The morning starts just past 7am with the four-year-old blasting into my room. “It’s morning!!!” he shouts.

I look over to the baby in my bed, the one I brought in around 3am who finally fell asleep somewhere around 6. He is now flailing his arms and legs, squealing with delight. I put a movie on in my room and hope to stay in a sleep-like state for just a little longer.

The five-year-old bursts in and for about 15 minutes we all snuggle together and watch the movie. (My husband is in the nursery with our baby daughter and I’m hoping they are sleeping through all of this. Because having both of us start the day exhausted is so much worse.)

The cuddle time is short lived. As I nurse the baby boy, the big boys start to do Karate in my bed, which Drives. Me. Crazy. They ignore my warnings to stop, to sit down, to calm down. It’s barely 7:30am and I’m already yelling. I actually see my day spinning down like a tornado. It’s not even 8am and I’ve already lost.

I try to pull out of it. I change the baby. We go downstairs. I make a pot of coffee.
I have to get out of the house today, I think as I start slugging dirty laundry down to the basement. Because with four children, if I don’t keep the machines going every day, I’ll never catch up.

There’s noise from the living room. A lot of it. The tv, and the rambunctious boys, and one of the babies. And the grime. How did my house get so grimy? All I can see is the grime and I just want to get rid of it all, wipe it all away, and the baby is fussing but just one more minute I’ll be right there I’ll be right there I’ll be right there.

Oh fuck it. The bathroom is half clean and the kitchen floor is half swept and my coffee is half cold. I sit down with the baby. I try to redirect the boys. I have to get out of this house today I have to get out of this house today. How cold is it, again? How cold is too cold to take babies out? Where can I go that doesn’t involve spending money and isn’t sensory overload? I have to get out of the house today.

It’s not that I want to escape them. I want them. I want the kind of moments I have with them when it is just me and one of them. Why can’t we have those moments all together? And now the four year old is screaming the most jarring scream, big hot tears streaming down his face because yet again their rough play got too rough. I have to get out of this fucking house.

My husband wakes up and takes over for a bit.

In the shower I think of Newtown. And how those moms would give anything for this day. And that gets me through the next few hours. I clean my bathroom. I put on a skirt and a little makeup and go back downstairs.

My husband suits up the boys and takes them outside. It’s 19 degrees and there’s snow on the ground. I roll the twins’ highchairs over to the big kitchen window so they can see their brothers sledding down the hill in our backyard. The babies eat black beans and toast and cheese and apple sauce, all while watching their brothers with big huge eyes.

I make quesedillas for the boys and keep them warm in the oven so when they come inside, freezing cold, they will have a hot lunch waiting for them. Because I love them and I want them. They are just so loud so loud so loud and if I could only get out of the house.

But it’s freezing cold and finally the grime is starting to fade. After lunch, I get them to help me, the big boys. What is more exciting than spraying Windex? I soak up their remaining pre-school-ish-ness. Still such ernest cleaners they are. I try to enjoy the moment, the temporary respite from arguing and whining, without worrying about the fumes of the toxic chemicals. The babies’ lungs.

Juney dances to ukelele from britta alexander on Vimeo.

A musician friend is staying with us and he plays music constantly, which helps. My baby daughter wiggles her bum every time he picks up my ukelele. My heart melts. My boys thank me for their lunch.

The day goes on much the same. Ups and downs. Moments of calm in between meltdowns, spills, tears, grumpiness, yelling, sweetness, and all the while, little Juney shaking her bum. I catch myself counting the hours until bedtime. Then I think of the Newtown moms.

I get four loads of laundry done. My husband helps me fold. I wash at least 5 sinkfuls of dishes throughout the day. I don’t get to the vacuuming and I never get out of the house. Everyone’s kids are sick. But I do get a nap. And a string of funny texts with a good friend throughout the day.

All along I calculate, What would make this better? And usually I can see what is needed. But weekends, lately, are just so hard.

Is it because it’s 19 degrees out and our options are limited? Should we become one of those families whose kids do activities? Would it be better if we all split up? Would it be better if we all piled in the car together? Where does a family of our size even go???

I don’t get out of the house because the only thing I come up with is to go shopping, but I think going shopping would feel worse. And getting out takes so much effort. Winter. Stuck. Loud. Newtown. Painting. LEGOs. Karate. Music. Books. Babies naps all off schedule. Crying it out. Inside. All of us. Enjoy them now they grow so fast. Newtown.

Next weekend I really will get out of the house.

juney and paul