Today was one of those days. You know, the kind your mother warns you about. For no discernible reason, the babies were cantankerous all day. There was A LOT of screaming coming from the walls of our home and I didn’t seem to have the power to harness it. I exhausted my bag of tricks by noon. I even resorted to reviving our old dancing, singing Elmo doll. He appeased the babies for a moment, then they screamed over who could touch it. Afternoon nap could not arrive soon enough. At 2:00 pm central time, all babies were in their cribs for nap. Peace flooded our home for exactly 45 minutes and then, more screaming. When I say screaming, I don’t mean just a little fussing. I mean blood curdling, irate stuff complete with red faces and sniveling noses. Clearly, these babies woke on the wrong side of the crib today.
While the babies noshed their afternoon snack of graham crackers and milk, I decided they were getting their evening bath immediately after snack. Baths are relaxing for adults so I figured a bath could calm babies too. This was going to be a fun bath too. I whipped up a batch of tub paints from a recipe I found online. Then, I drew warm bathwater while the babies finished the last of their snack. They were all safely contained in the quad table so I was unconcerned. I was gone approximately one minute, and that’s all the time it took for Harper to reach to the center of the quad table and grab the box of cornstarch used to make the paint. He dumped the entire thing all over himself. A pile of snowy white matter caked his eyelashes, hands, arms, and lap. The other three babies stared at him in awe and envy as he happily spread cornstarch everywhere.
At that moment, I wanted to throw a tantrum, but contained myself. I fouled up and left cornstarch within his reach. Mommy fail. Harper seemed to be having a grand time with a little messy sensory play so I decided his siblings might as well join him. After all, the mess was already made. I did, however, strip the other three down to their diapers to preserve their clothing. For a solid 20 minutes there was not a single scream and the babies were enthralled in the mess before them. I knew it was going to be a real beast to clean up, but the calm was totally worth it.
Once the babies became bored and antsy, it was time for the bath I prepared. The problem: I was alone and had four babies covered in cornstarch. How on earth could I transport them from the kitchen, through the den, down the hall and into the bathroom without making a trail? I certainly wasn’t letting them loose, and I couldn’t well take them one at a time and plop them in the tub. I recalled Harper’s “happy place”, aka a laundry basket. I snagged an empty laundry basket from the laundry room and piled all four into it, then took them on a ride to the bathroom. They loved this adventure and didn’t scream a bit. They did, however, let me know they weren’t all keen on the bath thing. I scrubbed them down as fast as I could manage and started piling them out one by one. By the time I got to the third baby, it was getting really cramped in the bathroom and babies were getting into mischief. Did I mention that Harper knows how to unroll toilet paper, flush the toilet, and open the step trashcan? He does.
For my sanity, I ushered Mason, Harper, and Rylin out of the bathroom, shut the door and planned to quickly dress Sydney without interruptions. I figured it would take under 30 seconds to do this. Then I heard it. A loud, foreign clang. I listened intently trying to make sense of it. I knew it was coming from the front of the house, which is off limits to babies. I snapped Sydney’s onsie and darted to the kitchen where three babies encircled Lily’s dog bowl and enjoyed a buffet of kibble. Seriously? They are becoming finicky eaters these days and they want salmon sweet potato kibble? I’m not entirely sure what happened in the remaining hours before George returned home, but I have hazy memories of sweeping, dinner miraculously being prepared, and an Elmo DVD.
Each day, the five of us look forward to George’s return from work, but today I was exceptionally excited to see him. The babies were thrilled with his homecoming perhaps just as much. Once all four babies were safely tucked into bed I invented a cocktail I’ll affectionately call, “The Screaming Quadruplets”. It’s a light beverage, but is a nice way to unwind if you’ve spent a day with screaming quadruplets (or screaming babies in general).
Better luck tomorrow.