Saturday, April 30, 2011

An Every Day Thing

Like other young children, mine are interested/obsessed with body parts. THE body parts. To the point where we had to declare they are not to talk about other people's body parts. The conversations were starting to go:

Me: Hey guys! So-and-so is coming over to have dinner with us. Isn't that fun??

The Three: Is he a boy or a guwul? (They would already know the answer)

Me: He is a boy.

The Three: Does he have a p----?? (Again, they already know the answer)

Me: Yes, but we aren't going to talk about it with him. We don't do that.

The Three: Yes. We don't talk about other people's p------, but he does have a hiney! (Big Smiles)

Me: Yes, everyone has a hiney. But we don't talk to people about their hineys.

And on, and on.

So I've been trying to teach them for a few months that there are words we don't shout out, especially in public. But then baseball season arrived and their school had a fun Opening Day celebration where the kids dressed up in our team's colors and I'm not sure what all they did, but BOY! were they excited. We were talking about it all after school and I asked them if they sang "Take Me Out To The Ball Game". They said no (I'm sure they did). Horrified, I immediately felt called to stop the world from spinning and teach them something practical. Everything was going swimmingly until I reached the "buy me some peanuts and cracker jack" part and Lizzy flipped out. "Mommy! We don't say p----!". I had no idea what she was talking about. So I started singing it again. Same line, same reaction by Lizzy AND Johnny this time. They were freaking on me. What the...no_waaaay. "Guys! It's not p----! It's PEANUTS! PEANUTS!! Buy me some PEANUTS!!!!!" Even Ainsley was trying to help me out.

After a few more tries I gave up because even though Lizzy still knew in her sweet little heart I was saying something else and shouldn't, Johnny and Gracie had figured out I really was singing about peanuts and the conversation became obsessed with the fact he is allergic to peanuts and he would have to go to the hospital if he ate one.

And so it goes.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Great Joy and Great Hardship

I started this post several months ago and never finished, mostly because I really do this for us and the kids and there are some things in our lives that just need to fade.

But lately I've had more than a few people ask if "it" is getting easier because the kids are getting older. My answer is always "a little easier, sometimes a lot easier, but mostly different". It isn't the logistics any more of how to clean and make 27 bottles/day or how to get everyone to and through the grocery store, or the unholy sleep's the parenting. The daily routine is certainly less challenging, but the mental and emotional exhaustion brought on by trying to lovingly parent 5 kids ages 6 and under can be overwhelming.

And so I remembered desiring to vaguely write about the early years and here it is (mostly composed pre-Annie):

Before I begin, I need to qualify everything with the fact that I desperately, desperately love and cherish my children. Even in our darkest days, weeks, months, after the triplets were born, I have never desired for any other plan for my life. I can't and won't imagine our world without one of my babies. I am NOT complaining, because that would mean I was dissatisfied and I am not. I know and am, beyond measure, thrilled with my family.

That said, I'm always shocked when someone tells me "I wish I had had triplets", which is usually followed by some reason such as "it would have been so nice to get all the pregnancies taken care of at once" or "I always thought it would be hilarious". Side note: this is not nearly as ridiculous as when I get the "Oh, they're triplets? I had Irish triplets, so that's the same". It is not the same, random stranger. Not at all.

I would never wish for someone to have triplets. They brought out the very, very best in me and in John and also the very, very worst. The triplet road is hard and long and sleep-deprived and, unless you have an extraordinary amount of help or are the most wonderful and perpetually cheeriest people in the world, the potential for serious collateral damage is great. I think we had more help than the average triplet-couple (from incredible and self-less friends, some of whom still want to just be with us and some of whom still aid us in raising our children) and I still would never want to repeat the first 1 1/2 years again. Ever.

Yes, there was great joy in those dark months. We rejoiced that they were born healthy. (In the triplet world, we were very, very fortunate in this aspect.) We rejoiced that we were given the privilege to have four children when at one point in our marriage we had to face the idea we may not be given a child at all. We rejoiced in their smiles and sweetness and sometimes silliness. We rejoiced in the quiet times because it was then we were gently reminded they were ours.

The great hardship details are unimportant and unnecessary and I hope I will completely forget them all someday. They were part of a time when John and I had nothing left to give to each other, let alone other people, even though we wanted to. When the urge to run away, just for an hour because it would make my heart hurt to be gone any longer, had to forcibly be suppressed. When I (very much a non-crier) had to cry in the shower because that was the only time I was alone. This "forgetting" process has already started, of course, because our home is wonderfully maxed-out with four children who make us laugh. There are times when John and I just look at each other and are happily incredulous at whatever event just happened x 4. And then happened again.

But then a couple months ago I was at the zoo and ran into another triplet family. The mom firmly had both feet in the "oh I wish we had so many more kids" la-la-land, but the dad circled back after the conversation was thankfully over and, very seriously and somberly said, "tell your husband it finally becomes easy when they turn 4. Tell him you will make it.". I almost hugged him and cried because sometimes it felt like we weren't going to make it.

And so I am thrilled when someone calls to tell me they're pregnant with triplets or a friend-of-a-friend has been blessed. But I also instantaneously pray for them and hope they are praying, too. Because there will be hours and days where they will need to cling to what they know is True and Perfect and Holy, just so they can get to the next hour.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

I Still Have It

My second and third runs (they're so pathetic; I'm not sure they deserve to be called "runs") were hardly better than the first.

But a discovery made me feel a bit better. I can still impressively spit while running. Maybe 7-8 feet, wind-aided.

This may not seem like a big deal, but spitting on a run is an art form and takes practice. It can also seal the deal or dissolve a relationship and I'll address that in a bit.

As any seasoned runner knows, spitting is an unattractive necessity. The act has great potential for nastiness with poor execution (I've been on the receiving end - grody), but good quality ones are admirable, memorable even, if only by the spitter.

Rules of the Road:
1. Look before you spit, and that includes tossing in a backward glance.
2. Take into consideration wind direction and speed.
3. Always use the grass or at least avoid the sidewalk. It's just rude to make others walk through your saliva.
4. Attempt to make as little sound as possible.
5. Try not to do it around people just out for a walk. You can wait another 20 yards.
6. Practice. Practice. Practice. It's embarrassing to be an ineffective spitter. They are easily spotted because they look like they drooled all over themselves. You don't want people to think you need a bib.
7. Never EVER spit on a track. Ever. Ever. Ever.

And now for the relationship section. I knew John was the man for me when, after going on a run together (a criteria for anyone I considered dating material), he still continued to call. Not many guys would see a girl do something sort of gross and not be a little repulsed. In fact, I just asked him to make sure. He's sitting right next to me and said he didn't care (or didn't notice). True love.

And so, even though my form is awkward and my knees are questioning my sanity, my heart is a little happy because there is one eensy weensy part of my run that still works.