I’ve heard it said that having one child equals mom, dad, and baby, but having more than one makes a true family.  I don’t necessarily agree, but it’s definitely more challenging.  It’s hard to convey to a five-year-old that rough housing with his little brother is dangerous, especially when they are both laughing and having fun.  Never-the-less, it always results in Pierce crying and sometimes bleeding.

Yesterday, we were doing our usual summer morning routine by hanging out in the living room.  I’m on my laptop and the boys are playing around the coffee table with matchbox cars and blocks.  It’s usually pretty relaxing (as relaxing as a morning with two small children can be), except for the mess.  When its bath time, I tell them to start cleaning up the destruction they have inflicted on my space.  Sadly, for me, this falls on deaf ears.  We have a rule that we always clean up before moving to the next thing or leaving the house.  I don’t like coming home to a mess—it really stresses me out, so I have worked to train Michael that clean up and organization are part of how we live.  Some days he is very accommodating, and others he’s is not—this is one of the others.  I’ve even bought a bunch of little cheap toys, and I pay him with one when he cleans up after himself without me harping.  Pierce is learning, too—learning being the operative word. The past several days, we have been in a control struggle about picking up, so, in order to finally get on with our day, I help out–a lot

Bath time!  There wasn’t much time to play, so I help everyone get cleaned up, and dressed.  Then I start to take care of the things I need to get done before we head off to Sam’s to get our haul of groceries.  While I am wrapping up a few things, I’m aware of them chasing each other around the dining room table, which is at one end of our great room.  There’s lots of squealing and laughing, but I know it won’t end well.  And before I can intervene, Pierce’s laughs turn to sobs.  Naturally, Mikey doesn’t want to tell me what happened, but I finally get it out of him.  He pushed Pierce while they were playing chase, and Pierce fell face first into the back of the sofa.  Now, running into the back of the sofa and bouncing off is something my little one finds very amusing, so in Michael’s defense, he probably didn’t anticipate that his little brother would get hurt.  Well…he did.  He hit his face bruising and splitting his eyelid at the corner of his left eye.  It bled a bit, alarming me, and I wasn’t sure what to do, so I cleaned it up, and before I knew it, he was ready to play some more.  I felt that he wasn’t in harm’s way (Mikey’s way, maybe)but no longer harm’s way, so I just keep an eye on him.  Thank God we were designed in such a way that the facial bones do a great job protecting our eyeballs.  Once again, though, I must have a lengthy—probably too lengthy—conversation about Michael being careful with Pierce when they are playing–always remembering to be aware that he is much bigger than his brother.

Finally, we’re off to Sam’s to spend a million dollars.  I warn them many, many times to behave nicely at the store and that we will not be buying any toys today.   Michael also has a play date this evening that is more leverage if he decides to misbehave at the store.  Just trying to set an expectation… 

I get them both strapped into the giant cart—yep—even my five-year-old.  I know he looks silly, but not as silly as I’m going to look with an obnoxious child spinning down the aisles just out of my reach.  Turns out, Michael wasn’t the one I needed to worry about.  Loud mouth Pierce, is talking and jibber jabbering at the top of his lungs, almost as soon as we get into the store.  I think he was getting hungry because he kept yelling about wanting a cookie.  Everything is a cookie, and he says it “AHHh wahn Kook-ay!”  It’s funny the first couple times, then it gets old really fast, and of course, Mikey can’t resist adding to the noise.  They start to feed off and pick at each other, and I begin to worry about the other customers wishing I would get them out of here.   I love my children, and I want everyone else to as well, but I am not stupid enough to think that people are going to love them like I do especially if they are obnoxious.  I was a childless adult long enough to know my own level of patience with other people’s kids.  So, I try quietly singing to Pierce to get him to be quiet.  Michael sings along, too and we get him to hush; at least for a little while.  Then we are in the produce section, and this middle-aged Asian lady with a strong accent tells me, “They aren’t bothering anyone.  Don’t worry, I know you are being a good citizen to try to keep them quiet, but they aren’t bothering anyone—just enjoy them.”  Well, God Bless that sweet lady—I really needed to hear that, and I told her so.  Finally we get to the check-out counter, and Pierce reaches out and knocks down my broccoli salad and spilling it .  Again, the cashier is very gracious and gets us all squared away.  Finally we head home with our haul—but by this time, in spite of everyone’s understanding, my nerves are jangled.  After what seems like 24 hours of putting away groceries, and eating lunch it’s finally naptime—for all of us!

After nap time, Michael’s friend Alyna comes over and the three of them play, having a great time.  It’s probably just what the boys needed—to blow off a little steam for a couple of hours, because it all went very smoothly!