Wednesday, April 30, 2008

i'm going to the funny farm. want to come?

Once, when I was in seventh grade, my mother and I went on vacation to the beach over Spring Break. It was March. I didn't think the sun was so intense that time of year that a full day in the sun with minimal sunscreen coverage, would land me with skin so burned it would literally blister all over my body.

I also didn't think that it was possible to be so sick from over exposure, that a person couldn't step foot in to the sun without long sleeve pants and shirts - and a wide brim hat - for the next two weeks or else they'd suffer from extreme nausea.

Twenty three years ago, I had a bad case of sunstroke.

Today, I had a bad case of kid stroke.

The symptoms of nausea, extreme sensitivity and exhaustion are almost identical.

The children had swimming lessons this morning.

It took me thirty minutes longer than it should have to leave the house because I am dealing with three COMPLETELY irrational human beings. They wanted to wear their pajamas UNDER their bathing suits. They wanted to wear their plastic high heel shoes that they can hardly walk in. They wanted to stand on the PINK step stool in the bathroom, even though it was in the other bathroom, unless I got it, they wouldn't go potty. Or, they would go potty on the floor - and then point and tell me about it.

Not once, but twice.

Once we arrived at the pool, they all LOUDLY protested about getting in to the pool because they didn't want to be cold. They didn't want to get wet. They didn't want, didn't want, didn't want. I, however did want thirty minutes of quiet, so I walked with them in the door, spotted the teacher, told them "Look!! There's something shiny!!" and then ran the opposite way, before they could chase me out.

Taking a blessed 20-minute reprieve from constant whining and bickering, I went to sign the kids up for the next month of swimming lessons. When I went back to the pool to check on them, they SAW me. Their smiles disappeared and they were instantly MISERABLE. They started crying, shivering, and in the two seconds it took me to realize that I needed to RUN AND HIDE their lips turned blue. So, I did what any responsible parent would do upon seeing their desperately cold child. I spun my baby around in his stroller and shoving elderly people out of my path, BOLTED the other way.

Standing behind a pillar where I was out of sight, I watched the 30 senior citizens that were in the same pool as my children, stop their exercises and whip their white heads around to see what all the fuss was about in the shallow end.

Thinking back to my days of teaching swimming lessons, I remembered that it is always better for the teacher if the parent is out of sight. So, I laid low until one of the lifeguards hunted me down, with my three screaming children behind her ... seven minutes before the rest of the class was dismissed.

The doors leading to the outside pool are completely sound proof. But once she opened the door and my children's screams echoed through the building, it was like hearing the cry of the Mandrake. I actually touched my hand to my ears to make sure they weren't bleeding.

Ushering my three screaming and shaking children in to the locker room - I gave them a quick rinse in the handicap shower stall, where they all proceeded to fight over whose turn it was to hold the shower head. When I relinquished our shower space to a woman in a wheelchair with blue legs that was recovering from a stroke and had an oxygen tank, she felt compelled to tell me that she thought she had a rough life until she saw me.

Then she laughed, a bright and gleeful laugh.

I tried to get the children dressed as quickly as possible because we had a meeting with the Montessori school, where I was scheduled to sign over a large sum of money for enrollment. But the kids sensed that we had someplace to be, so they rummaged through the duffel bag I had carefully packed when I was occupied getting their sibling dressed ... and hid various clothing items in various lockers. One shoe here. One shoe there. One sock here. One sock there. Underwear over here. Shorts over there.

We arrive 10 minutes late at the Montessori school. Unloading the car, Carolyn trips and falls and skins her elbow. It is bleeding and gets all over my shirt. William informs me that he has to go pee-pee. Henry is extremely fussy because THE CHILD WILL NOT SLEEP and skipped his morning nap. Elizabeth is doing something annoying but for the life of me, I can't remember what, now. I do remember, however, that she is insistent that she takes her TWO bunnies with her. She must have TWO bunnies at all times.

I herd them in to the school. I try to keep three three-year-olds and a nine-month-old quiet for me to quickly skim through the registration packet, talk to the director about important dates and doctor records, and drop off a check for enrollment that is large enough to cover a round trip vacation for our family to Europe. Then, I question if I am doing the right thing.

Dear God, am I doing the right thing??

I load the kids up and drive home.

Everyone falls asleep in the 20 minutes it takes to get back to our house.

Everyone wakes up crying when I pull in to the driveway.

Walking in the house, Carolyn is still crying over her elbow. Henry is crawling around, crying, hungry, tired, eating something off the floor that we didn't get around to sweeping last night. William is playing with a toy that Elizabeth had claimed as HERS the night before. Elizabeth goes to get the toy back, William does a straight arm shove and knocks her down so hard that she smacks her head on the tile floor and lays stunned for a solid five seconds before erupting in to screams.

Whirlwind of feeding - eat - eat - eat - GO TO BED - pleading that they PLEASE take a nap. Henry falls asleep for five minutes while nursing. I put him in his crib, he is awake five minutes later, crying. The remnants of lunch are still on the counter. The floor is still unswept. There are piles of laundry. Nothing has been accomplished except me, continuing to question if I made the right choice to register them for school in the fall.

Soon, all the kids are up. I take them outside. We go on a treasure hunt. They have great fun finding the treasure rocks that Jody, a blog reader from Florida, sent to them. (Thanks again, Jody!!) Elizabeth is finding more rocks than William and Carolyn. A lot more rocks. She has found almost all of them, William and Carolyn have each found one. While pointing out butterflies, I redistribute the rocks so everyone has the same number in their bucket.

They sit down to open the rocks and I go to hide the gold coins that Jody also sent. I hear a SMACK and Elizabeth crying. I look up to see that William has smacked her, as hard as he could, with his bucket full of rocks.

Fury sets in.

This is the second time in a day that he has really hurt her. I launch over to him, launch him in to the house, scoop up Elizabeth and hold her while pushing Henry on the baby swing. Carolyn is climbing on the fort and goes to come down, but falls face first down the ladder. Even though I've told them fifty times if I've said it once that they need to go down the ladder backwards, I might as well be telling them to calculate the wing speed velocity of an African, no EUROPEAN (!!), swallow.

I put down a crying Elizabeth and pick up a crying Carolyn.

I look down at Henry and he has slipped in his swing so that the lap belt is tight beneath his neck. I put down a crying Carolyn and pick up a gasping Henry. William is still in the house screaming. I later find out that the reason William whacked his sister with a bucket is because a FLY landed on her. A fly. My response to what was intended to be, chivalrous behavior, was completely over the top. Not at all unlike William smacking tomorrow out of his sister with a bucket full of rocks because she had a FLY on her. Elizabeth has now cracked open the treasure rocks and is trying to stuff the gems in to her ears.

The rest of the afternoon is a blur of more crying and fighting. I call Charlie, who is shopping for a magnifying glass so the children can look at bugs up close, and ask that he please come home. When he arrives, I'm holding William who is still sobbing because I launched him in to the house. Henry is crawling around my feet. Elizabeth and Carolyn are yelling "That's MY mommy." "NO! THAT'S MY MOMMY!!!" Followed by the chorus of "NOOOOOOOOOOOO!"
Charlie arrives home. He prepares dinner. We sit down to dinner. The kids will NOT stop touching us. Carolyn knocks over two glasses of milk. Elizabeth is tossing her spaghetti with her hands and then wiping her hands in her hair. William is doing something annoying but for the life of me, I can't remember what, now. Elizabeth leans over and gently touches the blood on my shirt from Carolyn earlier in the day, and Carolyn erupts in to screams of "NO!! That's MY blood!!" This outcry makes Elizabeth want to touch it more. It makes William want to see what Carolyn is hollering about and makes him want to touch it, too.

Best of all, it wakes Henry up from what I had hoped would be a 12-hour sleep.

I tell my husband that if I have to hear ONE MORE CHILD utter ONE MORE SOUND so help me, I am going to stuff them in to rocket launchers and shoot them to the moon.

Usually once I tuck the kids in bed, I can reflect on the day and think "Oh, that really wasn't so bad." But tonight, I've decided it would be more pleasant to stick my head in a toilet and flush it sixty times in an hour, then repeat the kind of day I had, today.

And to think, I have reservations about returning to work on Thursday.


  1. Frankly, I'm surprised you have reservations about sending them to school, after a day like that.

    Most importantly, do you have chocolate in the house?

  2. While I used to love having people visit (or visiting people) and the Wondertwins having extra attention and all that, I hated...HATED...when it was back to the four of us. The first few days were always hell. It's as if the kids had to detox the extra attention out of their system and then get back to normal.

    Hope today is better.

  3. I wish I could offer some helpful advice or a witty comment. Instead I can only say that I completely and totally sympathize. Completely and totally.

    We had a similar day nearly every single day last week when my husband was out of town, I had pneumonia, and the boys spilled an unopened gallon of latex paint on my carpet. And I'm just generally exhausted and miserable what with being pregnant with twins again and all.

    I'm seriously looking into the possibility of a rocket ship to blast my children into space as well. Do you know where I can find one?

  4. No, thanks I think I will stay here on the phat/fat farm:)

  5. OMG Jenn. This post was so "REAL" I could hardly force myself to finish reading it. It takes me back to similar days of insanity that I'd rather forget! I am surprised you could relive it by typing it out . . . . was wine involved?

    Yours in tripletness - Jessica

  6. nothing profound to write here, just a voice of empathy from another triplet mom and a wish for a better day...

    bless you all!!!

  7. You're going to miss these times, one day...

  8. Thank you for making my day seem so much less horrible!! I can hardly wait until mine are all 3.


  9. I'm SOOO sorry - I have to admit that I'm laughing. I know it was an AWFUL day, and I have nothing to compare to that story... but I'm still laughing. It's all so comical, it should be made into a movie or short or something - so that people without kids who think all that Moms do is sit around eating bon-bons all day could get a real look at parenthood... You totally deserve a day away - just so you can miss the kids and feel grateful when you come back home. I hope you were able to have a calm night...

  10. Send them to the Montessori school. They will love it. You will be a better mom for taking time away from them, and it will help the children grow. It's a win-win situation!!!

  11. You are hilarious...I'm over here from Lots of Scotts. I only have a 3.5 yr old (just one) and a 9 month old, but I'd be happy to join you at the funny farm any day.


  12. You are seriously better than the pill for birth control! :-)

    Ok, just kidding. I only have one 3 year old, one child, and I too often feel like that. Now I know I have no right to complain.

    I love your blog by the way! I oftentimes instant message your posts to my husband too.

  13. Oh Jen, I know I shouldn't laugh but the way you wrote your post was hysterically funny.

    What a day it has been!

  14. My god...I think I'll just stick with the twins after all. ((mumbles to self: "must go check out local Montessori schools, ASAP..."))

  15. Holy cow! Montessori school STAT! Made me laugh though. They are just so unreasonable at that age.

    I love that you hid from them. I once ran into Greg with my four kids in Sam's Club. For a split second, I didn't know they were mine and thought to myself, "Look at that fool with all those kids."

    Then I realized that fool was MINE, and I RAN, RAN I TELL YOU to get out the door before they saw me! I truly understand!

  16. Oh my gosh, bless your little heart. And also, thank you. I laughed so hard about this that my kids came to see what was going on and then I had them read it too. We were all cracking up.


  17. That calls for 20cc's of vino and 20,000,000cc's of chocolate. Stat!

  18. I am so sorry. I don't completely feel your pain, but minus two of your triplets I do feel my own. I think that there is something in their little worlds this past week that has made them all's been a rough week for several of my friends too. I don't know what it is. I would HATE to be a teacher right now that is what I do know. I hope you feel at peace with your decision. Mother's Day out is the best invention EVER! (well right behind Jesus)

  19. Treasure rocks?

    those sound very intriguing! not just normal rocks?

    Sorry just curious! You wrote the check! Montessori is happening! Job is happening! a lot is happening.

    Best wishes to you, Jen - you guys are all going to have a great (upcoming) year - not that this day didn't sound like a blast! but what's coming sounds even better.

  20. Dear Lord....I used to day dream about having twins when I was a little girl. I see clearly that it was definitely not in the cards for me. Hope tomorrow is better.

  21. Dang...................

    Yea, I think this was your "sign" that yes, you don't need to have reservations anymore about sending them to school.

    Hang in there!!!!!

  22. I just got done reading that to Jeff... through tears. I hope that you are saving all of these entries, they are priceless. God bless you and when does school start again???

  23. I have the annual pass to the farm. There is something in the air. I swear I have three possesed demons. Thank God for Mr. Guinness' brewing capability.

  24. Please forgive me for laughing at your pain, but I found this insanely funny! I am another mother of triplets (2 yrs old) and their 4 yr old brother. The only reason I can laugh is because you did such a wonderful job writing about what a bad day can be like!

    I found your blog through a google search. Feel free to visit mine, though it pales in comparison to your writing!

    I remember a day when my girls all had ear infections, and I called my husband to tell him that he might come home to find all four kids strapped into booster seats screaming, and me in another room with headphones on. I use a lot of chocolate therapy too.