The truth of the matter is that the day after Hood #1’s birthday, I have a birthday too… I know… too many birthdays in one month and we are not even done yet!!! Now tradition has it that, for a birthday post, I write about se7en + 1 things that I don’t normally share. I have an idea that many folk assume one of two things about us… either we have eight kids and our home is in permanent chaos, or we have eight kids and our house runs like a smooth well-oiled machine… of course we are somewhere in-between.
Amidst our organised chaos some crazy, funny, silly things do happen. I have a policy of not ever writing anything untoward about our children on the internet… so mostly you don’t hear about the wild things that our kids get up too… but today is the day. I am sharing a few of those stories that would leave the folk who ask, “How do you cope?” falling about in horror. Honestly these are the stories that bring out the funny in my everyday… and I am ever so grateful for the blessing that is our hysterical life.
se7en + 1 Family Legends
- When Camping Out is Actually Camping In: I have a child so desperate to go camping… desperate… that last week when we had a rain free afternoon he and his partner in crime… hauled out their sleeping bags, backpacks and a library of books and swore that they would go to sleep as soon as darkness set in. I didn’t mention that, while they days are getting longer it is still pretty dark by 7:30pm… Off they went, let’s just say traveling light was not on the agenda and everything they owned was relocated outdoors… and astonishingly enough they were in bed and after a lot of muttering about the cold and the possibility of snakes, they were asleep by 7:35. Unheard of and honestly I didn’t think they would go the distance. They were clearly on their best behaviour. Of course within ten minutes of them being fast asleep, the rain came torrenting down and the father person had to carry them and half the house back indoors… They were soaked… and quite unimpressed when they woke up in the morning in their own beds.
- When You Just Can Not Flush: I heard a young person battling to flush the toilet the other day and after a series of kerclunck, kerclunk, kerclunks… It sounded like demolition in progress and I decided that privacy would have to give way to authority… as I dashed from the kitchen to help – so a child arrived at the bathroom door with the entire cistern in his arms… lugging it across the house. He was battling to flush and could I give him a hand with the mechanism… I was sure I could. But who did he think was going to put the entire water tank back on the wall?
- When the Roof Fell in: I am a big believer in raising children who are competent and are armed with a series of life-skills… well when one enthusiastic cleaner was asked to sweep the kitchen floor, as one does after every single meal… this enthusiastic sweeper decided to sweep the ceiling as well. Turns out a colony of ants had been eating their way through the skirting board and it was hanging on by a veritable thread… the ants were long gone and so is a rather large patch of the ceiling… Now when it rains it really rains – inside and out!!!
- When you Have to call the Father Person at Work: Sometimes I can resolve a situation on my own and sometimes I have to cry out for reinforcements… One time I had to phone the father person and mention that his kids had managed to um… toss the sliding door on our van into the parking lot. While he was gasping for air I managed to slip in that the front gate was way down the road too. And as he was asking, “Just how… ” I mentioned that his very helpful children were shutting the gate for me, only I hadn’t quite driven through it yet. Needless to say the door on our very unreliable, cranky old van is tied shut and kids all have to clamber over the front seat to get to their seats. And the gate… well the gate will never be the same again!!!
- When the Recently Discovered Toy Snake Wasn’t: When you are away in the country on holiday and your children ask if they can go for a walk in the countryside… and I am thinking, ” I would love to take some of the city out of these children… ” What could go wrong, there are no gangsters, chances of abduction… the wide open space and no-one untoward forever and ever. Off they went with enthusiasm armed with the confidence of their mother’s free reign. When we met up again there was great excitement, they had spent the afternoon, hiking and clambering and stopped for a quick swim in the river on the way home. Later that evening they were writing in their journals and they all drew the most amazing snake you have ever seen… bright and colourful… fantastic in fact. Turns out they thought is was a toy snake and were photographing it when it scurried away into the bushes… they had on video a harlequin snake. I was recently reminded of another epic snake fail… we live in the world of lots of snakes and we often find whole and beautiful snake skins in our garden, where the snakes have moulted and moved on (thankfully). I don’t know if other blogging mothers get gifted with artefacts from life on their keyboard but it is a regular occurrence around here. Recently one of my little naturalists was kind enough to place a snake skin on my keyboard along with a little ambiguity: the snake was still within… and the snake was no longer with us… well it was but not in the living sense. Oh my… heart failure on a keyboard!!! Honestly the things a mother is called to survive!!!
- When a Young Scientist Wondered if Children, Like Cats Always Land on their Feet: An experiment followed… The plan was simple enough, the scientist would get a younger sibling to leap from very high and flimsy tree a number of times… and together they would determine how many times the child would land on their feet. A number of times turned out to be once. And the answer a very simple one: children are not like cats and they never land on their feet. Heads are apparently heavier and land first, a couple of stitches later and hopefully the lesson was learnt.
- When Small People Feed the Fish: I may have blogged this one before, but is so epic and worth a share… in fact so epic that it was instrumental in our moving house… in the olden days when we had just a couple of small children… one of them, who we shall call nameless… was very carefully helping me while I was busy with a babe in arms. Nameless decided to feed our one and only pet – ever. One and only surviving pet actually. We had a pair of goldfish and one of them had died on arrival… and an entire jar of flaky pet food was emptied almost into the tank… Almost, but not quite. Actually all over the ancient carpet and the more ancient lounge suite… carefully sprinkled, delicately smeared into every nook and cranny. Fish food, you may not know this, is impossible to sweep or vacuum. Just looking at it makes it disintegrate and forget about a damp cloth. Oh the smell… the SMELL… was simply unbearable. Soon afterwards we had the opportunity to move house and we were happy to move… and leave the gentle aroma of fish food behind.
- When Small People Are in Charge of the Keys: I know, who on earth would ever let the house keys out of their sight, but it happens from time to time. Anyway, two of our children placed the house keys in a safe place and the one child telling the other that those keys were safe forever… and then they forgot everything they had ever learnt about anything. Searching and searching yielded nothing at all… nothing. Ripping the entire house to pieces, searching in every conceivable place and even in inconceivable places… we looked and looked and looked. Eventually in tearful despair we decided to start dinner and on opening the freezer we discovered the keys.
And the se7en + 1th…
Honestly life with se7en + 1 kids can be quite daunting from time to time, and if I were the father person I would approach home with trepidation each day… the fact is that we are a regular family with a regular mom… Lot’s of things, that our kids get up to leave me wondering if I should run, scream or hide… Often I just don’t know. In those situations I have found it good to take a deep breathe and laugh out loud… because almost all of those apparent catastrophes are the things that end up climbing into family lore… the stories that we share and laugh over again and again… and again.