Let's just take a pause from all this Christmas business. All Christmas all the time is getting to be a bit much! Don't you agree? Great. Back to regular everyday life stuff.
Everyone is telling me that having 4 kids is no harder than having 3 kids. In fact our pediatrician walked into my hospital room the morning after I delivered Hannah and declared to me in a very authoritative voice that once you can handle 3 kids then you might as well have 10! And I really hope all these kind souls are telling the truth and not just stringing poor pregnant me along. (Not that I plan on having 10 kids! I am DONE. And I mean that...I know all my friends don't believe me. But I really mean it this time.) I kinda, sorta feel like I have a handle on this 3 kid thing lately. Maybe. Although please don't ask my parents about how I am doing handling 3 kids...they might tell a very different story:)
But that's not to say raising 3 kids is easy. And it definitely did NOT come naturally to me. This constant division of my time and attention. It's a great big balancing act that is perpetually one child-sized disaster from falling apart. And I distinctly remember the moment when I realized just how challenging it is to care for 3 young children. The moment I realized I was in WAY OVER MY HEAD but had no option but to keep swimming. That 3 small people depended on me to keep treading.
It was a beautiful fall day. Hannah was probably only about 6 weeks old. Charlotte would have been 2 years old (and newly potty trained!) and Isaiah was 5 years old. The kids and I had spent the morning at the botanic garden with a friend and her son. Isaiah at the time was in afternoon kindergarten so as we left the garden I was (in my head) figuring out how we would get him fed and to school on time AND find time to nurse the very hungry baby. At the last minute I decided a picnic in the park close to Isaiah's school was our best solution. (I had packed a lunch just in case we were short on time...we were:)
So there we were. Sitting in a gazebo on a gorgeous day. Enjoying our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The "big kids" were chatting happily and playing with a few fallen leaves around them. I was eating and nursing Hannah. All was right in our world...
And then Charlotte made the announcement that changed the trajectory of our morning rather quickly. "I have to go poopy!" It went from peaceful and quiet to chaotic and loud in a blink of an eye. See there was no restroom at that park. But I had a potty chair in the back of my van! (Yes, that's how you roll when you have a gaggle of small children:) BUT my van was parked all the way across the park and down the street. It was a good distance away. Too far for a newly potty trained two year old to hike while trying NOT to go poopy.
So I did the only reasonable thing I could think to do. I scooped up Charlotte in one arm and started RUNNING towards the van...with the baby still firmly nursing in my other arm. As I ran I yelled back to Isaiah to "keep eating and stay there!! I will be right back!" And prayed he would listen. By the time we reached the van both girls were screaming. I was short of breath, hot, sweaty and only somewhat covered on my top half. And Charlotte had unfortunately NOT held it long enough.
To say the least we were a mess! And making quite the scene I am sure. I don't remember how I managed the situation after that point. Somehow we were all fed, cleaned, calmed down and arrived at Isaiah's school on time that day. But what I do remember is that is THE MOMENT I realized having 3 kids is far more crazy and chaotic and messy and loud and exhausting and challenging and...and...and...than having 2 kids. It was that beautiful, messy fall day in 2012 when I realized I was completely and utterly in the motherhood trenches for better or for worse. That having 3 kids is NOT the same as having 2 kids. That I had far less control over my life than I would want, but more importantly I also realized that I absolutely LOVE the chaos and responsibility of raising 3 children. I wouldn't have it any other way.
So whether everyone is telling me the truth or not about life with 4 kids, it doesn't matter. The truth is I like my life a little messy and out of control. I like the challenge. These kids are worth it. Who needs calm and quiet anyways?! It's overrated.