There are four of them.
There is one of me.
Sometimes I don't feel outnumbered.
But some days, like this morning for instance, the facts are undeniable.
I'm sick. It's not the flu according to some incredibly awkward nasal drip test that I did at the clinic, but it feels like a flu. My body just aches from head to toe. I feel like I got hit by a truck. I'm not sleeping well because of that. Coughing up a storm.
So when #4 wakes up at 3am for a surprise feed (which Daddy did because I had taken a sleeping pill and was completely out of it) and then #3 gets up at at 5:15 to start her day followed by #2 at 5:30am, I'm already a bit grumpy.
Then #2 wants to do a puzzle. I tell him that's fine. But it's 5:30am, and so I tell him I won't be helping. He starts throwing a fit, yelling and crying and the whole bit. (I'm pretty sure he even roared, but I can't be sure.)
I send him to his room.
Only #1 is still sleeping in their shared room so I send him to his sister's room. This sort of works, but his great whaling and gnashing of teeth still wakes up #1. It wakes up Daddy too who had been trying to get a few more minutes of shut-eye after doing that early-morning feed.
So everyone is up by 5:45am.
Except me. I'm pretty sure that I am still asleep.
Bleary-eyed, I head downstairs to get a bottle for #4. I find dog sleeping on the chair in the living room. We cover the furniture each night to prevent this as his hair gets glued to the maroon chairs. He has knocked off the baby stroller I had put on the chair so that he can sleep there.
(As JB often says, "How can you get mad at him for being a smart dog?")
Oh, I can still get mad at him!
The only weapon against his hair is washing the cover to the chair. Add that to my growing list for the day.
At some point in the next two hours there was a potty chair on someone's head, a fight over a thrown magnatile and an administered retaliation leg burn. There is a spilled bowl of cereal and a baby that doesn't want her bottle at all and I have no idea why. #3 is coughing like crazy, and I'm worried she is getting what I am getting. A coloring sheet that #3 wants belongs to #2, and he has no intention of sharing it. More great gnashing of teeth. Oh and #3 is upset that Daddy didn't hug her before he left. She does this every morning even though he administers dozens of hugs including his last one in which he says, "Now I have to leave but don't forget that I am hugging you."
Time-out has been utilized six times. And it is barely six a.m.
I remember, halfway through breakfast that I have to take #4 in for her 4 month appointment today. When your husband is the only doctor working in the Clinic, they have to recruit a doctor who doesn't usually see patients to see her because you aren't allowed to see your own husband (Air Force rule.) And the only time he can see her is today at 10am. If I cancel this appointment, they can't see me until the 28th which is sort of pointless than because she'll be almost 5 months old at that point.
She's going to need shots too.
I change her outfit from head to toe and she proceeds to burp up over the whole thing.
And so, by eight a.m. I turn on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, swaddle the baby and put her back to bed for her morning nap, and collapse in our office/library. I've got this blog just bubbling up inside me that I am determined to sit and write.
My mother-in-law comes downstairs, and I immediately tell her how outnumbered I feel, and she tells me that she is going to shut the door and keep the minions away for thirty minutes. I can hear crying in the other room. Someone yelling for Mommy. But I'm determined to let them have their way with Grama. She raised six kids. She's got my measly four.
And so, for thirty minutes, I don't feel quite so outnumbered.
I truly cannot believe, that I have four children five and under (five if you count the dog who on days like today, deserves to be counted). I don't know how this happened or when it happened. I love my children to the depth of my being.
But there are a lot of them.
And just one of me.
Of course I have other people here to help -- more than many people have. I'm not sure how I would be surviving without my husband here and his parents as well. Their help is not something I can even put into words.
And I think, as I write this, about people who are really at it alone. Especially military wives at a new Base not knowing anyone and a husband working ungodly hours.
Hang in there.
If you need to, put on a Mickey Mouse, and sit down, and just breathe for a few minutes. You are doing a good job. You are doing the best job you can do.
And my daughter had a potty seat on her head this morning too.