A few weeks ago I was feeling optimistic and decided to take the boys to the park. Now, normally, I try to never go to the park alone, and you'll soon see why. I got them all into the van, I had food for lunch, and I brought their skateboards and trike along. We were all set.
We got to the the park and I set myself up in the shade of the building where the restrooms are, with a good view of where they could or would be playing. It was a beautiful day, and things were going great. Then as I looked over to where the boys were playing on the playground, I heard Malachi say, "Izzy, give me the knife!" I looked, and sure enough, Izzy had a knife in his hand! My first thought was, "Oh my gosh--somebody left a knife at the park!" Then as I looked closer, I saw that Malachi had a knife as well, and it was exactly the same as the one Izzy had. That was when I realized that they must be our steak knives from home. I suspected that Malachi had smuggled them in the seat of his plastic trike. "That little booger," I thought. I ran over to them. Malachi saw me coming and knew he was in trouble, so he started pedaling furiously to make his escape. Thankfully, I am still a little faster than a four year old on a plastic tricycle, and I caught him. I removed him from the seat and lifted it up to see the evidence. He had like five steak knives in there! I was so mad. I recovered the knives, and put them in a safe place.
After that was resolved, not fifteen minuted had gone by before Malachi came to me with a handful of those little flags that stick in the grass to mark something. "Go put them back where you got them," I told him. Off he scampered, only to return bleeding when he somehow managed to stab himself in the big toe with one of them. I had no band-aids or ointment or anything like that with me, of course. But I did manage to find some gauze and tied it around his toe so he could keep playing.
By that time, Simeon had gotten hungry, so I got him out of the stroller to feed him. While I was doing that, Malachi decided he wanted to get his skateboard out of the van. I had left it unlocked, and he knows how to open the door by himself, so I let him go and get it. Unfortunately Izzy followed him and proceeded to get into the front seat of the van, pull out all of our CDs, and scatter them. As if that didn't worry me enough, Malachi then shut him in the van by himself. It wasn't a hot day, but it was warm enough that I knew he shouldn't be in there too long.
It was time to go.
Days like that make a great story later, but at the time it was very frustrating. At the time, three kids seemed like a lot. I have heard if you can handle three, you can handle any amount after that. I try to comfort myself with that, except I think it remains to be seen whether I can handle three or not. Just because I have avoided losing my mind so far doesn't mean I won't lose it later. Or tomorrow. Or right now perhaps? Sometimes it feels that way, like I'm right on the edge of sanity. Well, who wouldn't feel that way, with children screaming all around them at an unnatural pitch because someone took their book, or their toy, or their rock?
But I remind myself that someday it will all be worth it. Some day, when I am an old woman, none of this will matter. I won't care how close together my children were born. All the screaming, and the smuggling of steak knives, and the dirt, and the destruction of Cd's will just
be funny memories. All of the hard work now, the struggle, will fade away. It will be worth it.
To Izzy: "Do you want it on or off?"