Life is absurd. And life is precious. Family is a lot of both.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Extreme Parenting

Cradle to college? This is what it looks like.

Saturdays go something like this: The 8-year-old can have a play date with a long as it's on the way to dropping off the 10-year-old at long as it doesn't conflict with the 2-year-old's long as everyone is home in time for dinner unless letting me know otherwise... as long as I have met that girl the 16-year-old asked to the movies... as long as the 19-year-old can pick up the 16-year-old since I am not getting out after 11... as long as everyone is back home and tucked in bed and asleep by midnight. Wait a minute, where is the 10-year-old?! Oh right, she's at a sleepover. Go to bed!

A lesson with the current student driver begins with buckling the toddler into his safety seat.

The shopping list for the kids includes both tampons and diapers.

The half-hour following dinner includes begging the 2-year-old to please keep eating his potatoes and begging the 15-year-old to please quit eating out of the fridge mere minutes after consuming two big plates full of food.

A Saturday date night means tracking down the teenagers' schedules to see who is free to babysit the younger siblings. It also includes reminding that teen twice a day so he or she does not make plans and forget. Cheaper, yes. Easier, no.

After a day of negotiating play date politics and birthday party invites from kids my little ones don't necessarily like, it's time for an evening of negotiating the teenagers' plans with kids whom I don't necessarily like.

Guess what? Teenagers grow out of shoes just about as fast as toddlers do. Sizing, shopping, storing and sorting is a full-time job. The shoe issue is just one of the reasons the Brady Bunch had an Alice.

Having a yard full of teenagers playing basketball is totally awesome. Spending two hours distracting the toddler who so wants to be in the middle of all that action that he is clawing his way through the back door is not totally awesome.

Preschool = tuition, nap mats, book bags, new shoes and nervous parents. College = tuition, dorm bedding, luggage, new shoes and nervous parents. Having both simultaneously = broke and exhausted parents who are never quite sure what to worry about next. (Interestingly, I think that may help us worry less.)

What we could use more of is sleep. It's just a matter of squeezing it in between the midnight text ("I'll be a little late. Don't wait up!") and the 5:30 a.m. call from the crib ("Mommy! Where are you? I want my cup!").

All in a 20-hour-day's work.

This is also what it looks like:

The toddler entertains the chicks at a slumber party.
Few things more adorable than
big siblings caring for the tiniest.
Baby bros are always good for a laugh
as long as they are not crabby or poopy.

The most popular toy in the house
is the baby.
What I found one day when biggest sis had
been gone more than three months abroad.

The rewards (minus that kid studying overseas).
It is really tough to get them all in the same photo these days.

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