Friday, October 26, 2007

going out (of my mind)

We left the house yesterday. Although I would have much preferred to have spent our first time outdoors in 96 hours at a local park, we were completely out of diapers so our trip was to the local Target.

Just me. And all four kids.

It took me a solid two hours to get everyone ready to leave. Dirty diapers needed to be changed, shoes that were put on - were taken off - and put back on - on the wrong feet. Children that I got dressed were soon standing before me, naked. Henry was hungry. Elizabeth was thirsty. Carolyn had to go on the potty. William insisted on wearing one thing and then changed his mind seconds before we left. And then Henry was hungry, again.

I'm so tremendously glad that we never had to evacuate. I just can't imagine having to get out of the house in 15 minutes or less. I think I'd have better luck flapping my arms and taking flight.

When I opened the doors to the van, the action kicked up large amounts of ash, which coated our children as they were standing at the door waiting to load. I tried to pat them off, but that only smeared the mess. Everyone was crying that they were dirty. Being dirty was such a huge problem for them that they insisted on having new shirts. No problem. What's another 10 minutes when you're already 120 minutes behind schedule?

Once we arrived at the store, I unloaded them from their car seats and had everyone "touch the van" until we could walk in to the store, together. Although I would have preferred that they "touch the van" with their fingertips, they instead ran their entire bodies along the length of the vehicle, rolled around with full body contact, and soon looked like three little chimney sweeps. For whatever reason, being dirty wasn't nearly as big of an inconvenience as when I had coated them with ash, 15-minutes earlier.

Rather than riding in the cart, the kids insisted on walking, so I put them all in their safety harnesses and strapped Henry in the Bjorn. I then told them "ALL ABOARD!!" and my three sooty children jumped on the shopping cart that I pushed rapidly through the store. We were in and out of Target, with a full shopping cart, in less than 15 minutes.

I would have loved to stay longer and peruse. There were a ton of Halloween items that I could see having on our front lawn. But have you ever been successfully leisurely shopping with three 3-year olds?

Neither have I.

If you've got any tactics to keep them quiet and not touch every.single.thing .... that doesn't involve Ambien or high quantities of candy or duct tape .... I'm all ears.

At one point, I looked down at Elizabeth and noticed she was chewing ... something. I hadn't given her anything, so became alarmed and with one hand cupped under her mouth demanded "What do you have?! Spit it out!!" She stuck out her tongue and on it was slightly-used gum, coated in ash, that she had plucked out of the shopping cart.


We came home from Target and while I unloaded the car, Carolyn ran in to use her potty chair. At the same time, Elizabeth grabbed a hold of my keys and set off the emergency call button to the van, William opened the refrigerator and pulled out a container of mustard and Henry was howling to eat.

I pried my keys away from Elizabeth, pried the mustard away from William, dumped the contents of the potty chair, fed the baby, and started to unload my Target spoils. Just then, I heard a noise coming from the bathroom. When I went to investigate, I found my son, with his hands on either side of the porcelain rim blowing bubbles in to the toilet while his sister was trying to "wash her sippy cup" in the bowl.

Drinking unfiltered apple juice makes them gag and they won't touch mashed potatoes. But they can blow bubbles and soak their cups in toilet water and chew ash covered gum from a shopping cart.

Someone, please tell me. At what age, exactly, does civility kick in?


  1. I am always asking "at what age does common sense kick in?" So far we are sure it isn't 16.

    So I guess I can't help you on that question.

  2. Hey Jenna, at least you experienced some excitement after being cooped up for so long.

    I'm still hyperventhilating at the thought of the germs on that piece of yummy gum. Probably as many germs as the bottom of the flip-flop that Isaac licked the other night after walking through the Coco's restaurant and parking lot. At least we hadn't visited a public bathroom right before!

  3. I've heard that ash is really yummy! It probably absorbed all the saliva in her mouth. I know that happens because, if you remember, Matt Grandjean ate that spoonful of clay on Senior Field and I think he was in his twenties! No common sense til you're in your thirties... sorry!

  4. I'm also hyperventilating over the chewing gum! But add in the toilet factor...

    I could have written the same post today! (the going of my mind part) Must be something in the air.

    I hope they grow out of this soon, its a hard age, thats for sure!!

  5. My husband is a youth, my answer is definitely not before 28 (the age he is) and FOR CERTAIN not before or during the ages of 11-18. Sorry! But I am really glad you got to get out of the house, even if it was only a 15 minute trip that took you 135 minutes to prepare for. :) Hang in there. Hope it is far from you and keeps that way.

  6. the "it" being the fires...

  7. Jen, I have been praying for you and your family during this scarey time. (The fires not the Target trip.)

    Here is my favorite Target bribe that gets me plenty of time to shop in silence with my 2 and 3 yo. Target has a $1 deal in their eatery place (cant think of the word.) You can get a bag of popcorn and soda for a $1 and for just a bit more you can get an icee. It keeps my kids very busy during the shopping time and upfront I tell them if they are bad I will drink their Icee in front of them. The great thing is they also offer free refills too on the drinks!

  8. Around 3 1/2. At least for mine. The fact that you're able to get out of the house at all is awesome. It took me months to figure it out and even with hubby's help, it still takes two hours of planning and packing to get mine ready for a few hours out. And we still forget something. Most recently, wipes and, of course, we had a diaper blowout extreme. Sigh!

  9. Sounds like a fun time to me. At least they are listening now.
    Good luck with the final stage of Potty training.

  10. At least the chewed gum came from the cart - it could have come off the floor, which is (slightly) worse...

  11. Two words: toilet locks.

  12. I am so glad you and your family are safe.


    By the way, I LOVE our toilet locks.