May 13, 2008

Leaving the House

We went out to eat tonight for Steve's birthday. Leaving the house was a multi-step process. And I feel the need to burden you with it.
First step, when he gets home, I jump in the shower. When I get out, the kids are watching a Thomas video and he is playing a game on the computer. So I work on preschool curriculum while they finish.
Second step, when the video ends, I turn off the tv and make a blanket announcement: "Go get your shoes on."
Third step, I retreat to the bathroom to brush my hair, etc. Like an electromagnetic impulse, four kids are somehow sucked into the bathroom with me. We chat about various things, such as who has an electric toothbrush (only Dad) and who wants one (everybody under the age of 6). When I'm finished, I leave, turning out the light to discourage lingering. When you are under the age of 10, lingering in the bathroom is bad. For the bathroom. And your parent's blood pressure.
Fourth step, I make individual announcement to each child, "Go get your shoes on." This results in general milling about as the short people attempt to recall where their shoes are (in the closet: same place they have been stored for over 2 years now) where the closet is, and possibly, even, just what "shoes" might be.
Fifth step, I start packing the diaper bag. Kaytie appears with shoes on. Abbie appears with shoes in her hand. She proceeds to wander the house looking for someone to put them on her.
Sixth step (I'm already tired and need a rest) I hunt down plastic-covered underwear for Daniel so as not to interrupt his potty training progress. I instruct the boys to put down their trains and go get their shoes on. They head in the correct direction.
Seventh step, I finish the diaper bag. I help Daniel find his shoes in the WRONG closet where he insists on putting them and then forgets that that is where he likes to keep them. I resist the urge to ask any questions about this method. Kaytie tries to put Abbie's shoes on for her. When this fails, she feels compelled to relate the experience to 10 people, since there are not that many people in the house, some of us hear the story twice. Some of us simply don't listen at all, thus burdening the rest of us unfairly. Abbie's shoes are confiscated by Dad before they can disappear. Her shoes have a tendency to do that. Partly because they are the size of a thimble and partly because her attention span and memory are even smaller yet.
Eighth step, I retrieve the diaper bag from Abbie as she heads toward the door with it. No, we are not ready to go, yet, Sweetie. Far from it.
Ninth step, I remove Daniel's shoes so that I can clothe him in plastic undies and shorts. Apparently, he takes the "no-shirt, no-shoes, no-service" signs seriously. If you ever see one that adds, "no-pants, no-service", you know that Daniel has been there. Nate appears with his shoes on the wrong feet. I point this out to him.
Tenth step, I realize that Kaytie's shorts are too short, (what other 5 year old can even fit into 3T shorts?) and after a discussion with the Dad about it, she is sent to change. This results in a big deal about what she is going to wear instead. She finally reappears with semi-matching shorts. I ask her to put her shoes on. Abbie reappears with one of Kaytie's sneakers. It's big enough, or she is small enough, that she could easily wear it as a hat. Dad sends her to take it back. Kaytie is delegated to go with her to be sure the task is actually completed.
Eleventh step, I take all of Daniel's clothes off and put him in a diaper and completely redress him because he has already peed in his pants.
Twelfth step, Dad puts Abbie's shoes on. I referee a fight over who gets to turn out what lights.
Thirteenth step, I remember to put my own shoes on! I tell Nate his shoes are still on the wrong feet. And I remove Daniel's shoes and put them back on the right feet. Dad gets up and puts on his shoes.
Fourteenth step, I start collecting toys from people since it is a big pain (for parents) to take any with us. Negotiations begin with the ultimate result that Kaytie takes a book, Daniel takes a duck whistle, and Abbie gets nothing. Nate manages, as only Nate can, to get out the door without his planned toy, and he fails to realize this until he is downstairs, in the van, and buckled. The depths of that boy's mind are deep and dark and mysterious. I try not to go there as much as possible.
Fifteenth step, we make it to the door, I have the diaper bag and Abbie, Dad has a bag of trash that needs to go out, various short people attempt to smuggle out more than the proscribed toys and are foiled by the ever-vigilant parents. People struggle down the stairs. Nate pauses every few steps to scour the landscape for pebbles to pick up. Daniel is, with difficulty, restrained from grazing off the neighbour kid's leavings on the stairs. Kaytie laps the building while waiting for the rest of us. (have you ever wondered why your kids don't all come set on the same speed? Why do I have a FAST, a slow and a slower than molasses in January?)
There is some dispute as to who gets in first (we recently re-arranged the car seats and they have not yet adjusted to this) and everyone gets buckled. In this process, someone always manages to get injured, angered, or bereft of a treasured possession, so weeping ensues. Terse comments are made between parents and finally, we are on our way. The actual dinner is an adventure of its own. And Nate's shoes are still on the wrong feet.

1 comment:

Mommy Brain said...

15 steps?! Really?!? I don't know if I'm sad because it took you 15 steps or if I'm sad because I can completely relate. Either way, I'm not going to count my own steps or I would probably stop leaving the house.


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