Sometimes being a mother of three small babies gets to be a harrowing experience. ESPECIALLY when you throw in some illness, some Type 1 Diabetes, and a fair dose of insanity. Here's a GREAT example of how it goes down sometimes.
My life is crazy. That statement, although simplistic at best, could be the single most crystalline description of my life. Ask almost anyone who knows me, and at any given time I’ve got a billion things going on. Some of them are things I have scheduled myself…others are things that have been scheduled for me. And what’s more, I’m a SAHM (stay-at-home-mom) and sometimes writer so for all intents and purposes my life SHOULD be easy. In fact, the description most outsiders give me when out and about is….blessed. They usually pick THE single most inopportune time to stop and tell me too….but BLESSED is almost always what people say to me. I get, “you’re so blessed” or, “boy the Lord blessed you”, and a lot of “bless your heart!” And so on and so forth. The second most common comment I get is, “wow, you sure have your hands full!” Now THAT one gives me a giggle because it’s almost always followed by, “Bless your Heart”. Hubby and I sometimes make a game of COUNTING how many times people tell US how busy WE ARE. It cracks me up because these platitudes come from strangers who see me juggling the trifecta of mishap known as my sons. (At the time of this article) My oldest, Chaos, is 3.5. My twins, Mayhem and Desctruction, are 22 months. And in case you missed that I’ll repeat it for you…yea, ALL BOYS and ALL under the age of 4.
With them and my husband, I am a lone woman fighting for a foothold in the torrential onslaught of testosterone and body odors that is our home. Or rather, my aunt’s home cause our home out of state was sold and we moved across country to live here 9 months ago to get my oldest son to a better specialist and are in the process of building a house the next town over and….did I mention my life is crazy.
Having three small sons would be enough most days to classify my life as a bit on the nutty side, but add in there that there is only about 20 months between my twins and their big brother and that’s a whole other layer of fun. Now let’s mix it up and make my oldest a very brittle Type I diabetic and whammo – my life sometimes hit’s BAG-O’-CATS-ON-CRACK kind of crazy. A good example would be this last week…
What SHOULD have been a relatively easy week, no doctor appointments or errands to be run and only one day of schedule gymnastics for my oldest, turned into a 7 man pile-up of cray-cray in about 2 hours. It started on Saturday with a random and inexplicably isolated round of vomit by Mayhem. He was happily playing beforehand and was happily playing again AFTER he toddled over to me and chucked in my lap. Gee thanks son. I holler to hubby for a wingman and he begins cleaning up the offending child while I attempt to clean up myself and the floor. As I clean that up with one hand, the other two stand around me and point and laugh and go eeeewwwww.
Boys are so gross and thus love gross things.
Mayhem had no other symptoms and was acting fine afterwards so I decided to watch and wait and see what happens. Sunday he was fine. Monday, again, he was happily playing and doing well but woke himself up at naptime with the infamous Technicolor screaming. At this point he was far more upset over the whole incident and was crying loud enough that I was expected to find some limb shoved into some spot it shouldn’t be. I run in and survey the situation and there I stand in-between the twins cribs. Mayhem sobbing surrounded by his own brand of paint, Destruction now awake sobbing and pointing and screaming Poooooook eeewwww, and in waltzes Chaos who quietly tells me, “mommy, I don’t feel good”.
Now, my big guy is a Type 1 diabetic so if he says he doesn't feel good it could be bad....alot. I subdue the screaming alarms in my head and quietly tell big guy to go laydown on his bed and wait for mommy to get his glucometer to check his blood sugar. I then try to carefully and quickly undress screaming Baby B and get him out of his bed, changed, and redressed. I then go in and get Baby A (while B screams at the baby gate for mommy to hold him) and get him out and changed and put him down next to B. They now both stand and scream at the baby gate for mommy while I grab the glucometer and go into big guy’s room and check his blood sugar. It’s fine, he’s fine, he just wants a cuddle – I pause for a hot second to cuddle him and contemplate all the flipping laundry I now have to do.
When the noise escalates to the point I can no longer ignore the screeching monkeys in the living room, I shuffle them all into the kitchen for snack time. Twins in their high chairs, Chaos at the bar, and I begin getting sippy’s and snacks together. Mayhem only wants mandarin oranges and milk. In my head I KNOW this could backfire but he’s screaming, like a banshee, and I give in. Once they are all happily munching, I go back into the pit of despair and attempt to clean it. All laundry hits the sanitation cycle in the washer, and the gloves and disinfecting wipes come out and I set to work cleaning up all the collateral damage.
Once done, I sit in the kitchen and chat with the boys wondering if I should call the pediatrician or not. I mean, you don’t want to be “that mom” who calls the pediatrician EVERY DAY….but then again you don’t wanna be “that mom” who ignores warning signs of something more serious either. And as if my own inner monologue was somehow being piped loudly into the universe….I hear that familiar sound of gutteral despair and look over to see Mayhem toss his cookies...or rather his oranges.
I instantly kick myself for feeding him ORANGES AND MILK and try to console and clean him up while hearing Destruction, again, sob and point and say “Poooooooook NNOOOOOO” and in the background of all this is Chaos. Sitting happily on his barstool singing to his brother, “It’s okay, it’s alright, you’ll feel better if you just stop puking”. It was a nice moment of levity that I needed and it helped me find a bit clarity to decide it was doctor time. And believe it or not, all the above took place in about 30 minutes! In 30 minutes I went from quietly sitting on the couch having finished my daily laundry, to packing up three monkeys in the car smelling mildly of oranges and sick and rushing them to the pediatrician.
I begin the THREE TRIP process of herding all the kiddos out the door to the car. Once everyone is in and buckled and situated, I call daddy to give him a heads up on what’s going on and start the drive to the pediatrician’s office. Once at the pediatricians we must “unload” the car, strap the twins into their double stroller, put the diaper bag and diabetes bag and purse and toys and snacks and sippys into the stroller basket below and head inside. And by “head inside” I mean put my three year old between me and stroller using that opportunity AGAIN to teach him to stay right with me in parking lots, and then navigate a double wide twin stroller through a single office door with a three year old underfoot. Our pediatrician, who we L O V E, quickly calls us back and determines that something is amiss with my sweet baby Mayem and we need to send off the diaper for cultures and draw some blood for labs. Oh but wait…they don’t have a lab. We have to drive down the street to the lab to get the results back stat in case something major is up.
AWESOME! Not only does my pediatrician think it’s important to get the labs back stat (she’s not typically an alarmist type of doc) but the lab is “just down the street”. Crap…I have to get them all back in and out of the car. So out we go, load back into the car and call hubby again for an update. We get to the lab and unload the car and get back into the stroller with the bags and the kids and the three year old underfoot – again. Thru the parking lot, into the teeny door, and into yet another waiting room – again. I get J seated in a chair, the twins settled with toys, sign us in and wait. It’s now been 1 hour and 15 minutes. Oh yeah, and to the nice man who looked at my situation in the waiting room said, “no ma’am…I’m okay to wait a little longer…you go first”, GOD BLESS YOU. God has a special place in heaven for you!
When they called our name I shove the stroller laden with stuff and kids through another TINY door and around a SHARP corner and into a crowded lab room for the blood draw. I get Mayhem out of the stroller and strap Chaos into his spot so he’s at least somewhat contained. I put the very unhappy and anxious Mayhem in my lap and we begin the process of me pinning him down. This is gonna be awesome I just know it. The lovely woman helping us is doing the BEST JOB I’ve EVER SEEN of drawing blood quickly to which I am greatly relieved. Three vials, first stick, and not a drop spilled on what amounted to a wiggly herculean-strength child in my lap. Once done, Mayhem was inconsolable and the other two were trying to jointly walk the stroller over to the desk to get into things (it was a group lunge maneuver to move the stroller. Teamwork at it's finest...well played boys).
At this point, all my mommy energy that had previously been scattered into vomit, worry, transport, and trying to figure out why on earth Destruction was suddenly afraid of puke, got shoved into Love.
I had one very scared and upset baby who needed some loving. He rolled right over and I asked if he wanted me to sing a song. He nodded and laid his chubby cheek on my shoulder. I began singing his favorite at that time, Over The Rainbow. I blocked out the noise and began singing and all three boys quieted down. Big guy sang along, Destruction watched silently. Chaos calmed down and sniffled. In the interim the lady at the front desk got my signature on papers with my other hand, and took my payment and info etc. My baby lay contentedly on my shoulder until the song was done. By then, the paperwork was done too and we could go.
I shuffled everyone back into the car we dropped off the scrips at the pharmacy. Kiddos konked out so I drove thru Starbucks and got me a cup of happy. Back to the pharmacy and picked up the scrips and headed home. The clock said it had been exactly 2 hours and 15 minutes since it all began.
When we finally got out, I ended my day with more laundry and cleaning and sanitizing. My aunt jumped in to help and daddy took his turn too when he got home from work. It took the whole flipping village! We all spent the week cleaning, eating fast food and whatever I could make on the fly, missing out on planned outings etc., and praying heavily to God and the makers of Clorox wipes that big guy wouldn’t catch what appeared to be an awful tummy bug. I think I disinfected the house a billion times trying to keep everyone ELSE healthy.
This week it was a tummy bug, next week it’ll be endocrinology visits and house builder meetings, or family crisis with someone ELSE. Why – cause we are family and there are a ton of us and it’s what we do. To say that my life is crazy would be true but it’s not abnormal. Everyone’s life gets a little nuts from time to time. I don’t feel I’ve been singled out by God to be picked on, but rather, I’ve been PICKED OUT to do what I do every day. I was chosen, hand crafted if you will, to be the mother to these fabulous boys. To be the wife of this fabulous man. I cook, I clean, I manage a raging diabetic. I’m a published author, column writer, speaker, scrap booker, singer, and more. I like a glass of wine in the evening and coffee in the mornings, and yes sometimes I need a flipping Xanax but alas, at the end of every day I fall into bed utterly exhausted and I pray to God for good restorative sleep so that I can hit the ground running again the next day.
Hey, my name is Heather and my life is crazy. To be truthful though, I love it and wouldn’t have it any other way. Thank you GOD for giving me the opportunity to live this life, THIS exhausted, all the time!
I can take it – Bring It On.
Ps- in the time it took me to write this article. My 3 year old had a hypoglycemic crisis, my poor Destruction spiked a fever (vomit is imminent) and Mayhem had a meltdown of epic proportions that required daddy and me and TV to finally soothe down. Looks like the week is shaping up nicely for us. ;-)
Original article posted for Houston Style Magazine at: