One of the things you discover about having quite a few kids is that eventually you get one of everything. I don’t mean one redhead, one towhead, and one brunette… I mean that until recently I always marveled that even with five kids, we’d never had a biter. Enter Fiona, who not only bites Frances, the baby, and anyone who gets in her way, but she does so with her beaverish buck teeth, so it’s patently clear who’s been doing the biting even when she’s long gone, hiding under the table or in a closet.
So, now we have a biter. We’ve also have a nail biter, a bed wetter, and a sleep walker. Oh, and someone who’ll do anything for attention, someone who’ll do anything for money, and someone who’ll do anything for sugar (okay, so that’s all the same person.) We have a chronic fibber, a compulsive whiner, and an aggressive overreact-er, or two. Perhaps it’s the change of seasons, but lately it seems like everyone’s something is acting up… and our normally chaotic family of seven feels even more like a circus side show. Luckily, I have some sugar on hand.
Whenever I announce to M that I’m going to cut sugar out of my diet he shrugs and says, ‘Why bother? It’s all that stands between you and a complete nervous breakdown.” True. On long car trips with the kids I sit, curled up in the front seat devouring a bag of gummy whatevers. In fact, they are the first thing I pack for all family vacations – before underwear, Tylenol, and toothbrushes (our teeth can be dirty, but who wants me to be homicidal?).
So, recently, when the boys run out of their room, HOOTING in sheer delight because after seven years they’ve finally managed to break the incredibly expensive bunk bed we bought for them (ten times what we spent on the girls’ IKEA masterpiece), I yelled out for M, made a mad dash for my room, and hid under the covers with my book and a bag of gummy cola bottles. It wasn’t pretty, but those boys are still alive. I have a rather healthy diet, and there are several things I can’t eat for health reasons. I have never smoked, and the red wine I imbibe is a practically a vitamin. So why should I deprive myself the one thing that prevented me from opening my bedroom window and either hurling myself out of it, or chucking the boys out?
Of course I can’t let the kids see me. What the hell kind of role model would I be if I showed them that when the shit hits the fan, the fan holes up with a bag of sugar and snarfs until the world looks right again? So I hide.. and pray they don’t find me. It’s often like a scene out of a horror flick — I can hear a toddler’s heavy breathing, plodding footsteps, and pray I go unnoticed. When I am found, as I invariably am, I mutter something about “mummy’s vitamins,” and quickly distract them.
Still, I seem to be passing on some bad habits. Last week I bribed Francie with some chocolate. No, that’s not the bad part. I didn’t want Fi to see her, so I shoved some of the sweet stuff at her and told her to quickly run and eat the chocolate in the bathroom where she’d be out of sight. And there you have it ladies and gentlemen, the beginning of her career as a secret candy eater… in the bathroom, no less. I suppose I don’t need to worry about what I’ll be wearing to the Mother of the Year banquet after all. Sigh….