Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Barely controlled chaos

After last week's panicky moments about working while having Hester with me, I'm trying to take over more of Hester's care during the day. Petunia won't let me do too much--after all, this is her maternity leave and her precious QT with her baby!--but I'm trying to have Hester with the other kids and me as much as possible. It's going pretty well, too. Witness the following scene from my kitchen this morning:

Today at 11:25am, the 3 big kids (ages 3.5 years, 2 years, and 10 months) were playing Legos at the kitchen table while I held Hester and stood beside them. Petunia was upstairs working on the computer. Hester started acting hungry, so I warmed a bottle for her and thought, "Perfect! If I feed her now, I can concentrate on the other kids' lunch at noon!" I had a parent coming to drop off another 2-year old just before noon, so I figured that if I timed it right, Hester could be full and resting while I prepared lunch for the 4 big kids and welcomed my late arrival. Best laid plans, right?

The minute I got Hester feeding, I smelled the unmistakable smell of a big ol' poopy diaper--it was my 10-month old, a kid who's prone to diaper leaks. He wasn't fussing, but I could tell from experience that he needed a change right away. But here's the thing: Hester isn't the kind of kid you can put down in the middle of a feeding. So I prioritized, telling Mr. Pea I'd change him as soon as I finished feeding Hester. But the very minute Hester finished eating, she hosed down half the kitchen with regurgitated soy formula. She got herself, me, the front carrier (like a Baby Bjorn), and the floor, which Clara immediately started to lick.


So I gave in and called Petunia to come help. When she arrived a second later, I put Clara in the other room, handed Hester to Petunia (at which point more barf splatted on the floor), cleaned up the floor, put a pile of spit-uppy clothes and the front carrier by the washer, and got Mr. Pea's diaper ready. The 2 oldest kids provided colorful and LOUD commentary during all of this, like, "Mr. Pea's diaper stinks! EEEEWWWW! Baby Hester threw up ALL OVER YOU! EEEWWW, Clara's trying to lick it up! Sometimes babies throw up. Why did baby Hester throw up on you? It's GROSS! Is she sick? Is she sad? Why are you cleaning the floor, because it has THROW UP ON IT?" It was barely controlled chaos. And of course, at that very moment my late arrival and her mom walked into the kitchen. GOOD TIMES, friends!

But seriously, I kept my head. I welcomed my late arrival, then told her mom that Hester'd just spit up all over the kitchen and that I was about to change Mr. Pea (lest she think I was neglecting my diaper duties). Petunia took Hester upstairs for a change of clothes, and I asked the big kids to clean up the Legos, which they did. I changed Mr. Pea's diaper--no leaks, thankfully!--then got everyone's hands washed and lunch dished out to the 4 big kids. Lunch was on the table just after 12pm, so I think I did pretty damned well.

And I'm still doing well. I had a quick lunch with Petunia, fed Hester again (no puking this time), and started my daily notes. I'm feeling a little more confident about working with Hester Willa. The trick will be keeping my head and not freaking out about timing. And if I'm still wearing a spit-up-soaked shirt some 3 hours later, well then I'm just doing my job, right?

I know. I'm going to change it now.

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Anonymous Jenny PP said...

I love this story, especially the kids commentary with all the punctuating "EWWWW"s.

Good job not freaking out! Not freaking out is the key.

3:49 PM  
Blogger Abigail said...

What a story! When it rains it pours, it seems. I can sense the moment of calm brilliance in how the next hour will work out perfectly with your plan, and then certain "eewwwwyy" forces outside your control took over ;)

That really does sound like a lot! Glad it's feeling less panicky, even in the chaos.

5:20 PM  
Blogger Canada said...

Damn but you rock, girl!!!! Spit up and stinky diaper might have led to major gagging for me. You are truly superwoman!!!

10:13 PM  
Blogger frog said...

It sounds like you're handling it beautifully. :)

9:11 AM  

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