Wednesday, November 14, 2007

going postal

I've had a package sitting in our living room for the past five weeks that I've been meaning to send to my mother. But I've been putting off mailing it, because to do that, I would need to go to the post office.

When the package for my mother was joined by another package of hand-me down clothes that I needed to mail to my brother, and another package with a gift for a friend who just had a new baby, and another package with a gift for a friend who was recently married, I decided that there was finally enough stuff to be mailed that the major inconvenience of taking all four children to the post office, would be offset by the free space I would gain in our living room.

So, yesterday, I loaded up the children and off we went. It didn't dawn on me until I was unloading the children from the car, that I had never put Carolyn and Elizabeth in diapers. Alas, they were still wearing the underwear they'd had on since they woke up in the morning.

Although I will let the girls stay in their underwear whenever we are at home or in the neighborhood, I would much prefer that we not go out in public with the children out of diapers.

The girls are doing extremely well with their potty training, but I'm just not "there" yet. "There" being that point of dragging a potty chair and change of clothes with me everywhere we go, or - worse yet, venturing in to the realm of public restrooms.

As I started to walk in to the post office - with the triplets in their safety harnesses and Henry in the stroller, with four huge boxes piled high on top - Carolyn informs me that she has to go pee-pee on the potty.

Luckily for me, I have a small potty chair in the back of the van.

I turn the whole fleet around and with kids falling all over themselves, we walk back to the car. I sit Carolyn in the back of the van - perched on the potty chair - and seconds later, she flashes me a big smile.

While she is climbing out of the car, I realize that I have no idea what I am going to do with a potty chair full of pee. Eventually, I plan to get my act together and have plastic grocery bags that I line with paper towels stocked and ready.

But remember, I'm not "there" yet.

I span my surroundings and notice that there are absolutely no planters in which to empty the potty receptacle. The entire parking lot is paved, down to the road. Hoping that no one sees me, I nonchalantly dump the pee underneath the car and immediately start shushing my children when all three of them notice the trickle that is meandering out from beneath the car and yell "Oh MOMMY!! LOOK!! Dare go Twacie's pee-pee, on da gwound!!"

In typical fashion when I'm trying to distract the children from the subject at hand, I begin drilling them with questions, "Hey Guys!! What color is the sky?! Do you hear the wind blowing?? What does it sound like?? What is your name?? What are we having for lunch??"

Walking in to the post office, while my children are shouting out random answers to the questions I posed, Elizabeth informs me that she too, now has to go potty.

I take a deep breath and turn the caravan around a second time. I hoist her in to the car, and repeat the process of nonchalantly dumping the receptacle and doing my absolute best to avoid acknowledging the river of pee that is now streaming across the bone dry parking lot.

After my second child has completed their void, we finally make our way in to the post office. There is a line of at least 10 people in front of me. The kids are on their harnesses, and pulling as hard as they can to try and reach the breakable objects that are located at their eye level in the nearby post office "store".

William pretends that he is a tiger and his harness lead is a plush tail. I am holding on tighter and tighter to the harness leads, afraid that all three of them are going to bust free. William starts yelling at me "You wet GO my bootiful tail!!" while Carolyn and Elizabeth are trying to see how far forward they can lean without falling down.

At one point, a woman standing in front of me, turns around and just stares. After a few minutes of smiling, she pleasantly asks "How old are your twins?"

I've been getting this question a lot, lately. No one thinks that William is the same age as the girls, even though he is the exact same size. When I respond "They're triplets and they just turned three", she swats the woman standing next to her on the arm and says "Mabel. MABEL!! Oh My God. They are TRIPLETS!"

The entire line of post office customers turn around to look at me with my two daughters dangling from their safety harnesses and my son pawing at the air and roaring.

Mabel leans down and with a big smile starts to talk to Henry, who is excitedly kicking his legs in the stroller. William - a child who tends to be very outspoken and unmannerly at times - yells "You NO touch my baby Henwee!!"

My attention is suddenly divided between William who has put himself between the baby and Mabel, and Mabel - who thinks William's show of protection is adorable - and starts rapid firing me with questions regarding how much the children weighed when they were born, how long they were in the hospital, did I - or do I - have much help at home, do I have family in town, how do they sleep, how do they eat, how do they get along, are they potty trained, oh no? how many diapers do I go through in a month.

We finally make our way to the counter and the postal clerk sizes us up and gives me a look that says "I'm tired just looking at you."

After having stood in line for a solid 20 minutes, I want to get out of there. My window of opportunity for being productive with four children in tow is coming to a close. I can sense it is about to slam shut.

Unlike my prior experiences at the post office - before I had three children underfoot and a baby in a stroller - I don't comparatively evaluate which is the cheapest rate to get my four separate packages delivered. I just say "Fine. Fine. Fine. Sounds great. I'll also need 200 self-adhesive holiday stamps."

While I'm waiting for my order to be processed, a man stacks at least eight large boxes marked "FRAGILE" on the adjacent counter. Within seconds of him stepping away - one, two, maybe all three of my kids - try and almost succeed in pushing the boxes across the counter and on to the floor. I grab at their harnesses and pull them back to me. Someone grabs the pen hanging on the chain and starts furiously scribbling on the counter.
Someone else is hanging on the back of the baby stroller and I catch it just before it flips completely over. Someone else is frantically pushing all the buttons on the debit machine as I'm trying to enter in my PIN number.

It flashes "ERROR. Invalid Entry. Try Again."

I do, and little fingers - a whole hand - come up from the depths and are trying. To. Get. In. And. Jam. All. The. Buttons. Must. Create. Havoc. Must. Destroy.

I start kicking my legs, not sure who I am going to strike, but hoping that my agitation will cause my troublemakers to pipe down. I'm ALMOST done.

All I need are my stamps.

The clerk is moving slowly. She is talking slowly. I feel like I'm stuck in time.

"Uh. Let's see. We've got Kwanzaa. Hmm.... We've got Hanukkah. Uh... We've got Madonna and Child. Oh yeah, we've got these more contemporary ones, too. Aren't they cute?"

Yeah. Yeah. WHATEVER. I'll take 50 of each. No, I'm not African. Or Jewish. Just give me the damn stamps. I HAVE GOT TO GO. NOW.

The children were standing quietly for a moment, but as the clerk is counting out my packets of stamps, I look down and see all three of them in a dog pile, rolling and laughing hysterically across the floor of the post office.
I gather my stamps and when my attempts at getting the children to stand on their feet fail, I drag them out of the post office by their harness straps.

Back outside, Elizabeth tells me that she has to go pee-pee, again. I put her on the plastic throne and when five minutes pass and she still hasn't made a deposit, I tell her it's time to get in to the car. I encouragingly tell her that she can try again when we get home.

She refuses.

I give her another few minutes and feel my patience rapidly dissolve. If there is one thing I don't want to do, it's stand in the 92-degree heat waiting for my lollygagging three-year old to go pee-pee while my other two children are having a scream-off in the car and the baby is wailing to eat.

When I finally go to lift Elizabeth off the potty, she starts screaming and grabs both sides of the chair with her hands. I'm standing in the parking lot with my partially clad daughter that is clenching a potty chair to her rear. I start swinging her from side to side, hoping that she'll release her grip. Finally, she does. As the potty chair falls to the ground, so does a big poop that lands on my foot.

Just then, Mabel walks up.

My fellow post-office customer strides over to the car and shaking her head says "Gosh, I've been thinking that it must have been really hard when your triplets were all babies. How did you ever get through it? "

Bending down to pick up my daughter's poop from the top of my shoe, I smiled and said "Yeah. Thank God things are so much easier for me, now. My life has never been so peaceful. Which reminds me. I think I need to get my prescription refilled."


  1. Okay, when the poop hit the shoe, I lost it. Please remember, I'm laughing WITH you, not at you. For I, too, have picked my share of poop from between my toes.

    Your fellow triplet mom in the trenches,

  2. Now that I have met you IRL, your story is so much more vivid. I can hear William saying "You NO touch my baby Henwee!!"

    Love the grand poop finale.

    Wondering if our day at the Zoo will make your blog. You will have to be sure and share that while you had 4 children to watch, your ditsy friend could not even keep track of one of her 2. That was the scariest 3 min of my life. Thanks for sharing it w/ me.

    Have a good rest of the week.

  3. it's nearly midnight, and my poor husband was just startled out of a sound sleep by the sound of hysterical laughter ... just as the poop hit the shoe.

    gawd, i do love you ... in a totally non-creepy, non-stalkerish sort of way!

  4. And now I desperately need a potty chair! That was hysterical! I am so sorry, really I am, but its a total riot to read. However, if it had been happening to me Mabel may have met a different fate.

  5. Oh wow- Hilarious as always!
    I have a babyshower gift to sned and I am still not brave enough to go to the post office with three kids. Walking through wet cement would be easier.
    Thanks for making me giggle again!
    Rebecca D

  6. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Ah, that bit about the poop hitting your shoe just as Mable walked up was absolutely hi-freaking-larious. Woman, you should write a book. I very rarely laugh out loud when reading stuff online (despite my overuse of LOL), but that literally had me laughing out loud. You rock.

  7. Hi - never commented before, but I found your blog through Tertia. Anyway, one of my friends here has a family similar to yours - a 13 and 11 year old, a 3.5 year old and triplets who will be two in January. She's not really an online person, but I'll have to show her your blog.

  8. There is seriously something about the post office that makes going there with small children extremely traumatic. For the adults involved anyway...

    Hope that you don't have too many Christmas presents that have to be mailed! Although I just read that you can have your letter carrier pick up your packages at your house and just pay for the postage online. I'm thinking that sounds like a mighty fine idea...

  9. More than one post office trip for me with kids has ended in tears. Mine, not theirs. The thought of the place makes me break out in hives. IT has to be the most UN kid-proofed place in the world, despite all the nice Mabels.

    Aside from the poop finale, my favorite line of this post was, "I'm not african. I'm not Jewish. Just give me the stamps." I don't know why, but it made me giggle. Perhaps because I know how slowly the workers talk and move when you want to hurry...

    Invest in a scale that can weigh your packages at home and go to USPS dot com - click on "Skip the trip to the post office." :) I haven't tried it yet, but it sounds like a dream come true, eh?

  10. This is so a tragic sort of way. In a few years you'll look back at these archives and laugh so hard.

    I was going to suggest, like Code Yellow Mom, that you buy postage online. You can ship through and have them pick it up. All you need is a postage sale and they're not too expensive at Walmart or Target. OR there is You can print all your own postage there for about $15 a month. Might be worth it for you. Just a suggestion, but I didn't want to give unwanted advice. So feel free to ignore this whole paragraph. ;)

  11. "I'm not African. I'm not Jewish. Just give me the stamps."

    Actually, Kwanzaa is an African-American holiday. Kwanzaa is only celebrated in the U.S. and certainly not by anyone in Africa.

  12. Imara, I think the point is, it didn't matter. I don't think Jen celebrates the Kwanzaa holiday and I doubt she was trying to be politically incorrect.

    Jen, as always, you make me laugh and a small part of me wishes that I could experience a day (only a day!) in your shoes. I don't know how you manage to keep your sense of humor intact. If you had time (hahaha), I know you could make millions turning all these stories in to a book. I love your blog.


  13. ROFL...This made my day. Thank God I am not the only one that goes through situations like this!

  14. As the mother of recently potty trained twins I can so relate to not being "there" about going out in public in panties. Don't worry, the more you bite the bullet, the easier it gets.

    I have a suggestion to keep you from dumping the wee wee on the pavement. I keep cloth diapers (sometimes I've even used towels) in the back of the van with the potty. You'd be amazed how much pee a cloth diaper can absorb. I just throw it in the potty and toss it in the wash (since there's ALWAYS a load to do) when I get home. If there's something solid in there, I just throw the diaper over it for the time being and deal with it when I get home. I live in Texas and if it's a hot day I will scoop it out with a scented plastic bag (I got them at BRU, think they are for disposing of dirty diapers). I keep 2 (sometimes 3) potties in the car for my 2 kids. You might want to have more than one for 3 kids.

    Good luck and keep me laughing!!!! I LOVE your blog. One day I do think you could turn your entries into a book and make a mint.

  15. Oh wow - but you got your stuff done and you survived. Very impressive, even with poop on your shoe. Now WHY wouldn't people have a little compassion for a mom who's juggling 4 kids and let them go first? Honestly, would it kill them to just let you do your thing and get out of there? There is a potty seat with a lid, by the way:
    I know it looks like it'd be too small, but it works really well for my twins, and they even fit in a diaper bag and are spill-proof. The lid is quite tight, but beware that you make sure the tabs line up, or it's very hard to open. You'd probably need 2 or three, but they stack and they're less than $20 apiece. Unless somebody poops, I confess to only emptying mine every few days. There are benefits to living in colder climes.

  16. OMG! Man, I have no words I was laughing so hard.....God Bless will have 10 trillion crowns waiting for you in heaven!:)

  17. For the first time, I used the thing where you can print a shipping label at home and pay for it with a credit card, and then a nice post office person comes and picks up the box. I don't know why I was so nervous. It has improved the quality of my WHOLE LIFE.

  18. wow. charlie couldn't have dropped them off on the way to work?! really?

  19. O.M.G. I now know. Before reading the Amazing Trips Blog, Put diaper, pantyliner, washcloth, ANTYTHING under my bottom to catch the river... I just peed myself. I've been reading for long enough to know better.

  20. I don't understand why no one let you go first at the Post Office! Sheesh... BRU has a "potty on the go." It's got a small seat with a bag liner that they kids can pee or poop into, then you tie it up and throw it in the trash and go on your merry way! Good luck!

  21. Too funny Jen! Even "I" have never had anyone poop on me in a parking lot! I do, however, dump my potty chair in the parking lot, much to the horror of my fellow triplet mothers! :0

  22. OK Jen, if this IVF doesn't work I'm blaming it on my hysterical laughter after reading that. Oh the mental picture, you so need a vacation (alone)!

  23. I took woke my husband with my literal laughing out loud. That was truly funny. Ahh the joys of motherhood.

  24. Hire some help and quit making such a big deal of everything. It sounds like you enjoy all the drama. Look at that family that has eight?? Are they complaining? and she cooks everything from scratch. Quit feeling for sorry for yourself and get help if you can't handle it before you hurt those kids and yourself!! For gods sake!!! The children did not ask to be born!!

  25. WHOA!!! Was that ever uncalled for!!! How rude!! For what its worth the "family that has eight" does complain! A LOT! And they expect a lot too. So maybe if you dont know what you are talking about you shouldn't talk out it at all, dont you think?

  26. Tammi- Don't even get me started on the "behind the scenes" of the family of eight. I read a juicy article written by a reporter that was around when they turn the camera off.

    Jen- I can't WAIT to read your blog tomorrow!!! I mean for God sakes, what are you complaining about??????


  27. Hey Anon-
    Get off your behind and stop watching TV! Maybe your kids will be better citizens if you would stop watching TV and pay more attention to them! Sheeesh!

  28. Hey anonymous...that was really uncalled for.

    Have you ever had three toddlers and an infant 24/7? It IS drama. And only special people in this world are called to be parents in these situations. So unless you personally LIVE in this situation, you really don't KNOW how much pressure it is. Besides...I don't think you really have a right to COME to HER blog and tell her she's making a big deal of anything. If you don't like what she's written...don't read it. There are millions of other blogs that would appreciate your encouraging words, instead of getting a beat down.

  29. Is it always the same "anonymous" or are there several out there attacking us real people. As for Kate with 8. She complains CONSTANTLY to and about her husband. She talks to him like he is a naughty 6-year old. Do NOT look to her as a role model. She may mop her floor twice a day, but she is not setting a very good example to her kids about how to treat the people we love.

    We all appreciate opinions; but wouldn't it be nice if everyone felt confident enough in their own opinions (attacks?) to sign their name and leave some contact information.

    It would also be great to read their memoir so we can get a glimpse into what it is like to be perfect.

    Anonymous? We're waiting!

  30. I really did laugh out loud. And you know what's really sad? I was so traumatized by the post office in my day, I have packages sitting on the counter RIGHT THIS MINUTE.

    Even though my kids are all in school!

    Thanks for the laugh, I hope the glee I felt reading it makes up in some small way for your pain at the time. :-)

  31. i love reading your blog, you always make me laugh and commiserate with you. I'm a mom to four as well, when my youngest was born i had 4 kids all under the age of 4 and all in diapers. Now my oldest is 7, my twins are 4 and my son is 3 (he's 11 mos younger then my twins). To say there is never a dull moment around my house is an understatement.

  32. I don't think Anonymous realizes that this is supposed to be FUNNY. And it IS funny. Actually, I don't think they read it at all, I think it's just one of those "stir up trouble" people who likes to see everyone fight.

  33. To anonymous,

    I am so sorry for you that you have no sense of humor!

    This blog is so amazing, these children have an amazing mama, and if we don't laugh when the poop hits the shoe, what are we supposed to do!?

  34. OMG, I am laughing and nearly weeping in sympathy! I have 4 kids - youngest 2 twins, middle kid developmentally delayed - so I end up dragging the 3 around. I know people who don't have young multiples will think you are exaggerating for comic effect, but I see the stark truth in every word of this post.

    Kudos to you for not flinging the poo across the parking lot!

  35. Oh anonymous that was SO SO rude. If you're going to make statements like that at least have the guts to use your name.

  36. You have all this going on AND you still manage a picture. I thaaank you!!!! When I saw that picture My thought was "aww so cute" then I read what she was doing. LMAO! You have got to be the mostest cleverest mom EVOH! Anonymous is just jealous......for many reasons:)

  37. one tip:
    print out postage, schedule free package pickup.

  38. I found your page through your YouTube videos (I have 3 1/2 y.o. BBG triplets and subscribe to your videos). I can totally sympathize about the post office! I've only brought all three with me once in the last 6 months b/c its just too much -- even though the post office is small (we live in a relatively small town) and everyone knows who we are and is really kind. My kudos to you with the potty training -- I've only got one fully trained (overnight, too) and the other two are giving me hassles (can you say "power-struggle"?). Congrats on that, and good luck with future post-office trips (if you ever get the courage to try again soon!)! ;-)

  39. It is all so familiar, right down to the poop on the shoe! I have to laugh because my friends laugh at me too.

    Is it just me or is having multiple newborns easier than having mutliple toddlers? I wish I could go back in times some days!

  40. I'm the mother of 2 boys, ages 1 and 3, and whenever I am feeling sorry for myself about how hard my life is (sniff sniff)...I come and read your blog and suddenly I realize how easy I've got it :-)