When we moved to Georgia, I think I mentioned before, #1 and #2 were VERY little. In fact, for the first time since we had gotten married (and I think the ONLY time) Hubby had to make a decision on living accommodation BY HIMSELF. He picked a nice place to live BUT not necessarily conducive to having two such young children.
First off, the master bedroom was downstairs and not necessarily easily accessible. To get to our bedroom you had to go through the living room and then down the hall (yep the one that #1 carried #2 down by her neck). Second, the other two bedrooms were upstairs. When you first came in the front door, the stairs to upstairs were directly in front of you in the foyer. Being a very skittish mom in a new environment which I knew NOTHING about, it worried me all the time that someone would break in and be upstairs stealing my kids before I’d hear them. Needless to say the year we lived there, I did not sleep very well (unless it was just from total exhaustion from being up the night BEFORE worrying myself silly. See how that vicious cycle worked?).
I don’t think either of them slept in their rooms much at all, untii after we had extended house guests, (another blog) and I didn’t worry so much about #1 being up there when she wasn’t by herself. I actually think we ended up moving #2’s crib into our bedroom and she stayed there the entire time we lived there and I’m sure #1 probably ended up in our bed most nights (ok… every night).
The thing I disliked MOST about living there was the parking arrangements. It was a “community” of townhouse duplexes. Each duplex had it’s own little parking space but it wasn’t like a driveway where it was rightbeside the door, but, to it’s credit, it also wasn’t a huge communal parking lot either. Still, it WAS inconvenient. We had a LONG walkway and then several steps UP to the street and then UPHILL to the parking space that went to OUR duplex. You couldn’t really see the parking space from the duplex because of how it was positioned. You could just see one little piece of the front of the grill on the van. Again, being the skittish mom I was, since we had just moved to BIG BAD ATLANTA and we ALL know about the Atlanta crime rate!!! Well, I really didn’t, but, my imagination ran WILD. And we seriously weren’t even IN Atlanta. At the time we lived to the north of Atlanta in a suburb that was pretty busy but didn’t have near the traffic or crime rate that Atlanta did.
Still, I had it in my mind that there was always going to be some thug just waiting in bushes for me to leave my kids anywhere unattended so they could swoop in and steal them! I’m surprised I didn’t end up having a nervous breakdown. But, I digress, (c’mon, I KNOW you’re surprised with that)… Because of the parking situation, I did learn to be very creative. We only had one vehicle. It was one of those HUGE custom Dodge Ram Vans that was big back in the day. Remember, I went from driving a Mazda RX7 to driving that huge honkin’ van? Anywho… if I wanted to go anywhere…and I mean ANYWHERE, I had to get up EARLY in the morning, get both babies up, take Hubby to work (which was only about 3 or 4 miles away) and then come home.
I devised a “system” (and lots of muscles) to transport them back and forth. If #1 was awake (which was rare after we got home because riding in the car always put her to sleep) she could walk holding my hand and I would carry #2. BUT…. If they were BOTH asleep, I’d have to stack them like firewood and carry them down the hill, down the stairs, down the walkway and then the dilemma of trying to get the keys into the doorknob while not dropping either of them. I surely couldn’t leave either of them in the van while I took one in the house, could I? I figured they were safer IN the house than leaving them in the van. But then I’d have to leave them in the house alone while I went back out to the van to bring in the groceries or whatever I had purchased. I became very adept at carrying all kinds of bags and kids at the same time. Most of the time I’d just carry the “Most important” bags in with me (i.e things that needed to be refrigerated) and wait until Hubby was home to bring the rest in. He worked LONG hours and most of the time 6 days a week so I HAD to make do with what I could. He seriously would leave like 6 AM and not come home until 10 or 11 at night. Hospitality industry is a mother!
Everything became a challenge, or puzzle I had to solve in how do I do this? As I said, if #1 was awake it wasn’t so bad, but, things a simple as grocery shopping? Well, I had to put #2 with her car seat in the BIG part of the buggy and #2 would sit in the front seat part with my purse, diaper bag, etc. That didn’t leave a whole lot of room for groceries! Most of the time I would have TWO carts. I would put the kids in one which I’d push in front of me so I could keep my eye on them (you know the grocery store was full of thugs waiting to snatch my unattended babies as soon as I’d turn my head!) and then I’d PULL one behind me with the groceries in it. I know it would have been easier to just wait for hubby to be off, but, he rarely got off before the stores closed (rare back then for there to be a 24 hour grocery store) and since he only got one day off usually we would try to do something together besides grocery shop and once in a while I HAD to get out of the house for my own sanity. I know, I know…. Sadly juggling all that was better than sitting at home ALL the time with no other adult to talk to.
One of these trips, I had to make a “quick” trip to the drug store. See, I had convinced myself that I was pregnant….AGAIN. I was beside myself. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE my kids with all my heart, but in my mind’s eye, all I could see was being my mom! Remember, she had 4 kids in less than 3 years! I knew our family is VERY fertile. Mind you, I was still breast feeding, so I don’t think I had even started having my cycles again, but I was still convinced. I hadn’t told hubby because I didn’t want to worry him unnecessarily, so I had a plan. I was going to take him to work, then run by the drug store before I went to the grocery store. Kids would still be awake since I was just gonna drop him off at work and run straight there. WRONG…
I drop him off, drive straight there, seriously like a half mile from his work, and turn around to see BOTH girls are asleep. I actually TRIED to wake up #1 but she was having none of that. So, what’s a harried young mom to do? I’ll tell ya! Stack ‘em like firewood and go for it!
I take #1 out of her car seat , lay her on the floor of the van and then take #2 out of her car seat, lay her of top of #1 and then pick them up and then realize my purse and diaper bag…. I can’t lean over to pick them up because then I’ll drop one or both babies. I put them back down. I put my purse on one shoulder, the diaper bag on the other and lean down to pick up the babies…. The bags slide off my shoulders… DANG IT!! I take my wallet and check book out of my purse and jam them into the diaper bag (and then have to hide my purse under the seat…. Never know what thugs might try to break in, right?) sling the diaper bag across my body, you know, OVER my head from one shoulder to the other diagonally across my body so it can’t slip off, stack the babies, again… pick them up, shut the van door with my BUTT and practically crawl in the store because by now I am EXHAUSTED just by trying to figure this out.
By the time I get IN the store, I realize this is NOT going to work. I only have ONE ITEM to get, but it’s a lot farther than from our parking spot to the duplex, AND I can’t find the EPT’s! I reposition the babies so that I now have one on EACH shoulder, both still sound asleep and I’m wandering up and down the aisles of the drug store, frantic, trying to find the friggin’ EPT section. I have gone up and down probably half the aisles (did I mention that this was the largest pharmacy in Gwinnett County at the time?) and I am seriously ready to sit down in the middle of aisle floor and just cry.
A pharmacy employee gingerly approaches me (my guardian angel?) and asks if she can help me. I tearfully – yes, tearfully, turn to her and tell her I can’t find the EPT’s. This sweet, southern, gentile, older LADY points me in the right direction with one of those FAKE “bless her heart” smiles on her face. AS I turn around to walk off I hear her SNEER under her breath “You know, SOME people actually figure out what causes THAT!” WTF????? Seriously? You’re supposed to commiserate, not BERATE!! If I hadn’t been holding my babies, I think I would have clocked her. Except I was too exhausted…. And now I was pissed off and exhausted. I whirled around, well, as quickly as you CAN whirl while holding two babies on your shoulders AND a diaper bag from hell…. And with my best how dare you attitude retorted “Yes, some of US do know what causes it, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have accidents!” Yeah, I really told her, didn’t I? LOL That was the best I could think of with my exhausted state of mind.
Needless to say I got my EPT (false alarm), got home, had myself a good cry and lived to see another day, but, the attitude and audacity of some people never ceases to amaze me. I have come to realize we never know what someone else is going through until we have walked a mile in their shoes (or crawled a mile carrying two babies with a diaper bag strapped to their back) so I try not to judge. AHHHHHH…. The joys of motherhood! 🙂