Jon & Kate Plus 8 and other ramblings
I Tivo Jon & Kate Plus 8.
I used to think it was way too stressful to watch.
Then I developed a morbid fascination with it.
Now I can watch it, cringe, and laugh.
In case you have no idea what I'm talking about, it's the reality show with the parents who had a set of twins and then sextuplets. I only have one 3 year old and twin 4 year olds (newborn is not included in this since she's still in the potted plant stage). Knowing what life is like with that many children at approximately the same stage developmentally, I watch in awe as Jon and Kate handle SIX 3 year olds and twin 6 year olds--actually, they're all a year older now, but still...
I have always said I wouldn't compare my situation to having triplets because there are mothers of triplets out there who know just how untrue that statement would be. I had a whole year before I added a third to the mix, so I'm not going to insult them by suggesting we're the same because I had it MUCH easier.
But when they're all 2 and 3 years old, there doesn't feel like much of an age difference. It feels like juggling cats--very spastic, fast cats who are trying to get away from you. And there's a mob mentality involved. I felt that was true even when just the twins were conspiring to do something "interesting," "creative," or "fun." Christel, can I get an "Amen!" ????
When you have multiples, you don't always have the benefit you would if you had children of staggered ages because (hopefully) if your children are spaced apart, at least one has the ability to use self restraint, better judgement, or at least can tattle before something goes terribly wrong. Unfortunately, that's not always the case, which brings me to my next point before talking about Jon and Kate.
I never watched the nanny shows too regularly when they first came out because Ironman can't stand them. I can see his point because it's stressful to watch a house full of someone else's screaming, bratty children. This summer I have started recording them and watching all of the old episodes when Ironman is not around.
There's a distinct pattern--especially on Nanny 911. There are usually 4 or more children, and it seems that a majority of the time there are twins or triplets involved.
Another requirement seems to be getting the mother on tape screaming, "I'M DONE!" as she is on the verge of collapse.
And finally, there's always a husband who comes home from work, parks his butt in front of the t.v., and does nothing to help.
This brings me back to Jon and Kate. That man is a saint in my opinion. If he's home, he's involved. I realize there are a lot of dads like him, but according to Nanny 911 there are still a lot of dads who have a 1950's mentality. Ironman is kind of a 1950's dad. I feel it's safe to mention that because if he were embarrassed by it, he wouldn't do it. He plays with the kids and most definitely adores them, but any weekend time we get with him or help I get around the house feels like I'm having to ask him for a favor.
He works outside of the home. I work inside the home. That's where our responsibilities lie. End of story. Obviously it's that way because Ironman makes it that way. If I had any say in it, we'd do this parenting thing together on a regular basis. Ironman would defend this saying he's a manual labor worker, not some dad who sits behind a desk all day in an air-conditioned building. He doesn't have the energy to come home and help or do things on weekends because he gives 200% on the job so that (hopefully) some day he'll be promoted to a better position in the company. That last sentence is true, but I still wish he'd only give 150% at work so that he could have something left to give to his family.
I say all that because I can't believe the expectations Kate has of Jon. I think she takes him for granted. I was watching an episode today where Jon was filling sippy cups, styling the girls' hair, and keeping the kids out of his wife's way while she was trying to cook in the kitchen. And the WHOLE time she was complaining that he was having an "off day" because he wasn't helping enough. WHAT???? That man is always scrambling around dealing with kids as well as a full list of her other demands to check up on this, that, and the other. Have you ever seen an episode where he was home and not as involved in chores or taking care of children as Kate is?
Of course, he IS being filmed. And he does have an air-conditioned desk job. Also, I can't imagine many men would be horrible enough to not help their wife who is a stay at home mom of sextuplets and twins. As much as I admire the tight ship Kate runs and how organized she is, I fear that her constant criticism of a man who is definitely pulling his own weight with the kids is going to destroy their marriage. I hope not. Their lives are incredibly stressful....which finally brings me to the part of the show today that made me laugh because I could soooooooooo relate.
It was the episode where they were all in a furniture store picking out bunk beds for the sextuplets. Kate always has the desire to get her kids out of the house and involved in the world just as if there were only one of them. I'm not that way at all. I'm raising hermits because I know good and well we're not normal. I don't take my kids anywhere by myself unless I know it's a very controlled situation where I can escape quickly if things aren't going as planned. I'm not as bad as I used to be since the kids are getting older, but I would still never take them anywhere that I had to concentrate on a major decision involving thousands of dollars.
So Kate is looking for REALLY sturdy bunk beds, and the conversation arises about how destructive the sextuplets can be. Jon said the sextuplets have destroyed libraries worth of books, and Kate said, "it's not that any one of them singly would do it , its just the group of them descending upon things" and she did this gesture with her hands that I can't even described. It was kind of like monster claws grabbing something, and I COULD SOOOOOOOOOOOO RELATE!!!!
It felt SO good to hear someone else put into words what I've always felt and that I describe as mob mentality. People used to be mortified hearing the stories of my 3 toddlers and what all could go wrong in such a short period of time. They sounded like total heathens, and THANK GOD they've matured and outgrown it, but I always knew in my heart that singly, they wouldn't do the things they were doing (at least for the most part). It has to do with the sheer number of children matched with them all being developmentally at the same stage that is a recipe for disaster. I've never been successful getting that across to anyone without sounding like I'm making excuses for children who simply lack discipline. I felt so vindicated when I heard Kate express what I had always felt. It probably won't hit anyone else the way it hit me, but boy did it make my day today!!!
If you've been a reader of this blog for a couple of years, you've probably noticed I don't have a lot of kid stories left other than what can come out of their mouths. I used to have daily/weekly horror stories of how the house was destroyed within a matter of seconds thanks to toddlers who got out of their duct taped diapers, etc. My blog is not nearly as funny now, but I'm really grateful for that.
It can still be overwhelming. They still drop crumbs all over the rug. They can drag toys out of their rooms and into the living room in no time flat making it appear as if I never clean, but at least there's no poop in the toy microwave. There's no meat on the ceiling. When I walk past picture frames, I no longer find dried on apple sauce. The toilet paper no longer has to be locked up. Neither do the toilet lids for that matter. The potty chairs have been put away for a couple of years. I can understand the speech of 3 of the children (most of the time).
I continue to hear that it just gets harder when they get older, but for now it feels like a total relief to only have one child completely dependant upon me. Speaking of...she calls. Later!