We recently had some good friends of ours take a much needed vacation without their children. As any parents know, going on vacation without kids can be an incredibly restful and rejuvinating feeling. It can also be as rare as finding a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow – especially if you don’t have family nearby who love you enough to take your kids for a chunk of time.
Since our friends don’t, in fact, have family nearby, my husband and I offered to keep their four kids with us while they went on a cruise.
When I first offered back in September, it seemed easy. After all, when you have four kids, you’re already outnumbered – what’s four more? The answer to that is: eight. That’s eight kids. In case you were wondering, eight kids is twice as many as four kids. In our case, since their children are roughly the same ages as our children, it would be like having four sets of twins.
I’ll let that sink in for a minute.
Two 11 year olds. Two 7/8 year olds. Two 5 year olds. Two 2 year olds.
Suddenly this easy plan was looking a little bit more complicated.
I’m not sure how other dads would handle a situation like that, but I’d like to share with you the way my husband handled it. Below is a dad’s perspective of having eight kids for six days.
Captain’s log, Day 1, January 31st, year of our Lord 2018
Due to circumstances beyond my control, it seems that the crew has added four new younglings to its number for the foreseeable future. Because of this, my normal route home from my daily barterings has had to be slightly altered.
While the Queen Matron has loaded the four current crew members into the family catamaran to collect two of the younger new members, I have been tasked with the retrieval of the older two. Judging by the size of the building they needed to be picked up in, they seem to have been dropped off at some form of boarding academy. I can only hope they gain a decent education from this monstrous facility.
Due to a crudely drawn map, (I blame the cartographer) I think I found the proper entrance upon the third try. The doors were locked, but I viewed a young lass of middling age through the looking glass of the doors and upon my knocking she opened them up for me.
Knowing I may need some help, I flashed her my winningest grin and asked about after school care.
She was unimpressed with my devilishly good looks, and she did correct my grammar. “Do you mean Campus Kids? Yes, they are right down the hall.”
Looking down the length of the hall, I could see our two newest members, Red and X, waiting for me with much anticipation.
Not really. It was relayed to me later that Red was having a blast helping a Ms. Yolanda sharpen her pencils and check if her markers were still good. I suppressed the need to check for a fever and I wrote that off to poor parenting. Maybe she can be salvaged in the coming days.
X was doing Legos. That’s cool.
On the trip back to our living quarters, X and Red were in ever constant discussion. X was sharing his love of maggots and other fine crawling creatures as well as picking his nose and eating the freshly dug contents. Red mentioned the possibility of regurgitation in my truck. I politely asked her to refrain.
Upon entering our domicile, every single youngling was downstairs in the main living quarters. Every. Single. One. LG, Red, the Kyd, X, Blondie, Curly, Spunky, and Spaceman Spiff (Spiff for short). There was noise.
Queen Matron exiled them to the upstairs to play.
Spunky and Spiff have returned from their exile. Spunky brought a pink grocery cart with a baby doll in it. She is now feeding it a bottle. Spiff brought a bat. He is hitting everything in sight. The dogs don’t appreciate this change in atmosphere.
Cheers! It’s homemade pizza night in the galley!
Bad news. Several of the new crew members do not want pizza. The galley offered oranges. They were deemed acceptable.
After dinner all the crew members decided to work on their tumbling. Cartwheels and somersaults were most commonplace. (Blondie used her head to help us discover that the infirmary is extremely low on butterfly bandages – we will need to restock on our next supply trip.)
Bed time went about as well as can be expected, there were few tears and only a small amount of thumb sucking.
Sandra Samoska is a writer with a love for Jesus and a love for family. When she's not chasing around her four kids and doing all the things, you can find her writing about the ways God shows up in our every day lives.