Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Venturing Out...

My husband has this odd habit of forgetting that we have five children. He has these idealistic views of venturing out into public as a family. In his mind, we will all pile into the van, head out to Sam's Club, purchase a soda, and walk around as one big happy family, perusing the aisles and checking out what is new in the electronic department. It will be a wonderful family bonding experience...get us out of the house, and provide some free entertainment.

Now, you would think that previous experiences would puncture this happy bubble, and provide a heavy duty dose of reality into his poor, delusional mind. Alas, he always seems to think that it was just a "bad day." Next time will be different. Next time we will not have to change explosive diarhea filled diapers in a public restroom (having to bathe premie babies in the bathroom sink.) We will not have to deal with preteens with skate shoes who want to try them out in the pet food aisle...falling flat on their back with their skate shoe flying through the air nearly taking out an elderly man. We will not have to deal with an overtired toddler screaming at the top of her lungs that she needs a banana right now, regardless of whether you have paid for it. We will not have to deal with a screaming baby with terrible reflux who pukes on us in the middle of the frozen foods section. No...those previous times were all a fluke.

The reality of taking five kids out to go shopping: you need at least an hour to get ready. An hour?! Yes. An hour. Because the babies need to eat. Again. And be changed. The toddler needs to gather her dearest friend, Blanket Snoopy, and her baby doll, sippy cup, and the odd magnetic game she got in a Wendy's kids meal to take with her. Oh, and she needs to be changed, too. The diaper bag needs to be re-stocked. The 13-year-old boy needs to find his wallet. And go search for his sweatshirt. The 11-year-old girl needs to go brush her hair and put on concealer. And find her purse.

The three older ones need to find hats and gloves. And they need to pile in first, as the two babies need to be placed in the middle row of the van. The 13-year-old has to help buckle in the toddler. This takes awhile. The boy can reconstruct a Nintendo DS out of spare parts he has found in playgrounds and around the house, but he cannot figure out how to buckle a toddler into a carseat. Finally, the toddler is secure, the preteens are in their designated seats, and the babies are in place...with a few rounds of shushing and popping the pacifier back in.

Finally, we are off. "The Backyardigans" is playing on the dvd player in the back. Connor is crying because his pacifier fell out. Jaylond is yelling to turn up the radio, because a Greenday song just came on. Marissa is yelling because Irelynn just hit her. My husband is yelling because the driver in front of him is going too slow. Irelynn repeats what he just said, causing the older two to erupt into fits of laughter.

At Sam's Club we are quite the vision. I have Connor strapped to my front, while I push Owen in the stroller. Irelynn is tailing me, clinging onto her baby doll. Marissa is not too far behind, saying "Mom! Mom! Can we get that? Please?" Jaylond has his eyes set on the free sample table up ahead. Bruce is the only one actually perusing the aisles.

Now, I am not one to usually care what others think...but even I can't help but notice the stares we get. Most of them are friendly enough...you see the whispers..."look! Twins!" I've actually seen people count...point to each of my kids and end with a look of either awe...or disapproval. I've also had people actually stop me to see the babies, and ask questions.

"Are they twins?"

"No. I had them two months apart."

Ok...I've never answered that way...but...come on. Seriously?

"Are they identical?"

I look at my boys. One is short...stocky...pudgy cheeks...full lips....not much hair. The other is long...super skinny....hair that curls up and stands on end....ears that stick out....with long eyelashes and a grin that lights up the room.


I get comments that range from "what a blessing" to "you must have your hands full."

After shopping, if there are no sudden...emergencies...there is still the stopping to feed the babies...and the changing of the diapers. Bruce groans in protest.

Well...we either stop now and feed the babies...or listen to the screaming all the way home. And...we either change diapers (and pull-ups) now...or have them leak through onto their clothes and carseats. It all comes with having kids.

The good news is: I have the procedure pretty much down. I even enjoy the looks we get at times. My husband always gets his prized fountain soda. And my children will have many memories of family outings....to Sam's Club.

The bad news is: we spend much more money than we intend due to pacifying toddlers, preteens, and husbands....and my husband realizes that there was not so much bonding as there was planning, stressing, arguing, and pacifying.

However, had it not been for his insistance, I would not be eating a warehouse supply size bag of M&M's and enjoying a big-arse glass of wine right now. And so, I shall continue to endure these outings.

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