Wednesday, May 4, 2011

katy and me....and our crazy brood

Let me introduce you to one of my best friends in the whole world. Katy. Now Katy and I have been through it all together: planning a gorgeous wedding that ended up being legally invalid (opps!), crazy random health issues, panic attacks, infertility, a brain tumor, IVF, pregnancies, emergency and planned c-sections, a baby in NICU, we’ve sat by each other’s hospital beds - crying as the other was in so much pain, parenting our girls together, adoption, losing a child, selling houses, buying houses, spider bites, meningitis, moving away, moving back, our families even lived together for two weeks while we waited to close on our house. Let’s just say – she’s been there for me, and I’ve been there for her. We’ve been one of the first to know the other was pregnant and one of the first to hold the baby after their births. It’s like our kids all have a built-in second mom. It’s easy and comfortable and always fun. We laugh and we cry together, we’ve shared so much life, and that is irreplaceable.
Between us, Katy and I have 4 little girls, ages 2 ½, 3 ½, 5, and 7. Being with the 6 of us is a true lesson in multitasking and an hourly practice in not losing your mind. Katy and I have our conversations in two or three words increments, punctuated by, “Robyn, do not spit anymore.” ….three words of conversation….”Savannah, stop kicking Finley.”….one more word….”girls, no gymnastics in the car!” You get the idea.
Since it is so much raucous fun – I thought I’d bring you along on one of our little outings. We decided to take the girls to the Surfside Chick-fil-a Cow/Egg Drop! It was almost more fun than we could handle…….

05:35:23 pm – Miraculously we are almost on time! This may be a new world record for us, we are never this close to the time an event actually starts. As we circle the parking lot I realize they haven’t even inflated the inflatables yet! Amazing. As we pat ourselves on the back we park, and of course the first order of business is to record this moment for posterity. After 5 tries, there is not one photo of all 4 girls looking at the camera at the same time. C’est la vie!

05:37:49 pm – We give up and begin herding our 4 hyper little girls (My two, Robyn and Finley; and Katy’s two, Kylie and the always precocious, Savannah) down the middle of the road ahead of us. Pink hair bows twirling in the wind, pretty dresses billowing around their itty bitty legs, pink and purple Easter baskets swinging from tiny wrists. Savannah, with her basket upside down, beating it like a drum. We can hear the loud music, see the pink and purple inflatable castle in the distance, we are full of skipping and giggles, excitement oozing out our pores.

05:38:15 pm – Cue the Jaws theme song as out of the corner of my eye I spot the Chick-fil-a cow, live, in-person, 7 feet tall, all black and white, with a blood red t-shirt on, bearing down on us rapidly. Robyn is the first one to notice, her smile instantly drains to panic, crocodile tears streaking her face immediately (how do they do that?) Finley turns white and from her shrieks you would think she had just witnessed a beheading. Katy and I both take turns trying to convince her, trying to hold her, I cover her eyes with my hand, but she wants nothing of it, “I GO INSIDE!” she shrieks over and over so loudly that I can no longer hear the soft rock radiating from the BOBFM-mobile. If she could have clawed her way through the air to get to the door she would have. Rushing everyone inside, the shrieking stops, but now we have another child crying because she didn’t want to come in, one hysterically doing the potty dance, and Robyn explaining to Katy, “see, that’s why I can’t go to Disney! Cause I’m scared of the cow!” Ah-ha! Dinner! (after a quick trip to the potty) now that should fix everything! At least for the next 30 seconds.  :o)

05:43:32 pm – We claim our two tables near the playland. If you have ever been to Chick-fil-a – we ARE those 2 mothers. We will do whatever it takes to get our kids settled where they need to be, without being the least bit rude of course. As I return to the table after ordering, I notice Katy eyeing our other table, one at which we have laid out our stuff, and at which a very grumpy looking father has now parked himself. He is leaned back with his large coca-cola, chair resting on those back two legs, all he is missing is the remote control. His face clearly said, “don’t you dare mess with me,” but our stuff is at the table, so like any good momma who is looking out for her kids, I make Katy tell him to move.

05:51:26 pm – Next round in our tag team tournament leaves me watching the bags, the tables, and the kids playing in the playland, while Katy orders. There are several older kids playing, who I would testify under oath are quite a bit taller than the height chart on the door, and one of them actually has the nerve to look at me and say “why are there so many little kids playing in here?” In certain situations I think it might just be okay to slap someone else’s child upside the head. But my attention, and head slapping hands are distracted as Robyn comes tearing out, sobbing that someone has hurt Finley. Let me tell you, I am already in my protective momma mode, and some little boy has just messed with the wrong momma! I can hear Finley at the top of the slide and she is crying her hurt cry. Not a fake one, but you mommas know what I am talking about – the real hurt cry. I lean down to the mouth of the slide and sweetly say, “baby, come on down to momma, you’re okay.” Robyn is up there with her, also crying, saying, “he won’t let her mom! He kicked her in the stomach on purpose!” Without warning, this voice erupts from my body, it is like a combination of James Earl Jones and Hannibal Lechter, “You stay away from my baby! You let her come down that slide right now! You get away from her! Do you hear me?” And then before I know it I am up that 20 foot yellow curly slide mere inches from the sweaty little face of this 12 year old boy, and I’m pretty sure by the look on his face I am snarling and growling like a cornered lioness protecting her cub, or maybe more like Edward protecting Bella……hmmmmm. Anyways……I am snarling and growling, and may have grown some fangs. “I didn’t mean to, it was just an accident!” he stammers over his shoulder as he crawls away to hide in the depths of the tube maze. I cradle my sweet baby close to me and slide down to the bottom, Robyn, Kylie and Savannah close behind. “That’s it! Out of the playland! Now!” They file out, one by one, no questions asked. That’s the quickest they have obeyed all night. I think they may have witnessed the snarling as well.

06:12:47 pm – Finally we are arranged at our tables. We are all still alive and for the most part, happy. Finley has stopped crying, except for intermittent shrieks when the 7 foot cow walks thru the door. The food is laid out in front of us, the girls just start digging in and we realize it is almost time for the “cow drop.” Okay. Redirect. Katy and I drop our food, grab up the girls, “quick! Choke down that nugget!” We hand out the baskets, once again pink and purple cheerfully hanging from 2 little wrists, Savannah’s upside down on her head this time, and Katy holding Finley’s basket as Finley clings to her like a vice grip in fear of the C-O-W. We march our 4 little ones out the door, right behind Mr. Grumpy Pants, the table stealer, and (spoiler alert!) his son, the 12 year old I almost shredded with my bare hands at the top of the slide! Hmmmmm……now that really does make sense!

06:25:17 pm – After much shuffling and adjusting, we think we’ve found our perfect spot to catch a “Parachuting Cow holding an Easter egg.” We’ve ewhhhed and ahhhhed as we watch the crane lift the man high up in the air. We have shouted “Eat More Chicken!” for the video. We are standing, necks craning, eyes on the basket of the lift, our little sweeties hopping from one foot to the other in sheer anticipation!

06:30:46 pm – The man in the basket yells over the bullhorn, “Are you ready?” “YES!” we respond. “Here we go,” says the man. And in that instant of silence, right before he drops the eggs, I can hear the BOB-mobile going strong, rocking out to “Relax.” Does anyone else here know that that song is about the “M” word (shhhhh….ever since a small childhood trauma I can only whisper the word – masturbation) I am pretty sick of all these inappropriate songs that adults think they can play at children’s events, but again, that’s another issue, for another day.

06:30:47 pm – Mass pandemonium has broken out. You would think the guy was dropping gold bullion from that basket – of course that might cause injuries – but you get the point. Adults knocking over little kids and holding their baskets (yes they even brought baskets) high above the children’s outstretched fingers in their wild zeal to catch some of these stuffed cows on parachutes….admittedly the perfect addition to any d├ęcor. Pure craziness! Katy and I quickly realize that we are going to have to work if our girls are going to get just one apiece. Just as that realization starts to sink in I hear Finley’s shrieks above the crowd, I look down and Robyn has her arms clasped tightly around me. The C.O.W. has appeared again. (Now in his defense – this is Chick-fil-a – don’t come here if you don’t like cows, right?) I quickly snatch one parachute out of the sky, I feel another hand tugging on it, but I’m not even looking to see who else has ahold. This one is Finley’s. Another one comes my way and a young girl and I grab it at the same time. Now, you may think I’m mean, but I already warned you I’m looking out for my babies. I see this young girl already has three or four other parachutes in her hand and I gently (I swear no snarling this time) let her know that my daughter has none, so this one is going to be Robyn’s.

06:34:14 pm – It is over. Everyone is dispersing. I am watching in astonishment as adults walk away holding 20 or 30 cows. While Kylie and Savannah are holding back tears because they have none. We divide up the two that we got, giving one to my girls and one to Katy’s girls. Katy and I have desperation in our eyes as we look around for someone to ask if they would be willing to share. All the while the C.O.W. is circling causing Finley to shriek. We are a huddled little mass of shrieks and tears, until a sweet momma whose daughter caught only two, offers us one of theirs. She is followed shortly thereafter by another generous mom who again gives us one of the two she had. Okay. Relief. Phew!!!!! I suddenly feel my tummy rumbling as we dry tears and comfort our sweet girls. Switch gears – food!

06:51:56 pm – We are once again filled with joy as we head back outside to jump in the inflatables and get our faces painted! The C.O.W. is nowhere to be seen and the BOB-mobile has finally packed up, taking its inappropriate songs with it. The music filling the air now is the best sound I’ve heard all night, laughing and giggles of happiness and excitement, innocence and sheer delight. We end up with our little girls painted as two cute kitty cats and two sweet puppies. It is all worth it as we walk to the car amidst barks and meows, giggles and dancing!!! It is amazing the rollercoaster of emotions we just lived through. But this is life with 4 very diverse girls, some passionate, some shy, some head-strong, some easy-going who feel every single emotion and express it – fervently – just like their mommas!

06:55:24 pm – Katy and I chalk this one up as a success, deciding that we will do it again next year, but next time we will be prepared – we’ll bring back-up – specifically two big, strong “cow catchers” named daddy.


  1. I love it! I smiled and laughed out loud while reading it! That was such a perfect description of the night and our time when all the girls are together.
    Love you so much, and love the blog!

  2. I love it! It complete represents the craziness of that night! I love out time when all the girls are together. You made me smile and laugh out loud through the whole thing. I love you, and love the blog!

  3. Such an adventure! I loved reading this! God bless, Terri Bunton