Quite often when people hear that I have six kids, they inevitably comment, "I don't know how you do it!" I usually respond with, "not very well!" There is one tip I've learned though, that is essential to raising children, no matter how many you have. And I thought I'd give this tip with today's memory. Here it is:
Never take your eyes off them.
When Matt and Steph were little, I was a full time secretary, and Terry worked second shift driving a forklift. When I got off work on Wednesdays, I had very little time to pick the two kids up from the sitter's, get them home and fed and dressed for prayer meeting. One Wednesday night I decided to dress them while I was waiting for dinner to finish cooking. Then I swathed them in towels to make sure their clothes stayed clean, and told them to eat quickly while I finished getting ready.
When I returned to the kitchen, both children sat at the table, doing their best to look innocent. I'm not sure why they thought I would buy that because they couldn't hide the fact that spaghetti was plastered to the walls, table and floor, and both of them were dripping with spaghetti as well. Apparently Matthew decided it would be funny to throw a handful of spaghetti at his sister. Stephanie, always able to hold her own, decided to give as good as she got. And the result was a spaghetti explosion in the kitchen.
I'm pretty sure Matt would have thought of throwing spaghetti if I was still in the room, but he would have curbed the desire under my watchful eye.
And that's the reason for the tip. Never. Look. Away. Sure, it requires a complete lack of sleep and any semblance of a life, but you gave those up once you decided to have kids anyway.
Oh! And here's another tip: try to hold off feeding them spaghetti until they're a little older. It won't stop the food fights, but at least they can help clean up the mess.