You guys. I was not prepared for the level of chaos a fifth person could unleash on this house. Sure, I was prepared for a third baby. A cute little passive thing that would sit in a swing or on a blanket. Sure, they're demanding and make a lot of noise, and you don't get much sleep at night when you have a newborn, but at least they stay in one place when you put them down. They don't get all King Kong on their brother's block/Lego/Magnatile creations, they don't eat dog food, and they don't crawl out the back door and into the yard while you're taking out the trash.
James has been mobile since this summer when he learned to roll. Then he learned to army crawl, but he still was only interested in looking out the front window and sucking on the remote control. A few months ago came honest-to-goodness crawling. And then he got FAST. In the last few weeks he's taken an interest in the Big Boy Toys and that is when the real trouble began.
Cooking dinner has become an Olympic event--if the decathalon required athletes to perform all ten sports at the same time, that is. Put the water on to boil, get James out of the dog food. Get the meat out of the fridge, take the food processor bowl away from the baby. Spend the next ten minutes trying to find the ground beef, find it sitting on top of the dryer where it was dumped hastily in a spastic rush to keep James from putting the food processor blade in his mouth. Notice the water boiling, open the pasta box, help Charlie fix his Lego house, move James back into the kitchen, attempt to engage his attention with the basket of plastic cups and bowls in the cabinet. Put pasta in water, hear splashing, nearly kill myself tripping over useless overturned baby-entertainment basket as I rush to get James's hands out of the toilet.
Level of inappropriate language the kids have heard in the last two months: HIGH.
Then he gets locked in his booster seat with a handful of Cheerios even though dinner is a good thirty minutes away and I feel guilty for not letting him "free range" like the books tell you you should do. I get the sense that those authors have ONE CHILD. Who is in college. And possibly a prescription anti-anxiety. By the time it's time to eat he is full of Cheerios and DONE with the booster seat. He usually lasts about fifteen minutes then goes to bed.
And where I used to fold a load of laundry or two while the big boys watched a show, I now spend the whole thirty minutes repeatedly getting James off the stairs and reopening the TV cabinet doors he so loves to close. You can imagine how dire the laundry situation has become.
The pinnacle of all this interruption and confusion occurred yesterday. I changed James, then went to shake his diaper out in the bathroom. As I came out of the bathroom I watched in slow motion as he stuck his little hand out the back door just as Wes ran out into the yard. I dropped the diaper and ran to save him from getting pinched. HOURS later, when the babysitter was here and I was about to start making dinner, he crawled around the far side of the kitchen table with something stuck to his hand. I sniffed the something. Uh huh. It was poop. I'd left he poop diaper on the floor all afternoon and he had been playing with it. I forgot to add the onion that time, the soup was a little bland.
If any of you comes to my house between now and June, when James turns 18 months and gets a little bit more sense, I hope you will forgive the mess. But do tell me if there is poop on the floor. That is below even my standards.