In many places in the world, my family is considered large. Like Target, for example. “Wow!” they’ll say, as they fill the conveyor belt with fresh spinach and wine bottles, “You have got your hands full!” And I do, you know, but it’s not that big of a deal. I mean, I have lots of friends with 7 kids and more, so I’m over my head but aware that I might not die from having another 2 or 3 crumbcrunchers. I think the most stressful part of having more kids than arms is getting through a parking lot. We form kind of a human chain and I coach everyone to hang on tight so they won’t get smashed. They are slightly morbid, this bunch, because of my warning wording. “Don’t leave that door open,” they tell the AC repairman. “If our baby brother gets in that door, he will fall down the basement stairs and get dead.” On one hand, I feel like I should dial it back. On the other hand, nobody leaves the basement door open. So.
But there is a feeling of liberation when I’m out with only a percentage of the whole. So when 2/4 went to VBS, I thought, hey! I should run the roads, and go paint the town a nice soft pink. A couple of us decided to go to brunch, you know, with just our littlest kids. “It’ll be fun!” we thought. “A chance to talk without interruption!”
This is a classic example of Mommy Insanity. Another example is thinking you can grocery shop before lunch or during naptime with kids. “But it worked once!” you whine. Yeah, that was the mercy of God. Don’t try Him again. Or thinking, “The 2 year old will probably be fine at the late movie!” No, no he will not. And people will HATE him, and especially you. Don’t be crazy.
So we all printed out coupons for a free entree and then we piled in, and suddenly we realized that our LITE crew was still child-heavy. 4 moms, 6 kids. Little ones. And at IHOP(ancakes), as you may know, speed and customer service are top priority. We sat there and fed the babies crayons, sugar packets, napkins, and so on, and the grateful little ones stood up in their high chairs and threw forks and hung backward over the table and climbed under the table to peruse the gum collection and poked each other in the eyes and loudly demanded that we LOOK AT THEM LOOK RIGHT NOW because we would much rather see them snort a straw wrapper than to talk to each other.
And all of the senior citizens were trying not to look, you know, just trying to play it cool and snarf their Senior Rooty without being accosted by a sugar bowl or anything. Part of Mommy Insanity is trying to carry on as normal. Imagine if you were being taken up in a bathtub, into a tornado. And all around debris is flying and people are screaming, buildings ripping apart and you’re swirling around wildly, and you just kept smiling and sipping your tea. Like that. We kept talking, with the occasional frantic dive across the table as a tot attempted a kamikaze move.
The thing about IHOP(ancakes) is, if you wait long enough, eventually someone will bring you something to eat. It might not be hot, or what you ordered, but it will be food, basically. Maybe pancakes, 6 inch diameter pancakes on a 5 inch diameter plate, but edible, because by this point, you are giving serious thought to putting a little syrup on the dessert menu.
In the end, it was a little crazy. But even in the whirlwind with the screeching and the laughing and getting kicked a couple dozen times and having to eat my food off of Tristan’s plate since he was eating everything off mine, it was refreshing to laugh with a couple of friends inside the vortex.