EicherEicher (my college roomie who was almost common law) gave me some sound advice. She told me to determine a game plan to follow any time these situations present themselves, because trying to do it all at once will only result in no one being nurtured. She went on to say that she had read somewhere that you should go to your oldest first, because she will remember and the younger ones won't. We both decided we would stick to that game plan, since we didn't really have any other ideas.
I've gotta say, it has really worked out for me so far---well, except for just once. Last week on a family walk, I started to ponder the wisdom of my ways. The Furry Ones were on leashes, The Baby was in the stroller, The Big Girl was on her bike with training wheels, and The Taller Ones were walking. Everything was going along as usual. "Wow. You've got your hands full!" "I have a hard time with just my beagle." And, the usual stares. Then, a situation presented itself when I had to choose who to nurture. I went with the game plan: the oldest one.
The One On The Bike (the oldest one) started to lose her balance, and the bike started to tip over. So Queen Nurturer swooped in and grabbed the bike in one hand and her baby who is now her big girl in the other. Feeling rather proud of my accomplishment, I turned to see The Other Tall One and The Two Furry Ones chasing the stroller down the street. I'm starting to think in *this* situation maybe I should have held onto the stroller...I don't know. Something to ponder.
I'll get back to you on a revised game plan, but for now I'm just going to be content with the situations when I don't have to choose, those moments when everyone is happy. :) Like this one: