1. The sound of the shower head being turned on is a clear and universal signal for extreme pandemonium. It does not matter if the whole reason Mom was getting in the shower was because all children were either happily occupied, or blissfully asleep. Oh no - regardless of their pursuits prior to Mom being wrapped in a towel (or actually dripping with water), once she is in that state she had better hustle.
For example: During my shower today: Taylor woke up screaming from her "nap" (15 minutes into it!), Lena decided to bite Canaan, and Canaan realized her world would collapse if her hair was not styled for the day in the next 2 minutes. Thankfully, I have learned how to shower swiftly (Courtesy of a father who would turn off the hot water if we exceeded our time limit; and a husband who has trained me in the art of the "boot camp" shower). Enjoy those long showers/baths now.....I hear I will get to take my time again one day....but at the moment my one shaved leg testifies now is not that time.
2. The sound of Mommy saying "hello" on the phone is a clear and universal sign for pandemonium. Yes, I am aware I am somewhat repeating myself - but it doesn't matter. I have gone and locked myself in the laundry room for a few moments (after making sure the children would be safe of course! Loud, but safe.) so I could sound like I wasn't running a zoo while talking to our bank.
Yesterday we were driving along and everyone was amazingly quiet - Lena was calmly humming "Give thanks to the Lord," Canaan was working on her imaginary laptop with her pretend cellphone jammed between her shoulder and her ear consoling someone, and Taylor was sleeping. I thought (incorrectly) that would be a perfect moment to call the dentist office to move Canaan's appointment. Literally the moment they picked up the phone - Lena kicked the seat, which made Canaan drop her phone, Canaan yelled at Lena, Lena started crying, Taylor woke up, Taylor started crying, and I just hung up the phone. Word to the wise - lower the number of minutes you have on your cell phone. You won't be able to use it.
3. Your off-hand remarks you don't want the children to hear will not only be heard, but repeated. Constantly. Everywhere. Speak carefully.
Here goes my embarrassment... the other day the lone male of our home did a stereotypically manly thing and followed it up with "Oh. There's my butt trumpet." (I laughed too - go ahead) Unfortunately, our 3 girls were climbing on him at the time of the comment and they thought it was HILARIOUS. So - every time they pass gas they say, "Hmmmm, I trumpeted!" Or, "Was that in tune?" Or, "My butt trumpet is very loud." (Yes, yes, I know it is indeed funny) It wouldn't be so horrible if they just said it at home - but they say it everywhere! And my girls have some stomach issues....so they say it a lot. Looks like people will be warning their children NOT to hang out with those Poitevint girls!
More will be added to this list later....do you have any of your own??