Written May, 2015
My evening started out fairly quiet. It was just me and my little doll, Ailey Marie. She and I had our after work/daycare cocktails, mine a glass of chardonnay and hers, a sippy of strawberry milk. We sat amiably on the front porch as the spring sun warmed our faces. Soon our party was joined by a dear friend, prompting Ailey to add a few of her friends. Baby Bell and Baby Elsa joined us and sat quietly in their respective seats- a tiny, antique highchair and an equally sized and aged, red rocking chair. At one point, in the midst of our adult conversation, my friend and I overheard Ms. Ailey say to her babies, “You girls look beautiful.” And then she hopped up in the chair and quietly watched her show.
My friend and I laughed warmly at her sweet comment, which prompted a discussion on what it was like having just her in the house as compared to all four of them together. (Little did my friend know, she was going to experience what it was like all too soon.) I explained to her that my husband and I often comment on how strange things seem when we have only one child as opposed to the whole family. The house seems very quiet, very still. It’s usually an odd feeling and we typically don’t know what to do with ourselves.
As the evening progressed Ailey had her dinner and bath, then went about playing with her babies. She chimed in on our conversation here and there, but overall, she was simply simple. A short while later, the front door blew open and the house seemed to shake with the arrival of “the brothers”. One by one they filed in. Braeden returned from tennis practice and a long day, with a foul mood rolling off of him in petulant waves. Kian and Kelan appeared from Grandma’s freshly bathed (bless her heart) and chatting up a storm. The energy level of the entire house spiked to a maximum and vibrated with it.
My quiet evening was abruptly over. I began to run around the house, trying to quell everyone’s frustrations and needs. Explosions erupted, machine guns fired, cries over the television commenced, complaints over a lack of wanted food items were heard, nasty dispositions were dealt with, and cocoa was made. In the middle of all of this Braeden unloaded, fatigue taking its toll. In a moment of complete frustration, the term “s.o.b.” flew out of his mouth causing my friend to choke on her wine and stifle her laughter.
Steeling myself against the inappropriateness of the term, his tantrum, and my friends choking laughter, I began to weed my way through his hysteria, finally getting to the heart of the problem. Practice hadn’t gone well and my 13 year old was in complete, melt-down mode, fueled by exhaustion. My dear friend- feeling the need to help him with his problem- tried a number of times to offer counsel, by interjecting what she thought was helpful “I hear ya man” child psychology. However, he was not interested in her approach and only became increasingly more hostile. I interjected, reminding him to check his attitude.
As much as she wanted to help, the bottom line was he simply needed some tough love and his bed. So I worked through the tears and hysterics with a firmness that had my friend cringing worriedly from the other room- where she had quietly removed herself, desperately trying to seek shelter from the sudden chaos.
In addition to all of this, Kelan was in the bathroom calling to me frantically, “Moooooommmmmm! Hurry up and come in here! Hurry, Mom!”
“Just a minute!” I responded, trying to get a handle on the entire situation.
To my friend’s relief, I worked through Braeden’s upset and my big guy pulled it together. He apologized for his inappropriate language and determined that the cause for the entire situation was complete exhaustion. With a big hug and an “I love you, Mom,” he took himself upstairs for a shower and bed.
Finally able to answer Kelan’s persistent calls, I went to the bathroom to see what my four-year-old needed. I walked in and asked, exasperated, “What, honey?”
Standing with his pants and underwear around his ankles, he pointed excitedly to the toilet and announced, “Look, Mom. Brown poop crystals! Doesn’t my poop look like a giant poop crystal?”
I looked blankly at him, then the toilet, then back at his proud face and sighed deeply. This was the greatest need of my four-year-old- pointing out the fact that his poop looked like brown crystals.
Humoring him as only a mother can, I replied, “Yes, Kelan. Indeed, it appears as though you have, in fact, produced poop crystals. Congratulations.”
All cleaned up, we made our way out of the bathroom and met the laughing face of my friend who took a huge gulp of wine, shook her head, and said, “Wow. This house is seriously the best birth control you could ever get. Thank you for thoroughly convincing me that I am not nearly as ready for children as I thought I was.”