I fondly remember the days, where such a thing as “popping out” existed. An inkling for lunch at my favorite cafe, and half an hour later, ordering a meal at said Cafe.Those were simpler times. With three little ones, you don’t pop out to anywhere anymore!
From time to time we forget this fact. Someone (maybe me) suggests that we all go somewhere; “let’s throw the kids in the car and go to the mall” – If it was only as simple, as “throwing” them in the car. But there’s multiple time consuming, exhausting and enough-to-make-you-go-nuts steps to be taken before a family of five can leave the house.
Step one consists of getting everyone dressed….
Our oldest is usually naked or in a princess dress. She will dislike any clothing suggestion we make! So depending on where we’re going, and how much energy we have, we’ll either 1) let her stay in the princess dress, 2) make a compromise, where she for instance can wear a tutu skirt as long as she’s in sensible shoes or 3) be persistent and have a fight with her.
The middle-child will need to be changed and wiped down to a point where she looks just half way presentable to the public.This is more elaborate than it sounds. She gets dirty to a point far beyond what a clean shirt and a wet-nap can handle. She needs the dirt scraped off various body parts and she needs every item of clothing, down to her socks, changed! Needless to say that this step will usually be done last minute, seeing how she can mess up any outfit in a matter of seconds.
The little one is usually good to go – that is when she doesn’t decide to poop and have her diaper spring a leak right before we’re about to leave the house.
When you step out with little ones, you need to bring a lot more than just the children themselves. It’s actually quite amazing how much stuff you need to bring! There’s the obvious diapers and wet-naps. There’s the change of clothes, because if the diaper leak didn’t happen as we were walking out the door, it will most definitely happen at the mall! There’s formula and bottles, and there’s miscellaneous things like toys for the car-ride, pacifiers, snacks, bibs ect. ect.
Now once all is packed, and the children are somewhat presentable, it’s time for the perhaps worst step of them all – mobilizing all individuals and items in the car!
There’s the stroller. In our case obviously not an easy to fold little umbrella stroller, but a monstrosity of a twin stroller. Have you ever seen those instructional pamphlets or videos with people folding a stroller? – one, two, three and it’s folded. That’s not how it really works! These things are tricky, they get stuck and things won’t bend in the desired directions. Folding a stroller is similar to the frustration of putting together IKEA furniture. By the time you’ve got that thing in the trunk, you’ve had a full workout! And that’s not the only sweaty job, there’s more of that…..
The little ones need to be carried to, and strapped into their car seats. Sounds simple? Maybe, but in reality quite challenging. Unless we owned a Hummer (and maybe not even then), a regular sized backseat, with three car seats in it, does not leave room for my adult sized behind! Crawling around, strapping children into especially the middle seat, is quite the maneuver! And when you add this to the many previous steps, it’s a joy to finally be able to hit the road……. that is unless we forgot a pacifier, or someones favorite doll (who could not possibly spend the day alone in the house!), or the diaper sprung that leak, or someone needs to pee, or, or, or, ……
As you can see, the likelihood of popping out, in the sense of something quick and brief, is slight. We can still feel a spontaneous inkling for lunch, but half an hour later, we’re surely not ordering anything! More likely we’re changing a diaper or discussing firstborn’s footwear! It is likely that the spontaneity will be back in our lives some day, but for now I will remind myself of the many steps it takes to leave the house, and refrain from suggesting that we “throw” the kids in the car! And I will attempt to settle my inklings with delivery!