I have discovered the real problem with a large family. It isn't money, space or patience. Even time isn't really that much of an issue. I have gotten creative with spending one-on-one time with the kids as I grocery shop or get an oil change. And having enough energy to get all the kids dinner, bathed and in bed just means creative time-management. I cook full meals in the early afternoon while the kids are in school so we can spend all the time from 3 pm until bedtime together on homework, reading, etc.
But on Halloween I discovered the real reason you can't have really large families in today's society. Scheduling. Throughout the week I have cleverly scheduled the children's activities that compliments our family life. But on Halloween I had to be at 6 different events through out the day. Caskey had to work if we wanted him to come home early for trick-or-treating. That left Alexander and I running back and forth to the different schools and providing support.
The morning started as all Halloween mornings do; assembling costumes, shoes, accessories and treats to go to school. We thankfully got out of the house on time, but not as early as I would have liked. So, we dropped our purple princess off at school and headed down the hill to drop off our lumberjack and knight (san sword) at preschool. Then I rushed back to the elementary school, parked semi-illegally and high-tailed it down to the lower field since I was already late for the first event of the day, the elementary school spirit day/costume parade. I waited just long enough to snap some pictures of my princess making the parade lap. Then I ran back to the car for a quick bite for Alexander and off to the preschool.
I arrived before the costume parade started at the preschool. This year they decided to have 2 separate parades, which is great for those parents who don't want to sit through 15 classes making the rounds, but not so great for parents who have kids in both buildings. That's me. Two kids, two parades, the same start time. I watched my little lumberjack lumber around the circle loaded down with accessories; a yellow hard hat and a toy chainsaw as big as he is. I smiled, waved, snapped pictures. Then we were off to the other parade. Just in time. My knight gallantly came down the stairs to make his circuit. He smiled with pride and waved and my camera clicked again.
Next was a bit of standing around while the teachers readied Connor's class for a field trip to the senior apartments. The class had been practicing singing Halloween songs and making cards for the seniors. Its so important to not forget the elderly and the preschool was fostering that. It was great. We walked the block to the apartments and I snapped more pictures of my knight singing "5 Little Pumpkins" and "Itsy Bitsy Spider". I pretended to ignore the cranky old bat who told a 3-year-old that she didn't want her card because it was "against her religion" and we headed back to the school. Just in time for the class picture for William.
Another break for a snack for Alexander and then the party began for William's class. I helped dole out lunches, open juice boxes, and pass out chips. Watching 10 2-year-olds eat lunch is like watching the plate spinner spinning plates. You just know something is going to fall and break. I was able to leave William with few tears and I got my first real break of the day - lunch at home in the quiet for 20 minutes.
Back to Lainy Ann's school. I have been volunteering in the classroom and helping the teacher with paperwork on Fridays. I originally wanted to help with a teaching element, but since Alexander is unpredictable its better for all of us if I can step out of the room if he gets fussy. I stayed in the classroom the rest of the day stapling, sorting and passing out papers.
And so it went all day long. Visiting with parents and teachers and supporting my children. But it was well worth it when I picked them up at the end of the day and they started their chatter of "what did you do today?" with each other. Each child proudly proclaimed "mommy came to my classroom today!" None of them realizing how carefully I had planned for that special day. I'm so glad it worked out and I am so fearful that once there are 4 kids in school it will become impossible.