The first thing I did when the fabulous Amy of SnarkyMommy came to my house on Tuesday was to insist that we cram all of the carseats into my van. I didn't want to waste a minute of our time together and this way we could ply the kids with They Might Be Giants and bags of Pirate's Booty and enjoy virtually unlimited adult conversation all day long. It was a genius plan, once the two of us dainty little flowers managed to heft the extra seat into the minivan and then rearrange and reinstall a grand total of SIX of the biggest products Britax has ever constructed. WELCOME TO MY HOME MAY I OFFER YOU A HOT GARAGE IN WHICH TO INSTALL YOUR CARSEATS?
But the kids loved it and I loved having the company all day.
Six kids, ages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6, in a van. Serious, delicious, chaos.
Though later we got smart and took turns running outside-the-van errands so that we would not have to do the full-on clown car routine every time we stopped.
When we got to our destination, downtown for the kiddie train, I remembered with a flash of "oh crap" that in all the chaos I had forgotten to put Wes's shoes into the car. No matter, he is almost always barefoot at home, so he didn't complain about walking across the parking lot or the gravel trails and my city is known for it's free thinkers. If a man wearing a bikini and a full-length fur coat on a street corner can be beloved by the population then my three year old can get away with a little barefoot action on the kiddie train. And the playground. And lunch, which even I will admit is pushing it but thankfully at the restaurant the cashier took the offhand remark I made about being sisterwives with Amy seriously and then she just thought I was part of a fringe religious group and not merely a neglectful mother. Amy was too polite to say anything, but I sense that they do things differently in the Big City where she lives.
We had a big time on the train. Wes sat with the ladies.
At lunch when I ordered three kids' meals the cashier said "Aren't there six of them?" and I replied "Oh, yeah, we're sister wives" and gestured at Amy who was ordering for her family. The cashier looked at me very seriously and said "Oh." I tried to backpedal but it was loud in there and I don't think she heard me.
Lunch went as well as it can go with six under six crammed into a booth and then we stuffed everyone back into the car and made a vow to each other that the next time these children saw the light of day would be in my backyard because there was no way in hell they were getting out of that car one more time until we got home. We drove to a spot where Google promised we would find a hipster ice cream sandwich food truck only to learn, after getting the kids all! fired! up! about ice cream ice cream ice cream! that they were closed for some random reason that was posted on their Twitter feed about three minutes prior to our visit. After we all shook off the disappointment we headed to another food truck and ordered cupcakes for everyone (which were eaten in the car) and the afternoon was saved!
On the way home most of the kids fell asleep so we ran Amy by Chick-fil-A to satisfy a lemonade craving and then headed to the grocery store for dinner supplies and wine.
I left Amy in the car with three sleeping and three awake kids and RAN into the store. Like literally ran through the aisles throwing food into the cart--all the ingredients for a kid-friendly chicken fajita dinner, a couple of gallons of milk, and the first bottle of seven dollar wine that caught my eye went in. I was back to the car in fifteen minutes flat. Everyone was awake and SO CHATTY so we headed for home as fast as the party wagon could take us.
At home I shooed everyone into the back yard for sprinkler and baby pool fun while Amy and I sat on a bench in the shade. Absolutely perfect afternoon. The day flew by and then it was time to eat dinner. Eight people around the table! Extra hands to help with the meal! I get it now, it's not harder to have twenty kids like the Duggars, it's EASIER and MORE FUN. I just have to get Ryan on board with that plan. And get some older kids who can actually help around the house instead of spending James's bedtime cracking eggs into the sink (Wes, tonight) or making "potions" out of toothpaste (Charlie, also tonight).
We went our separate ways after dinner, but after the kids were in bed we both sneaked back out again and met two of my friends at a restaurant for drinks. We sat on an outdoor patio and talked late into the night. It was an absolutely fantastic day and Amy is welcome to come back anytime. In fact, just move in next door.