Thursday, November 16, 2006

Night of the Septet

First of all, let’s have a big round of applause for Andria who, from what I hear, was the Funniest Mom in Bartlett last night. Secondly, let’s have a big round of applause for me. At 7:30 last night, I was left with six children in a 1200 sq. ft. house. At 7:32 we had one busted lip, and it wasn’t by my hand, which isn’t at all how I expected that to go down. Satchel and JP were on their 21st of what would become 3,185 running laps around our house and ran smack into S while rounding a particularly tight corner. At 7:35, The Admiral showed up to drop the seventh kid, Minnesota, off. She was not at all happy about that, though she recovered nicely after he left. And that’s all I’ve got on the timeline, other than at 11:00, when Kristy returned home to take a freshly awakened GK from my tired arms and allow sweet relief to the L4 and L5 discs. Everything in between is one big cheese-pizza-dripping, Pringles-crumb-infused, Over the Hedge blur, or, nightmare.

The kids weren’t necessarily bad, they were just being kids, though confined kids. Kept separately, they’re fine, like puppies. When you have one puppy to manage, you have to command its attention to get it to do what you want it to – sit, stay, pee outside. It needs to focus on you, the master. But when you get more than one puppy, they get distracted, they nip at each other and chase each others' butts. Kids are just like this. Another example is prisoners. Segregated in their cells, they’re harmless, which is why they only get an hour each day in the yard together.

So these kids ran and played and treated my home like a jungle gym, or a prison yard or a newspaper. Two new rules were quickly declared: no running in the house and only I am allowed to open the refrigerator. These two rules were quickly dismissed by the gang. But what could I do? The animals had become a pack. As I said, Satchel and JP were focused on their ultra-indoor marathon, while S and Minnesota spent the first hour and half viciously fighting over things – toys, space, C, you name it. Jiro touched every DVD in the house and at one point was pulled from the third tier of the metal shelves in the kitchen. C led the boys in all sorts of inappropriate indoor games, games like “tag” and “sprinting around like an idiot and running into furniture and other people.” To my credit, there was only one incidence of a possible missing child. At one point I couldn’t readily find Minnesota, but it turned out she was in the kitchen, playing quietly, which completely threw me off.

As insane as this good deed, this social experiment, of mine seemed at the time – and that time lasted through most of last night – it did afford me the opportunity to learn a bit about these children who my kids will grow with and, quite possibly, bond with as lifelong friends. Here is what I learned:

  • Minnesota goes all in with anything higher than a pair of deuces.
  • Satchel can't hold his liquor.
  • Jiro can take a punch.

The night finally wound down when Warren came by to spring Satchel and Jiro from this minimum security lock-up and, through little-known parenting secrets, I finally got GK to fall asleep without breastfeeding. The remaining kids changed into their pajamas, all the lights were turned out and we watched a DVD, one that Jiro had left nearby.

Sometime during all of this hilarity, I received a text message from Stacey that read “Andria rocked the house” which was good news indeed. But this post isn’t for Andria, my generation's Bea Arthur. And it’s not for me, either. This post is for my grandparents, because they raised seven children of their very own, and to me, just now, that seems like the craziest idea ever.