What makes me most crazy about raising children is the issue with estimating the timeframe on completing tasks. Having one children is akin to playing "If you give a mouse a cookie", but the presence of three makes it damn nigh impossible. The constant back and forth amongst kids adds considerable time to any particular task, especially if you’ve curtailed the electronics.
Today is a case in point.
Chores are delayed in order to play taxi for Grandma, who’s having her eyeballs dilated. After toting, hauling and having lunch with her and Youngest, I get home to find that Eldest is just returning from a babysitting gig and Middle is back from the pool. Meanwhile, the rest of the yard needs mowing, the bathrooms cleaned, dinner cooked, Youngest must review flash cards and Middle needs to start a for-pay household project before eating and being delivered to a work session for an Eagle Scout project.
The scene commences with Eldest and Middle commencing to their tasks while I start cleaning the master bath. With one ear-bud dangling to keep tabs on the activity, I get to the commode when I hear squawking from Youngest. He’s responding to tart language from cleaning gloved Middle, who’s reacting to Youngest’s repeated play with a stuffed monkey that emits a nails-on-blackboard recorded screech. Middle has repeatedly asked him to stop, but it’s a challenge to see if Middle can be delayed in his task. That’s about three minutes of eavesdropping, quizzing, and separating the irksome brothers. Since this isn’t the monkey’s first offense, he’s sent to the high-shelf hoosgow for a five day sentence. I return to my meeting with the toilet.
Right after getting back, Eldest interrupts with the news that the mower and gas can are parched and have been since Middle didn’t tell me yesterday that they were suffering when he finished the front part of the yard. Because of days of rain and growth, the yard needs done today lest I then have to adjust the mower height upwards and move up the next week’s cut. So it’s off for a twenty minute jaunt to the convenience store pumps so that the lawn can be done. I again return to my friend and then move on to the bathroom counters.
Now I hear the sound of a brewing riot downstairs as Middle and Younger bicker. My policy now is to ignore it until the tenor reaches the level of incipient violence, at which point I descend downstairs again. Charge and counter-charge are leveled until a comment is made about an earlier situation that requires additional investigation. I’m moving from attempted assault to Conspiracy and more time with Eldest reveals further behaviors that require correction. The child in question requires discipline but since it can’t wait any longer, more time passes as I handle the offenses.
Unfortunately, since part of the discipline requires writing apology notes to the offended siblings, I now need to help him spell what needs to be said.
Damn, another five minutes shot and the clock ’til dinner is running. Note to self: no more apology notes until they can operate Spellcheck.
I manage to finish the counters and move onto the shower when the phone rings and it’s my mate with the need to talk. Some things can’t wait and I settle into the dining room chair to discuss things when she blurts out Oh God, Middle has the Scout session right now. And I won’t be making it home for dinner. I hang up and run upstairs to find that Middle is happily cleaning off in the shower and has to be chased out. After several more minutes – with no dinner on the horizon – I grab the other two and we proceed with Middle to the meeting site. Because this locale is much further away than the usual place, Eldest and Youngest fetch the ball and some gloves from the van – every well-stocked minivan now carries a ball and multiple gloves – to toss for an hour until Middle is finished.
After which, we scoot to a nearby McDonalds for fast food and to hell with the home-cooking. We arrive home near dark to find my mate – their mother – on the phone for business and fixing a quick meal, which I finish preparing for her. Now the evening routine has to play out with bath, catch-up conversation and dogwalk.
And tomorrow, I plan to actually finish the bathroom. And feel as though I’ve accomplished something.