Thursday, March 18, 2010

When You're A Twin Mom, Every Day Is Operation Overlord

The other day Late Blooming Dad remarked that just getting out of the house with our five-year-old twins, which invariably involves the packing of jackets, spare clothes, sippies, favorite toys, the various and sundry items required for a specific activity (ballet? swimming? gym class? school carnival?), a half-hour of coaxing toward the door, more time spent putting on shoes, taking them off when minds are changed ("I don't want those, I want these!"), putting on the other shoes, the doubling back from the elevator for the forgotten item (or, if you're unlucky, doubling back from whatever point already underway when you have to get the stuffed cheetah without whom SHE WHO MUST BE PACIFIED cannot go anywhere), can make every day seem like Operation Overlord.

For those who are not familiar with Operation Overlord --
-- and don't watch the Hitler Channel as frequently as my father-in-law -- this was the Allies' code name for the invasion to liberate Western Europe in W.W. II.

As you can see from the first paragraph, leaving the house with the kids is really much the same thing as planning for, and executing D-Day... well except no one is shooting at us as we attempt to establish a beachhead. And in W.W.II, we defeated the enemy, as Late Blooming Dad pointed out. Whereas we're currently battling to a draw with the kids.

But much as in Operation Overlord, the logistics are indeed elaborate, the task daunting, and the mental fortitude required is, well, sometimes more than Late Blooming Mom can muster on a weekend morning that began far too early when Thing 1 popped into the bedroom like an eager bunny and burrowed in-between us at the ungodly time of six-thirty-something.

Recently Late Blooming Mom visited an outdoor camping and gear store to purchase a roomy backpack with enough compartments and organizational features to serve a type-A backpacker, only to inform the salesperson that this pack was not likely to see Yosemite any time soon, but was going to be hauled to and from preschool on a regular basis. The criteria the backpack had to meet? Its ability to fit two lunch boxes, two jackets, school arts and crafts projects, favorite stuffed animals (see the aforementioned cheetah, above), snacks and water, and mysterious random substances (e.g., home-made play dough).

I've had a pain on my left side in the lower shoulder area for weeks now. Yet I'm so overtaxed trying to keep track of all my kids' stuff as it gets hauled from place to place, only to be unpacked and repacked again and again, that it's only just occurred to me the pain may be from the backpack. Though it does have reinforced padding and all sorts of clips and buckles I'm not using around the waist and chest that might better distribute the weight of all this crapola.

And this is without books -- remember, my kids are still only in preschool. They have no homework. Next year, you can damn well bet I'll be making them carry their own stuff.

But the weight is just one issue. The more annoying thing is just the fact of the stuff itself, and that I can't go anywhere without it. And the even more annoying thing is that the process of actually leaving the house with my children is, well, such a process.

I did read awhile back that preschools are process-oriented, not goal-oriented. So if my goal is, "We gotta get out of the house so we're not late for the dentist," they aren't thinking about that goal.  Their experience at that moment is more like, "oooh, I've got sand in my shoes. I wonder what will happen if I dump the sand on the floor just as we're supposed to leave. Let's find out."

I am convinced it is a miracle anyone with more than one child gets anywhere remotely on time, because I certainly don't.

The other night, after dropping the kids off at school for a school-sponsored parents-night-out, another mom turned to me and said, "Doesn't it feel weird not to have those appendages attached?" She meant the kids, not their gear. But either way, it felt ... not weird. It felt amazing.

Then again, so did their tired little selves a few hours later when Late Blooming Dad and I tucked them in to bed. Which is where I need to be getting myself right now ... to build up my strength. Tomorrow, it'll be Operation Overlord, all over again.

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