Sunday, June 17, 2007

Major Multi-tasking

As a mother of many, I've gotten used to multi-tasking. It doesn't look the same as it might in the corporate world, but it is multi-tasking all the same. Recently my ability was challenged as it has never been challenged before. Yes, it happened in the bathroom. For some reason, most of my funniest moments are either in the bathroom or related to something that should take place in a bathroom.

We were visiting my parents when one of my girls called me to, you guessed it, the bathroom. The finicky toilet was acting up and Mom needed to fix it. Recognizing that the toilet wasn't just acting up, but that it was rapidly filling up, I lifted the tank lid to try and stop the water flow. It didn't work! With the water line fast approaching the rim of the toilet bowl, I carefully moved the heavy porcelain lid (with one hand!) and set it aside. Then I grabbed the toilet plunger and went to work on the toilet. Soon, the water was moving the right direction and disaster was averted.

So, you say, where is the multi-tasking in all that? Well, let me tell you. I was not alone as I saved my mother's bathroom from certain destruction (ok, maybe it wasn't that bad). My infant son crawled in just about the time I removed the toilet tank lid. He then crawled up to me and stood up between my legs. It was quite entertaining trying to plunge a toilet with an 8-month old baby alternately reaching for the toilet and pulling on
my jeans!

The trials and triumphs of being three

My youngest daughter is three. She has mastered the art of communication; you know when she likes or doesn't like something. She has mastered the art of motation, no longer walking, or even running to get where she is going. The prefered mode of transportation for my youngest daughter is hopping, like Tigger, every where she goes.

Well, almost every where she goes. Having been born into the 21st Century, she doesn't hop around in the car like those of a previous generation. No. She is buckled into an approved child safety seat. Having reached the whopping weight of 35 #, this little bundle of energy can be buckled into a "booster seat" with a belt-positioning back, so that if we are ever in a crash, all the parts of her that are currently connected will stay connected. It is a good thing. Or at least it is a good thing if you are the mom. If you are the kid, it can be a drag.

Last Sunday, we were on our way to rural Idaho to speak at a church. Though we were on a fairly busy state highway, my husband noticed a deer grazing just off the road. Naturally, he wanted to share this memorable occasion with the rest of the occupants of the vehicle. This was one of the times it was a drag to be in a high-back booster seat. The littlest girl in our car couldn't see past the back of her booster seat; she couldn't see the deer. Then, she demonstrated just how well she'd mastered the art of communication by commencing to bawl, loudly. We quickly got the message she wasn't happy.

Thinking maybe my little girl would be distracted from her plight and laugh, I asked if she would like to have everyone in the car cry with her, to see if maybe then she could see the deer. You and I know that such antics won't make any difference in the past, even the very recent past. My three year old didn't. She somberly nodded her head in response to my question. Being the amazing man that he is, my husband immediately started making appropriate noises. Then he rallied the rest of the car, except for me, to make very loud crying sounds. I wasn't making any sounds, but the tears of laughter streaming down my face were testimony to the fact that I participating as much as possible. As the noise continued, my husband glanced in the rear view mirror and caught a glimpse of his youngest daughter. While the rest of the occupants of the car (babies excluded) cried their best cries, she struggled to peer over the side of her car seat, to see she could glimpse the no-longer-visable-deer.

In the end, my efforts paid off. My little girl was distracted from her plight. We were all greatly entertained, even if it didn't help anyone see anything for us to all cry together for a while. We'll have to wait and see if the family who cries together sticks together, or if we just get sticky.