A couple weeks ago a friend of mine from high school posted on Facebook that she needed help with childcare for a few days. I volunteered to watch her daughter, Raelyn, who is about the same age as Evie. I had it figured out in my head that once you’ve had three kids, you’ve reached such a level of chaos that one additional kid doesn’t really matter.
Right out of the gate Evie and her new friend were having a hard time adjusting to sharing toys. Evie is typically a good sharer, but it usually goes hand-in-hand with kids that she already knows well. You can tell at just the age of four that she genuinely wants her friends to be happy. Raelyn was new, so Evie had some warming up to do. I found it all too ironic that they were fighting over a Frozen microphone that repeated the song Let It Go… over and over. I stood there watching these two girls cry hysterically about this toy that is literally telling them to just let it fucking go.
No matter what, when my kids, or any kids I am watching, start fighting over something, I remove it. If you can’t share it or take turns, then no one gets it. These girls, my goodness, you would have thought I ruined their life. I guess to them, I did. I walked away from the meltdown and sat on the couch and opened my book. Before I’d even found my place on the page the tears stopped. Oh, not so fun to scream and cry when no one gives a shit huh? I have built in ear plugs; I can read through the worst of tantrums.
That was the last major meltdown of the day from Evie or Raelyn, thank god. Millie, she was her normal terrible self, but we managed to all get into the van and make it to the zoo. I was so nervous about taking them out of the house, but figured fresh air and something to do that everyone can do simultaneously was better than sitting at home while everyone cries.
Even at the zoo, Evie and Raelyn found something to fight over, the stroller. I planned to push Millie and Raelyn in the stroller, wear Livie on my back, and have Evie walk by my side. I thought this out carefully. I figured, Millie is crazy, she must be contained. Livie is my precious angel, but can’t walk and is obsessed with constantly touching me, so I guess she goes on my back where she is the happiest. Raelyn was such a question mark. I had no clue if she was going to listen or if she was going to take off into that zoo and hide amongst the animals. To my great surprise, I brought the laziest kids ever to the zoo with me. They begged to sit in the stroller. I took you bitches to the zoo so you could burn off all your energy, not ride along while I break out into a full blown sweat tandem wearing two 25lb babies and pushing a stroller with two 35 lb kids… psh.
Millie enjoyed walking the first half of the zoo, so I decided I’d picked my battles and let the big kids catch a ride. Millie was our “leader”. By leader, I mean tiny deranged person staggering around drunk. We saw the same animal’s dozens of times, skipped entire sections of the zoo, sat down multiple times in the middle of the path, and nearly walked off a huge ledge. As long as you’re not really interested in seeing animals, Millie’s route was fine.
She had her normal 20-month-old tantrums all surrounding her inability to understand that once you step onto the carousal you aren’t actually supposed to live the rest your life there on your animal. She would gladly have died an old lady in the third train car in Farmland. Instead, I had to rip her out. Yes, I had to peel each of her tiny little bastard fingers off the door frame of our train car and literally drag her away from the train.
Note to self: Don’t look at other people’s faces; they will be judging you and your tiny person with big emotions. Assholes. Don’t they know she claimed car number three for all eternity? Millie cried, and Evie and Raelyn fought about whether the tiger was a “grandpa tiger” or a “sister tiger”. Why do you guys have to be such four year olds…?
We managed to stay for three hours. We walked most of the zoo, and played on all of the playgrounds. We rode the carousal… all five of us, we rode the train, again… all five of us. We skipped, and sang, and laughed. All in all the girls all got along really well.
Even with everyone doing so well, I decided to leave while I was ahead. As we approached my van I carefully thought out the method I would use to get all the small people back into the van safely. I’ve always feared unloading strollers. I picture some crazy person running up behind me while I buckle someone in and they run away with the stroller full of my precious babies. So I unbuckled and shoved each kid into the van and closed the door. I pulled the endless snack supplies out of the stroller and put them into the trunk.
Next to us were a mom and dad with a male version of Millie. He was losing his shit because his horrible parents were making him leave the zoo. Didn’t they know he too had planned to live a long and happy life at the zoo? I overheard the dad talking to his son, “See how all of those little girls let their mommy put them in the car, and no one is crying,” he reasoned. I looked over at the mom … “This too shall pass,” I said and smiled. This is one of those times I wish I was the kind of mom who carried a flask. I finished unloading the stroller and climbed into the back and one by one started buckling them all in. Inside, I felt a little too good about myself, considering this is the first time in two months Millie didn’t go all stiff body on me and refuse to put her arms in the straps. Nevertheless, they were all buckled, all safe, and all happy; this was a success.
Do I really want four kids of my own? This is such a process just getting in and out of the van. But they were all so good, and we had so much fun. Look how cute they are smiling up at me while I buckle them in. I think I could do this… just not right now… we should wait. At least a little while right? I deserve a god damn medal. And a cookie.
Song of the day, because momma’s… we can all fly.