Thursday, November 08, 2007

Today's Deja Vu

Back when I had three small children, I used to think, "Someday I'm going to wonder how on earth I survived this." Matt was 4, Amy 2, and Emily 8 weeks old when we moved to an Indian reserve in northern Ontario. We lived in this little cabin with no running water, and it was so cold the ice on the lake behind the house got to be 4 feet thick, and I used to set Emily's little playpen/bed up on kitchen chairs near the wood stove because the floor was so cold, and it took half an hour to bundle everyone up to go out the door. (And we walked 5 miles to school, in the snow, uphill both ways, yada yada)

Well. Fast forward 17 years. My neighbor lady, Verna, has three small children just like I did. Jayce is 4 and full of mischief like Matt, Sholanda is 2 and very smart and articulate (like Amy) and the new baby is a girl named Tymber. ( A good Oregon name.) Today I babysat Jayce and Sholanda for over 4 hours. And I thought, How on earth did I survive back then?

Surprisingly, I didn't think this because of all the activity and scattered toys and such. That wasn't a problem. I thought it because these children talked the. whole. time. It didn't stop. And I thought, this is exactly what mine were like. How did I ever keep all the wires in my head from disconnecting?

Matt, as I recall, asked questions from the time he got up til he fell asleep at night. 118 "why" questions in a single day when he was 3, for example. And one day I had a guest and she said, "How can you answer all those questions without going crazy?" And I said, "Questions?" It turned out that for the last 15 minutes I had had my mouth on automatic pilot, answering his questions, while the rest of my head was thinking about something else.

So, yeah, I know this is what little kids do, and it's good that they're curious and all. But I have a new respect for Verna, and for myself for surviving that stage, and I wonder how I did it.

Quote of the Day:
"OOhh! The dog!
The big dog!
I'm scared of the dog!
Can he come in?
Can he?
Can he get me?"
(No, the door is shut.)
"He can't open the door?
He don't got hands?
He don't got hands?
He can't open the door?
You gots hands.
I got hands.
See? I got hands.
Our baby--my mom's baby--she gots hands too.
Hey, where's your dog?
Where's your dog again?
Why is your dog sitting? Or laying?"
(Because he's tired.)
"Is that why he don't wanna come see us?
What's that noise?"
(The dog barking.)
"What's he barking at?
Maybe if animals come he barks at them!
Then we could build a fire and cook the animals for him!"
--Jayce and Sholanda


  1. Bless you for blessing Verna.
    I wish that you lived a little closer and all so that we could bless you with an experience with our precious four.

    Disconnected wires ? What wires? I have wires? What was your name again ?

  2. I recently told my beloved after keeping our 5 year old grand-daughter for the weekend,

    "I have so much MORE patience with children but much LESS endurance, now that I'm older!"

    I think when we're younger, it's that "survivor mentality" that kicks in and we run on auto-pilot a lot!

  3. You sound much like my mom when my four decend on her house! She gets all befuddled. :) I guess I'm in that "survivor mode" now.

  4. Your blog is such an inspiration to me!This one I'm mothering 3 of my own...5,4, and 1.I dared dream today...of when my life is alittle less demanding and I have time to write, something I love to do. But I love my children and wouldn't trade my occupation for all the world. Thanks for blessing me.
    -Wanda from Iowa

  5. Wife and I were riding in a car about 3 B.C. (before children) with SIL, BIL and nephew (5). After question no. 34 or so, my BIL said, "Son, please count to 10,000....... silently."

    We used it a lot.

  6. I met you at that last B&N booksigning. My son made noise the entire time we were chatting and I didn't even notice it until the end of our conversation - but I think you did! Thanks for the perspective. -Angela

  7. I remember those days with a sort of glazed-over, hazy memory. Too bad I didn't know about the counting silently thing! Pauline

  8. The Talkative Daughter11/10/2007 1:10 PM

    To the anonymous who suggested the number thing, that is so funny! It brought up this distant hazy memory of my Dad telling me to do the exact same thing on one of our Big Long Trips, only I think it was only 1000. I was determined to do it and kept at it for a long time. I always thought he did it cause I was bored or something, it never even occurred to me that he did it because I was talking so much, but now that I think of it that was probably why!

  9. It's good to know that people survive these years. I am in ultra-survival mode right now and only 2 of my 4 know how to talk. My twins already compete for my attention and they are only one, so I can imagine them talking at the same time asking different questions pulling on my skirt, saying Momma, momma, momma. I'm getting dizzy just thinking about it :)

    I'll have to try the counting thing on my 6 yr old.