Almost a Shower a Day

In addition to an update for you since the post about all of our changes, I'll also clarify that I am totally serious when writing these. Meaning, truthful. You may be laughing, but this is my life. Yes, I really thought I was dying on our 2nd day in Ethiopia. The only reason I didn't strip my clothes off was that I saw the remainder of my life flash before my eyes, and it included my presumably dead body...naked...being carried out of our guest home. Plus, I couldn't move my limbs, so add impossibility to embarrassment.

Yes, I really wear protection when I do laundry. I have always done other household cleaning with gloves...an item I travel with in case I encounter even a soiled dish...but the contents of Ivan's laundry basket now necessitate the use of them during this duty. On more than one occasion I have found a very used, very old, very stinky pull-up near the bottom of his basket. Surprise! Disgusting. On the upside, for now the laundry flows just a few feet down the hallway but stops before entering my room. Yay! Kids are still helping with their laundry, and I'm about to add the sorting step to their end of the chore. Soon Ivan will be the one to find and dispose of the urine-soaked wad.

My belt is still residing in the van, although I have only had to use it once in the last two weeks to restrain a child. But, I have pulled it out several times as motivation to buckle up more quickly. It still hasn't been used to it's full capacity yet, i.e. for spankings. And as you might know, I never will.

I purchased 2 packs of boys' undies, and Ivan hasn't sported Dora since. Once he started wearing boys' undies consistently, he noticed the little slits in the front and informed me that his were "broken." I'm not sure I can explain to him why those holes are there though. Uh, a little help, please. Anyone?

In addition to the "chart" system, we've incorporated 3 marble jars as well. Now I find the kids sharing with a sibling at the first request, not even a request from me but from the empty-handed sibling. Opportunities to gain or lose a marble are endless. Marbles can be exchanged for treats like ice cream after dinner or special privileges like a movie and popcorn. This may not be the best parenting approach, but it works for now with our limited communication and experience.

Naptimes are bearable. The only requirement, or my goal for now, is that everyone stay in a room alone and in a bed for the most part. Right now, it's only one child I'm battling consistently. Unfortunately, he is the one who actually needs the nap. I typically smother him to capture the flailing limbs. He likes it though and buries himself into me. I just smoosh him, making sure he has a breathing hole, and wait for the signs he's fallen asleep: flinching and barely audible whimpering. One day last week it took an hour. I know this is a huge "sleep crutch," but I don't care. It's either this or walk him back to his bed every few minutes...after he's come to find me to point out some random fact or after I've found him dawdling in the hallway or bathroom. Plus, when I pick him up at any point during this rest period, he squeezes me so tightly with his arms and legs I can barely breath. What horrible mom would say no to that?

As disgusting it may sound, I really would go several days without showering, unless a dip in the pool counts. Some days there just wasn't a point in showering. And, although my dental hygiene is more important to me than my physical hygiene, often there was no way for me to get to a toothbrush until naptime, and at that point I was nearly brain dead, so who cares about clean teeth then. I couldn't let the kids out of my sight, so my options were drag all of them up to my bathroom and somehow keep them out of harm's way while I selfishly brushed my teeth or simply forgo this small, and often unnecessary, piece of my routine. Recent improvements in my hygiene: I purchased my own toothbrush and paste to keep downstairs, which means I just fall right in with the kids in their morning routine. My teeth get brushed at least twice each day. Wait! It gets better! I have been getting 5-6 showers per week! Woo hoo! That is all thanks to my gym membership with childcare, plus a new giant fantastic bag on wheels. Just ask Keith about it. He'll tell you all of it's many features.

So the black vertical bag on the bottom is my new gym bag, the reason I'm taking showers again. The yellow one on top of it is what I tote the rest of my life around in. And, that medium-sized orange rectangle is my wallet, which conveniently straps across my body so that my hands are free to keep my children from being run over when walking to and from the vehicle.

I'll take this time here at the end to post some photos from this summer. I have many more and hope to get to them soon.

Awesome Dad! Throwing Garris while Ivan is on his shoulders.

Avery striking a super cool pose at the pool.

Garris showing off that he can write his name.

Ivan loves adorning himself in stickers as much as Avery does. Um, he is practicing the skill of tracing...and below, circles.

Seriously, how did I get such a goofy daughter? And, her brothers are only exacerbating it! I have no clue why she's showing off her enormous biceps here. But, so cute!

Obviously, good at writing numbers...almost all of them.

A rare moment of cooperation. Pure bliss!


  1. Laughter, the best medicine. Thanks! Great job you two!