I have found that trying to take care of the multiple needs of little ones is so much easier now with 7 and 8 year olds on the scene. Mary willingly reads to the preschoolers and presently has her nose out of joint because no one wants to listen. Will loves to push the stroller, freeing up a hand to hold Charlie's. All four of the older ones love to play with the baby, giving me a spare moments to cook, fold some laundry, or blog during the day.
Yesterday however, Tim convinced me to leave the two oldest ones in his office while I took Timmy to his 9mo well baby check. I had skipped the 6mo one so feeling a little guilty I went, knowing it would involve long waits in tiny rooms. Military pediatric appointments average about 2 hours, not including immunizations so I tend not to take the children unless they are babies or really injured.
Charlie, Maggie, Timmy and I were escorted to the weighing room and then back to the waiting area just after we settled down with the assortment of coloring books, sticker books, and crayons that I packed in expectation of the visit. Maggie dumped her baggie of crayons in each place so we and the coreman had to wait patiently for her to scoop them all up again each time. Finally we were put in the examining room where I tried to help Charlie with a Benjamin Bear sticker book since his little fingernails are too short to peel off the stickers. At the same time Timmy started getting fussy in the stroller so I had to nurse him. Maggie was contentedly lying on the floor coloring, but when the doctor came in we discovered that Maggie had scribbled green all over the floor tiles. Charlie started fussing when he didn't understand why I had to stop helping him and then Timmy threw up his milk all over my pants, the chair, and the floor.
Instead of having my usual helping hands to distract the baby, fetch me some paper towels, and peel stickers- I had to do it all myself and was quickly wiped out.
When well-meaning older folks say, "they grow up so fast," my standard reply is "I have been changing nappies every day for over 8 years now, but I don't seem to be getting anywhere." It certainly was true yesterday. I have come to depend on Will and Mary's help and revert back to inept mother status without them.