A couple of weeks ago I received an unexpected phone call from my high school clarinet teacher. Once upon a time I watched her children everyday after school while she taught piano and clarinet. Although that was four years ago, she was in need for an adult babysitter to come spend the night with her kids this week while she went to visit her husband far away on a military assignment. I said yes. . .
Because I'm a masochist.
Had I not been a nursing mom perhaps watching all those children wouldn't have been so difficult.
My clarinet teacher has five children. The oldest was at girls camp, but I was still completely overwhelmed by the other four and Andrea. If I sat my daughter down she instantly burst into tears because she was in a strange and very noisy place, but I struggled wrangling the eighteen month old with only one hand. Those two had to just take turns crying. Paul worked late most days and arrived just thirty minutes before bedtime to provide me with some relief. By then Andrea was hysterical with hunger and exhaustion. Paul would take her from me so I could bathe the other baby and put her in bed. Then I would set him in charge of the other children while I found a private place to nurse.
Nursing wasn't the only challenge. The eighteen month old has had some health problems since birth and is a terrible sleeper. Having one of those myself I anticipated long nights. My clarinet teacher had been giving her baby melatonin, a natural sleep hormone, to help her stay asleep all night. She gave me the instructions on how and when to administer the melatonin, but our first night at the house I was unable to find the bottle. I searched and searched while the two babies screamed and Harry Potter blazed in the background. Unable to locate it she had to go to sleep without. Andrea was put to bed next and I didn't expect a very smooth night from her either. She barely makes it through the night at home in her familiar bed.
Much to my surprise, everyone slept great which I can only attribute to divine intervention and a faulty baby monitor. . . he he. Discovered that the last night there. Poor Andrea.
The reason I've regaled you with this amazing story was to not put you to sleep but to declare to you my intentions to never reproduce EVER AGAIN.
Just kidding. . . though I'd be lying if I denied saying that at least seventy-eight times in the last week.
Paul reminded me that women typically have children one at a time, not four, and can make adjustments at the arrival of each new baby. Still, what I really want to say is this-- to my dear mother, who never had just one baby and in a two year span found herself a mother of three: My hat is off to you. It's harder than it looks.
Overall my clarinet teacher has great kids and as hard as it was juggling the two babies, the other three were saints. For that, I'm so thankful, so I shouldn't complain.
Still, I don't plan on house/babysitting again for a good long while.