I think I am still trying to recover from this weekend. Late night out, you ask? No, I was babysitting for my adorably niece who is about a year and half old, and I will be the first to say I am completely out of practice in terms of taking care of a baby.
My sister generally doesn’t ask for help, although she will be the first one lined up to assist others, so I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to do a favor for her. She and her husband had a wedding, so to give them a fun night out, I was going to babysit. It was my week with the kiddles, so Sarah suggested I bring all of them along to help. Five kids…in one house…under my supervision. This was going to be interesting.
Sarah originally planned to bring Sophia to the church service at noon and bring her home for me to watch, but I told her that was silly and we would watch her. I don’t know about you, but I stress at the thought of bringing a baby to church, especially if it’s not for a family member. They seem to be a little more forgiving of children who are, let’s just say, spirited. The kiddles and I slept in a little that morning and had an hour and a half to get showered, eat breakfast, pack bags, and make it out the door. Surprisingly, that happened. I am not quite sure how, but it did (simple things like this completely amaze me and make me feel like Supermom).
We made it to Sare’s around 10:30ish, and she was a little frazzled. Still dressed in pants and a tank top, she was trying to get stuff ready for our arrival, take care of the baby, and tend to a dog that had been up all night coughing and gagging (umm, yeah…didn’t quite sign up for a sick dog). The kids and I invaded the house to add to the craziness. The good thing about that was Alexandra switched into complete babysitter mode and took care of Sophia so Sare could get ready. The other kids just went to town trashing the living room with all of Soph’s toys. About half an hour later, Sare and Rhett were out the door, and I was along with all of them. A bit of panic set in.
Watching Sophia was the easy part; controlling my wild children was not. I’m not sure if it was the excitement of a sleepover or the novelty of being in a different house with different toys or all of the delicious snacks Sare bought for them, but they were a bit crazy. To top it off, the weather was not cooperating, so all 6 of us were in the house. I am convinced they never learned what an inside voice was (probably my fault), and you could tell Soph wasn’t used to so much noise. But I guess you could call it practice for when she has a sibling.
Lunch was uneventful, except for the fight over who would sit next to Sophia in her highchair, and then it was time for her to take a nap. Nap? What’s that? How do I put a baby for a nap? Sare told me that she usually just puts her in the crib, waves goodbye, and she goes to sleep. Okay, I can do this. I put her down, covered her with a blanket, and thought maybe I would sign her a little song. Soph wanted no part of that, grabbed my hands, and pushed them out of the crib. Obviously my singing was bad, and she wanted to sleep.
When I got downstairs, the living room was trashed. Toys were everywhere, and my kids were running around the mess. I should be used to messes by now, but I hate nothing more than having toys strewn everywhere. After much protest, they cleaned the room and decided it was snack time. After devouring as many snacks as they could, it was craft time! The nap was short-lived because Soph was up and ready to play within 45 minutes of going to sleep. Game on!
The next couple hours were a blur of me trying to keep my kiddles in check; making sure Soph was entertained, fed, and in a clean diaper; and cleaning dog phlegm from around the house. I shudder at the thought of the latter. I am fine with diapers, puke, etc. but from humans, not dogs. Thank goodness I like Chloe.
Mother Nature decided to give me a break, and we were able to escape the confines of the house. Party In The Park, a Painesville City tradition, was that weekend, and feeling brave, I wanted to take the kids there. I found Soph’s extra car seat in the garage and strapped it in my van. Then I tried to get all five kids in the car, which was the equivalent of herding cats. I was about to pull out when Alexandra reminded me that I needed a stroller and diaper bag for Soph. Good call, Lex. That could have been disastrous. Told you I was out of practice.
Thankfully, Party In The Park was relatively easy. We walked around, saw some family and friends, ate French fries, and enjoyed the live music. The highlight of the trip was courtesy of the Painesville Fire Department. The kids have always enthused with fire trucks, ambulances, police cars, etc., and this was no exception. A very nice firefighter let them sit in the front seat as I happily snapped pic of how cute they looked. To make the experience even more awesome, he took the kids around the fire engine, showing them every compartment. Hoses, masks, gloves, axes, you name it, the kids got to see it. When the kids asked about the heavy-duty gloves, he told them they are used when there is a possibility of electric shock. Alexandra then quipped, “Oh goodness, you should see my mom’s hair in the morning. It looks like she stuck her finger in the light socket!” I wanted to crawl under Soph’s stroller. After a port-o-potty trip for all 4 that lasted about 20 minutes, we were ready to go.
It was a little after 9:00 when we made it back to Sarah’s house, and Soph was close to melt-down mode. Through the screams, I put her pajamas on and was about to give her the nightly bottle of milk. The poor kid pushed the bottle away and pointed desperately at her crib as she sobbed. I placed her down, covered her up, and I think she was out before I even closed the door. Getting my kids to bed was a little more difficult. Energized from Party In The Park, they were ready to play. Being the mean mom that I am, I made them get pajamas on, brush teeth, and go to sleep. Momma needed a rest. Once all five of them were asleep, I sat on the couch and enjoyed the beautiful silence. All I kept thinking was I don’t know how people with 5 kids or more do this on a regular basis. I can handle 4, but throw a baby in the mix, and I don’t know what I am doing.
The next morning I woke to Sare, Soph, and the kids. I was beyond tired, so Sare offered to watch the kids a little so I could sleep a bit more. There was no way I was turning down that offer, so I climbed into the guest bed, set my alarm for an hour later, and drifted off pretty much as soon as my head it the pillow. When I woke for the second time, I walked downstairs. Cole and Adrianna smiled at me with Twizzlers in their mouths, and when I looked at Sare, she just kinda smiled at me. “Well, they ate pancakes for breakfast,” she laughed. I kinda laughed too, especially after I heard the rundown of snack consumed by the kiddles before 9:30am. Who would have known that corn chips and Twizzlers were breakfast foods?
We stayed at Sare’s a little longer, so the kids could play and visit. Sunday morning was beautiful, so we took advantage of that and went outside. Of course the boys managed to get completely soaked in the 2 inches of rain water in the inflatable pool, so baths were in order before leaving. As we packed up, Sare hugged and thanked me for watching Soph. I told her I would be more than happy to do it again…but I will reconsider bringing all 4 kiddles with me. Being a mother to 5 kids, even for just one day, was a little more than my patience could handle.
And I will leave you with this gem. Elisabeth Shue rocks!