For the first five weeks of R’s life, Mr. December organized things so that I would have to do little or nothing in terms of taking care of K and N. He “mobilized our resources” and had grandparents and friends doing the school pick-ups, bathtime, and quite literally everything in between. Last Wednesday was the first day “off” with nobody but myself to take care of all three kids.
(Yes, I do have household help, but she’s been unwell and has been leaving around 1 p.m. everyday – precisely when K is home from school and all three need to be taken care of.)
To all those people who eyed my pregnant belly and my two young kids and said, “you’ll have your hands full!” I say, “you were right.” But there are different kinds of handfuls. My three kids are more like a handful of M&M’s than a handful of baby scorpions. Wonder of wonders, I love the time we spend, just the four of us. Last week we all went grocery shopping. I had two babies in the cart and K following me with her own little cart which we filled with groceries, seeing as my cart was full of babies. This morning I got everyone dressed, fed, and off to school. Seriously, I took N and R to the drop-in program at our local elementary school. We were there by 10:00, and that was after doing some laundry and cleaning the kitchen.
“I don’t know how she does it,” people might exclaim (mightn’t they?). But I know how. Two simple words:
I’ve developed a few guidelines for raising three children without losing my sanity:
1. Accept that at any given time someone will be crying. It might be me or it might be one of the kids. As Marlo Thomas told us all back in our childhood, it’s alright to cry.
2. Assume that it will take half an hour, or ten minutes per child, to leave the house. Dress and ready the kids starting with the least mobile one and ending with the most mobile but least responsible (i.e. the toddler).
3. Relax the household standards of dress. Pants are not strictly necessary. Reserve fussing over outfits for times when there are witnesses.
4. Remember that I asked (begged, entreated, prayed) for this. A house full of children is a blessing I used to think would never be mine. Hug and kiss the kids whenever they slow down enough to be caught.
Anybody else have some gems of wisdom to share? Like how to deal with potty-training regression without going back to diapers?