You can easily pick her out in a crowd, a mother of many children... She:
1. Cranes her neck around a lot, counting heads. If she's at a gathering without her children, she'll count everyone else's out of habit.
2. Very often appears to have lost something. Ducks under tables at the last moment before leaving restaurants -- looking for daughter's lost purses, sons lost action figures, babies lost pacifiers, etc.
3. Repeats everything at least twice (sometimes three or four times) to make sure everyone has heard and understood. Unfortunately, if the children aren't around, a multi-mom still does this, or has to bite her tongue to keep from doing it.
4. Wears multi-colored prints to hide spots of spit up, stains from juice squeezed out of juice boxes, and waist-high, sticky, messy fingerprints.
5. Carries a very large purse. Or if she has a small one with her, you can bet she has a humongous one in the car. May have one shoulder lower than the other from carrying this large purse.
6. Often has one hip lower than the other from carrying toddlers around most of her adult life.
7. Can do anything one-handed -- quickly and expertly -- from purchasing and paying for emergency animal crackers for the toddler on her hip -- to cooking, serving, and eating Thanksgiving dinner with an infant balanced on her shoulder.
8. Navigates, with precision through the seats of restaurants, theaters, and church pews, rearranging her children (and sometimes other people's) so that no two trouble-makers are sitting together.
9. Goes through a litany of names before hitting the right one -- and, while often (if not always) mistaking children's names, and even skipping generations (calling a daughter the name of her sister, for instance), she never jumps out of gender. Anna is never mistakenly called Dominic; Jon is never called Theresa. And this Mommy, at least, has never called anyone by the dogs' names. Yet.
10. Can occasionally be spotted batting children's prayerfully folded hands off the tops of pews during Mass, because she's just noticed that she missed checking little Hubert's fingernails before leaving home.
11. Really does not hesitate to spit on Kleenex to clean her child's face in public -- even if it's at his college graduation.
12. Backs out of driveways, hitting the brakes spastically, while darting furtive eyes out rear-view mirrors and swiveling to look repeatedly over her shoulder, because she fully expects that there's a bike, a, dog, a chicken, or a child behind her on the driveway somewhere -- even if she checked thoroughly before she got in the car.
13. Buys storage containers compulsively. There's always something that needs storing away -- for the next child, the next meal, the next season, the end of the world, whatever....
14. Reads minds and sees out the back of her head. QED: Knows instinctively when the children in the far back seat of the van are being sereptitiously rude and can, while keeping her eyes on the road, flick an empty baby bottle back-handed behind her over the heads of the passengers seats in-between, hitting her target, while delivering an equally well-aimed lecture on the virtue of charity.
15. Knows who didn't come down to the computer just now to kiss her goodnight because they're up to something -- and who kissed her two times because they're stalling. (I do know who you are, you know, kids.... Love ya' anyway.)