I’ve mentioned that I have my 3 nieces (ages 2, 4 and 6) staying with me for a couple weeks. Things have been pretty easy having them here. They play together really well, they stay together in stores really well, they listen (OK, minus the 4 year old who lives in Pony Land) listens really well, and my kid just cries and throws fits about everything. Anyway, it’s been fun. Minus the cry baby. I keep getting comments like, “You’re crazy for taking all of them!” But it hasn’t been that bad. I feel I am a pretty seasoned caretaker. There are 13 other nieces and nephews in my family that I have been babysitting since I was 12. When I had my first baby I already knew I didn’t need anything but a few onesies and some diapers. Not that I haven’t made some awesome first time Mom blunders, but that’s the reason why having 3 more kids in the house isn’t that big of a deal to me.
Last night I patting myself on the back for not having any major incidences besides cheetos fingers on my nice doilie, a loose tooth and some lost shoes. “Nice!” I told myself. “Feel free to send all the kids by themselves to the bathroom to brush their teeth. It’s almost bedtime. Nothing could happen.” I lazily laid down on the floor and picked up, “Good Morning, Baby!” It’s a good book. Besides.. nothing can happen in the 5 minutes before they’re all safely tucked into bed.
Unless someone… someone gave the 2 year old a brand new 6 oz tube of toothpaste. After what seemed like only a minute I said, “OK! Let’s come in and read a story!” The 2 bigger kids proudly pranced in and breathed in my face to show they had brushed their teeth, and the little ones came over all covered in globs of toothpaste. It took me a minute to notice it, and by then it was on the dresser and the door. There was toothpaste everywhere. I tried to see who had the most toothpaste on them and start triage, but it didn’t matter. It was in the carpet, in hair, on clothing… everywhere but their mouths. I grabbed the little one thinking I’d clean her off first as it appeared she was in the direct line of fire, and somehow I missed seeing the glob on the cabinet door. So while I was cleaning her hands and face off I was simultaneously smearing toothpaste on her shirt. The 6 year old squeezed in at the same time and wanted a drink. I handed her the cup which also had an unseen toothpaste glob on the outside that ended up on her hands. Which she wiped on her pajamas. And then play tackled the 4 year old. My little one was curiously smearing another glob on the floor with his just cleaned hands. I cleaned him off again and started to wipe up the floor. I turned around in time to see him rinsing off the 6 year old’s toothbrush in the toilet. That one of them didn’t flush. The dog has a suspicious looking streak in his fur.
At that point I just gave up. I threw away the toothbrush, much to the baby’s horror. I swear I could hear him yelling, “What is WRONG with her?! She threw away a perfectly clean toothbrush!” I read them a story and put them to bed.
Tonight when they asked for toothpaste I told them to scrape off what was left in the sink.
A couple years ago I might have actually washed down all the kids in a nice warm bath, then changed them all into clean pajamas, then re-brushed their teeth and put them to bed. Then I would have washed the bathroom down with a bucket, cleaner and a cloth. Last night I used toilet paper to wipe up most of the toothpaste, rinsed off their hands and left the rest for another day…. they’ll be brushing their teeth in the morning, too, and I can’t find the lid to the toothpaste. I don’t wanna clean the bathroom twice!