I know this sounds ridiculous, but after the adoption of Hope and Isaac and that year and a half of having four children -- we don't recall exactly how the other three ended up in our house.
Every mother has had an hour like this one - sometimes entire days go like this - thankfully we compacted most of the today's drama into one long hour.
I arrived home from an intense counseling session fairly exhausted ... mental toast. I wanted to go lie down and rest but I began to try to connect with the kids. I plopped down in the middle of them.
Paige and I chatted about the counseling while Lydia pushed and fought and tried to climb back inside the womb. Isaac told detailed stories about video games, Noah fretted about what was to come later in the day and Hope quietly listened. Phoebe had come with us to counseling so she had her needs met with full parental attention on the long car ride and the errand stops. She sat quietly listening too.
Troy had gone to help Chris tow his broken down truck to the mechanic.
Lydia began to play with my hair. Playing with my hair means in 14 seconds she is pulling my hair out from the root. I ask nicely, "gentle Lydie" - no change in approach. I ask nicely again "please be gentle" -- YANK, sharp pain from the hardest pull yet. I say "Lydia you are hurting me. Please Stop!" She screams bloody murder. Mad. This child hates being told anything other than "yes".
I send Isaac and Hope and Noah out to jump on the trampoline. I try to get Lydia to calm down. I wonder aloud what you do with a two year old that literally will not receive correction without getting angry and screaming? Paige and I chat a bit and try to get inside of Lydia's head. What causes her tantrums and anger?
I think it seems possible that God meant to send Lydia as an only child - but the day He made her He got really busy and sort of lost track of where He was in assigning personalities types, it seems likely He was in the middle of some sort of world crisis - and that caused a bit of a mix up. Some other family accidentally got a really docile, sweet, compliant child as their only kid. The rest is history.
I settle Lydia down and cuddle with Phoebe for a minute. Paige gets ready for tutoring.
Screaming comes from the trampoline. "What is wrong?", my heart races thinking someone has been hurt badly. Noah says, "I am angry. They are teasing me. Hope is squeezing my shoulder." We talk it out. We discuss that Hope does not have the authority to discipline Noah when she feels he is out of order. We talk about how much Noah wants to be like Isaac and that it is flattering to have someone look up to you like that. We ask that older brothers and sisters allow the younger brother some extra grace today, he is nervous about school. We calm down.
Screaming comes from the house. Lydia has bitten Phoebe. I say to no one in particular, "You're kidding me right now, aren't you?" I break that up and scold one who is instantly enraged for being scolded and I kiss the other and tell her I am sorry. I change both of their diapers.
I hear crying in the kitchen. Noah is going to a preschool program in ten minutes for the first time ever. We have been working toward this day for a year. He says he never ever wants to leave us. He says school is hard. He says the teachers will be mean. I ask him why he thinks that? He says Isaac told him there was a mean teacher. I assure him that the teachers will be so awesome and he will love it. He weeps quietly. I pray with him. I cry too.
Troy gets to the house to pick up the kids that need to go to tutoring/preschool and off they go.
I start dishes and laundry and think about how complex these kids are and how each one of the seven is so so so different from the other. I wonder if God had a lapse in judgment when he assigned this crew to us. I think about that Mother Teresa quote, "I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that He didn't trust me so much." I mirror her feelings.
I ask Lydie if she wants to take a bath. Her hair has some sort of lotion product in it and it appears that you could use her head to grease a cake pan if you want to. I run the water. She strips down and heads to play in the tub. I quickly try to finish the dishes.
Phoebe comes to tell me she pooped. Poop would have been nice. What she produced was pure liquid, up the back and down the legs. I clean her up and wash her with wipes but she smells rank so I suggest she join Lydia. She happily hops in the tub with her little sister. I go to throw the nasty clothing in the with the load I had just started. I come right back to the bathtub to find Lydia dumping a cup of water on her head. The same water that Phoebe had apparently had her second liquid poop blow-out in. Pouring. it. on. her. head. I screech and scare both girls. I say "get out get out get out". We go to the other bathtub to have a new bath.
Troy comes back. Troy sees - the dishes are done, the laundry is started, the girls are both bathed and in clean clothes. He believes I have had a very wonderful and productive hour. He thinks "Wow, my wife rocks." (I don't actually know if he thought that.)
As soon as he reads this he will know it was not really like that. :)
~~~~~~~If you read this blog to read about Haiti. You just got punked. Check back tomorrow.