When my ninth child was born, every one was fourteen and under. That meant that everything, even ordinary tasks became huge productions.
Just to feed, clothe and house the eleven members of our family required energy, stamina and organization. Everyone had to co-operate because after dinner, dishes, kitchen clean-up, homework and homework help, lunches, bath time, story time and bedtime all begged for attention at the very same time.
Bath time, story time and bed time took a lot of creative problem solving abilities as well as a big investment of time. On bad days it became an assembly line. I would add hot water to the tub and the next little one would hop in and start playing as they waited their turn to be washed. Meanwhile I dried a little body , brushed hair and set up a tooth-brush for the clean child. They proceeded into the family room and dad would put on a diaper if needed and pyjamas, then cut finger and toe nails. The clean and groomed kid would hop up on the couch to look at books while waiting for a story.
Somehow with all this activity he never seemed to be able to get dressed.
While holding newborn Anthony over my shoulder and awkwardly putting lunches together with a helper, I’d repeat over and over, as calmly as I could,
“Daniel, please put your clothes on.”
Finally I came to my senses; there had to be an easier way to handle the morning Battle To Get HIM Dressed.
Inspiration hit. Daniel’s pyjamas were not all that different than the sweatsuits he wore to school. Why on earth did I not dress him in one of his school sweatsuits right after his nightly bath? It was ingenious, I thought.
After the first day though, I realised that I had overlooked one vital article of clothing the night before. As usual, Daniel was running up and down the kitchen but this time I was yelling,
“Daniel, please put your socks on.”
Yup, no task was simple but the mornings could be especially chaotic and seven- year old Daniel was the main contributor to the mayhem. He was full of energy and good humour but would express it by running up and down the kitchen in between eating, brushing his teeth, gathering reading books, exercise sheets and his lunch.