With six children under the age of thirteen, I am always looking for simple ways of doing things. The flaw to this philosophy, of course, is obvious: "With six children." You see, my path to simplicity is, well, complicated.
I first began thinking about this as I was scratching my kids' names into their new toothbrushes. You heard me correctly; I was scratching their names with a thumbtack into the more expensive, vibrating toothbrushes I refuse to buy more than once a month. It is the only way to know, after the first or, if I'm lucky, second time of using them whose is the only one properly rinsed and put away.
See the simple solution for brushing teeth? See the complexity? Scratching because permanent marker wears off too quickly. Vibrating toothbrushes because regular ones require more parental involvement to properly brush than I can give every single night. Just memorizing the colors I assign would only work if I had any brain cells left after 6 pregnancies. Without the scratched evidence, I would have six kids claiming they specifically remember putting their toothbrush away. Unlike King Solomon's solution, none of them care if I cut the thing in half either. Although, King Solomon couldn't have insisted the mothers share the lone baby until the end of the month when it would be replaced, so maybe I do have it easier?
Of course, the complexity of that simple solution is nothing compared to "the System for Rotation of Seat Assignments in the Suburban with Contingencies for Only One Parent and the Resulting Empty Front Seat and/or the Taking of Two Cars with Resulting Opportunity to Drive in Dad's Car." Actually, over the summer I had another kid turn twelve and the last kid leave the 5 point harness car seat for a booster and have yet to revise the system. Chaos has ensued, but I need a refresher course in linear algebra before I can figure out the new system. Still more simple than the brawl of letting them sit where ever they feel like. Because they all feel like sitting in the exact same spot. Which spot doesn't matter; if one wants it, they all want it.
Even making lunch involves a mountain of complexity. And a mountain of food, six kids eat A LOT! Take making the sandwiches. Who currently prefers mayo over Miracle Whip? Who will freak out if the mustard is forgotten? If it isn't left off? Whole wheat or white bread? Maybe they prefer instead peanut butter and jelly (or is it honey, or fluff)? Get an answer wrong and simple lunch turns into wasted bread and punishment for whining. Far more simple to remember the preferences before I make them then deal with the consequences of making them all the same.
Now at least you know the information my few remaining brain cells contain. No wonder there is no room for toothbrush colors.
If these things aren't enough to convince you of my ingeniously complex ideas to simplify my life, there's always my systems for wrapping Christmas presents* or hiding Easter Eggs. It takes roughly 1000 more hours of prep time, but prevents headaches and/or meltdowns on the actual day. Of and it is easier for the kids, too.
So if it looks like I have my household running smoothly (after you get your eyesight checked) I can assure you the behind the scenes of any simplicity is a system so convoluted it makes quantum theory look like child's play. It is simple, really, having a large family is complicated. Make sense? I didn't think so.
*I CAN'T BELIEVE I'VE NEVER POSTED MY SYSTEM FOR WRAPPING CHRISTMAS PRESENTS. IT IS THE MOST COMPLEXLY SIMPLE SOLUTION I'VE EVER COME UP WITH. LET'S SAY I'VE INVENTED THE WAY TO HAVE EQUAL NUMBERS OF PRESENTS WITH EQUAL MONEY SPENT ON PRESENTS AND WRAP THEM SO EVERY CATEGORY OF PRESENT HAS IT'S OWN WRAPPING PAPER AND EVERY CHILD HAS ONE OF EVERY SORT OF WRAPPING PAPER. IT SOUNDS MORE COMPLICATED THAN IT IS. ACTUALLY, NO, IT DOESN'T.