Posts tagged minivan

I was due for some chaos again…

What happens when you toss 5 children under the age of six together and allow eight hours to simmer? A cooking experiment with explosive results and a very tired chef. On Monday of this past week my sister-in-law returned to work and I offered to take the children on Tuesday. The combination of mixed greens looks like this:

”    One 6-year-old boy

”    One 4-year-old boy

”    One 3-year-old boy

”    One 2-year-old boy

”    One 1-year-old girl

Since these children are all products of my own gene pool, they are well-behaved, sweet children. Unless a cousin can’t share a toy with his cousin, or a brother whacks his brother because he contradicted something he’d said, or a little girl decides she’d rather have her mommy around and screams for a solid hour-and-a-half in protest. That said, however, I had prepared myself for a solid day’s work, and I am here to tell you that that is exactly what I got, starting at 7:00am sharp.

Regular childcare providers tell me that once kids are in a routine, the high child to adult ratio becomes more manageable. This must be true, since there are people out there who have chosen to provide full-time childcare voluntarily. I would assume that a one-year-old screamer will, at some point, accept the fact that Mommy is not around for now, and that the baby-sitter’s hip will not last with a baby on it for the next 7 ½ hours. As it is, however, I watch my niece and nephew only sporadically, and that sweet little girl with the face of an angel has the lungs of Gene Simmons, which is particularly troublesome to the sensitive ears of our highly auditory 2-year-old little boy. Translation: From 8:00am – 9:30am I took turns holding either a screaming baby or a whimpering toddler or both at once.

Breakfast was interesting, as no scrap of food actually entered my own mouth until the five other tummies were full. But the most interesting part of the morning came when I decided to take the children to our local Ontario Early Years Centre, a place with lots of room, lots of toys, free snacks, and free coffee. Perfect.

I briefly considered taking the bikes, but then remembered that the bikers outnumber the non-bikers 2:1, and a scene of chaos involving training wheels and crying children flashed through my mind. Logic and reason prevailed and I decided to take the van.

Our minivan technically fits 5 passengers in the back, although it should be said that five booster/car seats do not fit as well as 5 bums. It sounds crazy, but you could probably fit 5 overweight people into the van more easily than you could accommodate 5 little kids in their over-sized plastic butt-moulds. Once you squeeze the boosters into the back row there is precious little room left for the seatbelt, so you as the adult get to hop into the back of the van and fold yourself in half trying to buckle each squirming child into their booster seat.

Once I had accomplished this feet of acrobatics, I buckled in the other two, made 3 separate trips back to the house for things I had forgotten, and finally rolled out of the driveway about 20 minutes after I had promised the kids the trip. “Now boys, be quiet, because the baby has to sleep,” I admonished them as we were driving down the street. This was, of course, a waste of breath as boys ranging in age from 3 to 6 cannot, under any circumstances, keep their hands to themselves, especially not when they’re sitting so close to each other.

Having arrived at the EYC everybody piled out of the van as I scrambled to keep the mobile ones from running across the parking lot. I set up the stroller to avoid carrying the heavy car carrier. Everyone was ready to go as soon as I could unbuckle the 2-year-old, when I realized that he was not wearing any shoes. Perfect. Bare feet are not allowed for health and safety reasons so I had no choice but to herd everyone back into the van (“shhhhh! The baby’s sleeping. Don’t wake her up!”) and head all the way back home.

Miraculously the baby did not wake up and we managed to go back home, procure the toddler’s sandals, and make it back to the EYC with some time to play before it closes at noon. I had almost forgotten about the baby until her cries emanated from underneath the blanket draped over her carrier. As I began unbuckling her, I realized that she too was not wearing any shoes. It was then that I knew that it was going to be an awesome day.

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