The Supers

The Supers
Our growing superfamily

Friday, June 17, 2011

Caring for Five

Lately I've been taking care of some extra kidlets for a friend of mine who got a few weeks of work. It was a no-brainer for me--she has taken care of my children so many times I couldn't even begin to count. So let's not dispute the "why". Let's, instead, discuss the how. The how is far more entertaining.
So my friend, let's call her J, has two kids. With my three, that makes FIVE. I'm doing the math to emphasize the large amount of children that are in my barely capable care. J, I'm sorry, but it's true. At the best of times I'd barely call myself inept. J has a little girl that is almost three and a little guy that is ten months old. They are fabulous kids and have been so well-behaved around here it's silly.
What's pretty funny is how I'VE been behaving through all this. Because although all the kids seem to be very content and have been smiling and playing all day (even MY kids have been behaving), I have been in a constant state of panic the entire time. Panic. I'm lying on the blanket on the front yard surrounded by happy and smiling children and in my heart I am panicking.
Because I have to pee. Or because somebody has asked me for a snack. And I can't even begin to wrap my head around how I can do anything besides sit on the blanket and look after the babies. I actually felt at around 2pm today that I had to pee, looked at my watch and thought, "Meh, J will be here in an hour, I guess I'll just wait." When the kids need a snack I bring one of the babies in the house and leave my five-year-old in charge of the other one. Yes, that's right, my five-year-old. But I leave the front door wide open so I'll be able to hear him if he starts panicking.
Today I had the kids all out front and I had J's baby on my hip inside while I frantically prepared him a bottle and poured frozen blueberries into a bowl for everybody, and the doorbell rang. I do my inside jobs like I'm playing Beat the Clock because although I will leave my five-year-old in charge of my baby, I won't do it for more than thirty seconds. So every thirty seconds I race to the front window and make sure that my baby is still on the blanket, that nobody is sitting on her, and that Random Marcus isn't balancing her on his handlebars. I didn't rush downstairs to answer the door because I honestly thought it was just Marcus messing around and I knew I wasn't going to be able to work up the energy to ask him to stop so I just ignored it.
When I made it to the front door thirty seconds later, there was an actual person there. A lady who had come to our door mistakenly, but it made me survey the scene that she had just encountered. Several unattended, somewhat dirty children out front. The entire contents of my diaper bag strewn about the blanket (because I change the diapers outside when we're outside). Me coming to the door with yet another dirty child on my hip, and then the rest of the kids swarming the bowl of blueberries like I had neglected to actually feed this unfortunate little group of ragamuffins. She realized right away she had the wrong house. And she backed away slowly.
It's not technically hard to look after this many children. It's just rather impossible to do it without a sense of humour.