The New Norm

Last night we took Jack out to dinner to celebrate his report card. He received 7 As, 2 Bs, and 1 C. We had to wait the puke fest out, but besides the fact that Sam was still a bit cranky, we finally felt like everyone could handle it.

Jack chose sushi. We like to go to Shine Restaurant. Once you start dining regularly with 6 people, you always get the same seat in a restaurant. The one reserved for large parties. At Shine, that is right next to the sushi bar. It’s perfect! The kids can watch them make sushi while we wait.

We got our food and before Ben had really eaten anything he started crying and running away from the table. Adam jumped up and caught him. He picked him up close to the hostesses stand. As he did, Ben threw up everywhere.

Adam quickly brought him to the bathroom to clean up. A fellow woman diner came running over and asked if I saw what happened.

“Yes.” I said calmly. Then I stuffed another piece of sushi in my mouth.

“Well, do you want to go help him?” She looked at me, incredulous.

I took a sip of my drink. “I have three other kids sitting here. What do you suggest I do with them?”

Then she sort of stared at me, paused, then said without conviction, “Is there anything I can do to help?”

I think she realized at that point that I was not going to leave my kids with a stranger, and bringing them into the bathroom while Adam was helping Ben would only exasperate the situation. At least I hope that’s what she thought.

I, on the other hand, was thinking I’d better finish this nice bottle of sake my husband bought me before I was rushed out of there.

After the week I’ve had, seeing one of my kids puke can no longer put me in a state of panic. It almost seems normal.

You are probably thinking that I am desensitized to my kids pain. In fact it’s the opposite. I spend every waking moment thinking about what it’s like to be in their little shoes. How to help them when they can’t help themselves, how to to teach them, comfort them, keep them happy, and healthy.

I spend so much time in other peoples shoes that I can’t watch anything on TV normally anymore. While watching the USC Stanford game with Adam last night, Adam was complaining that one of the players missed a pass. I answered something about how difficult it looked and how he was probably trying his hardest. I can’t watch anything violent on TV because I’m too empathetic.

So it’s not that I didn’t feel bad for Ben or want to help, it’s that with so many kids around, Ben  is only 1/4 of the people I need to think about right now. And the other 3/4s were eating nicely.

You see, having all these kids has given us a new norm. You can’t just walk around thinking about yourself, even for one second. Even if you stay at home, in your jammies all day, you are still spending every moment trying to do chores and cook dinner while tending to the kids at the same time. Calling it multi-tasking would be a trivialization.

Doing the Laundry. (One handed and no Legged.)

Doing the Laundry. (One handed and no Legged.)

How you run errands with 4 kids. (Push with one hand, pull with the other.)

How you run errands with 4 kids. (Push with one hand, pull with the other. And bribe with donuts.)

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