Let me just say that I love my boys, I really do. I couldn’t imagine life without them. That being said, there is no daily activity that raises my blood pressure more than getting the three of them ready and into the car to go someplace, especially if we have to be there by a certain time. This is a process that can not be done in under an hour (20 minutes if it is just getting them from the door into the car). I know that sounds extreme and parent out there are saying, “bull shit, I get my kids ready and out of the house in less time than that!” To those parents I say kudos to you, but I’m not talking about your kids, I’m talking about mine.
The whole process starts with the attempt at getting all three of them dressed in appropriate clothes for the weather and event of the day. I say attempt because it often times ends with a lot of little naked bodies running round the house. On a good day, my oldest son will get himself dressed all by himself, but that is often where the appropriateness of the clothing becomes an issue. My four year old doesn’t understand temperature’s relation to how you dress, or what shorts are versus pants (or short sleeves versus long for that matter). He often comes out dressed for the wrong weather, but insist on wearing that bathing suit bottom and t-shirt on a rare day when you can see your breath, or more commonly, the sweatshirt and fleece pants when it is going to be 102 degrees. As far as appropriateness goes, most things, with the exception on pajamas to school, I let him get away with. Once he’s dressed, it is on to my middle son, who makes getting him dressed into a rodeo event. I have to chase after him and practically lasso him to get him undressed and his diaper changed. If I make the mistake of letting him go before I’ve gotten his clothes for the day on him, we are back to chasing and roping, as he giggles the entire time. The baby isn’t too hard to dress, but it can be a little disheartening. As soon as I’ve changed his diaper, wiggled him into his outfit, and snapped all the snaps, one of two things will happen (or on a really good day, both will happen). He will either proceed to spit up all down his front (and possibly mine) until the shirt or onesie (usually it’s a onesie) will be soaked through, or I will hear a sudden growling as a rumble makes it’s way through his digestive track and deposit all that he’s eaten in the last two hours into his diaper. Awesome, time to do it all over again.
Once everyone is finally dressed, myself included (which occurs between dealing with crying and screaming from three children who choose that moment to need me), we need to brush teeth. Most days my four year old can handle this task with minimal supervision, but not minimal mess. I have to brush my middle son’s teeth, which results in more of the same rodeo-style antics. Then it is on to shoes. For this task I try outsourcing. I tell the boys to hunt down their shoes and put them on while I try to pack up everything we need. I’ve given up on carrying purses or diaper bags and now carry a full size back pack, which is usually stuffed to it’s full capacity. I know some of you are thinking, “well here is your time suck,'” but I assure you, this is not true. Most of the vitals are already packed, so I’m not actually packing the bag everyday (though it feels that way). However, there are certain things I need to add, take out, or replenish before we leave. So I go down the check list: two different sized diapers (or three if we need a night time diaper), wipes, extra clothes in case my four year old has an accident, extra clothes for the boys if we are going to be near water of any kind or might be back late and possibly fall asleep in the car, small toys to entertain in case of melt downs, binkie for the baby, burp cloth, baby blanket, extra outfit for the baby, hats and sunscreen if we’ll be outside, my wallet, my sunglasses, and my phone. Then we need water; we always need water. We live in the desert and when you live in the desert you quickly learn that you don’t go anywhere without water. So I fill up to bottles of ice water and put one on either side of my overstuffed pack back in the drink holders. By the time I get the back pack on, I look like a turtle whose shell is way too big.
Once, the boys have found their shoes and have them on, we are almost ready to leave the house (even if my middle son is wearing his favorite Batman rain boots and both kids have their shoes on the wrong feet). Now I just have to get the baby into his car seat, except his stomach is making that familiar grumble and there is a rumble in his diaper. Awesome, time for another diaper change, it never fails.
Once that’s done, I remind my oldest to use the potty, but he swears he already did when he brushed his teeth. We finally make it out the door. Now I just have to load my back pack and three kids into the car, that simple right? The baby isn’t a problem, I just plop the bucket set in. I dread the day he leaves the bucket seat and becomes part of the next scene. Unfortunately, the two older boys aren’t as easy. There is fighting over seats, crying, and running away with attempts to hide in the far back corner of the van where it is nearly impossible to grab them from the front because of all the car seats, and just as hard to grab them if I open the back because I have not just one, but two different strollers in the trunk area (don’t ask). Eventually I just have to grab a child and force him into the nearest seat, readjusting straps constantly. My oldest will yell that it is too tight and I’m squishing his penis. My middle child, well, he’ll just smell like poop; awesome. So now I’m pulling him out of the car and running in to wrestle with him on the ground while I try to change his diaper. I come back out to a crying baby and screaming four year old who wants to watch a movie. I allow them to watch one, for my own sanity, if we are going any distance. Now I have to rummage through the massive amounts of books, trash, toys, grocery bags, blankets, and nameless other crap on my floor to find the head sets, all the while praying that the batteries in them are still good. Next, there is the fight over the movie and waiting through the FBI warning so I can skip the previews and get the movie all set up and started before we leave the driveway. When I finally get into the driver’s seat, buckle my belt, and put the van into reverse, my oldest yells from the back that he has to pee. So back into park we go, up goes the garage door, out of the five point harness goes my son, and back into the house so he can do something he swears he did only 5 minutes earlier. By the time I get him back into his seat and everyone settled with what they need, the baby is crying because he’s tired and hungry. So I pop a pacifier in his mouth and pray he falls asleep once we start moving, promising to feed him as soon as we finally get where we are going.
Finally, I get us out of the driveway and on the road with only five minutes to spare to get somewhere that is 20 minutes away; awesome! And now you also know why I’m always late everywhere.