Our family recently blended and we had our first weekend with all of the kids together. As a mom of only one, I felt pretty cocky about my ability to handle this situation. After all, I was the oldest of four girls and I babysat a lot. I figured that made me more than qualified to share supervision of more than one child for a couple days.
You see, my mom was one of those incredibly brilliant women, who when asked if I could go to the mall, would say “Only if you bring your sisters. In the double stroller. No, I’m not giving you a ride. Enjoy the fresh air!” And she napped and napped and napped and lived happily ever after. DISCLAIMER: This story is only partially true. I don’t know if she really napped. I would have, if I were her.
At any rate, I learned the two most important things when it comes to handling more than one kid.
I saw all these elaborate snack ideas on Pinterest and wondered why moms put so much effort into making sure their kids had a snack on hand. What I learned is (if you teach them manners in advance) TIME SPENT CHEWING IS TIME SPENT NOT TALKING. I wanted to be like Oprah, “You get a snack! And you get a snack! And you get a snack!” In that cluster of moments, the sound of chewing was magical. Pure magical semi-silence enveloped us. Car ride snacks make for quiet car rides. At first I worried the car would get dirty. After five minutes, I no longer cared. A messy car is a quiet car. Plus you can always hang one of those air freshener tree thingies if the food smell bothers you. #Winning
These majestic vehicles are not just pretty to look at (ha!). I knew my adulthood would be an odyssey, I just didn’t know I would spend it IN an Odyssey. My thirties are becoming much more “minivan” than I ever expected. At any rate, what is truly magical about minivans is that there is more than one row of seats. If you take the middle row out, your children are almost out of shouting distance. Almost being the keyword. My boyfriend suggested putting the middle row back in and then we looked at each other like: NOOOOOOOOOO. We said it in perfect unison, almost in slow motion, like we were trying to avert an explosion and we accidentally cut the wrong wires.
So there you have it, the two secrets to surviving more than one kid is a minivan and lots of snacks. Who says I’m not a remarkably brilliant woman like my mom? One day in the future, at least one of them will want to go to the mall. Until then, kids chewing things two rows back allows me to curl up quietly in the passenger seat. And then I can nap and nap and nap and live happily ever after.