It's great to be a dad. It's crazy to be a dad of 8! Especially when mom is gone. Today Parker is at Cub Scout Day Camp and Christi went up with him. So I'm at home with the other 7. Last year, if I was home alone with the kids, I could turn on a TV show for them and do whatever I wanted. Catch up on some paperwork. Mow the lawn. Whatever. Even if they didn't want to watch TV, they could pretty much entertain themselves. Not so much anymore!
Now, I must admit, the day started out pretty well. I told Graci last night that if she let me sleep in, I would buy her an app for her iPod touch today. She got up and fed the little kids breakfast, changed Elli's diaper and kept them out of my room. Unfortunately, she didn't think to take them downstairs, so they were all on the opposite side of my bedroom wall on the couch in the living room. Lexi and Xander are particularly loud when they talk. So although I didn't get up until 9:30, it wasn't the best rest I've ever had. I also had to get up at about 6:15 when Lexi, Xander and Sophi woke up. Having them all sleep together in the same room is probably the best situation overall, but as soon as one of them wakes up, all three are awake. And like I said before, Lexi and Xander talk very loudly and Soph let's you know in no uncertain terms when she has needs (which is pretty much all the time!) So at 6:15 I took about 20 minutes to get Sophi changed and to the bathroom, get her some food, and get a TV show on for Xander. I also had to get Lexi's iPod for her. (Huge thanks to our friend who donated an iPod shuffle to Lex. She LOVES it!!!) So, like I said, not a bad start. I went back to bed at 6:45 and slept until 9:30. Once I got up, however, it was just crazy. Days like this definitely help me to empathize more with my sweet wife and all she does for our family!
9:30-I made the decision to be a decent dad today and not just use the TV or the older kids as babysitters.
9:31-I remind Taylor and Graci of their weeding chore for the day and get them working on that.
9:35-I remember that today is the last day for Taylor to finish his Faith in God award, and he has to visit with the Deacon's quorum presidency to get that done. (In our church, 12-13 year old boys receive the Aaronic priesthood and become deacons. They can then pass the sacrament in church and help with other important responsibilities.)
9:35-9:40-I help Taylor to get up the nerve to call the deacon's quorum president and ask if he can come over to talk about the Faith in God award. I really don't understand my boys' ridiculous reticence to call another kid. Even if it's to ask if they can play. "Dad, can you just call, PLEEEEASE!" NO! You've been talking since you were 1 year old. Make a phone call, dude!
9:45-Jesi asks me if she can have a friend over. No, I explain, mommy's not here, so if you want to play, you need to go over there. "But I want to run through the sprinklers here." "Uh, (brain fried from the input I'm receiving from Lexi "Daddy, I want iPod," Sophi, "Waaaah," Graci, "Dad, can you buy the app for me now?") I respond with an "I guess."
9:48-I look up the phone number for Riley. Jesi, who doesn't have the same phone phobia my boys do, calls and invites her friend. She accepts.
9:50-Xander: "Daddy, can I play with Aaron?" Me; "Sure, go next door and ask if he can play."
9:52-Jesi: "Daddy, can I have an ice cream sandwich?"
9:52-Elli: "ICE CREAM SANDWICH!!!!!!!!!!!"
9:53-Me: "Jesi, you can have an ice cream sandwich when your friend comes. Elli, would you like an ice cream sandwich?"
9:54-9:57 I feed Elli an ice cream sandwich.
9:58-Christi calls to check on me. She left at 7:45 and just wants to make sure that Elli has at least been changed by this point.
10:00-Xander comes back and let's me know that Aaron can't play until he gets his chores done.
10:00-I get a phone call from Cole, asking if Parker can play. He won't be home until this afternoon, I explain.
10:00-10:30 - Notice Lexi is still not dressed. I spend 30 minutes trying to help her learn to dress herself. (Remember, I committed to be a good dad today.) Can't believe how difficult it is to teach a blind child how to find the right drawer, fold her jammies, pick out an outfit, figure out if a shirt is short-sleeved or long-sleeved, figure out that the arm hole won't fit over her head... Sophi, by the way, really enjoyed watching me help Lexi. She even tried to help Lex put her shirt on.
10:30-Walk into the kitchen and glance outside. See that Elli decided to leave the house while I was helping Lexi. Elli is sitting in the backyard with nothing but a diaper on, eating dirt.
10:32-Uselessly explain to Elli that eating dirt is not something she should do. Lead her into the house for a bath.
10:34-Come to a locked bathroom door and hear two young girls talking inside. Knock on the door and say "who's in there?" Jesi: "Me and Riley." Me: "What are you doing?" Jesi: "Having a pedicure." Me: "Can I come in?" Jess: "Sure!" So I walk in and Jesi and Riley are sitting on the very small single-sink counter top. The basin is filled with water and both girls have their feet in the sink to soak for the first part of their pedicure." Very cute:)
10:36-Elli has used the bathroom and is in the tub.
10:37-I uselessly ask Elli to stop turning the shower head off and on.
10:38-I have a couple of minutes, so I call Taylor's scout leader to ask about some scout camp details. I'm sure it's hard to understand why I am excited to be able to go up to scout camp for 3 days later this month:)
10:45-I go outside and tell Taylor he needs to stop his yardwork and get ready for his Faith in God appointment.
10:48-I I come back in and Sophi looks up at me, waves her little foot in the general direction of her bottom and says "tinti, tinti!" which means: "I have a stinky diaper and I need you to change it now. I obviously have a comprehension of when I need to soil myself, but I somehow find pleasure in telling you after the fact so that you have to deal with the resulting mess instead of just taking me into the toilet and letting me do it there." Or something like that.
10:54-I wash Elli's hair, get her out of the tub and dress her.
11:02-Lexi asks for an ice cream sandwich. Sophi hears and asks for one also. They both get one.
11:07-11:45 Graci and I go into the computer and work on setting up her iPod. We sync it and make sure she has her playlist together. I tell her she can choose 5 free apps plus one that I will pay for. She takes 15 minutes to pick the first one. I tell her she needs to hurry it up. She asks me to search for "princess," which I do. We find another app. She asks me to search for "girly games." Remarkably, there are a few which come up. One is "Girly meter: femininity scanner." We download it. Graci puts her finger on the screen. It calculates for a minute, then declares her a "girly man." I try, and it says I am a "butch girl." We delete the app.
11:46-Taylor comes back, having finished the requirement. I assign him another requirement to go and do.
11:48-A pest control salesman comes to our door and hits me with a sales pitch I've heard multiple times over the years. Lexi repeatedly disrupts his presentation by trying to hold his hand, extending the misery. I will never get those 10 minutes back. He is the 3rd pest control salesman who has come to our home in the last 16 hours. Not including a family friend who came to visit who also happens to sell pest control.
12:01-Taylor reports on his latest assignment. We discuss it for a few minutes and he goes off with another assignment.
12:09-Xander asks if he can go over to Aaron's again to ask if he can play. "ABSOLUTELY!" I reply. One less body to take care of.
12:12-Sophi starts to scream. I find her and Lexi fighting over the door. Lexi loves to shut doors. Sophi abhors shut doors cuz' there is no way she can open them. I think Lexi finds some devious joy in making Sophi scream. Lexi has also put on Christi's calf-high boots (which come above Lexi's knees), thus creating an imminent danger that Soph will have one of her delicate little toes smashed by Lexi's rather clumsy stomping. I tell Lexi to stop shutting doors.
12:15-Sophi continues to scream at Lexi. I think Sophi finds some devious joy in following Lexi around and finding ways to get irritated by her. Then she screams at Lexi or yells "No, NO, NOOO!" I tell Sophi if she yells no again, she will have a time out.
12:16-Sophi has a time out.
12:18-I let Sophi out of time out.
12:23-Taylor and I have another discussion/assignment to continue his work on his Faith in God.
12:39-I sit down to start blogging about how CRAZY our life is and how much I am appreciating what Christi does on a daily basis.
12:40-Jesi comes in and says "I want lunch!" I tell her I will get it as soon as I am done blogging. Jesi doesn't have a really great sense of personal space requirements. If she doesn't get what she wants, she will often move her face closer and closer to yours until noses touch. With eyes wide and glaring (and 1 inch away) she will repeat her request. She does this now. "I WANT LUNCH." We have a discussion about personal space. She acquiesces and I have about 4 minutes to blog in peace.
12:45-Jesi come in and says "I want lunch." I realize I'm fighting a losing battle. I get up and start working on lunch for 6 kids. (Parker's at camp and Xander's at Aaron's house.) I go through the leftovers and come up with different dishes for just about everyone. I also throw a few things out that do not pass the sniff test. Lexi and Sophi have Mexican manicotti. Elli starts on some, but won't eat it, so I finish it. Graci has chicken over rice. Jess has spaghetti. Taylor has tomato soup. Sophi and Lexi want more and get some salad. I have a bit of just about everything as I'm preparing it. Thanks, Grace, for feeding Soph!
1:35-Lunch is over. I wash up Lexi, Elli and Sophi. Sophi goes down for a nap, without any protests, no less:)
1:45-Xander comes home and needs lunch. He has spaghetti.
1:53-Taylor is finished with his Faith in God!
2:00-I finally get a chance to actually work on my post.
So that's a 4.5 hour slice of our life. The times are not exactly to the minute, but the timeline is pretty accurate. And this really isn't even close to everything that came up. There were more phone calls, tiffs between siblings, trips to the bathroom, diaper and clothes changes, and other examples of the delightful opportunities that arise when you are a parent. It's also impossible to convey just how much of this is happening simultaneously. Is it any wonder that Christi and I go to bed absolutely exhausted every night. But it's comforting to know that we have exhausted ourselves in a good work.
Oh, and I just went downstairs and found that we have a huge puddle of water under our air conditioner. I'm hoping it's just condensation, but who knows. Wish us luck!!!