January 11, 2021

Back to the grind, circus style

I started babysitting again January 4th after two weeks off. There were a few things I had yet to accomplish on my 'to do' list before I welcomed back the little people. I told Mini, who is seriously focused on making money for college, she could be my paid assistant so I could try to get something done. My high schoolers didn't have classes until Thursday. She jumped at the chance. I told her I'd do the early morning bit. I mean why expect her to break her streak of sleeping till almost noon every day? She understood that she'd need to be up by at least 8:30 or 9. 

We should've shaken on it. 

Sunday evening she told me that she was going to meet with her group for BPA (business professionals of America) at 11:45 the next day. 

Me:  Um, that'll be tricky SINCE YOU'RE BABYSITTING.

Mini:  Oh, shoot. I forgot. I can't skip this meeting. 

Me:  Eye roll. You better plan to be super helpful before you go then. 

I was fine handling the sitting myself, but the thought of easing back into the routine had helped me mentally prepare. Believe it or not, I occasionally get the teenage:  THIS IS YOUR JOB - when I ask for help, or when Mini is left dealing with babies WHILE watching HGTV. I'm always happy to point out that I'm working in order to fund my kids' college tuition. TRANSLATION:  get up off your duff and give me a hand, minus the grief. 

Anyway, I'm back in the swing of things but I've decided that I must not wear sweaters on certain days. Explanation: 

Remember when my schedule switched from 3 days a week to 5 days a week? This was because I'm a FB flunkie. I'd accidentally friended a mom whose post for a sitter was one that I looked at, but ultimately decided NO, I CAN'T DO THAT. Well, she accepted my friend thing, met me, hired me, and I agreed to shuffle people around to accommodate them. Note:  I was extremely grateful to the other families who were willing to shuffle. 

All of my families need care 3 days a week. The 9 month old twins and the family-I-friended-on-FB-accidentally have a 5 month old, they overlap one day:  Wednesday. 

Due to multiple quarantine situations, the FB fam didn't start until just before  break- instead of the original Nov. 5th start date. Last week was my first ALL-HANDS-ON-DECK Wednesday. It's a day with 2 toddlers and all 3 babies. Thus my ban on sweaters on Wednesdays. Getting up and down off the floor to change diapers, clean up kids and high chair trays, and haul babies upstairs for naps - well, it ends with me swimming in sweat come naptime. (Because I needed someone to KNOW how physically demanding this was, I dipped my hand in my puddle where-most-people-have-cleavage and touched it to Curly's arm . . . she promptly decided to disown me).

This past week, Delilah asked if she and her baby-a-holic 14 year old daughter could stop by. 

Delilah:  Is there a day daughter and I could come visit when you have lots of babies?

Me: (without hesitating) WEDNESDAY.

Delilah texted me Wednesday morning to see if it was still OK for them to stop by.

I texted back, YES, BRING THE REINFORCEMENTS. The below photo was attached. 

One baby is hard to see in the light by the window.
I feel like we could play a 'can you see all 5 babies/tots' game with this photo. 

The babies bring their own food, and when I put the twins' waffles in the toaster Reg and Curly drifted into the kitchen:  WHAT SMELLS SO GOOD? DID YOU MAKE PANCAKES? 

It was the last day of break for them, and despite the circus atmosphere I told them I'D whip up some pancakes. Then I realized I was almost out of Bisquick, so I googled to see if I could just add a bit of flour. Instead, I found directions on how to make more Bisquick. Why not?

The tots are trained to stay in the family room,
so at least I don't trip over them when I decide to whip up breakfast.

Reg fed a baby part of a bottle. Have I mentioned, they'll do anything for food? I got the cakes going, and flipped them on the griddle while I burped the baby. Then I fed her the rest of her bottle while I buttered the pancakes. In here somewhere I changed 2 crap diapers, but that's implied. 

I sent Reg in the basement to hang with toddlers while I rode the bike for 35 minutes while three babies took morning naps. (Breathes on knuckles and brushes them against lapel, as in - yep, I'm a pro). 

Three diaper bags and three carseats add to the kitchen clutter.

When Mini woke, I called over my sweaty shoulder from the bike: "Clean up the kitchen from pancakes before you leave for ANOTHER BPA meeting." *Note to self, review with Mini what it means to ACTUALLY clean up a kitchen vs. putting 3 plates in a dishwasher.* Curly, remote learning, helped out between classes. I showered and was back downstairs 10 minutes later. *This is where my readers nod their heads, OH THIS IS WHY SHE DOESN'T SHARE HER BEAUTY SECRETS WITH US, THEY DON'T EXIST.* 

Then Delilah and daughter came. I'll never turn down extra hands on Wednesdays (that was a subliminal message intended for Delilah, the rest of you can ignore). I lost track of how many diapers I changed. The baby who never spits projectiled all over Curly just after she'd showered. 

Mini, home from her meeting, told Curly:  TOO BAD, THAT WAS A CUTE OUTFIT. Curly looked like she'd been dipped in green slime. She changed clothes in a huff.

In case you wonder why it takes me longer lately to comment on blog posts, now you know. 

One guy hasn't been here since Tank's quarantine. They wanted to be able to spend Christmas with grandparents, so decided to limit any possible exposure. Totally understandable. They've paid me my full rate this entire time. Very generous. He comes back this morning and for the next 2.5 weeks he'll be here 5 days a week, so Wednesdays will have another toddler. We're bracing. He's 2 and prefers to be at home where he ALWAYS gets his way. Pray for me.  


Ally Bean said...

I love your line: "get up off your duff and give me a hand, minus the grief." THAT's one that needs to be made into a plaque. It fits so many situations.

I can only imagine how crazy your Wednesdays are now. Love that you've trained the kids to stay in one room. That's quite a feat. 😉

Ernie said...

Ally - Yes, that is a universally useful phrase.

One of the twins is a fast crawler, and she escapes regularly. We are still working on training her, but she's a little on the young side. I use a 'UH, UH, UH' sound with an angry face. The 18 month old stands by and watches her covert mission with a look of total shock, as in: I WOULDN'T DO THAT IF I WERE YOU. The stay in the family room rule has provided us much laughter. I have a few kids who will NOT leave the room when their folks arrive in the kitchen to pick them up. They have to hold my hand in order to cross the threshold. Who needs an invisible fence?

Nicole said...

Ohhhhhh my goodness that is a LOT of babies! I have no idea how you do it. I’m staring at that photo completely boggled! So many! You only have two hands!

Suz said...

Oh my goodness. YOU ARE A ROCKSTAR!! I can't imagine it all and then adding in that I HAVE to exercise as well. *bows down to you my Mighty Baby Toting & taking care of everything friend* I had issues with trying to shower with two toddlers, so really, I'm impressed that you even do that, much less make homemade pancakes.

Yep, we all know you are not babysitting so you can purchase the latest MAC mascara or lip plumper (it's a thing) so, all hands on deck for College Tuition!!

I don't plan on ever hearing from you on Wednesdays!

Ernie said...

Nicole - Yes, only 2 hands but 3 high chairs and 2 exersaucers and 2 bouncy seats. Aligning nap time to the same time for everyone is the key . . .doesn't always happen. I enjoy extra hands of my e-learners. Between classes and even during somewhat insignificant zooms, they sometimes pitch in. I went to get a twin out of her bed last week. She wasn't there. Imagine my surprise. Tank had her in his room while he was on a zoom. She was sitting there sucking on her pacifier. It was very funny.

Ernie said...

Suz - With the health club closed, I'm doing videos on my favorite teacher's facebook page. I WAS waking up really early, but with Ed home from college still and not leaving for work till 8:45 and the little guys happy to just sit and stare at me while I hop around and sweat I can squeeze in at least part of a workout. I love sleeping until the last possible minute instead of waking up crazy early. One of my 'hey this pandemic ain't so bad' moments.

Yes, you are correct - no MAC makeup here. Lip plumper? I try not to add plump to anything. Well, maybe my hair.

The minute I write that these tots are trained to stay in the family room, the 18 month old wanders OUT OF THE STAY-HERE-ZONE when I ran upstairs to do laundry. This calls for retraining. I had a couple of cancellations today, so it isn't helping that he is the ONLY kid in the family room . . . but guess who is getting A TON done?

Bibliomama said...

SO MANY BABIES. I wish I could come over on Wednesday. I love Reg feeding the baby a bottle so he can get pancakes. And yes, working out in the midst of this is pretty impressive.

Ernie said...

Ali - Ha, I wish you could come over on Wednesdays too. Delilah enjoys a visit for a baby snuggle . . . and the freedom to leave when she wants to. Of course I'm also fabulous company.

Reg has always been the least interested in babies, but this year he's turned a corner. He still looks awkward as all hell holding them, so I limit his up and down the stairs duties. He now knows how to take down a pack 'n play portable crib, because I set it up in the center of his room Mon-Wed and then it can come down till the next week. They have a small room, add mountains of clothes into the equation that never make it into drawers and it gets crowded fast. It would be great if he could learn to set UP the pack 'n play. Carrying babies upstairs and then realizing the bed is not up sucks.

I never would've considered working out in my home while tripping on babies till my health club shut down classes. It only really works if most of them are napping or in high chairs.

Kari said...


Ernie said...

Kari - Yes, babies and pancakes are enjoyable . . . in moderation. Not usually recommended to enjoy both on the same busy-ass morning. ;)

Beth Cotell said...

I feel so lazy. You truly ARE A genius at multi-tasking!!

Ernie said...

Beth - Yes, but my house is up for grabs visually most of the time. Piles everywhere, but I must say I usually know where things are. I might need to check three places first, but I WILL find it.