This is what it is really like to be married with three children
Evening is not our family's finest hour (neither is the morning, leaving us with a slim window of mid day in which we can be expected to behave agreeably, but that's another story). By 8pm, tempers run high on all sides. Everyone is tired. Everyone is fed up. The grown-ups in the house have been parenting since the wee hours and they really want the kids in the house to go the fuck to sleep so they can catch try to refuel physically and emotionally because guess what -- they have to do it all over again tomorrow -- but the kids really don't want to go to sleep, for reasons that are unfathomable.
Plus, there's the mess. After dinner, our living room looks like a pack of wild animals descended upon it. Really. It looks like instead of feeding children, we fed hyenas or some other kind of animal which eats by lowering its mouth into a trough or a carcass, without the use of hand or paw. It doesn't help that the baby invariably throws her food all over the room like she's an avant guard artist or a bat-shit crazy inmate. She'll overturn a bowl of yogurt, shove a few handfuls (how does one manage a handful of yogurt, you may ask? About as well as you'd imagine) then throws whatever yogurt she's managed to collect in her palm onto the wall and floor and on her siblings. I keep taking yogurt away from her -- "You're suspended from semi-solids until further notice!" - but then she'll undertake a food strike that will scare the crap out of me, forcing me to cave, just to get a few swallows of something in her. Blueberries, beans, wagon wheel pasta -- whatever she's got on her high chair tray, she tosses to the ground. She does it methodically, too, one berry at a time, but fast, like she's got a deadline -- which she does, because as soon as I see what she's doing, I confiscate all food items.
The point is: at 8pm, we are up to our ankles in filth and crankiness.
Still, one must go on living, is my guess. So the other night, I decided to take a break from chasing Terza around trying to change her nasty-ass diaper, and offer a kiss to my husband, my partner in crime, my partner in punishment, who was mopping up a milk spill. I walked over and said, "Come give me a kiss."
And he said: "Blegh."
"David!" I rebuked him.
"What?" he asked, realizing the milk was cascading onto the floor from the countertop.
"I just said, 'Give me a kiss,' and you said, 'Blegh!"
"It's just -- look at this shit," he gestured to the living room, which looked like a middle school cafeteria after a food fight.
"Blegh!" I repeated, "Blegh!"
"I didn't mean the kiss!" he protested, "I meant . . . everything else."
"We are so married with children," I said.
"That's putting it mildly." he replied.
Then he gave me a kiss, and we lived to stay married another day.
Nicole is a parenting writer who contributes essays and articles for magazines like Parenting, Parents, American Baby and Babble. She lives in Brooklyn with three children, one husband and a morbidly obese goldfish.