Now that my two oldest children are in school, I have the luxury of doing my shopping with just a toddler boy and baby girl. This is a relief not only because kids are super annoying in stores but also because walking around with four children under the age of eight attracts undue attention in these parts. For example, the week before school restarted, I was waiting in line at Costco with my four offspring (who were, amazingly enough, standing quietly next to my cart), when a passerby was shocked by the sight of us.
“Four?! Four?!” he exclaimed incredulously.
“Four,” I affirmed.
“Whoooooaaaaaaa!” he exclaimed before disappearing into the crowd.
“Whoa,” I said to myself.
The next day, my four lovely children and I were walking down the street when a man leaned out his window to shout at me.
“Are those all your children?!”
“Yes,” I answered.
“Oh, my gosh! I can’t even handle one child. How do you handle four?”
I would have told him the answer, but he drove away before I had the chance. Maybe he was afraid he’d get a lecture. He probably didn’t want to hear that he should read a book on time-outs or love or logic.
He needn’t have worried. I wouldn’t have wasted his time with such juvenile philosophies. In fact, in less than twenty seconds I could have told him the secret to parenting, which most people don’t discover until they’re on child number four. For some reason, most women have to go through childbirth four times before they discover the secret, which is this: Parenthood is composed of two essential parts. The first part is grocery shopping. The second is laundry.