Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Can 1 mom survive 5 kids for 50 hours?

My mother in law shouts out to me as I drive away, “You have alcohol right?”  My face winces as I begin scanning the fridge in my head… ,oh God.. no, there isn’t any wine left!?
My sister in law and her family have been visiting in Kansas City this summer, but they suddenly had to return home for a funeral of a very close friend. They were shocked and devastated, so we eagerly jumped to help out with their two girls. I volunteered to watch them the first part of the week, which equals 5 kids in my house! I thought- going from 3 kids to 5 can’t be all that bad, right?

For the next 50 hours I needed to entertain 5 kids ages 1, 2, 3 ,5 and 8. I know those of you with 4 , 5 maybe even 6 kids are rolling your eyes at me and to you I say roll em, because you are truly supermoms and I am amazed by you and your powers!

The first day was good, my husband and I were soldiers ready for combat. We wrestled them all into bed by 9:30 , patted ourselves on the back thinking we were pretty awesome.

Second day, my husband is off to work and all 5 kids are awake at 6 am. I shake my head at him, “I don’t think I can do this, you better not work late.” I said this really threatening, with my crazy tired eyes staring him down, daring him to really leave me. I never saw him rush off to work so fast. So much for never leaving a man behind.

My mind sprung into action, I needed a plan that would make all 5 kids happy. I read in one of those Mary Poppins-ish parenting magazines about a gung- ho mom who took her kids on a park tour, they visited every park and made a whole day of it. good ol' fashioned fun. This was my plan. I soon would realize that this was a plan of a crazy person.

I knew it was one against five, but I felt reassured that they had not figured it out yet, until I heard them in back of the mini counting each other, over and over “ one, two, three, four , five..” and then in unison they would all shout out “and ONE MOMMY!” like that was the funniest thing they ever heard, or perhaps it was their battle cry…

I’m not sure who thought of this park-a –rama idea but they did not have four kids under age 5 and an 8 year old obsessed with silly bandz and cartoon network. After two parks they were done and ready for more juice boxes, snacks, naps and air conditioning. They actually had a great time at the parks but when you’re done, you’re done. We were all so hot and sweaty that we just started stripping down in the car. I drove home in my bra.

My plan now became – just keep them busy and structured- kids need that schedule right? Time for dinner. I wanted so badly to make my nieces feel right at home, I told the 3 year old she could have whatever she wanted for dinner. Secretly hoping for a pizza request, she instead ordered “shrimp and edamame please” Sorry I asked. By chance when you said shrimp did you mean spaghetti?

The thing I noticed with 5 kids- someone is always eating, crying, fighting, whining, sleeping or being disturbed from all the above mentioned activities. Just the physical energy it took to bathe, dress, change, feed and buckle up was exhausting. I’m not even going to get into the amount of milk they drank. If you have 5 kids, do you just go to the store everyday?

Kids also tell you every single thought they have. My favorite was,“ Aunt Lara, your house looks old because there is spiders webs everywhere” My niece is obviously used to nicer digs.

 It was at the end of the hottest day of the summer, at the “lake” park, that I realized how amazing it was that all 5 children were smart, beautiful, funny and healthy. In the midst of a young father’s tragic death and the heartbreak that everyone was feeling, I was suddenly laughing at how carefree and full of curiosity these kids were and felt privileged to watch them be mesmerized by pond scum and minnows. And yes I survived. I got to be supermom for a day.

Hour 49 ½ : Your grandma is coming for you right?


  1. That is funny. Remember we were all a group of 5 between the two families. Guess now our parents not talking for so long a time may have been strategic. Haha

  2. Thanks for the light hearted story! Way to go! Stephanie

  3. You're such a great storyteller!! Ha I love it!! Are they still with you?