There is nothing like sitting on the couch late at night and talking to Garry about my day.
Last night, at the end of Epic Fail: Episode 1586, I came home from visiting teaching (yes, on a Monday night -- don't ask) and needed to talk. I found Garry downstairs with nine minutes left on what was probably a spell-binding show. He happily paused the final scene and let me plop down and run at the mouth for a while.
I told him about the time that I spent on the computer that morning, searching for possible remedies for Lexi's viral rash. While I was working I heard Gavin say to Lexi, "Don't go up there. You'll get in trouble." I immediately went downstairs to find Lexi completely naked and covered in sugar. The kids had taken the sugar container from the kitchen table (which I had not completely cleared after our cereal breakfast) and dumped it on the carpet, the trampoline, the play tent, and themselves. Gavin had a wide clown-type mustache and gloves of sugar. Lexi's sugar coverage was much more extensive. They needed baths but we only had time for a quick rinse before running to the doctor's office.
Then I told Garry about various scenes at the doctor's office, which included blood and a Band-Aid for Gavin (Lexi was the patient), discouraging news about Lexi's skin, and loud and crazy antics. I told him about the eternal drive-through pharmacy visit. I told him about picking up the boys from track practice only to come back to the van and find that Gavin had escaped his car seat and (Garry interrupted me here with a guess: "And unbuckled Lexi?" No...he just) emptied the glove box in less than two minutes. I moaned about how I can't turn around without mischief and mayhem happening behind my back.
Garry and I commiserated about the ongoing process of teaching Zachary to vacuum and make his bed. We are constantly amazed and Zach's efforts to do exactly the opposite of what he is told. He puts his bed blanket on sideways and his comforter upside down. When we show him (for the 20th time) how to vacuum in long, even strokes, he pushes the vacuum three inches forward, then pulls it back, then forward another three inches. Or sometimes he will run the length of the room with the vacuum, trip on the cord and pull it out of the wall, scream, and then start all over. For a boy who thinks that wearing underwear takes too much of his precious time, it's absurd to watch him complete chores with such deliberate defiance. We laughed as we remembered when Zach was two or three. We asked him to fold his arms for a prayer at church. He growled and stretched his arms out as wide as they could go. Some things never change!
We talked about the modifications we have made to some of our basic routines. We put Lexi's high chair away and moved her to a booster seat at the table. That prompted a change to our table "seating chart." Zach, Lexi, and I now sit on one side of the table while Tyler, Gavin, and Garry sit on the opposite side. Our table feels so much more full without the Littles perched together at one end. We discussed possible changes if certain siblings can't get along. I told Garry I put Gavin next to him because by the end of the day I just can't manage that boy for one more second. He laughed; he already knew that.
We have also begun taking turns reading scripture verses every morning, rather than just having the boys listen to me as I read. Getting them involved again (we seem to change things up every few months) has made a big difference. Tyler, especially, is very engaged, while Zach generally seems to be on another planet at breakfast time. I remarked how much our new scripture routine reminded me of reading scriptures with my family growing up. We always read over breakfast, and someone was always asleep at the table. But we were consistent. I want family scripture study to be a hallmark of our children's growing-up years like it was for me.
We talked about how much we like that Zach and Tyler are taking turns teaching Family Home Evening each week. We could not believe how Zach was answering the questions Tyler asked last night. Usually he is rolling around on the floor or poking his brothers, but last night he was a willing participant. The way Tyler rehearsed the faith-filled story of the Brother of Jared was wonderful. And the dozens of FHE kits I made as a young mom are being used again.
Garry listened as I complained about feeling like a woman three times my age. My back, my foot... blah, blah, blah. Then the baby kicked and perspective returned and I moved on.
Then Garry started telling me about the plans he has for new and/or better shelving in the garage. As he rehearsed all of the research he has done for a project I initiated, I realized how much he loves me and wants what is best for me. At the end of our hour on the couch, I felt a lot better about my yucky day and my general state of mind. Then I hobbled up to bed with a smile on my face.
Life is good after all.