One day when the kids were two, we were having a terrible day. I was cranky, they were cranky. I was feeling trapped and alone, overwhelmed, down. It was snowing and the barometer was dropping. And so was my disposition. I'd had about all I could tolerate. My patience was pushed near the point that I would stop being able to cope. So I did something I rarely did. I called someone to ask them to come and help me so I wouldn't lose it. I dialed up our good friend Linda, who had helped me with the kids since they were babies. I told her things felt bad, desperate, and I asked if she could come and help me. Unfortunately, she had a prior commitment and couldn’t come, but she said she would pray for me. I hung up the phone thinking, Great. That was my only idea. Now what am I going to do?
A few months ago one of my sons told me about a new show that I might like. I couldn’t remember why exactly he thought I’d like it, but one detail I recalled was that there were several timelines to the story that showed how previous generation impacted newer ones. I ordered the first season from the library and forgot about it. The queue was pretty long. In the meantime, I started watching two other series on Hulu. When the library informed me that a set of DVDs I’d ordered had became available for pickup, I couldn’t remember what they were. But I wanted to give them a try, since someone had apparently told me I’d like the show (I couldn’t remember anymore who’d recommended it).
When I decided it was time to start potty training, the kids were two weeks shy of their second birthday. I was tired of changing diapers. I was tired of paying for diapers. I wanted to be free. So I made a plan. We got up one day at the crack of dawn. Actually, it hadn't even cracked yet. It was pitch black outside. I wanted to make sure everyone's pants were still dry. I knew each and every one of them possessed the capacity to stay dry all night. They’d each done it, just not consistently or all four at the same time. After a long night, they’d hang out during those early morning hours (and on into the Sesame Street hour) when I was too tired to drag my exhausted body out of bed and tend to them right away, and their status from dry-all-night converted to oops-I-need-a-diaper-change. So to avoid any accidents, about three hours before Big Bird even woke up, that fateful morning I dragged out of their miniature beds four sleep-confused toddlers, marched them into the kitchen, told them to down about three gallons each of apple juice, then led them into the bathroom. We had four potty chairs. We had books. We had sippy cups. We had a jar filled to the brim with M&Ms. We were set.
A few days ago when Jason was bicycling home from work, a dog attacked him and bit him in the leg. He didn’t know how bad it was—or wasn’t—until he got home, because he just kept peddling and got the heck out of Dodge. At home, he pulled up his ripped pant leg and found blood dripping down his leg.
The new millennium arrived when my kids were seven. We checked out movies from the library and got snacks, and worked hard to stay awake, watching movies late enough to usher in the next century. When it was nearly midnight, we roused those of us who had dazed or dosed in front of the television screen and we bundled up in our coats and slipped on our boots over our pajamas to go outside.
Boxing Day, December 26, is the day for Lord Grantham (and other rich folk like him) to let off their servants so they can have a chance to celebrate Christmas themselves, after slaving away at the estate all day December 25 to keep the nobility happy and unaware of the effort it takes to pull off a fabulous holiday for everyone in the elite prestigious family.
Some of my Quad Squad ladies were very talented seamstresses. One of them, Shirley Couger, made these outfits for the kids just before their first Christmas. Each was in their own color and had their initial embroidered on the front bib. (Pierce's is dark purple, though it looks black.) Molly's had an added ruffle with lacy edging.
Snow play was exhausting because, to begin with, we had to find so much gear in order to go out and stay warm, and then actually put it all on. Once they were set and out the door, they had to stay out for a long time. That much worked couldn't go underutilized. I couldn't possibly let them back in until all 80 of their fingers and toes were too cold to stay out any longer.
When the kids attended a charter school in early elementary school, new rules came into play halfway through the school year and the students had to start wearing uniforms. They were were supposed to be from Lands' End, which was incredibly expensive, and we were told that someone might check labels so they weren't supposed to wear knock-off brands. I love the clothes from that company, but to buy an entire wardrobe (even a skimpy one) times four wasn't in the budget. But! The school worked with the company to come up with ways for families to earn credit for Lands' End merchandise. That was right up my alley, turning my leg work and man hours into needed commodities. The program was to sell gift cards and a portion of the sales went to my credit. So I went to work. And many friends and family helped out. A lot of people bought a lot of gift cards. They'd buy cards to places where they already shopped (like for groceries) so it was a win-win-win-win. I earned a LOT of Lands' End bucks.
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