My new baby turned five weeks last weekend and boy, does time fly or what? I am still getting the hang of surviving a six-kid family which may or may not explain the light blogging. Writing anything coherent is challenging on two three-hour stretches of sleep and the challenge is compounded by single handed typing: by the time the first half of the sentence is written, I cannot remember where the heck I was going with it. My days as a graduate student seem so far away and I can hardly believe I finished writing a whole thesis last summer. Today, I can barely keep on top of emails, to say nothing about birth announcements and thank you cards.
Many people think I’m brave to have such a large family. I think that “brave” is what people say when they don’t want to say “insane” in front of the children. I have been considered “brave” since my fourth child and I would be lying if I didn’t admit to questioning my sanity on a regular basis.
Recently, on a particularly hairy evening when my husband was away, the baby was fussy and the toddler was screaming his head off, I issued a teary “I quit this job!” to the world. The world didn’t accept my resignation and so here I am, as “brave” as ever, trying to juggle a modern life with three times the national average of children.
Over the last five weeks, I have developed a system of priorities deployed whenever the baby gives me a break. As soon as the baby settles down, I go through the list until she wakes up. The list goes a little like this: personal hygiene, prepare supper, tidy kitchen, fitness training and housework. I sometimes switch fitness and housework according to need: yesterday for instance, the bathrooms were so gross that Public Health would have closed the whole place down. As for fitness training, my rebel streak believes that a mother of six shouldn’t have to train to be fit… and so I sit on my extra 30 pounds trying to will it off my midsection. Last week, we were eating in a fancy restaurant and the waiter said: “Six children! And a seventh on the way…” To which my husband replied cheerfully “Oh, this is just leftover from the sixth” and I thought “Guys, a slow and painful death will be too good for you” and ordered the goat cheese crème brûlée to drown my sorrow. The baby sleeps so well in the jogging stroller that colic-avoidance and self-preservation should whip me back into the shape of my life by the summer. In the meantime, a brownie a day keeps the baby blues away.
That’s what I like to believe anyway.