The only thing better than brand new tennis shoes that show up as a surprise on your doorstep?
Brand new tennis shoes that match your phone!
Today was insane. Insane.
We somehow slept late, even though we went to bed on time, but managed to get in our morning exercises and all my meds and proteins and all that stuff that reminds me I am not as well as I pretend.
(I could have slept for days.)
I had to drop off one of the kids for a visit on my way to work, then pick her up on my lunch, then later take another one to visit in between patients. On another break between peeps, I had to pick up two of ours from preschool, take them to pick up a third finishing a visit, drop two others off at the house for DHS visit, while delivering two others for a parent visit this evening. I still had two more hours of work after that!
All the while it was raining, all day, as I got kids in and out of my car, all day.
My head felt very, very naked and cold today, even with my new hair almost growing in.
We did not even get all the kids back home again until after everyone was ready for bed and two were already asleep.
Know what saved us today? Friends showed up with this:
Hot soup for our family, with an amazing salad and gluten free crackers. There were jello jigglers for dessert, which was perfect since one by one the kids dropped like flies. Everyone came down with their flu bugs tonight from flu vaccines last week! That will make our anniversary exciting all night long, as all five kids start throwing up in turn.
It will be almost as much fun as our first anniversary last year, when we had five kids (two of the same, Five and toddler, plus a three-sibling-group) and the same thing happened except it came out the other end that time. Clearly we timed our wedding well, to celebrate the flu vaccine sickness every fall on our special day.
(Nathan’s mom warned us Friday the 13th was a bad idea, but with our work schedules, there was really nothing else we could do and still get a week off.)
Nathan didn’t miss the effect entirely this year, as he helped me clean up the kitchen after dinner. He was working on the trash and bent down and said, “why is there a brownie on the floor?” It wasn’t until after he picked it up that he realized it was poop, and not a brownie. Somebody had played with a diaper in the trash!
That was our very romantic anniversary-day.
We could be resentful, or even whiny, about not getting a day that is just-so, or a night away from the kids.
Excepting that this, right now, even driving kids around and picking up diaper messes, is our life.
And we worked really hard to get to have kids, and so are committed to the full experience, even with the flu.
And I am feeling really, really good for all the words I got to puke up in that hair ball of a blog post earlier today, during all that time of waiting here and waiting there for patients and kids and families, and am surprised by the degree of closure and letting go I feel. I am so glad, and it feels so much better than holding that inside still.
So I am thinking that instead of picking up new dirty laundry (no pun intended), we can just let this day go, and be glad – again – that we are in this together.
Because this, my friends, is real life, and I wouldn’t change it for anything.
(Mostly because it was Nathan who got to pick up the poop, and I am okay with that.)
Saturday mornings around here are usually slow and easy.
Today was different because for some reason everyone was especially gross, and I was paranoid because of the baby coming back with lice (no nits) yesterday.
Instead of letting those adorable babies know I was disgusted by them, however, I needed a good plan to get them in the voluntary mood for baths:
Then I could keep them busy (mostly, and sometimes unfortunately), while having time to bath each one and treat their hair, too, just in case. No one else had any bugs or nits, but still. Gross.
My head itches like crazy just thinking about it, even though we only found one and I caught it right away and treated her immediately.
That’s why we check them any time they have any kind of contact with family at all, and I hope the worker really makes mom get treated and it doesn’t happen again.
Nathan tackled everyone’s sheets (yay! More laundry!), and we got everything treated without anyone being worried or even knowing what was going on.
It took four hours, though!
It was the kind of morning where I realized why some parents just turn on the tv and let it babysit.
Legit parenting is hard work!
Once everyone was cleaned up, we made homemade pizza and I got the younger three down for naps while Nathan took the older two with him to the recycling center. That gave me just enough time for my own shower, for which we are all grateful. My hands are so soft from treating Six’s hair, so I am enjoying that unexpected bonus.
I am also enjoying all these sweet children, even if it is a lot of hard work (and if the dryer is full of stuffed animals).
There are some things you might not think about fostering.
Like how when a new kid comes, everything they bring has to be washed and disinfected.
Hard work, you might think, but not such a big deal, you say.
Except for when you go through four new kids in two weeks.
And every load of laundry washing new-kid clothes is a load of already-here-kid laundry piling up.
Last night I did laundry for three hours straight!
I don’t mean it was going while I was doing other stuff.
I mean straight up sorting, folding, and hanging up.
Tonight I did another four hours of laundry, after deep cleaning the kitchen and sweeping all the floors while the kids cleaned their bedrooms.
Four hours of more sorting, folding, hanging up, and finally getting to put it all away.
The only break I got was delousing the new baby again after a visit, so that was exciting.
Oh, and that meant more laundry, because everything (including bedding and car seats) had to be re-laundered, just in case.
I also had to go earlier today, after delivering kids all morning for visits, pediatrician appointments, and lawyer meetings, and back home again for DHS worker visits, and go get clothes for Three because he didn’t actually have any. He came with mismatched 2T stuff because he is so tiny, and we have 4T from Five when he first came, but Three is finally starting to gain weight and soon will grow fast and it is cold and he had no long sleeves, pants, or 3T clothes. He also needed underwear and socks. It is so hard when they come and start from scratch!
So today was not at all what I expected, and I was glad to even get my notes and collateral contacts done for work. But everyone got where they needed to go, everyone now has plenty of clothes, everyone has jackets, coats, hats, mittens, undershirts, underwear, footie pjs, shoes, and nobody has lice. Today.
I guess, when it was all finally done, and my feet hurt too much to pull off my shoes, and my body was too tired to pull on my own pajamas, and my eyes too heavy to try and wait for Nathan to get home from symphony rehearsal… I guess it was one of those moments when I felt like maybe I am a mom after all, if all I got done today was laundry, and it took all day, and no one will even care or notice.
Except for that favorite Spider-Man shirt Five had been waiting for.
And that long-sleeve blue shirt I promised Three.
And that dress a friend gave Six, the one she would wear every day if I could get it clean fast enough.
Or the Toddler’s favorite “my grandma shirt” that Nathan’s mom gave her.
That’s my token of love, a quiet one, while they aren’t looking, these little clothes clean and put away and ready for them to have a wear like happy, healthy, provided for children that have sufficient for their needs.
It’s not just that we have so many kids that makes laundry so hard.
It’s that they are all the same size!
Except for the items I can pull out of the stack by color or by glitter, I almost have to check the tags on everything to be able to get it sorted right. I am fast at it, with so much practice, but laundry sure is harder when it’s tiny and inside out and tangled with everything else and the same size as all the other pieces.
The only thing worse?
With two boys and three girls, and two older ones and three younger ones, everyone just almost wears the same size socks – except not, and just not-enough that I have to figure out which socks are which.
This is my nightmare, like the dessert of a meal you didn’t order, like the final yards of a race where you can see the finish line but it is way further than it looks.
Or maybe like how you get nitrous at the dentist because you are a big ole whimp, and they are afraid of you so give you lots, except then they always turn it off before they actually get their hands out of your mouth, so that you wake up to the nightmare they promised to help you avoid.
Or how you survive cancer just so you can fold laundry all day.
It’s just not right, folks.
But it is necessary, and so I am diving in to the sock basket (mostly because it may be true that three of the five kids wore their last pair today).
I needed you to know, just in case I don’t make it back out again.
While I ate lunch (or maybe instead of eating lunch), I got my Hebrew homework done!
I love my classes again this semester, even though doing a post-doc with five foster kids means getting up at 4am three days a week.
This semester is fun because now all my homework is typed, and I have a Hebrew keyboard, and a Hebrew document software program (Davka), and so today was my first day to ever get to type Hebrew. When I have typed in Hebrew in the past, it was using the iPad keyboard, which I still can use, but that’s different than this dual keyboard for my PC or getting to type in a made-for-Hebrew program that doesn’t get confused when you start from the right.
I am so excited, and love it so much, and it was the best nerd moment to rejuvenate me!
I am grateful that I already had used the Hebrew keyboard on my iPad so much to email Israeli friends or for blogging, because this class is very fast paced and it would take me ages if I didn’t know where the letters were already.
I can’t tell you how excited I am, or how good for me this is!
I also finally finished translating 1 Nephi 12 from Hebrew, and now just need to put it back together into English again and I can post it.
Hebrew, somehow, in ways I cannot fully grasp or understand, is a language of my heart.
I really, really, really love it a lot.
And the only thing more exciting than finally being able to type in Hebrew is – for the first time – learning what Hebrew sounds like, as this class puts together my reading and writing skills with listening and speaking as well.
I am so, so, so excited.
My other class (medieval Judaism) starts the weekend after next, and I am already started on that reading every time I am waiting in line at schools or the pharmacy or doctors or the hospital. It is a hard thing for me not to write about what I am learning, but the policy on that is strict on not writing or blogging about class in any way, so I will have to process privately. It reminds me of the children, so much we cannot say or share, and so I am full-up with marvelous secrets and treasures bursting at the seams to share so many amazing things.
(Edit: sorry for confusion. The not writing about what I am learning has nothing to do with any secret religious teachings as many have asked me. It is about not sharing homework or processing so that others cannot copy my work and to keep the class a safe place while online discussions are still ongoing. I can process more at the end of each quarter, when the class is finished, just like my other classes other quarters. The difference is that my other schools encouraged processing and posting of the work in progress on social sites to encourage hard work and more processing, while this one has rules about talking of a class while still in it. I don’t mind that at all, just meant it was one more area – like my work or like fostering – that is cordoned off from my writing, which is a disintegrative feeling.)
In the meantime, my heart is full of delightful things, and my mind flowing over with fresh eyes seeing the world in new ways, and a Self hungry to be, to know, and to become.
In other news, it is Sukkot in the Jewish world, and it’s the holiday that gathered the people for King Benjamin’s speech back in Mosiah. CLICK HERE for an excellent article about that particular Sukkot celebration in Book of Mormon history.
Between work and a sick baby in the hospital, I have not been able to write much in the last week, and am about to spill over with words.
But for now, let me say that Nathan is my hero for finding this app:
The baby is finally sleeping, so maybe she will feel better when she wakes to eat in a couple hours, instead of losing her food as fast as she gets it!
I am so grateful she is finally asleep and resting!