laughter is the best medicine

Tonight was a camping gathering of old college athletes/friends for my husband back home.  (Ironically he went to college in downtown Milwaukee, but the cross-country team gets together every year at a state park in Husband and I’s hometown.)  He mentioned it in passing a few nights ago and I said he should go and have a few drinks with his friends since he rarely gets to see them anymore.

Tonight after dinner he mentioned that it was supposed to be tonight.  I totally forgot.  I’m not sure if he was moaning and groaning in despair to guilt me, or if he genuinely forgot too.  Either way I felt really bad that he didn’t end up going.  He never mentions things like this unless he’s bummed that it didn’t happen.  If he really doesn’t care, he doesn’t mention it.

I immediately started cleaning up my place and told him he should leave right now so he can still make the bonfires and hang out in the evening.  “Just go.  I’m fine here, I’ll take care of the kids.  You go have fun with your friends for once.”

He looked into the air with that ‘internal debate’ look for about two seconds then said “I’ll go call B and get the down low on what’s going on right now.”  *Wow… that took almost no prodding.  Obviously he wanted to go.*  Within five minutes he was changed and heading out the door while on the phone.  He seemed really happy to be getting out of the house.  I was really happy he had the chance to go play without the family for once.

The second he went out the door though it dawned on me that he would probably be gone until well past the kid’s bedtime.  I had a LOT of stuff to do in the next hour and a half.  This week we began daily story times with the girls before bedtime too and changed their bedtime to 30 minutes before Buddy so we could get them all down at the right times.  Usually with the both of us bedtime takes about an hour.  *Aww, damn it.*

I went to the high chair and cleaned the completely ketchup covered Buddy off with a rag while thinking I preferred the soap from lunchtime.  (Buddy found a bottle of body wash and got it open and completely doused himself and half of the kitchen floor with it.  I only noticed because he slipped and fell on the now-incredibly-slippery linoleum floor.)  *sigh*

I moved on to the final cleaning sweep through the house.  I searched for missing flip-flops under couches and behind chairs and unclogged toys from places that should never have been introduced to toys in the first place.  (Namely, the toilet…)  *groan*

I grabbed a rag and started scrubbing the spit up out of the living room carpet.  Husband had put one of the girls down on the carpet rather than a blanket (aka spit-up catcher).  *grooooan*

I played some ‘how long can you be quiet?’ games with buddy so I could try to get a little tv time in.  He ended the quiet games after about seven seconds with shrill screams of delight.  In his defense he did make it seven whole seconds.  *siiiiiiiiigh*

I made both of the girl’s overnight formula bottles with rice cereal and grabbed the first little monster up.  I say little monster because the last few days have been horrendous during meal times.  They used to eat approx every three hours.  Now they refuse to eat for like six hours but continue to cry, then scream, then explode with anger in the meantime.  When they do finally take the bottle, they’ll stop every few minutes for a random cry.  tears and all.

This is what I was worried about with husband being gone.  After fighting this fight all day long by myself, I usually look forward to passing a feeding off on husband when he gets home.  I got lucky though.  Both of them attacked their bottles and downed them all in one attempt.  *YES!!*

I changed their diapers and got them in their jammies.  I grabbed ‘Goodnight Moon’ and settled into the recliner in the girls room.  I closed their door to a crack and had the bedside lamp on.  there were nice quiet sounds outside and it was such a nice relaxing atmosphere for story time.


Buddy came smashing through the door in all of his glory, scaring the crap out of the girls and making them both break into terrified tears.  Bright lights from the rest of the house are flooding down the hall into the bedroom and the tv is now blaring, no doubt by the hands of Buddy.  I can’t jump up and scold him showing him what he did wrong and close the door because I’ve got two babies on my lap.  So I revert to verbal scolding from the chair.  “Buddy NO!  That’s naughty, you don’t play with the tv!!!  You don’t slam doors!!  You scared your sisters!!  You have to be gentle!!”

Buddy’s bottom lip started quivering.  Apparently he thought he was doing good.  He only cries like this when he is caught off guard and is scolded when he thinks he’s helping.  I notice the girl’s blankets in his hands.  *Oh, he was bringing their blankets.  Nice job Mom, you asshole…*  *sigh*

He starts breathing harder and looks at me as his eyes slowly fill up with tears.  He looks between each of his sisters and me and doesn’t know what to do.  His confusion towards the situation frustrates him more and he starts huffing harder.  He is genuinely trying not to cry, but he is really upset at this point.  He takes a deep breath and opens his mouth, lip quivering uncontrollably, and no sound comes out.  *uh oh..*  This is the silent cry.  He needs consoling.  STAT.

I readjust the girls to either side of the chair and kneel down on the ground in front of Buddy and open my arms.  “Come here sweetheart.  Mommy wasn’t yelling at you for helping.  Mommy just needs some quiet, ok?  Mommy didn’t see the blankets.  You’re a very veeeery good boy for helping your sisters.  Mommy loves you so so so so so so much.  …Come give Mommy a hug.”  He finds his breath and lets out an agonizing wail and hurls himself into my arms.  After a few minutes he’s got his breath back and he’s silently snuggled in my arms.  Clearly he’s not going anywhere so I decide he can join in on story time.  I collect his favorite stuffed animal and blanket and heave him up in my arms.

I closed the door, got back into the chair and snuggled all three kids into my lap.  I’m exhausted and frustrated at my complete lack of free time tonight.  I just want to get this done.

I grabbed ‘Goodnight Moon’ and open it up to the first page.

“In the great green room there was a telephone, and a red balloon and a picture of…”

They were all immediately silent and drawn in.

“The cow jumping over the moon.  And there were three little bears sitting on chairs…”

Buddy grabs the page and turns it for me.

“and two little kittens and a pair of mittens.  and a little toy house and a young mouse…”

Buddy points to the toy house and lets out a big “YEA!”  Peanut squeals and throws her arms around.
This goes on for a few more pages.

“and a quiet old lady whispering “husssssshhhhhhhhhh””

Buddy busts out laughing at my exaggerated ‘hush’ and both girls squeal and wiggle in excitement.  Buddy notices Peanut throwing her arms and he starts laughing and throws his arms around too.  Soon the girls and Buddy are all three laughing together.  Hard.  The girls are thoroughly entertained by him, and he’s loving being in the spotlight.

I had never heard all three of them laughing at once before.  It was SO awesome.  I was just soaking in the moment.  I felt the full weight of all three of my kids on my lap at once, squealing and wiggling and laughing with one another.  What an absolutely beautiful sound.  What an absolutely beautiful feeling.  My kids were finally acting like siblings.  Brother and sisters.  Laughing together.

When I finally stopped laughing myself and got through the story I told Buddy to give his sisters a kiss goodnight, which he obligingly did.  He helped me carry each of his little sisters to their crib. (He held a hand on each as I carried them over)  I picked him up and he covered each of them with their blanket.  Then we waved goodnight and left them to sleep.

I wish that husband was home for this, but on the bright side I know there’s many years of laughter and joy to come.  I will have plenty of opportunities to just sit back with husband and watch our kids in the company of each other.  Never in a million years would I have guessed just how amazing it is to hear my kids laughing together.  *sigh*

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