Sunday, October 12, 2008

52 Hours of Hell and Happiness

We are lucky to have lots of guests at the house this week: Amy and Rob, Brooklyn, Alyssa, Ashley, Hunter, Jessica and Jaxon, and Grandma and Grandpa Clark. We spent several days decorating, cleaning, making beds, folding towels, and excitedly gearing up for the hours of madness and delight that inevitably brew when we all get together. Sadly, though, we also noted the arrival of our not-so-welcome house guest, Sickness, who plagues us with its presence every year from October to June, and sometimes even pops up unannounced for a weekend stay in July or August. If you are related to a child under the age of six, you certainly know of whom I'm speaking and I'd wager Sickness has even made a place for itself in your home, too.

Thanks to this annoying visitor, Amber, Karli, and Rex's stellar sleeping habits have been upended, and we are yet again facing three kids in the bed with us each night. As if it weren't bad enough to have a few gunky, runny noses sliming our pillowcases, there are also twelve flailing limbs, convulsing involuntarily with every cough and sniff, that disrupt the twenty-three-or-so minutes of sleep Adam and I get between episodes of crying by one or more of our poor, miserable kids. Needless to say, these wonderful moments create poor, miserable parents who can't cope with the daytime symptoms of children's colds. Thus, our great friend Sickness plunges us into a cycle of whining, yelling, crying, nose blowing, not eating, not sleeping, and bothering all of our patient and gracious guests who are tolerating the ruckus with remarkable kindness and understanding.

Our wonderful friends (the Larsons) blessed their adorable little baby today. We have not seen them for a month and a half, so we excitedly began preparing for the ride to Grantsville early on Saturday to be sure we made it on time to the nine o'clock meeting. The car was packed carefully with snacks, sippy cups, toys, blankies, and plenty of diapers, and I dodged a humongous mess in the kitchen (caused by a major faucet malfunction/replacement) to make some cinnamon rolls to contribute to the post-blessing feast (gotta love Mormonism, huh!?). While I baked, Amber woke up first (around 12:30 a.m.), but Adam valiantly tucked her back into bed and assured her she'd be fine. Ten minutes later, Karli woke up and spent the next three hours, yes...that's right...three hours, whining, "Mommy, hold me" and reaching up to me as I removed dough from the racks and coils after my too-small bowl failed to contain the burgeoning yeasty mass that rose magnificently in the oven. Since multi-tasking is one of my talents that motherhood has magnified, I formed the rolls and baked each of the three pans using only one hand and held a sobbing, sniffing Karli with the other. Once the rolls were frosted and wrapped securely for the journey ahead, the two of us headed upstairs to catch two hours of sleep before the Sunday activities commenced.

Upon realizing that I had snoozed through my alarm clock for an hour, I jumped into the shower and promptly awoke everyone to get ready to go. At 8:00 a.m., we were out the door (only 15 minutes behind schedule, which isn't too bad when Sickness is along for the ride). Rex's car seat was malfunctioning, Amber had green snot all the way down her face, and Karli was yet again whining and screaming because she wanted me to hold her. Finally, when we were all secure in the car, we backed up to the accompaniment of loud grinding and flopping noise coming from our rear tire. It looked fine, so we headed down the road. Five minutes later, Amber (I need Sarah Palin to say "Bless her heart" right now) notified us that she had an accident in her car seat. If you haven't read any of my previous posts, an "accident" is one of major proportions involving bodily waste. Since I had packed everything in the car except a portable shower, a washing machine, and a change of clothes, we had no choice but to turn around and head home. Can I just tell everyone right now that Sickness is no longer welcome at the Clark home? I've had it!

I couldn't even call Leslie to tell her we couldn't make the blessing because I was crying too hard, and then the girls started crying, and then Rex started crying, and Adam wasn't crying, but he was uttering some choice phrases. Finally we were all back inside the house, warming up and cleaning up (did I mention it snowed five inches last night?), and everyone enjoyed some yummy cinnamon rolls for breakfast. It is great to have family that is so understanding and helpful, because they all diffused our anxiety to the point that we could function enough to put the kids down for early naps. My nieces are great with the kids and they make me so excited to have "big girls" who can help me like they do. Now, I just need to find a way to give Sickness the boot and resolve to have a blast with our out-of-town family members despite our horrifically whiny kids, and I think the rest of this week will go swimmingly. After all, what can be worse than the last two days (knock on wood for me, please!)?