Welcome to my Weblog!
Welcome to 1 Mother 2 Another! To read my most recent weblog entries, scroll down. To read entries from one category, click the links at right. To read my journey from the beginning, click here. To find out more about me, click here.
Top 5s
Short on time? Click here to go to my Top 5s Page - links to my top five recommendations in every category from Breastfeeding Sites to Urban Living Solutions.

Four Is Enough

A friend of mine had a baby last week (hi
baby Ben!) and while she was in the hospital recovering I took her
two boys for the day. I love the boys, who are wonderful, and who
love my girls. They’re well-mannered, kind, are raised
similarly to mine, and a joy to have around.

But still – four kids under the age of 5 could be hard. I
felt up to it, but was a bit worried how I’d fill a ten-hour
day. I couldn’t take the kids to the pool –
there’s no way I can watch Cora and two-year-old Nate at the
same time. But I figured out a few fun things, planned as well as I
could, and picked them up.

Everything went incredibly well the entire morning. We headed to
our outdoor nature museum and had a great time. The four kids
stayed together, were respectful and kind towards each other, and
stayed away from the poison ivy. We ate a picnic outside, examined
coyote poop on the trail, walked through the butterfly garden, and
got nice and exhausted.

Things went so well that I have to confess I got a little cocky.
All four children are blonde, and it was clear most people thought
they were all mine, and I could feel the admiring glances –
look how well this woman handles four kids! What poise! What
relaxed confidence! I fully acknowledge, by the way, that the main
reason it was so easy is that Nate and Sam have been raised
excellently, with outstanding obedience skills and great manners.
But I was more than happy to take the credit, and as I drove home
for nap time I felt a bit like Super Mom.

And then things didn’t go so well.

The boys nap an hour earlier than my girls
do, so I figured I’d push the boys back half an hour and the
girls up the same amount, meeting in the middle. A full fifteen
minutes earlier than my goal time we all headed upstairs to get
ready for naps, me already relishing the hour of quiet time I was
about to get.

My plan was to put two-year-old Nate in the playroom on an air
mattress, and four-year-old Sam, who usually takes quiet time
instead of naps, in my room with some quiet toys. I sent the older
kids off to pee while I started to set up the air mattress.

First stumbling block: the blow-up mechanism for the air mattress
needed to be charged. No worries: I set it to charge while we did
everything else – pick out books, change diapers, and so on.
Fifteen minutes later, the thing gave me ten seconds and pooped

Ok. I’ll just blow it up the old-fashioned way.

Five minutes later, I was nearly unconscious and realizing I
didn’t have the lung capacity to do this. No problem –
I’ll just get one of the air mattresses with the pump
attached. We’ve got four. Yes, four. Other mattresses.

I pull out mattress number two, and the valve cover has
mysteriously disappeared, which means the air I pump in goes right
back out. No problem. I’ll get another mattress.

By this time, young Nate’s looking droopy but hanging in
there, and Sam’s looking skeptical. “When are we gonna
get this thing done?” he asks. I’m fighting hard for

I pull out mattress number three, as-yet unpacked from our move two
years ago, and find a note taped to it: “Leaky mattress!!!!
DO NOT USE until fixed!!!”

I reach for mattress number four.

My patience is now running out. Nate has definitely wilted, Maddie
and Cora are beginning some long elaborate hard-to-end game, and
Sam’s staring at me like, “My parents really trusted
you with me for the whole day?” I give him my best breezy,
“Hang with me, kid, I’m completely in control!”
smile and wink as I pull mattress number four out of its as-yet
unpacked container.

And find a note taped to it. Yep, two leaky mattresses we paid to
transport across country.

By this time I’m considering getting the crib mattress out of
storage from the garage for poor Nate. It’s almost an hour
past his usual naptime and he looks as if he’s simply going
to fall on his bottom and cry. Thankfully, I remember mattress
number five, stored in Cora’s closet.

I bargain away pretty much the rest of my life in prayer as I pull
it out, and praise my Redeemer, it’s fine. Fifth time’s
the charm, I always say. I inflate the thing, hustle the kids into
my bed, and they all pile around me like puppies to read books.
When book time is over I say cheerily, “Ok, everyone go to
your nap room!” Maddie, Cora, and Sam get up and head to
their respective positions.

My poor Natie, half asleep, cranks one eye open and looks at me,
bewildered. “I want to sleep here! I want to sleep here with
Sam!” And begins crying. A lot.

I actually contemplate this, I do. I think, well, he’s two.
What are the odds he’d have a problem in a queen-size bed
filled with down pillows and comforters, with two sharp-edged
nightstands on either side, and in a room filled with
non-baby-proofed outlets? And then I realize I’m insane for
thinking this, since I know he’s never slept in a grown-size
bed. Ok, Super Mom, fix this.

I explain to Nate as soothingly as I can that I’ve got his
special room all set up, and Sam and I will come in there with him
and read one more book in HIS bed before naptime.

Nate looks at me, and I see the following flash across his face:

“That’s it. I’m done. I have had it up to HERE
with all these changes, I haven’t REALLY had my mom around

And then I saw this:

“Holy cow am I tired. Whatever. Show me to my bed.”

Half an hour of snuggling and back-rubbing later, and Nate was
asleep. A mere hour and a half past his usual nap time, but with
only thirty seconds of meltdown crying.

I tiptoed downstairs, checking all the monitors, knowing I had half
an hour before Maddie and Cora emerged from their rooms. What did I
do, you ask?

I read my Bible. And ate some chocolate.

The rest of the day passed very well, with the boys heading home
with their dad at bedtime. All the kids said what a great day it
had been, and Maddie and Cora wondered when they’d come back
again. As for me –

I’m not going to lie. I was tired. But I never lost my cool,
never lost my patience, never yelled, never felt out of my depth.
Just out of mattresses. Hah.

Seriously, I survived. I’m completely aware that it’s
because of my friends’ excellent parenting of these two boys,
which made them so easy to take care of all day. But I know I can
handle it and will be up for it the next time it’s needed.

Thank you, God, for giving me strength. And my hidden freezer stash
of Jacques Torres chocolate malt balls.


Post a Comment

House Rules

Here are the rules for posting comments on 1mother2another.com. Posting a comment that violates these rules will result in the comment’s deletion, and you’ll probably be banned from commenting in the future.

1) Register first. If you would like to post a comment, you must create an account with us. Check out the home page to do so.

2) Constructive comments only. If you cannot maintain a respectful tone in your posting, even in disagreement, your comment will be deleted. We’re all trying to find our way in this thing and are struggling to be the best moms we can. If you disagree with something I say, feel free to politely email me. If you disagree with another reader’s posting, you’re welcome to kindly post in reply. Vitriolic diatribes will be deleted. This site is about encouraging and supporting, not tearing down and chastising.

3) Questions welcomed. If an entry raises a question, you’re welcome to email me directly or post it. Keep in mind that postings will result in public replies by strangers and not just me.

4) Don’t steal. All original writings contained within this website are under copyright protection. If you link to us, please credit us as your source and provide a link back to our website. If you're interested in using an excerpt in published material, please contact us.

5) Share your photos! We'd love to have photos from our registered readers to show on our home page under "Maddie's friends". Email us a jpeg of your little one's best photo to photos@1mother2another.com. Please, no photos from professional photographers which fall under copyright protection.