Friday, November 13, 2009

I Can Count To Six, But Will They Listen?

I have six kids. Seven if you count my husband. Are they all mine? Thankfully, no. But this kind of craziness explains in part why blogging has taken a backseat to real life in the past ...weeks? month? Anyhow.

My girlies are turning 1 and 2 in a week and a bit, and I am going to be 28. For some reason I feel like I've been 28 forever and I should be turning 31 by now. We just found out that we have a foster child being placed in our home full time, and she is already staying with us. This is exciting, and so far things have been going well. All (3) of our girls are getting along great and enjoying each other's company.

On Tuesday some friends of ours were able to get last minute flights to Alberta to pick up some belongings that have been missed for some time, so we are also looking after their three school-aged children. Despite my initial panic, life has continued on at a manageable but very busy pace. I love to be creative in the kitchen, but cooking for eight (me and hubby included) has forced me to get serious about meal planning and frugal shopping. Eight breakfasts, eight lunches and eight suppers, five days a week. Twenty four meals of dishes to clean up, every day. It's a good thing hubby and I work well as a team. Division of labour is good for everyone. The only hairy part is trying to supervise all six children at once, and make sure each of them is clean, fed, does their homework or chores or is kept busy, and refrains from injuring any other child or themselves.

"I'm going to count to five, and I want all of you dressed and out of the house!" Sure, but then someone has to pee. Someone else just knocked down another. And one of them forgets their bag in the hall. Meanwhile my toddler is clinging to my leg urgently calling "MommyMommyMommy!" and the baby is crying in the living room. Both of them are still badly teething. Over the din I shout, "Don't forget your sister, don't break anything, don't run down the stairs, and if you don't do what you're told..." Um, what do I say? You'll be in big trouble? I'll yell louder? Oh my.

My hubby and I talk on the phone after the kids are in bed - he in the house down the street with 3 kids, me in our house with 3 kids - and discuss the ups and downs of trying to hold it all together while still getting our own work done. We come to the conclusion that we're making some mistakes along the way, but this week is making us better parents. How many people get a crash course in parenting preteens before they try it on their own kids? We'll come out of this one with years' worth of experience.

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