(note: I couldn't find an image to fully illustrate the level of chaos appropriate to this post, so as you read, just use your imagination. I bet you don't even come close.)
Last night Chris's sister and her husband had an office party, and his parents were also going out and therefore unavailable to babysit, so we vounteered to watch their two little girls, both of whom are younger than Ellie. The girls all play really well together; in fact, Abbie and Ellie are close enough in age to be good friends, and she hero-worships Vicki and Lexi. Baby Savannah is just cute and loved by all. So everyone played really well, aside from the few normal scuffles. But Savannah flat-out refuses to drink a bottle. It's a lucky day if you can coax more than half an ounce into her, so about the time the rest of us were ready for dinner, she was screaming for it. I got everyone else dinner while Chris tried (actually quite successfully) to calm the baby down, and then I took over so he could eat. And then he took over again so I could eat. It's nice to be able to tag-team. But once dinner was over, the entire upstairs looked like a bomb had gone off. Taco fixings and semi-finished plates were all over the kitchen, and the living room was carpeted with matchbox cars, marbles, blankets, play dishes, and teething rings. It was quite a sight to behold and I was grateful that my mother-in-law was not around to witness the destruction of her home.
So we resorted to that age-old, tried and tested method: bribery. We told the girls they could watch a movie before bed if they got the living room cleaned up. And like the whirlwind of destruction that had previously torn its way through the house, they made small work of it. They actually cleaned up. There may still be cars hiding out in corners, and I'm fairly certain there are at least three marbles under the couch, but the living room was picked up in record time and Emily came home to put Savannah out of her misery, so we turned on Wall-E for the second time in as many nights and the girls curled up with their fleece blankies (and Abbie's "boo bankie") and we "watched" the movie. I say "watched" for two reasons. One, because we'd all watched it the night before and it didn't have quite the same pull, and two, because Ellie and Abbie kept up a running commentary the whole time: "Who's that?" "What's Wall-E doing?" "He's so silly!" "What's Eve's sound?" "She shooted Wall-E!" "What's happening?" "I love you!" It was hilarious.
And it was pure craziness. Five little girls under the age of 9...I know there are people who do it, but for the life of me, I can't figure out how. One night was enough for us!