Life at our house is really loud. And messy. We have a lot of poop, snot, muffin crumbs and dust bunnies (although not in that order. We have far more dust bunnies and muffin crumbs than we do poop or snot).
What's amazing to me is that 1) noise and chaos do not drive me into a homicidal rage the way it did 5 years ago and 2) in spite of said noise and chaos, that every day things "fix themselves."
Like today. Matt has his first law school exam--a take-home that he has the weekend to take. So we sat down and blocked off times for him to nap, study, go to a review at school, go to Nutcracker rehearsal, etc. (I really have "Matt Nap" on our family Google calendar). Today we blocked off as a "Matt day," meaning that I had the kids all day. Not a big deal except that today was the first time I'd tried to take all 3 of them to Mass by myself.
Mass with the twins is...interesting. They are so loud. Not crying-loud. Laughing-loud. They play peek-a-boo with each other, they smack the pews and cackle. So then we started bringing books (our parish has a book box for kids). That actually didn't cut down on the noise much because they spend the hour looking at books, pointing at pictures and saying (loudly) "Moon!" "Star!" "Apple!" "Pumpkin!" (the boys are big into pumpkins.) Or they thrust the book in our faces and demand that we read. Last week Matt and I decided--no more books.
Flash forward to today. Raining cats and dogs. Which means it takes 35 minutes to drive to a church that's 4 minutes away. Raincoats on, boots on. Umbrellas. The boys HATE any new footwear, but somehow we got the boots on. (only to have them fall off as Michael was ascending the stairs: "Wet!" he said, pointing to his sock.) The good news is the boots really slowed the boys down, and they stayed in the pew the whole time. (Michael was afraid to move his feet at all).
In lieu of books, I brought those little magnetic pencil drawing boards. And somehow the boys even made THOSE loud. I don't know how it's possible to scratch so loudly, but the boys know. At one point Wagner got upset about something or other, and I had to leave with him. He was screaming and kicking so much that I couldn't take both boys with me, so I just left Michael there in the pew in his over-sized rainboots, scratching on his magnetic drawing board. I thought he would freak out when I left, and I kept watching through doors to sanctuary, but he was fine. I couldn't see him, but I could see the people in the pew behind us, I figured that if he started crying or walking they would look around, like, "What terrible mother has left this kid behind?" They were paying attention to the homily, which meant that whatever Michael was doing, he was quiet about it.
Chiara was in the Children's Liturgy at this point. Mass would have actually been easier had she stayed behind; she would have been able to watch Michael while I was out with Wagner, or come get me if something bad happened.
Meanwhile, Wagner had thrown himself on the floor of the foyer, kicking, crying, red-faced. I just stood there and watched him. After five minutes, he was fine. He picked himself up, dusted himself off, smiled and said, "up?" We went back in. Chiara came back from the Children's Mass and we switched out of our rain boots into our regular shoes to do the Communion procession--always a disappointment for the boys because each Sunday they hope that today's the day they get one of those little crackers instead of just a hand on the head.
It was all very manageable in a weird way.
Then we all came home, had lunch, and then everybody napped for two hours. (Including me.)