Monday, March 24, 2008

the day after

We colored Easter eggs today.

I boiled the eggs on Friday - put them in our outside refrigerator - and forgot about them until today, when I went looking for eggs to make pancakes and recalling that we had eggs - pulled out the carton - only to remember that they were hard boiled on Friday.

But because I have a mind like a sieve, didn't remember that I had already boiled them, until I tried to crack them and then for a brief moment, thought perhaps I had purchased a defective dozen.

So, we had oatmeal instead.

We didn't leave the house today. Normally, we do. Normally, I make it a priority to be out of the house as soon as humanly possible in the morning because otherwise the triplets have a way of making me ... how do I say? ... BATTY.

But today we didn't leave the house because Carolyn woke up complaining of an ear ache and I didn't want to leave until our pediatrician called to tell me whether or not there was any space in his schedule to squeeze her in for a quick appointment.

After waiting for four hours, the office called to tell me there wasn't.

During those four hours, while I watched my other three children succumb to what is surely the second plague of 2008 hit our home, we colored Easter eggs. And I was extremely thankful that we didn't complete this craft the day before Easter because the resulting bright green hands, that I couldn't get rid of with any amount of scrubbing, would have clashed with their outfits.

The whole act of coloring Easter eggs took me approximately two hours, when you factor the time it took to pick out the packet at the store, boil the eggs, get the whole ordeal set up in our backyard, and supervise children that tired of this activity in around four minutes.

Not included in that estimate is the time required for me to clean up the smashed eggs from all over the patio, table and children.

While we were still waiting for the doctor's office to call, my mind was reeling with what else we could do. I had a laundry list of things that needed to be done, including laundry - of course, and registering the kids online for some new classes at the YMCA and lining up a tour of a local Montessori school.

But every time I turned my back to do something - anything - I was chased by a crying, crawling Henry and the triplets would start to brawl.

Opening the back door, I shooed everyone outside and by the time it took me to walk 10 feet to the kitchen, they would be banging on the door to come back in.

Finally, I decided to go wash the car. It was covered in squashed bugs from Charlie's six-plus hour drive to pick me up last week in Palm Springs and was in dire need of some suds.

Filing the kids in to the garage - and loading Henry in to the stroller - I filled up a big bucket with soapy water and handed each child a sponge.

Before I got the hood washed off, Carolyn had broken out sidewalk chalk and was smearing it all over the wet driveway, Elizabeth was methodically removing food from the outside freezer and William was throwing tennis balls down our steep driveway and in to the street.

And Henry, who had been sitting in the stroller, began to scream.

The car was partially covered in soap.

I rounded everyone up with the threat that they not touching anything except car washing sponges and water, or they would go straight in to time out. I then gave Henry something new to play with and in what I estimated would be 30 seconds I had remaining before all hell broke loose, fired up the hose and started to spray the soap off the car.

William had to go potty.

But he wouldn't sit to go potty, because he was too busy. After watching him out of the corner of my eye do his jig, I put down the hose and helped him on to the outside potty chair. I then ran in to the house to grab some toilet paper and in the six seconds I was gone, could hear William and Carolyn start to fight. I ran back out to the garage and could see that Carolyn was trying to pry out of William's hands a bottle of Turtle Wax car wash. With William sitting down, she darted around the backside of the potty chair and shoved him so hard he flipped off.

Carolyn has turned in to a real brute. Because she is the largest of the group, she throws her weight around quite a bit. She will frequently push and shove her siblings and every so often, pin them until they cry. Last month, she had William in a headlock and held him underwater in the bathtub until Charlie realized what was happening and pulled her out, gave her a smack on the bum, and put her straight to bed.

As I'm running in to the garage with a roll of toilet paper, Henry is crying.

William is laying on the floor with Turtle Wax all over his hands and screaming.

Elizabeth opened a bag of frozen cranberries and has spilled them on the floor while Molly is running in circles and frantically eating them up.

Carolyn is holding what remains of the Turtle Wax and looking victorious.

The sensation I experienced felt a lot like the pictures I've seen of Krakatoa.

I exploded.

I was furious.

Furious that I cannot get one thing done in this house without the kids causing absolute havoc.

Furious that I cannot turn my back for less than 10 seconds with out there being a fight - an injury - pee spilled across the floor.

Furious that unless I have them out of the house every moment that they are awake, or, camp them in front of the television, they cause destruction at every turn.

Furious that although I work my fingers to the bone, it almost always looks like a bomb went off.

Furious that at 13 and a half years old, Molly is still a spaz.

Furious that I was allowing myself to be furious over three year olds and a deaf dog.

I was yelling and yelling and yelling some more.

I threw Carolyn in to her room - William in to his - pushed a pooping Molly outside - and brought Elizabeth and Henry in to the house.

I'm so glad for these children.

I really am glad that they are here.

But oh my GOD.

Someone told me last week, when we were stranded in Texas, that they couldn't imagine anything worse than being stuck in the airport.

I could.

It would be much worse to be in a heap of crumbled, smoldering metal on the ground - after having fallen 32,000 feet.

Or, it could be worse to be stuck at home with four sick children and a dog that has cranberry-induced diarrhea while my husband is on another business trip.

The good news:

Turtle Wax removes Easter egg dye.

Carolyn has an after hours pediatrician appointment at 6 PM.

And the trash truck came rolling down our street less than five minutes after I retrieved the small plastic bag that was full of Easter chocolate I had thrown out last night because I foolishly thought I wouldn't need it for my sanity.

Things are definitely looking up.


  1. "Turtle Wax removes Easter egg dye."

    OMG! I'm glad I wasn't eating anything or it would've been all over my laptop, I didn't expect that line and found it hilarious lol.

    I can't even imagine how you manage. I have a 3.5 year old and an almost 2 year old and some days (like today) I can barely handle them. I can't imagine having 3 of my 3.5 year old. I hope your day gets better. :)

  2. Jen, Jen, Jen, how was the Montessori school? LOL! FYI, Clorox clean-up gets rid of the dye too in like 5 seconds. They might die, but their hands will be clean. FYI, boys can pee standing up on trees, bushes, the yard, etc. No need for the potty!!!!!

    Did I mention that I'm so glad I'm a year ahead of you? I'm so glad I'm a year ahead of you. So glad.
    :) I really had to have them in activities at least 5 days a week during the threes. Now, I could have them home again. It's weird. I was thinking about it today when I was forcing them into the car to go to school.

    You'll get to next year!!!!! Just keep lots of chocolate around!!!

  3. Welcome home!

    White vinegar gets the dye out as well. Peanut dumped the bottle of vinegar after we had finished with our eggs and it left a clean spot on her cheek after it splashed off of the table, my stack of books (unread), and her brother. Oh and the floor.

    Vinegar smells bad in large quantities, by the way.

  4. Way to find the silver lining of that black cloud. LOL. I was laughing and empathizing big time, and I only have ONE four year old and three teens. But man, they can drive me crazy! So I SO appreciated that post.
    I've just added you to my blog roll.
    Hang in there! Another year or two and they'll be in school for HOURS at a time! Sanity looms large.

  5. Can you chalk it all up to chocolate overload? Thats what I chalked today up to. It may not be correct but man it made me feel like tomorrow just might be better after all.

  6. JEN3 (umm, now Jen4),

    I have thought about your family over the last few months. I happened to find a comment you left on another blog and THAT is how I found you again!

    Last we *talked*, you were pregnant and then nothing. Now, i see your little baby is 8 months old and I sit here wondering, WOW - where did the time go.

    Now, you are probably thinking - stalker, but no, it's me Christy S in TX from the Resolve/Babysteps days.

    I'm bookmarking you so I can come back and post more later, but I wanted to say that I love your pictures and your stories.

    I can't believe how big the trips are! WOW! My twins are 29 months today and I am in awe of how LONG ago it seems that they were babies.

    Christy S in TX

  7. Hi Jen,

    I've been keeping up with you even though I've been out of the "blogging" world lately.

    I truly do not see how you do it. I find myself yelling all the time too. I will declare it "no yelling day" every day and by 8 o'clock A.M...I'm already yelling.

    I would definitely agree that some sort of mother's day out or preschool would be sooo beneficial for you and for them. It has helped out my boys tremendously. You don't want to jeopardize your sanity over the kids. They probably know exactly how to push your buttons...I know mine do!

    Hang in there.

  8. OMG - virtual hugs and chocolate - utterly useless I know .My mind cannot comprehend how you do it and stay sane.
    They say twinsanity for twins but what about the trip mothers ?.
    I confess some days I can barely handle my 20 month old twins who by each passing day are trying new tricks to outsmart me and pushing the boundaries.
    You rock for remaining so cool for so long every day.
    I am glad the next day was better.
    Today , out on errands and waiitng in queues to claim back money on health fund - I had about a dozen people mutter under their breath or say out loud "double trouble", "you got your hands full' ...ra ra ra and I nodded - too exhausted and exasperated to argue but I guess I should have said what would you know - have you ever read Jen's blog.