When you're going to have to do something unpleasant with a lot of little kids, it's really key to know ahead of time that it's going to suck.
Exhibit A: My plane trip with all four boys to Little Rock by myself. I thought it was going to be no big deal. It was horrific. See "The Rocky Horror Southwest Show" here.
Exhibit B: Today's experience at the DMV.
I knew that dealing with the DMV was going to suck, so I decided to go this morning while the three big boys were at VBS. Anytime you mentally calculate how long that should take, multiply by four. The boys had VBS from 9-12. In any reasonable version of the universe, three hours would be plenty of time to get a new license plate and drivers license. Unfortunately, it was not a reasonable experience. First, while there is a Texas Department of Motor Vehicles and with google you can find an address for DMV, there is no DMV building. You have to go to the courthouse for your license plate and to a separate building, the Department of Public Safety, for your driver's license, because you know, it would make no sense to offer both those services in the same building. I made it through the license plate exercise and got an hour into the driver's license experience when I realized I was not going to finish in time to pick up the boys. While holding a sleeping baby for an hour in a government office sucks,* it's even worse when you realize you're going to have to come back with a cranky baby and three more kids. Knowing ahead of time that it's going to be horrific is really helpful, though. You can warn the kids ahead of time that it's going to be dreadful. More importantly, you can bribe them preemptively in the privacy of the car which is (a) much more effective (offering a bribe after they've started whining is really going to bite you in the butt in the long run) and (b) way less embarrassing than doing it in public. So, we all survived the experience. Things didn't get ugly until we left the big waiting room, so about 10 strangers were witnesses instead of about 100.
Here are the big guys in that fragile state before things started to take a turn.
*Okay, I actually love holding Rand while he sleeps. He's my baby, and I probably only have a few more months of getting to do that.