Septomom vs. Dracula

Well, today was one of those days that I feel the need to take a shower when it's over in an attempt to wash it all down the drain. It's only 7:27 and I'm already out, because Jimmy saw the need and put everyone to bed at 7:00. Thanks, babe.

This morning I watched a friend of mine's kids, three girls. So I had my time of being a mom of seven. It was fun and pretty uneventful. I realized what having a big family must be like when I was assembling turkey sandwiches en mass at 10:30 a.m. in anticipation of "the lunch rush". It's really great when the kids have friends over because they're not constantly asking me to be their playmate. And I can enjoy watching them. I really only felt a little like Octomom once when I had the fussy baby strapped to my chest while wiping a bottom. It was short lived and at least the poop was in the toilet.

Later after nap time the whole family went to the library and I was feeling pretty rough (coming down with a cold) and felt like I was shush-ing children left and right. Especially Cash who goes from quietly playing in the water fountain to reading to running around and screaming all in the space of three minutes while we are at the library. But this wonderful angelic woman said, after I had shushed someone, "I think their voices sound really cute. You're not bothering anyone." God bless this wonderful human being. They are cute. Above the decibel level for the library by my standards, but cute.

At dinner I hit a new level of chaos/misrule when Cash was walking around the kitchen twirling a string over his head like a lasso. Not a good idea, but even more so when he had found the string on the kitchen table fresh from the rotisserie chicken Jimmy was cutting up. It had been tying the legs together. And I wonder how my walls get so dirty so fast.

In the bath tonight there was high pitched screaming made by Libby and Cash as they were pretending with their toy fish. I tried to get their attention but to no avail. It's like I wasn't even in the room. Jimmy came in to see what was going on and I complained to him that I could say anything and they wouldn't hear me. I tried, "Hey, tomorrow we're going to Disney World" and miraculously they got quiet and said, "We are?" No kids, I just want to wash your hair!!

And finally, what put us over the top on the early bedtime...Cash fell in the hallway after getting out of the bath and not drying off enough. He cried pretty hard but I was busy in Libby's room behind him and just gave the perfunctory, "Cash, are you ok?" and left him lying there. (Hey, people fall down and cry all the time around here!) Libby walked up a few seconds later and said, "Mom, Cash is bleeding!" and I felt pretty bad and came around to help him. What I found was a three year old that looked a bit like Dracula after quite a feast. I mean, really, like more blood than I think I've ever bled at once (childbirth excluded). He was fine, just a bad busted lip. Bedtime for all! And that's when I hit the shower. Washed all that Septomom, Dracula, and chicken residue down the drain for the night. I start over tomorrow. And willingly. This is my life. And it's full of life. And I love it. It just makes my blog a little better to sound like I'm going a little crazy.


Sally Julie Raphael

Today on the way to church Jackson asked me (again!) about the restaurant I went to last night. It's called Bella Bella and he's very interested in it because our dog's name is Bella. He wanted to know why we never go there to eat. I told him because it was "fancy" and it costs a lot of money. (That and because every eating establishment which we give the honor of serving us a meal, we leave them a small beach of crumbs, spilled drinks, and sticky tables while we are being really loud and impatient during the entire meal.) Last night he was very concerned because I was all "fancy". All I had done was take a shower, braid my hair, put on a cotton dress (with flip-flops) and was wearing a necklace. He wanted to know why I was getting so dressed up. I guess since my usual attire is jeans and a t-shirt, yoga pants, or paint clothes, I looked pretty good.

So anyway, he asked me again this morning about it. "Mom, does the chicken at Bella Bella have curls on it?" I asked him what he meant by curls. He said, "You know, like curls and lace on it, since it's fancy." I said no, and thought it was quite Amelia Bedelia-ish of him to think so. But really, if the restaurant is fancy, shouldn't the chicken come out wearing lace and curls? (Amelia Bedelia actually does "dress" the chicken in one of her books.)

Having this discussion about fancy restaurants and lacy chickens are just some of the things I have to talk about around here. Someone always seems to want to talk to me about what is going on with them, no matter how big or small the problem. I feel loved and appreciated, but lately I've felt pretty overwhelmed. I can't tell you how many times someone will be talking to me and someone else breaks in. Who am I, Sally Jesse Raphael? Is it the glasses? Because sometimes I feel like a talk show host.

On our panel today we have Libby and Cash. Libby feels hurt because Cash messed up her doll house and Cash seems unrepentant and aloof. Audience, let's welcome Libby and Cash!

Julie: Libby, can you tell me why you've come today?
Libby: Cash messed up my dollhouse!
Cash: It was an accident!
Libby: No it wasn't! He did it on purpose!
Julie: Cash, did you mess up Libby's dollhouse?
Cash: Don't spank me!
Julie: Let's bring in our expert, Jackson.
Jackson: Thanks for having me.
Julie: Jackson, did you see what happened?
Jackson: Yes, Cash pushed over Libby's dollhouse toys.
Julie: Cash, look at me. Cash...Cash...look in my eyes.
Cash: I won't do it anymore.
Julie: You need to tell Libby you're sorry...

And so it goes. My life is really just like a Jerry Springer episode without the mullets and microphones. I am a problem solver, an exploiter of people's mistakes, and I make a spectacle out of people's bad behavior in hopes to get... ratings? Well, it breaks down there, but I do feel sometimes like I need a microphone and cue cards to 1) be loud enough to be heard over the screams and frustration and 2) remember what I'm supposed to say that is patient, loving, Godly, yet still just and firm. Can I get some scripted mommy-isms to get me out of a bind? And while we're at it, how about an arsenal of good-loving-supportive wife comments to utter when I'm feeling overwhelmed by all my husbands crazy ideas? Thanks. Just drop them off at my trailer. I'll be hanging out at the food table, since I seem to not be able to get through the day anymore without chocolate.

Ooh, even now I hear a fight breaking out in the back of the house. Here I go. JER-RY, JER-Y, JULIE, JULIE...


Winning the War

Sometimes I am afraid that one day my friends and family will realize they haven't heard from me lately and that I'm not answering any one's phone calls and they will come to my house only to find that me and my entire family have died of messiness. We will all be buried under a mound of toys, dishes, laundry, shoes, and books. They will pull me out last, only to find me breathing my last breaths, as I listlessly utter, "Clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere..."

Why is it so hard for me to accept the fact that there are six people living here and that we live here, thus we use things, make messes, and there is always putting away and cleaning up to be done. If my house was neat all the time, we wouldn't be living here. But does that mean that we can't put our shoes away when we take them off? Because I'm believing the impossible---I think we can!

I'm pretty tired of fighting this battle, if you haven't noticed. But we home makers are silent warriors, fighting the war of messiness and disorganization but determined, no matter how many battles we lose, to win the overall war. It is a thankless job with no recognition or praise for our work. Who's to see when we conquer and reorganize our linen closet? But we know. Somehow we can rest a little easier knowing the sheets and towels do not have control over us, but that we can still show them who is boss.

And to encourage all of you out there like me, just keep going. Keep preaching "a place for everything and everything in it's place" even if it only happens 10 percent of the time. Last night before bed Jackson was allowed to read books on my bed until bed time. When I came to bed, my bed was covered with various piles of books, adding up to 20. I was so happy to see my son enjoying books and so I did not mind cleaning up after him. THEN, he apologized this morning for leaving them on my bed in my way. THEN he told me he had organized them and that the "other" pile had the most books in it.

A small battle won by those who like to put things away. My son organized his books! Yes! So I am inspired to keep teaching cleanliness even though from my very spot at this computer I can see unidentified sludge on the floor, a dirty diaper wad, and enough dog hair to knit a sweater. I will march on! I will win the war against messiness! It will not dominate me! Now off I go to fight another day of messiness battles. Charge!


Warning: Fresh Paint

Well, we've been doing major home improvement stuff this week and I'm really tired but wanted to get it down for posterity. We hung dry wall a couple weeks ago and this week finished it, primed, and painted our entire living room from floor to ceiling. Plus all the baseboards and molding. So everything has been in total upheaval... not totally out of the norm but still disconcerting and hard for the kids and even the dog. Plus, I kept finding little black dog hairs in my paint so she was not on my good list this week. All of us, dog included, did strange behavioral things because everything was just so crazy around here.

On Friday morning I found dog poop, complete with flies, on the deck. I did not touch it. I take care of the majority of the poop inside the house made by the children; I leave the outside and the dog to Jimmy. He also gets up with the dog in the middle of the night. It's actually kind of nice to be on the other side of "someone's crying (or barking) go take care of it." I refuse to get up for a dog. I have actual humans who need me here.

So then, later, we got home from swimming at a friend's house and I took off Penelope's suit and she said she had to go potty. I let her. She peed. Got a treat. Woo hoo big girl blah blah blah. She then comes to me a few minutes later (still naked I just hadn't gotten to her yet) and told me she pooped on the floor. I asked her to show it to me. She did. I cleaned this one up, after assigning Cash the job of making sure the dog did not go near it, as I knew she would probably either roll in it or eat it or stand next to it and pee. Luckily Cash did his job and it was just a normal clean-up job.

I have been so focused on painting and just wanting to get it done I've let a lot of things go and have ignored a lot of things that would usually cause alarm. This afternoon Jimmy found some unidentifiable substance on the ground that we thought might be vomit but it didn't really look like it, but we just couldn't tell. The only kid it could have been from would be Penelope so I called her over and asked her if she did it but her communication is not quite ready for this kind of exchange so I couldn't determine if was hers. All she smelled like was graham crackers. It didn't look like anything she'd eaten today, and she didn't have anything on her shirt or mouth, so...that leaves the dog? I still don't know who did it but I did actually get my nose down there and smell it (what was I thinking?) while holding my paint brush, then went right back to my painting and let Jimmy deal with that one. He does have a cleaning business and all.

All day today, Jackson was working on an elaborate drawing of "Jackson's World" in which Jimmy cleans and I cook. We work three days a week for $20 an hour. I am talking to Jackson about all this while painting. Asking him where he's getting the money for this lavish house. In a round about way, he basically said he prints his own money. And there is a rocket ship parked in his yard. It is tiring to keep up with all this while painting and making sure no one touches it. Later on, Libby peed her pants. Cash came in with his underwear on inside out. Are those the ones with a skid mark from earlier? I thought. Oh well I'm just not going to look. I just kept painting. Put on a video. Get your own drink, grab a cheese stick, I just kept rolling. I am glad to say I am done for a while and hopefully everything will get back to semi-normal and I can keep the house under control.

What am I saying? DO I EVER HAVE THE HOUSE UNDER CONTROL? No! But maybe my chaos will seem a little better with freshly painted walls and clean baseboards.