And you had three kids because...
The reaction I get after I tell people I have three kids under five is almost always the same – shock. Some of them say, “Wow, you must be busy.” Others wordlessly wonder why I did that to myself. I often feel compelled to explain our reasoning and convince them that no, I’m not crazy – we did this on purpose.
Some mornings I wake up to a quiet house, so peaceful before the little people wake up and start screaming in my face.
Other mornings I’ll awake to a four-year-old’s hot breath on my face, opening my eyes to see her creepily staring at me. “Mom,” she’ll whisper hotly. “I peed.”
Both types of mornings are great. I enjoy peace, of course, but I also relish in the joy of feeling needed by the little people we created.
On weekdays, I’ll head into the office to make the money to pay the bills to feed the family. It’s stressful, sure, but at least I’m dealing with adults.
On those same weeknights, I’m greeted with squeals of delight as my toddlers run full speed toward me for a warm embrace. Shane just looks up at me with his goofy little smile and giggles, like babies do.
Weekends are crazy. Brian and I will pile everyone into the van and take the whole crew to The Home Depot or Target. It’s a crapshoot, really, whether it goes either really well or really badly. Shane will ride in his car seat in one cart; Parker will sit in the kid seat (only after making a scene, screaming that she wants to walk). Alexa will walk beside her dad as he pushes a second cart, scooping up coffee pods and laundry detergent as they go. Shane, Parker and I trail behind or wait patiently at the end of a crowded aisle. On the way home we swing by McDonald's to pay out our good behavior bribes.
There are downsides to having three really tiny humans to manage, sure. When they all have the same head cold, for example. Or when they all poop at the same time. You start on the baby, then the two year old screams because – God forbid – you didn’t choose her first, all the while the four-year-old is walking through the house with her pants around her ankles yelling “I need help wiping!”
Yes, we did this on purpose.
Three kids always seemed like a good idea to us, as did having them back-to-back-to-back. What appealed to us about the quantity of children I’d have to haul around in my belly for exactly 117 weeks and two days was the increased probability that at least one of them would turn out normal. I’m not kidding, that was a big part of it.
The reason for the closeness in age stemmed from Brian and I sharing a get-it-out-of-the-way mentality. Once we’re done with diapers, we never have to start that stage again. Baby food? It will once be a thing of the past.
Looking back now, I know my logic was flawed, not because having three kids this close together was a mistake – that was the smartest thing we’ve ever done. It’s just the reasons why I thought it’d be great are exactly the reasons my heart breaks a little every day.
You see, I love the baby stage and all the nasty little diapers that come with it. My babies need me. They need our help to wipe their butts, kiss their boo-boos, open fruit snacks, feed them… everything. When those needs are met, I’m rewarded with happy smiles that melt my heart, wet kisses that simultaneously gross me out and give me butterflies, and a mutual desperation for love that can only be satiated by a good hearty snuggle.
I don’t want them to grow out of this amazing stage.
I’ll tell you one thing, I didn’t do it for the joy of pregnancy. Pregnancy was about as much fun for me as repeatedly punching myself in the face. I was sick as a dog with all three, and couldn’t stand the smell, look or taste of food. As soon as we had number three out of my womb – like that very minute – I took the necessary steps to ensure I’d never get pregnant again.
Uh… funny thing, though… I kinda wish I hadn’t tied my tubes. I know, crazy, right? If I didn’t do that, who knows when we might have stopped having kids!
Alas, we are a family of five, and chances look good we’re going to stay that way.
Here are some of my favorite things about having three tiny kids:
They’re close enough to to play together. There's a built in buddy system that makes parenting rewarding. We try to teach them kindness, and when they play nicely together, some of that hard work pays off.
The girls share a room, and they stay in it together. I think kids wander at night because they’re lonely, don’t you agree? Our girls have never wandered out of their bed – except a couple of times when we had a bad thunderstorm or a bathroom accident. But for the most part, bedtime isn't that difficult because they enjoy chatting before they fall asleep. And my theory is that they stay put at night because they find comfort in one another and don't need to wander.
They encourage one another to be brave. My younger daughter teaches my older daughter new tricks all the time. Whether it's trying new foods, going down the slide, or climbing things they shouldn’t be climbing on - they push each other to new limits. It’s fun to watch your kids grow into adventurous little souls.
They teach each other essential life skills. We taught Alexa how to brush her teeth. She taught Parker. One day, Parker will teach Shane. This, fellow mommies, is called workforce management.
It’s really quite wonderful, and I wouldn’t change it for a thing.