Like any mother, I am a master of the multi task.
I can almost always be doing at least two things at once and because I have this insatiable desire to feel like I'm being productive my mind is swirling with things like, "While I'm washing my hair I could also probably be washing the shower. And at least mentally writing thank you notes so when I get out and try my hair - while blowing dust out of the closet track - I'll be 50% done and just need to put the words on paper."
Compare this to Charlie...
According to my husband, when he takes a shower, he thinks about washing his hair. And then when all the shampoo is out, he thinks about shaving. And then, he thinks about turning off the water. Getting out. Closing the door. Hanging up his towel. Getting dressed. Brushing his teeth. And then, once his socks are snugly on his feet, he thinks about what shoes will he will wear.
In that same span of time, I've already processed not only what I'll be wearing but what clothing and footwear our entire family will require for the next YEAR.
When I take the kids to the park, I'm jogging while they ride their bikes, then I'm photographing them as they spin around on the merry-go-'round because I have a lifetime of childhood memories to capture and a blog to update and if my phone rings and I see that it is our emergency response line, I must answer it because chances are someone drove off with a gas nozzle in their car, ripping it clean off the dispenser, and I need to make sure it doesn't require a rapid environmental response. Which I might then need to coordinate, while pushing children on the swings and eating a Power Bar (aka: my lunch).
My mind and body are always busy.
But these days, I'm trying really hard to NOT always be so busy. I'm trying NOT to be so distracted by the millions of little things that are happening all around me, the chatter on my radar, and instead, be focused on the one task that I have at hand.
After attending a safety conference last week, I watched a short film about someone who was so busy multi tasking that they actually cost someone their life, while severely limiting their own.
It was the story of a man who was working on some scaffolding when his cell phone rang. He got distracted and answered the call and then, he because he was pulled in to the conversation he forgot that he had just loosened a guardrail and leaned against it while holding a large plank of wood. The guardrail gave way and he plummeted 20 feet to the ground, breaking his back and paralyzing himself from the waist down. Meanwhile, the board that he had been holding flew out of his hands and hit a woman who was jogging on a nearby running path.
The unfortunate victim was the mother of two small children and the film ended as the children were walking in to the cemetery - holding their father's hands - and carrying bouquets of flowers for their mommy's grave.
Wow, I didn't see that end coming at all. So in a room full of 200 contractors, it was me audibly crying. Sobbing. Sucking wind. Drawing attention from the other tables while I was frantically digging in my bag for a tissue.
I could so EASILY see how that could happen in the blink of an eye. You don't think it will happen to you and then it does. You're talking on the phone and a toddler pulls a pot of boiling spaghetti sauce on his head. You answer a call on your cell while you're driving and you don't even notice that the car in front of you has on it's blinker and is starting to merge. You get flung in to space as you cross the street by someone who is obliviously text messaging.
Anyway. I'm trying to focus more on doing one thing at a time and not be distracted by those superficial things that always seem to pop up and pull my attention away. Each day, I'm giving myself a period of time to get tasks completed before I move on to anything else and I won't start something else until I finish what I've started.
Because honestly, I'm so tired of looking around the house and wondering why it is that I'm working ALL the time, but nothing ever seems to be done? It's also the reason I'm considering disconnecting the phone because I cannot stand talking on it. You wanna talk to me? Come visit. Because while you're here you can at least help me watch the four little people who are running around while we try to converse.
Today, I collected all the clothes and actually STARTED a load of laundry and I didn't stop to make the beds in each room while picking up clothes nor did I take out the trash and rearrange a sock drawer and clean out the back of the van before I merely added a cup of soap to the wash.
Unreal, one load of laundry washed.
(Hopefully, I'll focus on drying it tomorrow and folding it by Wednesday.)
Now I think the thing that troubles me the most about the incident at church with Henry is that I should have been there the first week that I heard there was a problem. Granted, Charlie did go and sit in with him twice - but I didn't because I was too distracted and busy taking notes on the Marriage Series. Which is very important, but not more important than what's happening with my little boy. (Hmm. That feels a lot like Catholic guilt.)
I've worked in church nurseries before and to be perfectly honest, the building would need to be on FIRE before I called the parents. Absolutely, positively inconsolable children notwithstanding, I'd take it upon myself to solve whatever problems popped up. When I was a teenager, I could manage a church nursery full of small children. Hence the reason God probably trusted me enough to send me a nursery of my very own.
(For the record, once I zoomed in and took this picture, I saw the lollipops, given to them by their instructor and I immediately confiscated them all. One because lollipops are bad for their teeth and they already had one that day at the hair dressers and Two because they shouldn't be running around with lollipops in their mouths. I'm just taking a pro-active stance here to ward off the comments that will undoubtedly roll in telling me to NOT let my children run around with lollipops. I actually considered blurring them out, but that was too obvious. Don't you think?)
It makes me physically sick to think that "my" child is causing a problem to someone else. Even though I think that he is two and by their very nature toddlers are challenging and the nursery workers should have handled it - it bothers me profusely that he was such a distraction that they felt like they couldn't.
It also bothers me that I never had these kind of behavioral issues with the triplets when they were two. Probably because they were always surrounded by children the same age as them and they just learned how to adapt. It makes me a little sad that Henry doesn't have a twin. Because I honestly think the child would be easier if there were two of him.
All this to say, because of the issues that we've been having with Henry, he has made his way to the top of my FOCUS list. Today, Charlie took the kids to karate, and I stayed at home with him and we made chocolate chip cookies and ate them and I was swept up in how adorable and precious he is and the people at the nursery are clearly whacked.
As we were sitting around the dinner table on Saturday night, I told the children that I'll be joining their little brother during his church class (which isn't so much of a class as a time to romp and play) for the next few weeks because I'm very concerned over his behavior and it's extremely important we get this resolved immediately. As such, I'll be counting on them to set a good example at home. They need to be kind and gentle and use nice hands and if I see anyone hitting their little brother or pushing him down, God Help Me, I'll string them up by their toes from the swing set.
(Of course I'm kidding. Right?)
The triplets are stunned in to gobsmacked silence. Henry has been kicked out of church FOUR times? Mommy will be missing church to sit with HIM? We go to church every week so this is obviously a very big DEAL. Slowly, they raise their eyebrows and look a bit worried.
And then William, a natural born comic if there ever was one, peers over the table at his baby brother and very seriously says, "Henry you better watch out. Big Mama is coming to TOWN."
And that really has nothing to do with anything except I'm still cracking up over it two days later.