But sometimes - I wonder how well I'd really do. Sometimes, I wonder if the arrangement that we have right now, isn't truly the best situation for our children and for me?
More and more, I think that Charlie is the best one for the job.
Take this past weekend for instance.
We had a wonderful four long days together. But the kids? While I love them with every fiber of my being, they tend to drive me a bit bonkers at times. Like when we go in to a store and I tell them to keep their hands on their elbows, they instead discreetly touch whatever they can. And in the process of trying to sneak in a touch - here and there - they knock something down.
Do I not go in to a store with our kids?
Can I not take my children anywhere public - except a park?
At what age do kids learn to STOP TOUCHING EVERYTHING and just CHILL?
I know this much.
It ain't five.
Charlie took Elizabeth to her speech therapy session today and while he was talking with the therapist, William was playing with one of the huge electronic doors that leads to the lobby. He was pushing the door open, then trying to stop it before it closed. Charlie told him to stop. And he did. But only after he pushed it two more times because the kids don't grasp that STOP means STOP RIGHT THIS VERY INSTANT.
Turns out, William jammed the door. Which Charlie had to unjam. Which took a solid five minutes, and although that may not seem bad, it is an eternity when you have four children that you are directly responsible for supervising.
You tell them, "Please come here." And although they are making eye contact, they just stand and stare at you. And you can't tell if they are aware of what you are saying or absolutely oblivious. So you say it again, a little sterner. "PLEASE come HERE." And they just continue to stare at you and so you start chanting, "HERE HERE HERE HERE PLEASE COME HERE HERE HERE HERE HERE!!!"
(After a lot of field testing, I've determined it would be easier and less painful to give myself a root canal than take children on a day hike.)
("I can't walk. I'm sooo tired and need a nap!")
And unless you raise your voice and threaten bodily harm, there is a good chance that they will continue to just stand there. Staring at you. Staring in to space. And you might think that they are totally unconscious on their feet until their sibling wanders in to the room carrying one of their toys that they haven't played with for three months and suddenly, they have a meltdown of epic proportions.
Yesterday afternoon when we were at Costco, Elizabeth is fiddling with the ATM/Credit Card machine at the checkout and I ask her to stop because it is registering my total and I'd rather she not hit the button for $100.00 cash back. So I ask her to stop again and she glances at me with a look that very clearly says, "What are you going to do if I don't?" So I grit my teeth and start shooing at the little hands and just then Carolyn pulls at the rubber-coiled lane divider (which are absolute magnets for small children) and it snaps and hits William and crying, nay - wailing ensues.
Out of nowhere, I heard someone yell "SWEET BABY JESUS, SAVE ME." And then I realized it was me and all the eyes for two lanes in either direction, packed with people on a busy, busy Sunday afternoon, were turned in my general vicinity looking at the messy-haired mother who looks like she might go psycho at any moment. Henry is screaming about something that he saw and wants from the back of the store and OMG I need a tranquilizer.
Charlie hardly ever gets upset. He handles everything in stride and is absolutely remarkable. He is a superstar father and has the patience of saint.
(Although I did catch him hiding in the garage a few weeks ago, sucking down a beer in the middle of the day.)
Maybe I'm an incurable control freak?
Why is it that he doesn't mind when the house is flipped upside down?
Why is it that he doesn't need to clean out the car every time they return from an outing to make sure that wayward shoes and clothing items and sippy cups are recovered?
Why doesn't he care that the kids go out of the house wearing clothes that don't match and hair that isn't brushed with jelly smeared on their faces?
How is it that he just takes everything in stride and I go so batty?
My husband will lay on the floor and wrestle with the kids. When I'm home, I'm busy vacuuming and sweeping and making beds.
We are a dichotomy. And yet, we totally jive.
Charlie is the fun dad that is an awesome cook and helps keep mommy balanced. Mommy is the strict disciplinarian that scares the hell out of the kids and hides in the closet to eat chocolate.
At some point soon, I want to discuss other people's children and why it seems that everyone has got an excellent handle on their offspring - when out in public - except for us.
I'm thinking that perhaps they put them in electric shock collars.