Saturday, July 18

What's 20 Minutes?

The boys love to be read to every afternoon. They prefer it to watching movies or cartoons so that's saying something! Easton is getting the hang of reading which is a lot of fun. It's such a cozy feeling to have my lil guys by my side, hanging on my every word. I love how the corners of their mouths turn up in a grin when I dramatize the story. My only problem is that sitting to read to them puts me to sleep without fail! Yesterday, we had to be at their German kindergarten for a family BBQ at 4pm so at 2:30 I figured I could catch a mini-snooze.

I set my trusty timer for 20 minutes to catch a power nap. I'd used the day to bake and clean, but just needed to put the finishing touches on my basket of goods. But 20 minutes could be spared I figured and I'd be the better for it. All was well in my little plan until a friend called to chat while her new baby finally took a nap unattached to mom. I love this new friend. She thinks I'm funny and I LOVE her sense of humor! We like to swap our stellar mothering moments and such instances of sharing our trenches buoy me up every time! I need a good laugh daily and a chance to put this season of life in perspective.

My favorite story of hers thus far is when we were relating recent tantrum stories. Her four year old was hollering at her for something and descending into a full-on tantrum. At her wits end and standing against the dining table, she forcefully hollered back, "We [pounds fist on the table] Do Not [pound] Throw [pound] Tantrums [pound]!" Lesson learned by toddler? He who hollers loudest wins the tantrum war. Yup, she's my kind of gal! But we keep trying.

I was relating the previous day's mishaps to her. I had taken the kids to the Sindelfingen pool all by myself. I think I've mentioned this fact before - Germans do pools really well!!! But, WHAT was I thinking taking all three kids by myself on what looked like the busiest day? I swear the entire country must have descended on the pool on what I'm finding to be the few sunny, hot days of summer. I really should have had reinforcements! The little pool at home in Leesburg suited us well and would have been enough of an adventure for me. This was a kiddie pool on crack! The kids had a great time, but I felt a bit anxious trying to keep my eye on all three in a crowded multi-level kiddie pool. If I hadn't been going slightly insane or had an extra four arms, I would have taken out my camera to snap some shots.

Easton swam in the deeper kiddie pool with a new buddy who lended him an inflatable tummy tube. McKay wanted to be with Easton but the water was chest high for him in there so he wandered to the lower kiddie pool. He tried to be patient for his turn on the slide until he couldn't stand it anymore and pushed his way to the top of those other pansy, wannabe sliders. I really should google how to say "I'm sooo sorry!" and "Excuse Me" in German! Morgan had a great time at my feet as she squealed with glee splashing in the water and attempting to drink the pool. I tried to carry on a conversation with two moms from church that I'd really like to get to know, but . . . I was trying to also be a vigilant mom and the two often don't coincide. My friend on the phone lamented with me. Good friends do that well.

I didn't get a chance to tell her about going from the pool to Easton's first Tai Kwon Do class and wrangling hungry, tired Morgan and McKay. I hated to cut our conversation short as we were having such a good time, but I had to go finish my BBQ prep.

Remember the disaster that ensued the last time I tried to go to a kindergarten event? Tried, being the operative word because I didn't make it there. I'd been warily watching the dark clouds all day hoping the rain would at least wait until my crew had dryly arrived at the school. We started our trek with the stroller loaded down with a pasta salad, chocolate chip cookies, our mess kit and other baby-toddler survival kit necessities. Not 50 feet from our door, I'm watching, cheering, and fearing as McKay takes off in a sprint to show us how fast he can run. His arms are pumping back and forth and just as he's admiring his own body's wonderful mechanics - SMACK! He trips and falls hard on the sidewalk! With a small breeze kicking up as a fresh wave of rain is about to descend upon me and my three un-rain clad munchkins, I scoop up McKay and run . . . while pushing the stroller and trying to make it sound like a fun game to Easton.

We arrived 20 minutes late for the kindergarten BBQ. 20 minutes. And apparently there was a little program we interrupted in all our arriving glory. I swear my German neighbors think I'm the most incompetent mother on the planet! So much is lost in translation!

Attending a kindergarten BBQ by one's self with three kids under age six is unadvisable. Arriving late is also unadvisable. Easton joined in the program while I sat on the now muddy floor with Morgan who desperately wanted to get down and crawl among all the active, singing legs and McKay who was still nursing his wounds and sucking every ounce of motherly patience and love from this disheveled, now profusely sweating mom. WHY DON'T they have air-conditioning in this country?!

After the program, everyone headed outside to put their meats on the grill, let the kids play on the playground and hover over the kids roasting bread on sticks over smoldering wood coals. They called that delicious bread "schtuck-bough" and many stopped to try and explain it to me in their broken English. They are really nice and really must have thought I was crazy to come by myself. My German friend and her kids that I know were gone for the weekend to visit her mom, so this time I was really on my own. One of the teachers helped the boys with their bread and I weathered the rain as best I could under the big canopy umbrella covering the BBQ area.

Once inside, another teacher took Morgan so I could get the food plates ready. McKay kept descending into fits of tears or ear-piercing screams if he didn't get what he wanted when he wanted it OR it seemed if someone even dared look at him, let alone play with him. Yup, that was fun! I tried chatting with one of the other mothers in between but eventually hit that wall of exasperation due to managing McKay's fits and Morgan's desire to be underfoot eating who knows what on a muddy floor in her cute strawberry dress. Oh let's not forget that I was sitting at one end of a long bench and when the final other person on the other end got up, it was like Morgan I were on the heavy end of a see saw! Up went the other end and we just about ended up on the floor! All eyes on me and my now filthy baby and tearful three year old. Where's my cave when I need it?

Needless to say, it was soon time to go home. I kept hoping Ryan would pick up on my exasperated telepathy and come to our rescue in the van. Work days are long for him and I know this event was the last thing he wanted to do after a tiring week at work. With the rain coming down in buckets, I gathered my brood having McKay hold Morgan in the stroller and we ran for home. McKay LOVED this fast ride and I know I will forever be begged to duplicate it. I don't know that I will brave another one of these outings by myself again with this sort of track record. Or at least until my memory fails me and, like childbirth, it sounds like a good idea again.