People who know me well often tell me I need to write a book.
(Note: if you didn’t know, I have written several short ebooks, but they’re talking about Real Books that are sold in bookstores.)
(Both excellent books I have loved, they are also memoirs written by heads of large families.)
I don’t know if I will eventually do so.
But if I did, each chapter might read something like the following.
How To Paint Your Five Year Old’s Fingernails
1) Brush off multiple requests by 5 year old to paint her nails based on totally legitimate excuses (currently nursing the baby, cooking dinner, assisting the 2 year old with butt wiping, consoling pubescent child over the drama du jour, etc).
2) Realize you have a 60 second window of time in which no one has any pressing need and, brushing aside guilt feelings and stereotypes about neglected middle children, attempt to locate the 5 year old, who has long since lost interest and has climbed 30 feet up a tree. In the neighbor’s yard.
3) Holler up at child to come. down.this instant. but not so angrily or loudly so as to frighten the child into taking a misstep and falling because who could live with the guilt but an even greater concern is that you’ve already spent several hours in Dr’s offices this month and the thought of having to do so again, with a 2 year old in tow who needs you to sing the Hokey Pokey over and over to keep her from investigating the contents of the sharps disposal container exhausts you utterly.
4) Child throws loud angry fit about the injustice of having playtime interrupted. Worry about what the neighbors think.
5) Drag child home and search for a bottle of fingernail polish that isn’t gunked up around the top, making it impossible to open. Locate a particularly fetching shade of blue. Child loudly insists upon green. Consider searching again, then remember you have to leave to take oldest child to work and the middle child to gymnastics in 5 minutes and insist that it’s Blue or Nothing and if you don’t stop whining you will go straight to your room.
6) Child reluctantly agrees and follows you to the bathroom where you balance on the edge of the tub while holding the 5 month old on one arm and with the other, paint 5 year old’s tiny fingers. Think with amusement that if Evolution Were a Thing, mothers would have 8 arms like Siva.
7) Remind child every 10 seconds to Please Be Still. Watch as child scratches face and leaves blue smudge of nail polish on her cheek and hair. Notice while in bathroom that it is a disgusting mess meaning someone hasn’t done her chore before having screen time for the day. Yell at responsible party to Stop Watching SpongeBob NOW And Please Come Do Your Chore.
8) Worry about nail polish fumes giving 5 month old preemie cancer. Consider buying non-toxic nail polish. Reconsider once learning that it costs twice as much and after doing mental math about how many bottles of nail polish 4 daughters can use in a year.
9) Watch as 2 year old enters bathroom and kicks over bottle of fingernail polish. Make quick grab for nail polish and feel grateful you caught it before it dripped onto your new sandals. Realize with horror that 2 year old has walked in the spilled polish and there are blue, pudgy toddler foot sized prints all over bathroom tile and hardwood just outside.
10) Yell for 12 year old daughter to grab 2 year old before she proceeds into carpeted bedroom and ask her to please grab the nail polish remover to get polish off the bathroom tile and place 2 year old in bathtub so she can’t do further damage.
11) Worry about acetone nail polish remover fumes giving 5 month old liver damage. Yell for 14 year old son to please come take the baby outside for some fresh air.
12) Notice that now 5 year old has nail polish on her skirt.
13) Repaint child’s thumbnail which brushed against her skirt thus removing most of the polish.
14) Remind child to Please Be Still and Don’t Touch Anything.
15) When child asks you to “do her toes too”, decline. Then change your mind since you’ve got everything out and the mess has already been made, thinking of economies of scale kicking in.
16) Call in 2 year old and ask if she wants her toes done. Paint 2 year old’s toes. Repeat Please Be Still refrain every 10 seconds.
17) Take baby, who is now screaming to nurse since it has been 27 minutes since his last feeding, back from 14 year old and lift shirt to feed him (baby, not 14 year old. Wonder how many times you have accidentally flashed teenage sons while nursing babies. Brush aside thought quickly due to ick factor and the sheer unavoidability of the task.) while blowing on 2 year old’s toes so they dry before she rubs the wet polish onto the nearest sofa.
Feel faint from combination of fumes and forceful exhaling. Have deja vu remembering morning sickness. Say silent prayer of gratitude that you are not pregnant. Remember that all you had for breakfast was everybody’s crusts.
18) Notice that 5 year old’s fingers are totally devoid of fingernail polish. Wonder where it went.
19) Have sinking feeling in pit of stomach while remembering that you vowed not to paint 5 year old’s fingernails until she stopped chewing the nail polish off within moments of application.
20) Have passing thought that if only you could Remember All of the Things, you could set the world on fire.
21) Worry about ingested nail polish causing 5 year old stomach cancer.
22) Realize that if only you could remember funny anecdotes about life with many children long enough to get to the computer and type them up, you could write a best-selling book. Remember that authors of aforementioned books had full-time paid help in home.
23) Sit at the computer and attempt to write this blog post despite being interrupted every 30 seconds by requests for snacks, Mom Can You Please Unlock Your Phone, mom can I borrow your computer/lipstick, mom watch this, mom she touched my thing, honey Josiah just burped and now he’s fine, mom I’m out of flossers can be please stop by the store today, and please don’t eat that muffin on my freshly vacuumed living room floor!
Mom, Zeke and various friends, what do you think?