Tuesday 17 February 2015

Tots on a Tuesday {Walk, anyone?}

Today, I thought it would be a nice idea to go for a walk. It's getting all spring-like, and a walk gives a perfect opportunity to learn in an informal, fun way.  The sun had been shining since first thing this morning, and after a miserable day yesterday, a walk seemed like a nice plan.

Tots love to get out, and Mums love to get tots out.

We love it.  Honestly.

I mean, getting 6 of the children out for a walk is simple.  Simple, I say.


"We're going for a walk - everyone come and get reaaaad-deeeeeeeee" was yelled up the stairs, in the hope that all ears would hear, and all feet would start moving in the right direction.


So, I had to go up and find the youngest two, who were taking it in turns to turn on and off the tap in the bath.  As you do.

Reprimands issued, they were ushered downstairs, whilst poking my head around the door of the girls' room to tell the other 4 to come downstairs. (Josh wasn't coming, and Daniel was out with Daddy at B&Q).

At this point, they all start congregating, AT THE SAME TIME, in the hall.  All jostling and pushing over each other to find their shoes.  Which are all neatly lined up in the shoe cupboard.


(Is my shoe cupboard SUPPOSED to be tidy??)


"Look in the cupboard".


"Did you look properly?"


"Really?  Like, "Mummy" properly?"

Mummy looks, and find shoes.  A repeat of my Sunday morning ritual, usually accompanied by me tossing hats, gloves, dirty socks, spoons, and other random items from in the shoe cupboard, over my shoulder, like a crazed person bailing out water from a sinking ship.  Yes, that's my Sunday morning routine.

It's not yours?

That's nice for you.

"Would someone get Tabitha more socks, and Simeon too?"

Asked again.

And again.

Apparently children doing jobs become temporarily deaf.

So, I go upstairs myself.  Said girl needing socks because apparently it's good to smear pancakes on them at lunch, by standing up in your high chair, on the pancake you've dropped there.

Simeon needs socks because, as tots randomly do, he keeps taking them off.


"They're "spicy" Mummy"....

What on EARTH are SPICY socks, anyway? I'm guessing that child has some sensory issue going on, but he can't go out in the freezing cold with no socks on.

I sit him on the stairs to put on the socks.

There's a HUGE hole in the bottom of the socks.  A good mother would go upstairs and get another pair.  A starting-to-get-frazzled Mum of 8 just figures it's better than no socks, and it'll be FINE.

I look up at him, and realise his t-shirt has the remnants of pancakes, syrup and ice-cream.

His coat will get zipped up, right? It'll be FINE.

"Where are Tabitha's shoes?", I yell.

"I can only find one - she had the other one earlier and I can't find it".

Great.  That would be the pair, slightly too small for her, that she ended up wearing on Sunday because I couldn't find the other one of the pair she SHOULD be wearing.

So, was I going to need to put an odd pair on!??!  Slippers?  An extra pair of socks?  All of this going on in my mind whilst I search every room in the house.  Behind the sofa.  In the kitchen.  All of the unlikely places a shoe would be, because one-year-olds don't leave things in obvious places, right? Under the dining room table I found one of the pair that DID fit.  Hmmmmmm.  Is this the one I COULD find on Sunday, or the OTHER one?  Back to the shoe cupboard, and I hoked through it again....where I found the OTHER one of the pair that FIT! Which beggars the question, was it there on Sunday all along, and I searched like a child instead of like a Mummy?....

Never mind, two shoes, and on they went.  Jumper on.  Cute baby.

"Can someone get the pram and baby carrier out of the mini-bus?"

"Erm, Mum, Dad went OUT in the mini-bus".

Of COURSE he did.

At this point, a Mum hits a moment.  It's that point where you decide whether you give up, or carry on.  You balance up all the pros and cons, and make a lightening speed decision, based on all the facts you can pull from your brain.  I had already put SO much effort in, I was determined, in a crazy Mummy kind of way, to carry on.  I was sure there was another baby sling somewhere, and Simeon could walk, albeit slowly.


This time I needed to hoke about in the coat cupboard.  The light doesn't work in there, and I swear Narnia is in the back of it somewhere.  It's that big. I stuck my arms in up to the neck, moving them about, blindly, feeling for what may be a sling.

Was that it? Nope, it's a bag.

Ooooh, ooooh - nope, a bag with yarn.  (They are ALL round my house - bags with yarn.  I have yarn issues)

Finally, KA-CHOW!

A sling!

Small people with coats and shoes on - check.

Middle sized people with shoes and....

"Abi - what ARE you wearing?  It doesn't really match, and you're wearing summer shoes.  You look completely home-schooled"  (What?  You don't say that to your children?  Did you know there was even a "home-schooled look".  Don't answer that.  Especially if you send your children to school.  I don't want to know....)

"Never mind - it kind of matches, and it will look better once your coat is zipped up..."

"Elijah and Susie, it's NOT the summer - will you put a coat on RIGHT NOW!"

That will be the Scottish blood in them.  But, they would certainly have been moaning fairly quickly without a coat.

Middle sized people with shoes and coats.

Right, my turn.  Boots.  Hoodie.  Scarf.  Coat.  Sli....

"MUUUUUUUUM!!!!" (punctuated with sobs)  "I fell over..." (now sitting on floor, pulling up trouser leg)  "and my leg huuuuuuuurts".  (revealing a tiny, imperceptible graze)

"Oh dear! I'm sure you'll be really brave.  It'll be fine....."

Moving swiftly on.  (I'm experienced - I know when a hurt needs a fuss, and when a small person needs to man up, in the most loving sense possible...)

Sling on.  Baby in sling.

Print-outs of "signs of spring".  Penc....

"Has anyone seen where all the PENCILS have gone?"...

Shouted out the door, like a fisher-woman.

So common.

A quick glance around finds them under the dining table (maybe I should start EVERY search there?), on the lounge floor, and on the kitchen counter.  Of course.  Isn't that where everyone keeps pencils?

And we were off!

We got as far as several doors down.  We found the first thing from our list to identify "sign of spring".

Oh the sweet moment, when your tot gets excited about SNOWDROPS!

"Mummy, mummy LOOK - it's the flowers from on the paper!"

Then we discovered some pussy willow.  Not on the list, but perfectly fuzzy, soft and stroke-able. OF course, needing to be stroked by them all. Cute.

Then, they heard birds singing, which is also on the list.

Did you know that they only sing in spring - it's on the sheet, so it must be right.


I'm fairly certain it's a sign that it's daytime, but who am I but a humble mother?

Then we saw bulbs pushing up.  That was on the sheet - only the sheet specified bluebells, which apparently are some of the earliest to show up - if you live in a dell somewhere, in the woods.  Because bluebells don't really happen in gardens.  But, the picture just looked like bulbs pushing up, so then I had to tell them that they re a sign of spring, but not EXACTLY what was on the list.

OCD Mummy moment.

"But, I can just tick it off anyway, Mum, can't I?  It's a bulb!"

Sure, that's fine.

Why they didn't just have "bulbs" is anyone's guess...

Then we saw another sign of spring.  Two people doing something with a huuuuuge silver tube.

Sorry, not a sign of spring, a sign that children are about to be hugely distracted from the purpose of the walk.

"Mummy, what are they doing?"

Mummy, assessing the scene as quickly as possible, with her omniscient mind working overtime. (Because, as you know, in the eyes of a child, we know EVERYTHING.  No pressure, then...)

"Erm, I think they are putting a chimney liner in"

(Chimney cover was off, scaffolding was up, long thingy looked liked a liner....)

Aforementioned person doing the worked looks over and nods, smiling.



"That one up there is a man, and the one down at the bottom is a woman"  says a small person, very loudly, whilst Mummy hopes she is right, and hasn't just offended a girly looking young man.  Mummy checks for herself, and sighs with relief, realising small person is right.


10 minutes from home.  Only YARDS from home.  About 30 minutes after announcing departure.

Daddy drives into the street.

Pram gets retrieved.  Son joins the walk.  We make it out of the street.

It's lovely. Walking in a village.  Signs of spring all around.  Trying to keep small people from running onto the road.  Really relaxing.

Then, a tot sees something in the near distance.

"Mummy, a DOG - woof woof"

"Don't touch it unless you ask!"

Nice chat with villagers.  Awkward moment where they are talking to you like they know you, and you can't think how you know them.  Rapidly trying to remember who they are, whilst they talk to you, seeming to know all about you. (To be fair, family with 8 children is slightly more memorable than "woman with cute dog"....)  Thankfully, I remember, and conversation can become more intelligent. (PLEASE tell me I'm not the only one this happens to?!?) All the while, the children are stroking the lovely little dog, whilst the woman says "He has NEVER bitten anyone", as you hope it's not going to be famous last words, as your tot pulls its tail....

Crowning moment of the day, thus far.  Meeting someone you haven't seen for ages, and they ask "How do you manage to stay looking so YOUNG?"

In my mind, thinking, "you haven't seen my horrendous passport photo...."

Out loud, saying "you're SO kind....." whilst feeling totes awks.....

SHOULD I look older?

Maybe they actually think I'm, like, 52, and then looking 45 would be good?

Who knows...

It's kinda' like the "You don't LOOK like you've got 8 children", as someone said tonight, at the hairdresser, and I've heard SO many times before.  What does THAT look like?  The mother of 8?  Haggard?  Obese?  Stressed?  Grey?  Certifiably insane?

Who knows....

The walk turned out to be lovely.  No major incidents.  No loss of life.  No injuries.

Just lots of children, enjoying the outdoors, finding signs of spring.

(and looking JUST like her Grandma Cordle...)

"Mum, can you take a picture of me with these flowers", as child plunks down, on the wet, dirty grass, for a photo op...

Guess the skirt was going to need washing, anyway...

Oh, there WAS the moment when we walked along and a child asked

"Mummy, what's that building?"

"Ermmmm.... that's a SCHOOL."


Seriously, I need to educate my children better....


Then, we got back.

"Don't walk into the house with dirty shoes on!"

"Put your shoes and co..."

"In the cupboard.  Yes Mum, we know...."

And we were back.  Back from the walk.  It sounds so simple, right?

"Going for a walk".

Welcome to my world.

I vaguely remember the days when I would plan to do something, and immediately execute the plan with no complications.

But then, those were the days BEFORE children.

Would I want to leave these crazy moments behind, and go back to BC? - before children?


I said to Robert just last night,  being a parent of small children is not always easy. Sometimes it makes you feel like pulling your hair out.  Sometimes it's downright CRAZY! Sometimes a lot of the time, there's mess. But, always - ALWAYS - it's a blessing.  The best things in life often involve effort and are filled with trying moments.  They are totally worth it.  Totally.  And, it will pass. OHHHHHHH too quickly.  It already is. Too, too fast.

I could have stayed at home.  I could have given up.  I could have abandoned my plan.  But, then I'd never do anything with my little ones.  Life simply takes effort, and I like it that way.  You need to embrace the crazy, and go with the flow.

It's like OUR walk, with Jesus.  We can start off the day, hoping to walk well.  We have great plans, but plans don't always work out in our spiritual life, any better than they do in physical life. Distractions come.  We face difficulties and trials. We trip up and fall.  We struggle to find what we need.  But, at the centre of it all is our Father, helping us.  And, just like my walk today, we need to determine to walk that walk anyway, fighting through the things that would try and pull us down or distract us. We know our walk will bring us blessing and joy.  It will bring us a fresh understanding of God, and His greatness, and His goodness. It will bring us a renewed sense of God's provision and patience. Always worth it.

Walk, anyone?....


  1. I'm not sure what happened. I left a comment, but it didn't stick.

    I enjoyed reading this post. It was hilarious. It does sound very similar to our outings. Can't find shoes, can only find one, need socks, clothes mismatched (yes, my Abby would be the one), can't find coat, that's dirty, oh no one will see it...on it goes. But in the end, you get over it and smile and realized the moments build character...and patience.

  2. Love, love, love this post! It's true that life is often very complicated with small children but at least it's never boring!

  3. I completely relate to this as it could be describing my attempts to leave the house! Including the missing/small shoes. 😜 (But I only have four children to herd!)

    So encouraging after a day fighting exhaustion. And I didn't even go out today! 😏 Thank you!