Other days not spent running errands were enjoyed at home, following our comfortable routine. I have to admit, however, that I enjoyed the unexpected incidents that would arise in the course of just about every day. As I sat on the love seat double-breastfeeding Erin and Brandon one afternoon just before lunchtime, I enjoyed the perfect view of much of our fenced-in backyard as I looked out of a double window at the back of the family room. As I quietly fed the babies, I watched as Kathryn and Lauren ran and played with a couple of the neighborhood children. I suddenly noticed that Kathryn had decided to play on her own with a small young tree directly in my view. It still had its wooden support stake tied to its thin trunk. As she began to pull on the tree, I noticed how it bent. It began to bend further and further as she pulled, and I could see that Kathryn was apparently enjoying what impact her strength had on the little powerless tree. “Kathryn, stop pulling on the tree,” I said to myself, which prompted Brandon and Erin to look up from under the rise of my breasts as if to say, “W-what was that, Mom?” As Kathryn continued to pull, I had the growing feeling that I should stop nursing, put the babies down, and run to the window and knock loudly to distract her, but could I move fast enough? “Kathryn, STOP pulling on the TREE!” I said as my voice began to rise, wishing to somehow telepathically convey my demand to my daughter outside. “KATHRYN, STOP PULLING ON THE—” SNAP! The little tree split in half. Of course, all of this happened in a span of about forty-five seconds. I unlatched my babies one at a time and gently placed them down on the floor. As I stood back up, shaking my head in disbelief, biting my lip to stop from laughing, I felt terrible for my baby tree, and wished I’d been able to prevent its demise. Fastening the hooks on my nursing bra and lowering my rolled-up shirt, I walked to the back door, opened it, and shouted, “No one go near the broken tree! Kathryn, come in this house!” Wanting to prevent any children from hurting themselves on that now deadly splintered tree stump, I retrieved a hand saw from Bruce’s tool chest, and soon found myself out in my backyard sawing away at the wood at ground level so as to remove the dangerous stump that could be fallen on or tripped over. Now having removed any possibility of injury to the other children, I picked up my saw and went back in the house to finish nursing my babies.
One morning while at a well-child visit, our pediatrician gave me lab orders to have routine blood work run on Kathryn and Lauren as part of their five-year checkup. We left the doctor’s office and headed to the recommended lab located near the beach. When we arrived, I carried in the lab order sheet for both girls, both baby car seats holding newborn Erin and Brandon, and instructed Kathryn and Lauren to hold onto their sister’s hand and follow me into the building. Knowing that this appointment would prove quite traumatic for the girls, I tried to figure out how to best approach the task. The lab technicians were familiar with drawing children’s blood and knew it could get quite tricky, especially with two young children. I decided to have Lauren go first, believing that if Kathryn went first, Lauren would never have her turn. Unfortunately, Lauren didn’t take the procedure with much grace and had a complete meltdown. Kathryn, of course, witnessed the whole ordeal. When it came time for Kathryn to sit in the chair, she decided instead to make a run for it, and flew as fast as she could out the door, down the hall past the other waiting patients, and out the building door. Lauren, of course, ran after her. I shouted quickly, “Please, stay with my babies!” This request was made to the two lab techs I passed as I took off down the hall and out the door after my two daughters. Kathryn managed to run down the steps, around the building, and into a courtyard between that building and its neighbor before I caught up with her and Lauren. Panting, I grabbed both children by the hands and proceeded to march them back into the building, having left my two infants just sitting there in their car seats on the floor of the lab room. Eventually, after much coaxing and the promise of a treat afterward, Kathryn had her blood drawn, and all were more than happy to have that chore completed and scratched off of our to-do list.