Friday, August 12, 2016

7 Reasons Why Having Four Kids is WAY Easier Than Having One

With my first kid I was a wreck. I freaked out. I got up to watch her breathing at night, I constantly worried about how cold she might be, I cried when I left her with my husband the first seven (hundred) times so that I could run to the store because I was sure she thought I was abandoning her.

I calmed down a tiny bit the older she got, but life was still really hard. There was still this human I had to take care of All The Time. And then I got pregnant again. And things were harder because now I had to take care of a human and spend most of my life throwing up.

With two of them, life was incredibly difficult! I worried constantly about who was getting more attention, and if I was loving them the same amount. I had double the kids to feed and bathe and care for but not double the me.

And then I got pregnant again and found out it was twins. I pretty much started googling ways I could commit myself to anywhere. A looney bin. A psych ward. Even prison would be a welcome relief. Food cooked for me, a comfy uniform, and a bedtime – yes please!

It turns out though, having four kids is way easier than having one. Or even two. Because by the time three and four come around, there is no more time. There’s no time for freaking out, or having a hard day, or brushing your hair. Yes, I still have all those days, but I don’t have time to remember them, so that’s nice.

If you were considering having more than one, I’d say go for it, and here’s why:

1. Less Worry About Everything

I used to be so worried my second daughter wasn’t eating enough that I literally hand fed her every bite of her food while I distracted her with TV shows. Now with three other mouths to feed three times a day, about 15 loads of laundry to do a week, and four hundred and twenty-five diapers to change a month, I typically just throw some food in her general direction and hope she finds it. Also, things like crying, falling down, bumps on heads, fevers – they don’t faze me for a second. Unless it’s gushing blood or above 104.5 they’re fine with a Band-Aid and some Tylenol. Call me when you need stitches, I have laundry to fold.

2. Complete and Total Vaginal Destruction

This may seem like an argument against having four kids, but it’s not. After one birth your vagina gets just the slightest bit messed up. A stranger might not be able to tell, but you know and still have Nam-like flashbacks of that head lodged in there for thirty freaking minutes, and it messes with your vaginal-psyche a bit. But you have four kids, and it’s done. Game over. There’s no pretending anymore, and no one will blame you for one single second because that V created a whole bunch of life.


3. People Are Legally Not Allowed to Get Mad at You

There’s this universal shift in the world where suddenly everyone is under the impression you “have your hands full.” I hear this phrase at least five times a day, usually by complete strangers. Maybe in the prairie days could they imagine such a huge clan, but in this day and age, four kids? That’s mayhem! That’s anarchy! That’s a whole lot of freakin’ kids! So they start off everything they think about you with, “Isn’t she amazing! She has four kids and she was only fifteen minutes late!” Forget to return your library books? “Oh don’t worry about it! You have four kids!” I can literally do everything people are forgiving me for, and am always taken aback that I am not being treated like a normal person just because I have a gaggle of kids, but if it means not being in trouble for eating my co-worker’s last Girl Scout cookie, I’ll take it.

4. People Allow That Yoga Pants Are Acceptable Attire Everywhere And At Any Time

Because, four kids. See above.


5. Great for Increasing Rote Memory Skills

You know how surgeons have to practice their stitches and incisions repetitively on cadavers and whatnot, blindfolded* so that surgery eventually becomes second nature to them? That’s what being a mom of a boatload of kids is like. I don’t even have to think about diapering a baby anymore, I could pretty much do that in my sleep. In fact, I often do do that in my sleep. Which is a great skill to have, because I don’t like to wake up at 3am.

(*I don’t know if this is actually true, I get all my medical information from Grey’s Anatomy.)

6. Saves Marriages

I’m not one for the “we stayed together for the kids” thing. I believe you should live the happiest life you can and from that your kids will be happier. Unless you have four kids. If you have four kids trying to do it alone is like trying to empty out the Titanic with a soda can. You’ll never bail it out fast enough! And that’s why my husband and I will be together forever, Amen.

7. Four Times the Love

This one is obvious, but so incredibly true. If one kid can bring so much heart-bursting, mind-melting love, imagine how full you would be with four. It truly is almost unbearable how much love there is. Anyway you strike it, being a parent is great. But being a parent of four is great, great, great, great.

Until they all hit puberty at the same time. Then I’m in trouble.



Monday, August 8, 2016

So Cute, Yet So Crazy

You know how in scary movies, if there's like an evil monster thing in disguise, he walks around all la-di-da, I'm charming and cute, and then suddenly a switch flips and he's all BLARGH I'M GONNA KILL NOW!

Well, that is what living with 19 month old twin boys is like.

I hate to be sexist, and I secretly hope one or both of my boys turns out super effeminate, and I used to think when people said "having boys is so much different than girls" it was because of them. They were the ones inflicting their opinions on what having boys and girls was like.

But, I was wrong. I apologize to everyone ever.

Amen.

No matter how much I offer girly toys to the boys all they want are shovels, trucks, and stuff to hit stuff with. The other day I found Henry chasing Tula with a metal mallet that probably weighed as much as he does, giggling his head off. And just as I was typing this Henry reached up to the counter, pulled out the coffee pot, poured about 8 cups of coffee onto the floor and then Luke tap danced in it.

Despite this behavior, these little monster boys are so wonderful and charming and cute right now. They literally melt my heart every day.



Shut the front door, I love you so much.



They're plotting their escape on our hike. 
Uh, I can see you guys, and you don't speak English yet so this weird babbling and vague pointing isn't fooling anyone. Also, you run about as fast as a flat soccer ball. I'm gonna catch you.



Luke's got his Frozen backpack on for his big journey. Also, he thinks my stomach is hysterical. We all do, Luke. We all do.



However, these adorable little bundles of boy can turn into rage-y, murderous, lunatics in the matter of seconds. This morning I was hanging out with them on the back deck, drinking my coffee while they played in the sunshine, and then I dared to say aloud, "This is like being on vacation!" The sunshine. The playing. The calm.

And then the universe smote me. 

As soon as the exclamation point was out of my mouth, Henry stole Luke's toy by biting him on the shoulder to get him to release his grip, then Luke went into a rage tirade and threw a very heavy toy truck at Henry's head. Still enraged, Luke stormed over to the the nearest flower pot and started ripping out perfectly healthy flowers. Henry though this was hilarious and ditched his stolen toy to join in the anger-fun. Luke took this opportunity to "race" back to his previously cherished toy and claim it as his rightful owner. Henry realized what was happening and followed Luke back, ripped him to the ground by his shirt and crawled to the toy. This is when I finally gave up the dream I could enjoy my perfect coffee, so I set it on the ground and jumped into the fight, swooping them both up in my arms. Luke started trying to jump to his death from my arms, while Henry sunk his teeth deep into my neck LIKE A VAMPIRE, and then gave me a heart warming giggle while I screamed obscenities.

Because that's what they do you guys. They hurt you and then they make you love them while they're doing it.

I briefly set them down so I could get a better grip on both of them, and in those two seconds they managed to knock over the bench I had previously been sitting on, throw the bench cushion into a pile of mud, and knock over my coffee.

My perfectly made, never-been-more-delicous, ratio-ed-like-it-was-science coffee with cream and 7 teeny grains of sugar.

That is when I lost it.

"You guys are so. . . !" 

Yeah, I let them fill in the blanks. Because sometimes saying nothing is more powerful, if you know what I mean. Also, I couldn't think of anything that didn't end with years of psychology. 

Eventually I got them to stop bruising me and each other by putting them in their respective cribs, and saying, "You guys need to chill out."

Immediately they started laughing and passing toys back and forth, and all was well with the world.

The giggling went on for an hour until one of them got a bigger bite of yogurt and then all hell broke loose.

Living with them is like living with tiny, adorable psychopaths.



Hugging is not what they envisioned for their morning!







And now! For pictures! Because it's been a long time. 






Henry and Tula building sandcastles.



It's been so hot we stopped our bike ride to run into the pond, fully clothed! So fun. Until we realize there's sand in places there should never be sand. (i.e., our vaginas.)



This is what happens when you host playgroup at your house and don't care what that loud noise was. 



Luke is literally attached at the hip right now. Note that I have not even put my coffee cup down yet, and there he is, hooked on per ushe.



Oh yes! I dyed my hair. 



This is how Adeline goes to bed these days. She's just so fancy she needs her eye mask to get her beauty rest.



.
Luke, enjoying a hike at Palisade Falls.



Someone was super proud of himself.



My little cling-on.



Family hike!


Sometimes you need to hold hands to make it up the mountain.
(That's like, a metaphor for stuff, you guys.)



Dolls were necessary for the hike. Obvi.



Me: Yes, Luke, I'm still here.
Luke: I want your eyes on me at all times, woman!


Taking a rest with the dolls and giving them some much needed love.











Wednesday, June 22, 2016

And You May Ask Yourself

I'm not ready.

All these photos and memes and inspirational articles about women embracing and loving their bodies after babies.

I'm not ready to love my body yet.

Some day.

Not today.

My hundreds of stretch marks, my saggy stomach skin, my non-existent boobs that fold inward because I breastfed four babies. I'm proud of them. I'm so incredibly proud of my body. But I don't love it. Not yet.

Some day.

Not today.

I’ve been working on it. Not because I want to look like a super model, I like cheese and donuts too much for that, but I want to be healthy. I actually enjoy running. Exercise and not eating crap all the time helps my mood stay un-stabby. But most importantly I want my kids to know that taking care of your health is vital. I want them to know it’s important – it’s so very important – for you to love your body no matter what. Because self-esteem in these days is so easily flushed down the toilet, and it’s hard enough to grow up and figure out how to live like a decent person without someone telling you your thighs shouldn’t touch. (Uh, your thighs definitely should touch. They’re thighs, not mortal enemies!)

So, I don’t tell my kids I don’t love my body yet. When my girls poke my stomach skin that folds over my pants because the last time I was pregnant I had two babies in there at once and they were both seven pounds, I tell them, “Mommy is so happy she has that saggy skin fold because that means we have your brothers!”

And it’s not a lie. I am happy it’s there.

But I don’t love it.

I haven’t embraced it, and I won’t wear it out in a bikini.

Some day.

Not today.

My once perky A cup boobs, are now flat AAA’s. That’s not even a real cup size. I made it up because there’s nothing that fits me. I actually don’t need a bra but I wear one anyway because I want to give the illusion that I have boobs under there. Because I’m proud that I breastfed four kids in four years, but I’m not ready to love that this pre-pre-pre-teen chest I’m rocking as a result is a reality.

Some day.

Not today.

My face has gotten more wrinkles since the kids, my knees are saggy, my butt has a lot of dimples, I have old man varicose veins on one of my legs that hurt and make me look half-grandpa from the crotch down, and my hands suddenly look like my mother’s. I want to love all these things. Because all these things mean that I am a mom, and a woman, and that I’ve had interesting things happen in my life. That I’ve used my body well, and that I continue to push it. This body grew four babies. This body fed four babies. This body takes care of people. It runs, it laughs, it dances, it folds countless loads of laundry, it writes, it’s drinks wine, it swims in the ocean, it rarely lets me down.

This body is me, and I’m proud of me.

Some days. But I’m just not ready yet. I don’t know why. I can’t shake something, some stupid idea of what I used to look like, or what I think I should look like. I was telling my friend today that I pretty much was 26 and then I woke up 36 years old and I don’t look 26 anymore, and it’s shocking. I was in a fog of grad school and drinking and being carefree from 26-30, then I got pregnant and had kids for five years and now I find myself looking around like, “This is not my beautiful house. This is not my beautiful wife. HOW DID I GET HERE?”

And I get so annoyed at myself because I see all these inspirational things and I think – I should be bigger than this. I shouldn’t care what I look like. I should be proud of myself.

But I’m just not. I’m just not ready.

Letting the days go by, let the water hold me down.

Some day.

Not today.

Letting the days go by, water flowing underground.

Maybe next week. Maybe in a month. Maybe in a year. One day I will be able to look at my scars, and my marks, and my sags, and my everything and say, “I love this body.”

“I love this body.”

Into the blue again in the silent water.

I know it’s coming. I can feel it on the edge of my being, waiting to be pushed to the front. I will. I will embrace it and write about it and create my own memes about how much I love my body.  But maybe for now it’s ok that I don’t. Maybe everyone has their own pace and path to loving their post-baby body. Their post-thirty body. Their post-teenage-metabolism body. Their post-injury-or-illness body. Their post-I've-had-a-fucking-life body. 

Under the rocks and stones, there is water underground.

I will just have to court mine a little longer. I will have to take the time to get to know this new body I have. And then – then – I will love it and I will shout from the rooftops, “This body is great!” and I will wear bikinis, and no bras, and not give a f what anyone else thinks.

I know it’s coming.

But not right now.

Some day.

Not today.

And that’s ok. Because at least I’m trying.




Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Things They Don't Tell You About

People always tell you you're gonna be tired when you have a baby.

A BABY.

And that seems reasonable. Sure, I'll be tired, babies need to eat and stuff. They need to be, like, cared for at all hours. But that's where it ends. That's where the whole, "You'll be tired" talk goes, and so you unconsciously think to yourself, "Cool, I can handle 9-12 months of being tired. And then my child will sleep through the night forever, and ever, Amen, and I'll go back to looking like a normal human, and acting like I know why I came into this room."

But that's the biggest bunch of bullshit I've ever heard.

What they should say is - say goodbye to your happy looking eyes, they're about to be surrounded by dark circles of death!

Today I was talking to my friend Tiana and we were discussing how there's a difference between being tired, and being sick-tired, and being tired-tired, and then being hungover-tired, and being I-just-cleaned-up-explosive-poop-while-being-puked-on-tired, and being why-the-fuck-is-my-phone-in-the-fridge-AGAIN-tired, and being I-just-ate-a-pint-of-ice-cream-for-dinner-because-there-was-nothing-else-and-my-kids-were-all-asleep-so-I-couldn't-drive-to-Taco-Bell-like-I-wanted-tired, and being I-can't-have-sex-with-you-because-I-just-cleaned-the-toilet-you-use-tired, and being mother-fucking-tired.

Do you see a common theme here?

There's always a baseline tired once you have kids.

IT. NEVER. GOES. AWAY.

I asked her like five times when they last time she wasn't tired was, and she couldn't tell me. Even if you go on vacation you're super tired because you're catching up on sleep from all the lack of sleep.

I typically start my day thinking about how much coffee I'm going to need to get through it. You people (yes, I'm saying that with squinty eyes while shaking my head) who "don't drink coffee" because you "have enough energy without it" and "don't like the way it makes you feel" or "the way it tastes" - I applaud you, and simultaneously do not understand how you have not fallen into a deep, deep coma. "Good for you guys."

I hear that one day I won't be tired anymore, but my kids all sleep through the night, people. That's not the problem. The problem is they're still awake during the day. Having kids is like getting on a treadmill that speeds up and slows down at will, shouts random demands at you while it decides to surprise you with rage, or sock you in the face with sadness, and sneezes in your mouth when you yawn.

It's an emotional treadmill of lovey doom.

But damnit if it's not worth every sleepless, horrible minute.

I'll take the dark circles and the bags under my eyes for these suckers any day.




















Monday, June 13, 2016

Love Is Love Is Love Is Love Is Love Is Love

I try to keep this thing light. To not write about politics, or serious global issues, or animal cruelty, or the millions of other hard-to-handle things that go on in the world. I (mostly) keep it light because this blog is about my kids. It's a new way to scrapbook about them. It's a way for me to share happy stuff about them with my friends and family even though I live so far away.

But I can't not address Orlando, because that IS about my kids.

The fact that they are growing up in a world where this is becoming commonplace - I can't even begin.

Literally, I can't let myself think about it. I can't let myself fully process that this happened. Again. And again. And again.

Orlando, San Bernadino, Colorado Springs, Roseburg, Chattanooga, Charleston, Isla Vista, Ft. Hood, and unfortunately on and on.

How is this fucking possible? How are my children living in a world where people are killed out of the blue, in the middle of an unassuming place meant to be for fun. These people in Orlando were not in combat. They did not put themselves in the line of fire on purpose. They did not seek out a fight. They did not do something reckless or dangerous. They just simply were.

I still can't really think about it. Even as I write this, and read the articles I'm able to shut off and close my emotions with every pore in my body. To feel myself freeze up and shut off and shut down, and not let anything resonate fully. To let it turn black, and thick, and dry up so that it can be swept away like ash.

Because I have to. Because if I don't I'm afraid I'll explode.

This cannot be the way things are.

This cannot be the way they'll stay.

My kids. My children. They will one day understand that this happened, and that there is a horrible, ugly, cancerous, disgusting, heartbreaking, gut-wrenching side to our nation and that makes me so exhausted with sadness I could pass out right now.

I can feel my body shutting down, and then I shut down before it can. I turn it off and clean the dishes and make the beds, and drink 8 oz of water, and do whatever the fuck I can so that I don't have to think about those people and their friends, and their families, and their fucking parents.

Oh my god, their parents.

But of course it's all I can think about. And of course I will do something. I cannot live like this.

We need to do something.

We need to make a change.

Because this is beyond horrific. This is reality.

Love, and peace, and understanding, and compassion. I will drill these into my children, and whisper it to them when they are sleeping, and will send them letters about it, and will sing them songs about it, and will paint the walls with it.

But something still has to be done.

I am trying to figure out what I can do. How I can help. Before I shut down. Before I explode.

Love.

And peace.

And understanding.

And compassion.

Love.

Love.

Love.

Love.

Love.

Love.

Love.

Because this is our life. This is our children's lives.

This is important.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Always Hungry

Today I found myself yelling, "No you CANNOT have a salad!" to my four year old.

Because that's logical.

But really, kids are so manipulative they will twist and turn you so hard you'll be saying no to veggies and demanding they finish their cocaine before bed.

Adeline's fav thing to do is ask for snacks before naps and bed. And I always give in because we are basically the same person and if I'm even the slightest bit hungry I am either on the brink of death or the brink of murdering someone. Pretty much if my blood sugar is low someone is going to die.

So, despite the fact everyone thinks I'm crazy for letting my four year old stay up late to eat ("She should eat at dinner and if she doesn't finish, let her be hungry, she'll learn!" or "Offer her a snack at 7pm and that's it!"  Ok, you guys. Cool, plan. Except I do all that. She DOES get a snack at 7pm, but then at 8:30 she's starving again. And how do I know this? BECAUSE WE ARE BASICALLY THE SAME PERSON. I know her very thoughts and feelings before she has them.

Put that in her future-psychologist-fund and suck on it.)

(For the record, I do not feel that way with my other three. I love them beyond life itself, and I am super intuitive about them, but Adeline and I are in sync with our food needs like N'Sync was in sync with their masterful vocal styling sync-y-ness.)

I do it because she needs to eat so that she doesn't wake up in the middle of her nap crying and trying to stab someone.

BUT.

Sometimes, she does go a little overboard, and gets a little too demand-y with her snack options. Can I bring her a granola bar? Hell yes. Can I make some wild rice and steamed asparagus for her? No. Does she want pretzels and cream cheese? Sure. That sounds good, I will have some too. But can I make her an effing salad with olives and steamed asparagus? Not when it's 10 minutes into nap time and I only have 50 minutes of quiet time left to myself, and I'll be damned if I'm going to spend 8 more of it steaming damned asparagus!

STEAM YOUR OWN ASPARAGUS, ADELINE!

Jeeze.

Of course, then I inhaled a donut in about 4 seconds flat while I was raging about the audacity of my daughter to ask for a salad - A SALAD - of all things! And about 30 seconds after that, the donut hit my belly and started to work it's amazing blood sugar magic, and suddenly I realized that here was a girl asking for something healthy and I should not be denying it. Because I want her to want to eat healthy things. And I want to encourage that sort of snack option.

And because I am a giant pushover.

But really, who doesn't love asparagus?





Or this girl?






Monday, June 6, 2016

Summer Time And The Livin's Easy

Something happens when summer hits here that just makes everything

So.

Damn.

Joyous.

I mean, it's like they're on Splash Mountain.



Have you ever seen a more cute photo ever?

The kids are ok too, I guess.

Although I recently mentioned Tula's life is very Beyonce-like, it's really all the kids. They say, "Bacon!" they get handed bacon. They say, "Dad push us in the wheelbarrow FOR HOURS," and he does it. Many times a week we go for a family walk and the girls take their scooters only to have Josh carry them both home because they're too tired. And the other day I had to re-cut Adeline's pizza because the triangles weren't "triangle enough."

I finally put all the pizza in a blender, turned it on and said, "IS THAT TRIANGLE ENOUGH FOR YOU."

I'm exaggerating. It sounds like they get away with everything but they really don't. They have chores, and we make them pick up after themselves, and they get time-outs galore for back talk. 

But sometimes you can carry a scooter home for your 3 year old. Especially when she looks like this.




You guys the helmet cannot contain that hair. It needs to be free!


I love summer here. I love everything about it. I even love that we spend 95% of our time at parks, where I have no access to an actual bathroom and have to wipe butts in bushes, and hold my pee like it's a job.





Sisters pushing brothers. 



Luke loves EVERYTHING.



And Henry is just always drunk.



If you'll excuse me I have to go outside. Because it's summer in Montana. And you never know how long that will last.