During April 2018 I will be blogging about my memories as MOM OF 6 from A to Z . These challenge posts will also be found at Random Thoughts and Tender Mercies http://marcysrandomthoughts.blogspot.com/
Wednesday, April 4, 2018
Diapers and Driving
Two very important milestones in raising a child are graduating from diapers and learning to drive a car. With six kids in a family, that adds up to a whole lot of time dealing with both diapers and driving.
Diapers: Six kids means thousands of diaper changes. Dear Dad of Six changed some of the diapers, as did both Grandmothers and a variety of babysitters and even the older children, and I am grateful to each and every one of them. But the majority of the diapers were changed by none other than Mom of Six!
For our first baby shower, we asked for and were gifted a fair amount of birds eye cloth diapers. This was back in 1984 and even though disposable diapers were not brand new items, I was just graduating from College and DH was in his first full time job. We weren't dirt poor of course, but after pricing the cost of diapers, we decided that if cloth diapers had been good enough for our own baby bottoms, they were good enough for our children's bottoms too. So DS1 started out wearing cloth diapers. That lasted for about 2 months. We soon found that one huge drawback with our cloth diapers was that they were not nearly absorbent enough, even with doubling up and the use of plastic pants. I didn't really mind washing the diapers, but we didn't own a dryer, and keeping up with washing all of the outfits and bedding every single day and drying them all outside on the clothes line during the winter just was not going to work. I know that my mother and my grandmothers somehow made it work, and I'm sorry, but we switched to Pampers . . . or store brand or whatever disposable diapers would just keep the clothes and the bed dry through the night. Yes, we did soon get an electric clothes dryer, but I never turned back to cloth diapers. I apologize publicly to the world, but our family has made considerable contributions to the landfills of this country through the years. But, my babies clothes and bedding generally stayed dry throughout the night. I see the wonderful cloth diapers that are on the market today and think that if only we had such diapers back in the day . . . but then what is done is done. Right?
Driving: Yes, as Mom of Six I have spent countless hours driving my children to and from school, sporting events, dance classes, band practice, early morning seminary/religious classes, friends houses, shopping, delivering paper routes, etc etc. Most of the time I did not mind the driving. I enjoyed spending time in the car with my kids. The younger ones may not have enjoyed being dragged around to all of the events all of the time, but driving my kids where they needed to go was usually a pleasure for me, and it is something I miss now that they are grown. After all, I had a captive audience and fairly often we would have some pretty good conversations!
Eventually DS1 neared the age of 16 and signed up for Driver's Ed. The next year it was DS2, and then DD1. The Driver's Ed classes at the high school were mostly class instruction with a fair amount of behind the wheel instruction, but most of the behind the wheel practice was expected to be done outside of class . . . with who? Mom or Dad, of course. To be fair, I do believe that each of my children received more formal behind the wheel instruction that I did. I first learned to drive a tractor in the hayfield, driving about as fast as my siblings could walk from hay bale to hay bale and toss them onto the wagon. I logged quite a few hours of driving practice that way, and by the time I graduated to the family car, even though I was a fairly reluctant driver at first, I pretty much knew what to do. I think I only had about an hour of actual behind the wheel instruction from my own driver's ed teacher. Granted, I did live in a small farming community and the traffic was much different than the local traffic where my children have had to learn to drive.
I was also a rather reluctant driving instructor, but I did log many hours in the car next to teenagers practicing their driving. We would start out in the local church parking lot, slowly graduating to the fairly quiet neighborhood streets and the parking lots of the nearby community college, and then to the fairly busy major thoroughfare through our town. Yes, there were several mishaps. Yes I have been known to possibly raise my voice. Yes I know that I probably made the teenage driver next to me even more nervous than I was. But we went driving. Some were more persuasive than others and ended up clocking more time with me by their side. Yes, there have been others who have stepped up to help, including Dear Dad of Six and several other neighbors and friends and even paid instructors at different times with different children. And I am very very grateful to each and every one of them for assisting my children with this important milestone of their lives.