We were so young and innocent when we churned out the 6 of them. Who knew? I assumed that sleepless nights would be demanding. I already knew that changing multiple diapers an hour and all that food prep would defiantly drag me out of my comfort zone.
Comfort zone, did someone say comfort zone? What’s that? Can I be pointed in the direction of that elusive zone please? Does it even exist? No one warned me! No one told me I would need to grow two more arms just to survive. Did they tell me about the mornings? No way! Here’s what it looks like in real life. "OK, gang, up you go", I say optimistically every morning. I’m on an optimism respirator right now. Some of them get up, to go to the bathroom, to get right back under the covers. I run down, get breakfast started, run back up to coax the process along.
One kid has the first arm in his shirt, he’s sitting on the floor building something fabulous with Lego. Another is putting yesterday’s clothing back on. One swears she doesn’t feel well, does she have a test today? Two are fighting over one tooth brush they both claim ownership to. I feel like that’s progress, they could just as easily try to skip the tooth brushing step.
Who’s walking the dog today? It's raining and cold, so probably the youngest. Mr. one sleeve has finished putting his shirt on, only to remember that he has soccer today and has to put on his team shirt. The shirt is clean, folded and on his shelf, he pulls out the entire pile to locate it.
Who needs the gym, I’m frantically racing up and down between breakfast/lunch/snack/hot drink assembly and coaching. Next arm in, flush the toilet, out of bed, no really, out of bed, stop playing, stop fighting, help your brother, go downstairs, brush your teeth, did you flush? Out they go, dressed, sort of fed, lunch in backpacks, took their vitamins, success! And then there’s the sinking feeling as I start trying to make order of the nuclear wasteland. The math book is sitting on the table. The good news is, he actually took the book out last night to do his homework. The weather’s clearing up, maybe I’ll take them out to the park this afternoon. The phone rings, I’ve been expecting this call. It’s from the kindergarten teacher. She seems to be less trigger happy then the teachers of my older kids. It took her all the way until December to call. “Mrs. Gimpel" (That’s what they call me when there’s a problem, otherwise I’m just Avigail) "I think we need to talk. You see, your daughter is having trouble in circle time. She either dances in middle of the circle, pokes at the kids next to her or wants to be the only one to participate”. "Really?!?" I say, "I’m so surprised, at home she is such an excellent listener." “Mrs. Gimpel, I think you should consider making her an appointment with the neurologist, we feel she may have #ADHD”. "I so appreciate you concern for my daughter, thank you. Unfortunately, she’s allergic to Ritalin, so maybe the kindergarten staff can consider relating to her as a curious, active 5-year-old and discipline her?" I think that went well. Before my coffee gets cold enough to officially become iced coffee, they charge back in. Wait, I haven’t had an independent thought yet. I guess that is how ‘#MommyBrain’ is created. Hey guys, lets go to the park! The park is so nice, all these cute happy kids playing. And all the happy mothers sitting on the park bench having adult conversation. Not me. No, no, my bottom never touches that bench, my kids were created without the fear gene. One darts across the park to catch a stray cat, not noticing the swing set directly in front of her. Bang, one down. No, she’s up again, there is a cat to catch. We’ll attend to the concussion later. My climber is climbing, higher and higher, to the very top of the monkey bars, to the area with the little spikes indicating that he has gone too far. That’s his favorite perch. The others are harmoniously building in the sand. Maybe I’ll sit down. Just kidding. Why do they wait until the very last second to inform me they have to go to the bathroom? Do they tell us parents about shower time? Never, we may get cold feet. The kids hate having to get into the shower. What’s the point of getting wet, only to dry up again? They are dry NOW, why am I bothering them. I’m tempted to let it go, but then I will have to face the judgmental glare of the kindergarten teacher tomorrow. She will know why my kid can’t sit in circle time. She will be convinced when she sees yesterday’s hairdo still in place that the lack of shower structure is the very cause of the circle-time disorder. I push forward and insist on them showering. “But I showered yesterday”, says one. Nope, that was last week my dear. With much noise and foot dragging they each get in. Here’s the startling part. Once they’re in the concert begins, they are singing with delight. Why can’t they remember from shower to shower how much fun it is? Since they filled up a bath instead of showering, the only way to get them out is to walk in, remove the plug, go about my business and wait until they scream for a towel. It’s a great trick. I need a nap! I got the kindergarten ADHD call for 5 out of my 6 kids. The 6th came in 3rd grade, he’s a late bloomer. You may be thinking, poor mother, she is in deep! I see it differently. I would like to thank all the people who did not warn me, because if they had, I may not be as blessed as I am now.
Not only are my kids not ‘problematic’, they are brave, talented and so incredibly energetic. We call it ‘special energy’ in our house. It’s that energy that makes them want to engage the world, to learn, to ask, to grow.
Are they impulsive? You bet! Are routines their enemy, oh yeh! I signed up for a journey, not a product, and journey I will. There are the challenges, the laughs, the stories, the heartbreak, the love and the incredible self-development that I have been fortunate to experience at every stage of the journey.
It's hard work because its our task to help our gang develop complex skills and learn to use their #SpecialEnergy powers for their growth and benefit. I am blessed with the best partner for the journey (the one who contributed the ‘special energy’ superpowers). He gives me confidence that my kids will develop and thrive and become fabulous upstanding members of society... just like their father. Put your seat belt on. We are in for a wild ride!