Some Doings of Every Kind

Things have been pretty much like the weather around here. One day 65 degrees, sunny, and the kids are all outside playing in t-shirts. Then the next day we are having a wind-snow-sleet  blowathon. This is the way things are in Idaho at such tender times of the year as March. But we have been matching ourselves to it nicely. One day I have a chance to sew – with the windows open incidentally. So I made Blaire a quick skirt out of some hilarious vintage fabric that I love. I bought this in the form of a vintage (epically unflattering) apron at a yard sale. Later, I made it into a maternity skirt which I wore when I was pregnant with Lina. Then it was a curtain in my craft room. Anyway…

She needed something to match the new sweater that I had just finished knitting for her. Yes, you read that right. This was my first real knit since the morning-sick phase, and I was so glad that I was able to wrap it up in a reasonable time frame. Anyway, along with this brilliant and sunny happenstance, we had a  major moment, the sort that only comes your way once in a wonderful while.

Let me tell you all about it. It was mar-ve-lous. The day was sunny (as mentioned above), and gave me much reason to appreciate having a completely fenced back yard. I sent the kids outside to play. I can see them easily from the house, and I was aware that they were playing in mud. Ok by me. Healthy stuff, mud. Once the kids are in the backyard on a daily basis, I would probably feel fine about banning mud mixing as a task, but they were having a glorious time. It looked like they were making mud eggs, nests, and cooking with it. They had a camp. They were transporting puddles on the precarious trays of frisbees. Things were good. The longer it went on, the more I began anticipating re-entry with a touch of concern. Need to make sure they come through the garage. Need to be sure they leave their Bogs in the garage. Need to do it one at a time so that when I peel off the clothes in the garage and carry them to the shower they still have some dignity. Need to find everyone clean clothes. But in the meantime it was so quiet inside, and so sunny. So nice.

Then Titus came to the door. He wanted to come in. I think that it may have been the mud build up that was causing discomfort. So I whisked him in, popped him in the shower. I forgot to mention that he came in the wrong door. Not the garage. And a few mud chunks fell off his clothes on the way to the bathroom. And when I got him in the shower, there were even more mud chunks scattered upon the floor. Not ideal, but manageable. Then I hear Chloe letting herself in downstairs. I hustle off, grab her as she staggers around trying to get her bogs off. Mud is a flying around on the carpet, and the entry way. She came through the garage, good girl. But she was unable to wrestle her Bogs off without a lot of flailing about. So the entry also made an impact on general cleanliness in a totally different area. I haul her off upstairs and pop her into our bathroom shower. Peeling her clothes off also scatters dry mud about the floor. Second bathroom floor messy. I head off to get some kid shampoo or something for her. As I pass the hall bathroom I see Daphne, manfully trying to get all the wet mud off of her hands with a large wad of toilet paper that she has soaked in the sink. This was done out of concern for not getting the hand towel dirty. I removed the toilet paper from the equation, noting as I do so that this effort has basically just wet the mud into a highly fluid, splattery, drippy state. And it has really made an impact on the counter, the floor, and the sink. I tell Daphne to come downstairs with me, and as we round into the living room, the sight that greets us is Blaire. She is sitting, encrusted in mud, on the couch. She knows not of shoe removal (and she had chosen her gold shoes to pair with her sweatpants), and far from trying anything to remove them she simply walked across the carpet (and apparently around a few other places too),and scaled the side of the couch. She is sitting smugly on the couch with a partly eaten apple that she scored from a counter. Not being able to control myself, I took a picture before I gathered her up and took her upstairs to the shower with Chloe.

She had mud in her ears, in her nose, and elsewhere. So I’m not sure why I was still surprised when a bunch of dirt clods rolled out of her diaper onto the carpet in our room outside the bathroom door. Oh well. So I pop her into the shower as I hear Lina calling from downstairs. I tell her to go straight to the shower that is downstairs and  get in. She knows what to do with the Bogs, but it doesn’t matter anymore. She heads down, and a minute later starts yelling for help with turning the shower on. I finish washing Blaire’s hair, wrap her in a towel, and take her with me to help Lina. I think it was at this point that I remembered Daphne in the kitchen and told her to go get in the shower with Chloe. Blaire and I arrive in the downstairs bathroom, and I set her down while I get the water temperature right for Lina. This shower is very touchy, so it takes me a minute. Blaire calmly says “yucky” behind me, and I find that she has peed all over the bathroom floor. So I rinse her off again in the shower with Lina, clean up the floor, and get her diapered and dressed. We go upstairs to answer the distress signals. Turns out someone had to go potty pretty bad. So they let themselves out of the shower to run to the potty. Having first seriously overindulged in body wash helped to cover the bathroom floor in suds. But remember that we had a lot of dry dirt clods first. So we were able to make a nice muddy bubble situation all over the floor. Titus started yelling that he wanted to get out. Daphne still has standing mud in her hair along with the shampoo, so we absolutely have to finish washing her hair even though the water is now shockingly cold. I put Blaire in her crib to keep her out of the muddy bubbles, which is what she clearly felt called to. She provides us with the soundtrack of wrath for the next several minutes.We finish up with the hair, but not without a little bit of sorrow. I get two girls out of that shower, and go to remove Titus. I see Lina coming up the stairs in a bathrobe, but trailing a constant stream of water. When the water went cold she had just gotten out even though there was not yet a towel. I tell everyone to get scivvies on, and sit on their beds until I call them. Some of them have no clean pants left. All of them are hungry.

And that was the sunny day!

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51 thoughts on “Some Doings of Every Kind

  1. Hi! I stumbled onto your blog through the “Motherhood is a Calling” post on Desiring God, and I just wanted to tell you that I really appreciated the tone throughout this whole hilarious ordeal. I’m sure there were moments of frustration, but I love that this post was not an overall complaint about how motherhood is so hard with so many little ones. Thank you for finding joy in your calling as a mother and for living out the gospel to them.

  2. Hilarious! And so good to know these things happen at other people’s houses, too! Thanks for sharing.

  3. I just have to reply to this as we live out in the country in red Georgia clay (although we live in SC, that’s what they call it) and since we built our house from “scratch” we still don’t have a completely grassed yard…. the situation you described is not uncommon around here. Although I only have 3 to juggle in the “re-entry” phase, my oldest 2 know to wash their hands outside, strip on the back patio, and crawl on their hands and knees to the tubs (because our mud playing is usually done barefoot, being SC, even in Feb.).

    And yet, it’s always worth all the clean up for the kids to have that time outside – both for me and for them! They always sleep so well after a good time in the “big messy dirty pile” as they call it.

  4. I love the skirt and sweater! This was seriously very encouraging just to be reminded that I am not the only one living in insanity sometimes. :) Thanks for the reminder just to take joy and see the light side of these moments. :)

  5. Oh, the aforementioned soundtrack of wrath. Yes, that quite describes the sound of a child being taken out of fun and being placed in a crib. :)

  6. You got me thinking my two teenagers and toddler is the easy peasy part of the pie. Thanks for sharing your sunshine day in all its glory. I hate to laugh at your hardship – but I just couldn’t help chuckling. What a blessing your perspective is – thank you, truly – thank you.

  7. It’s a good thing you have so many bathrooms to keep on throwing children in and out! I used to just hose the children down outside before they were allowed in (we didn’t own a bathtub). We have the problem of returning from beach trips with sand in every possible (and impossible) crevice imaginable. After nearly 8 years of having children here I think I am almost at peace with the fact that sand is permanently embedded in our carpets.

  8. Rachel, can you give me a transfusion of whatever it is you’ve got going on? No mud and no little ones here on my sunny day, just me deciding that this morning was the time to disassemble my bed and managing in the process to knock over a dresser tray onto the floor…the tray with the little containers of hundreds of safety pins and hair clips and the like. I’m pretty sure that all the drunken sailors in a 20-mile radius are still blushing over my reaction!

  9. *LOVE*

    We had a miniature one of these the other night — one sick tummy howling in the tub, one lost contact on the floor beside the tub, one highly active participant in the same tiny bathroom, who naturally bonked her head, and one fall-down in the kitchen resulting in lots and lots of blood. All within sixty seconds.

  10. Rachel, this was hilarious!! I was laughing outloud by the time I finished reading it. You seemed to keep calm very nicely through it all, good job.

    Love,
    Aunt Monica

  11. Thanks for sharing “real life!” I laughed…i’m sure you weren’t laughing in the moment..but you will be when you retell this story!

  12. “Blessed are we who can laugh at ourselves, for we shall never cease to be amused.” Read this some years ago and have never forgotten it :)

  13. Soundtrack of wrath made me laugh, too.

    That’s a mighty light couch to collect memories with! My current couch is so ugly and oddly patterned I think I could lose a child in it. It’s not so very pretty in my living room, true, but it surely hides smudges.

    And I completely know that “there is a mess being made, but they’re so happy and it’s so quiet” feeling. Probably on the same day of your mud adventures I let the kids draw all over each other with chalk. An activity that will be outlawed at some point, but seemed a reasonable burst of fun on a rare warm day.

  14. Oh I needed to read this today. I had a very similar day with the four children in my home today (three are my own, 1 is my nephew), minus the mud. They all needed me at once with different needs and lunch was in the process of being prepared. It was not a lunch I could just leave unattended. So while doing what I could for some, I “enjoyed” several competing soundtracks of wrath. Anyway, you narration of your day brought a smile to my face and reminded me that though I feel like I might lose my mind in the moment, I will complete the task by the grace of God and be able to look back and laugh. It was such sweet silence when they were finally all napping if even for only a short period of time. =)

  15. Ha! I used to read stories like this and laugh really loud. Now that I’m pregnant, I read stories like this with horrified fascination knowing that it is a only a matter of time until I have my own stories to tell.

  16. I must know, did u lose it at any point? And, does Starbucks do for you what it does for me?!?! Seriously, God’s gift to mommies!!!

  17. As a mama of little boys in the country (in a newly built home that has no yard yet = life in a mud pit as soon as the ground thaws), I foresee lots of this in my future. You’ve got me excited and shining my armor in anticipation. :)
    Thank you.
    And I spied that Starbucks cup too. I was hoping it gave you the boost you needed to see the humor in your sunny day.

  18. Thanks for taking the time to share, lovely funny story, and will make me have a much better sense of humour when I have my own soundtrack of wrath screaming from the cot when I’m hosing down the other children! Xx

  19. “soundtrack of wrath” – LOVE IT.

    Thanks again for a good laugh at motherhood in general, and reminding us of how the messiest moments pass just as quickly as the kids grow up and too old for playing in the mud. :-)

  20. Oh, thank God for muddy babes! It’s funny how we go from loving grime, to hating it, to having to learn to tolerate it again for the sake of little ones who love it. I hope (probably starting this spring) I’m as patient with it as you are, when my littles start wanting to bathe in the mud!

  21. Thanks… this is great! Thanks for encouraging me… this is part of the fun of this stage!! :)

  22. Oh you are such a godly example to so many of us! I appreciate your gospel living and the way you demonstrate how to live in each moment for the glory of the Lord! Things are just that- things. Your perspective And attitude has ensured that your children will happily remember the fun of playin in the mud and not the fact that mommy had extra cleaning. (=

  23. OH my word! the same thing happened to me yesterday, except the pee happened outside and my 15 month old thought it was another great puddle to splash in . . . so very, very gross. I have to say you’ve made me feel like I got off easily, we’re in summer so there were less clothes and I could strip them outside before carrying them through to the bath :)

  24. Thank you so much for sharing your delight in these situations – you’re such a wonderful example to us moms whose knee-jerk reaction is to be selfish and bitter and spoil the fun for our kids. What an excellent reminder, and that picture says it all! Thank you for sharing this – as always, it’s so well-written!

  25. It does get crazy. I think I’m pretty much past the days when the hilarity gets piled that high, but I still fondly remember them. I love living with little people. Grown ups never hide under the table and eat a stick of butter.

  26. This so reminds me of our situation when my teens were of similar ages to yours. But we had a large laundry sink near our back door and they thought it hilarious to be put in there to get rinsed off before they were let into the rest of the house.

  27. Hey you’ve got to share more of these days. i need to laugh at someone else’s life for a change. i have 3 under 4 & am expecting in sept. i encounter these moments often & it’s just nice to read your humorous account & prepare myself for 4 children under 5! thanks for sharing. btw if it makes you laugh. here’s the account of my am on mon!

    “So, most of you know that we have 3 kids under 4yrs old. Most days are a little on the wild side but this am was over the top!

    I was awakened at 330 by Sydney snoring into my back, then again at 530 by Jones (bryan is gone at this point) & got him a bottle. Sydney woke up at 630 ready to play w her brothers who were both asleep. Isaac gets up about 730 & I hear, “mommy, come look what i did!” i went into his room to find baby powder dumped everywhere & the large container proudly empty on the floor. i return to jones to find him covered in poop in the pack-n-play in our room. somehow he successfully pulled his diaper to his ankles & it was full of some nasty stuff. well, as if thats not enough, once i got that poopy mess cleaned up i went to take isaac’s full diaper off (which i thought was just a wet one) & low & behold it was a messy one too! so, by 8am this morning our house was quite lively & messy! thankfully, the powdery mess covered over the poop smell pretty well & Sydney loves to help clean so we got it all up pretty quickly! And, i was well rested in a good mood, so that helped too! Attitude truly is everything!”

  28. Haha!! Oh thank you! I am so thankful for your example of how to “enjoy every moment” of the little years! I chew on your words both from your blog and your book all day long.

  29. Someday in my future I can see changing the names and re-posting this story on our family blog being a strangely comforting exercise in empathy. :) Thanks for a good laugh today!

  30. “She provides us with the soundtrack of wrath for the next several minutes.” <– Favorite line!
    Thanks for a good laugh this morning, although I'm not entirely sure that was your intention. =)

  31. I could see it all, Rachel. Reign of chaos, mud, water, soap, tears, laughs, screams…Glad you are past morning sickness! Once the shock of it all wears off, it will probably be a favorite memory, especially for your kiddos! (I’ve always believed that mud rooms should be number one on the list of homes with small children). I hope that the moments of short lived peace and quiet were worth it all.

  32. I once worked out a formula: how much time you are having while they are doing whatever is messy balanced by how long it will take to clean everything up. I think I worked it out as- if it takes half as long to clean them up as it did to have a wee break then it was probably worth it.

    Probably.

  33. Thank you for this. It is so much more fun when it happens to someone else. :)
    God bless patient, reflective moms like you. And may He give moms like me the strength and good humor to stop and just…take a picture.

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