Things I’ve Learned Recently

  1. I never want to have nine kids.  Not that I thought I’d want nine kids anyway, five is plenty thankyouverymuch, but now I really know nine is just out of the question.
  2. If you are to be caring for nine children, have a lot of structure planned for the day.  An absence of planning and structure will have you lying in bed at night wondering where the best place would be to hang yourself.
  3. Don’t count on homeschool as being one of those structured activities unless everyone is the same age, or at least very, very close.
  4. I need to do a better job of teaching my oldest two how to clean; and not just how to clean, but how to understand that, as part of a family, it is something they just need to do without feeling all put upon and abused.  Especially when there are a total of nine children and the dishes pile up quickly.  How does one teach children that they just need to contribute and not cry and pout about it, anyway?
  5. When trying to come up with lunch for nine children aged 10 months to 11 years, four boxes of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese come in real handy.  Granted, a couple boxes of whole wheat pasta and some real cheese would have been equally handy, but, alas, I didn’t have access to my own kitchen.
  6. When your sister has four kids and needs some help with them following a car accident, and you have five kids but want to help . . . well, you will probably quickly hit what the business folks call “the point of diminishing returns.”  You will hit it rather quickly if you have no structure and plan for the day.  Geesh.
  7. When you get a plan for the next day?  When you wake up and start off the day with some structure and things are going pretty darned well?  Your father, who spends  most of his working day watching movies and tracking the weather (neither of which he is paid to do, but when there is nothing else to do at work . . .) will call to tell you that your neck of the woods is under a winter storm warning and if you don’t want to be stuck for more days than you planned on staying, you might want to head home SOON.
  8. Peanut butter play dough will keep seven out of nine children happily occupied long enough for you to haphazardly throw six people’s worth of clothes and toiletries into your luggage and then the back of your Suburban.  You will only forget to pack:  one pair of tennis shoes, a pad of construction paper, your leftover play dough ingredients, the toddler’s heaviest winter coat, a couple of glue sticks, and the case of ammo your father purchased for your husband.
  9. Quinn can talk if he wants to.  Today, as I was heading out to brave the snowstorm because I forgot to buy diapers on my way home yesterday (of all things to forget!  I had a truck full of groceries that could have kept us alive for a week had we gotten stuck in the snow, but no diapers!)  Where was I?  Yes . . . as I was heading out to buy diapers in a snowstorm, Quinn looked a me, waved, and said clear as day, “Bye!” 
  10. What the frap?!?!  Can I just say?  I’m getting rather tired of all the grunting, and knowing he can say words . . . well, it doesn’t help.  He understands everything, but frequently just ignores me and almost never uses words.  As my sister said yesterday when I told him to come over to where I was so I could put his pants on him, “Did you see the look he gave you?  If that kid knew how to flip you the bird I’m pretty sure he just would have.”  Yes indeed.

    And this morning?  The older four were in the living room practicing a song they are doing (A~ is accompanying the other three on the piano) at a baptism tomorrow.  Quinn was in there banging on the keys and just getting in the way in general, so I scooped him up and carried him out of the room.  As we were walking into the kitchen I said, “They are trying to sing a song.  If you want to be in there with them you have to sing, too; but to sing, you have to use actual words.”  And then?  He gave me this sidelong look that totally said, “Lady, it ain’t gonna work.  Neener neener neener.  Now give it up already.”  Seriously.

    But every now and then?  He forgets his apparent vow of silence and will say dadda or mamma, or something that sounds like he is trying to say L~’s name.  The other day I swear he said, “Love you.”  Every now and then he’ll say yeah.  But the other 99.99999999999999% of the time?  Point and grunt.  Or pull my hand and grunt.  Or just grunt.  When he does say a word?  He gets this look on his face like, “Oh crap, I forgot.  I’m not supposed to talk in front of the big people.  Now they’ll expect it of me.”

  11. There is a dog out there who looks exactly like our chow mix who died just before Christmas.  This one is female, but she is identical.  When I saw the picture I cried and made my husband call the rescue organization that has her, even though she isn’t even in our state.  Now, I know what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking, “But Elaine, you said you’d never have three dogs again.  What are you doing on”  To that I can only say:  shut up.

And George, if you’re out there, Tewt the Newt is buried in about a foot of snow.

6 thoughts on “Things I’ve Learned Recently

  1. Oh my, wears me out just reading about it all! But sounds like everyone survived it and is still in one piece. And Quinn, you little stinker! Just talk already (and now, remember when he starts talking up a storm that we all thought this was a good idea!)!


  2. Nine kids. I don’t know how you’re doing it and writing to tell about it. I only have two in the house that actually count as kids and I reach the point of diminishing returns sometime before lunch everyday.

    I’m right there with you on the grunting and pointing thing. It makes me absolutely insane. Both Sam and Eli have a good amount of survival English (and then some), but still insist on making me insist that they use it. This is usually my starting place each day for the point of diminishing returns. Oh, and if it makes you feel any less alone in your boat, Eli would just as soon ignore me as tell me to frap off. I love that even more than the grunting/whining ;).


  3. Oh my gosh, I’m afraid you must, immediately, go bring Ginger (AND her puppies) home! You’ve already managed 9 kids, how hard can going back to three pups (plus puppies) be, after all?


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