Chaos Theory

Juggling three kids ages three and under is tricky. Sometimes it's delightfully funny. Sometimes it's miraculous and moving. Sometimes it's downright scary just how close I get to losing all control of the situation. But it is definitely tricky.

Like the time I was stuck on the couch feeding Henry (he prefers to stay very still while eating, or it's all likely to come right back up). Daphne - who recently discovered that this whole walking thing can be done with speed and abandon - was cruising round and round the couch with various blocks, books, or toy cars in her fists or mouth at each passing. Wyatt, who was recklessly swinging his flashlight in one hand (acting as the headlights to his car, you understand), spun in mad circles with a fearsome war-cry on his lips.

I was trying to get Wyatt to calm down - or at least try a less piercing war-cry - with little success from where I was perched on the couch. Which was when Daphne decided to deviate the course and head into the kitchen - where I had not yet had the chance to sweep up after lunch. She turned the corner into the dining room and completely out of my sight - heading toward the stairs that she has no problem going up - but thinks that if she just turns and dives off the stair in the other direction, blind luck will somehow see her safely down (she hasn't figured out yet that Mom and Dad have had a lot to do with that blind luck so far). I called to her and heard her little answers grow nearer and farther away as she toddled around the dining room. Henry is ALMOST done! I will him to suck faster so I can toss him (gently) onto my shoulder to burp at his convenience while I chase after Daphne.

Which is when Wyatt, who was racing around the back of the couch, crashes head-first into the toddler folding table leaning against the wall. He and the tiny folding chair hit the ground in a grand cacophony of crashing sounds. He begins to cry - and not the 'that freaked me out and I'm feeling vulnerable' cry. We're talking the 'I could be seriously hurt, get OVER here!' cry.

So I abandon Henry's lunch and toss him over my shoulder and rush over to where Wyatt is sitting on the floor tangled in the folding chair, not willing to move (still very much aware that Daphne may have found the stairs and could, this moment, be ascending to her doom).

Which is when Henry decides to throw up.

Down my shirt. Soaking both shirt layers, my bra, my underwear, my skin and - yes - my hair. He managed to expel the entirety of what he had just eaten with the bonus of the more chunky remains of what he had eaten before that. We looked at each other in surprise - then he began to wail and I began to laugh.

I held poor soggy Henry in one arm, pulled Wyatt from his wreckage with the other, called Daphne to "come and see what Mommy has!" in my most tantalizing voice, and when her curly haired, grinning-eyed, toddling form appeared again in the kitchen (through the lunch mess, recall), I decided that this would be the perfect tome to re-set.

I sat with my kids, took a few deep breaths, and turned into Robot-Action Mom. You know - the one who steps aside from how overwhelmed she's feeling to do what needs to be done with mechanical efficiency? 

A few minutes later, I had Wyatt satisfactorily kissed, hugged, and relaxing on the couch to 'recover' with a book and his magna-doodle; Daphne set up in style with an animal cookie in each hand (after all, when Mommy invites you to come and see what she has, Mommy must deliver!); and Henry and I hosing off at the sink.

Half an hour after that, I had the older two kids down for a nap, Henry freshly bathed, Myself freshly changed (with hair sponged and pulled back) and sat down to a full twenty minutes of 'me time' - during which I fed myself lunch, read a few blogs, and cleaned up that darn lunch mess!

So when the chaos began to stir again with demands for stories, lost toy cars, drinks of milk, diaper changes, bottles and burping - I was ready.

...or at least I had on a clean shirt.


Diana Larson said...

Oh My! What I missed out on. There was definitely a reason I was not blessed with children of my very own.

That Girl said...

Isn't amazing how we grow into motherhood?

And aren't you glad you weren't handed all three at once?

Jeff and Ari said...

You never cease to amazing me ... and what you didn't add was "Have friends over who were simply dying to see your new bundle of cuteness!" We had a great time tonight seeing you guys!

Carolyn said...

Oh my! We have times like that here, too. You are amazing!

Nae said...

I don't think I've ever laughed so hard in my life! Imagining those adorable children of yours toddling and spinning around...that was just too cool!

You make me feel like I can be a good mother, I'll just make sure I keep a sense of humor. :)