Friday, November 20, 2009

Random Useful Skills

By the time you have your fourth child you do things without even thinking about it that would be absolutely unthinkable with a first child. When Jared was a baby, my mother-in-law told me that she remembered when her kids were little all of the hectic evenings of nursing the baby and stirring dinner at the same time. I didn't say anything, but I thought she was crazy. "What but the most pressing of emergencies could possibly induce you to stand up while you were nursing your baby?" I obviously had not had four children (or even two)....

When you have multiple children you acquire lots of random useful skills that might seem utterly useless to someone without kids but are essential for survival once you have several. Gone are the days when you can wait for a lull in the baby's schedule to cook dinner or wait to run all of your errands until the baby is asleep (although I still try to work it out that way when I can manage it). Ballet and cub scouts come at the same time every week, regardless of whether baby is down for her nap, happily hanging out or screaming her head off. Even if your baby is screaming her head off that doesn't make your two-year-old less anxious for his dinner.

Enter random useful skills...Call it survival of the fittest. This is when you figure out that if you twist your body and stretch your arm backwards really far while driving the car you can hold a pacifier (or a finger) in the baby's mouth while driving. (OK, lots of people learn this with child #1.) This is when you learn how to change a baby boy's diaper without getting squirted or hold a wriggling toddler down with your legs for a diaper change. This is when you learn how to nurse standing up holding the baby with one arm (and occasionally lean over to rest the baby on the counter top so your arm gets a break). This is when you develop a repertoire of meals that can be prepared using only one hand. I can cut up a pear one-handed or carry massive amounts of stuff while holding a diaper bag, purse and baby car seat. I can tell where Jackson is in the house and what he is doing by listening for the sounds he is making. I can practice the piano, accompany a singer or even direct a choir while nursing a baby. (Practicing the organ while nursing is a bit harder, but can be done.) I can carry a toddler and a newborn at the same time (but only under duress).

I'm not sure what my point is in this post, but I wanted to point out that you still continue to learn useful skills as a mom. Just not skills that are useful to everyone.... ;)

1 comment:

Tenise said...

I Love You! This made me laugh out loud and I was continually nodding in agreement.