mother who dropped them off and picked them up. She always handed me a check with typed in details and payment to literally the second. I don't know what would have happened if she arrived a minute early. I guess she'd sit in the car. As weird as she was, she was not the reason for the title of the day. The mornings were intense because all six of the children I watched were in the 18 months to four age range. Four (or 3.92 ) hours of food and preparation, then clean up, then diapers and potty time, then short play times with redirection of fighting children, cueing up the hungry whining cycle...and rinse and repeat. And then again. And again. Breakfast, snack, lunch. Oh, the glorious nap time Thursday afternoons. Where I did all the dishes, and made the snacks. Ha. 

Sometimes I experience a tiny taste of Black Thursdays when I'm around the whole expanse of my grand babies. Even though they aren't all in that range of age, some of our interactions feel very much like that cycle of craziness. 

When we first got the three kiddos they were ages 3, 5, and 7 I was a zero to three grandma and everything felt new and different. What in the world do you do with a three year old? Then their baby sister joined the club.  Then Connor came along. As a new grandma I was overwhelmed by the sheer energy and whirl of activity that came with kids when I had been out of the kid business for so long. Just the three alone for a few hours would make me sleep like a baby when bedtime rolled around. With Connor and the baby sister the whole change in baby world from when I'd had babies was intense. Car seats and monitors, strollers and sleeping dos and don'ts have all changed pretty impressively. 

Last Saturday, after a week away at the lake with our daughter and five of her kids, we went back to school shopping. Three stores. A three year old, who had an accident and gets hangry almost hourly, a one year old who weighs as much as the three year old and who does not like to be held, but can not walk, an eight month old who gets crazy wiggles and the ten year old and eight year old who need to try on school clothes, and the six year old who is having attitude issues came along for the ride.  The only one missing was the two year old she has most weekends. 

At each stop the van exploded like a clown car. The sound volume in the van was maxed out. My daughter has grown extra arms since beginning the foster care journey. And I am able to hold two babies and shush a sassy six year old while waiting for her to grab a second cart. And now I can actually stay up past 10 p.m. on evenings I've spent massive amounts of time with her flock/hoard/cluster/herd. Maybe it's like riding a bike. This kid wrangling thing. Black Thursdays helped prepare me to be a grandma of many. And maybe interacting with odd folks. Life skillz.