Friday, January 11, 2013

Six Is Greater Than Four Plus Two

Six is hard.  Really hard.  Kicking my butt hard.  It makes me want to make that face some days.

One was a breeze.  Bringing Grace home created almost no change in our lifestyle.  She was this adorable little companion that we could take anywhere.  She never cried in public, never wandered away, never tried to run out in traffic.  Easy Peasy!

Two was not such a big deal.  Haven was the easiest baby ever.  He also never cried, ate whatever you put in front of him, and slept through the night from the moment we brought him home.  Plus, he immediately became Grace's best friend and constant companion.  Our two little peas in a pod had each other and never needed us to keep them entertained.

Four was definitely a bigger change to our world.  Four kids makes you a lot less portable.  You have to plan for outings more strategically.  You have to pack a lot more stuff in the diaper bag for emergencies.  And Manny and JoJo were two tough nuts.  Manny cried pretty constantly for the first year and a half. JoJo starting climbing before he started walking.  And biting.  And throwing enormous amounts of food on the kitchen floor.  But in spite of all that, four was still very manageable.  Brian could still take all four to the grocery store by himself.  They were small and light and we could each carry two of them in a pinch.  Four still fit in a regular mini-van.

And then there were six.  Our sweet, amazing Kat and Louise joined us in May and as Brian says, we've pretty much been in survival mode ever since.  Every morning we have to hit the ground running. No sleeping in, no lounging around. JoJo wakes up at full volume.  Manny wakes up grumpy.  Four sets of diaper changes have to happen ASAP.  Six servings of breakfast food (that will mostly end up on the kitchen floor) must be distributed.  If we plan to leave the house, six wiggling, wriggling, screaming bodies must be combed, brushed, dressed, shoe'd. And the very moment that you get all the clothes on and you're ready to walk out the door, someone inevitably will need another diaper change (and this time it will be poopy).  Then Louise will have kicked off one of her shoes and Manny will be crying because JoJo hit him with a plastic toy car or Haven will be crying because Manny stole his orange blanket, or Grace will be crying because she doesn't want to wear pants even though it is only 35 degrees outside.  Then Louise will take off her other shoe and hit Kat over the head with it (Louise and JoJo are definitely cut from the same cloth) and Kat will begin to wail louder than anyone else in the house (she sort of has a flip top head and can let out a scream like nobody's business).

Then there's the 20 minutes it takes to load the maxi-van (that includes the time waiting for Haven to go back in and use the potty after you have already buckled him in his seat). Then there's the meltdown that Manny will have in the grocery store parking lot when there aren't any race car shopping carts left.  Then there's the restaurant we want to have lunch at but they don't have a table big enough for eight or 4 high chairs with functioning safety straps.  Then there's the daily nap time war.  Then there's the 72 loads of laundry that have to be folded before nap time is over or they'll end up getting mixed back in with the dirty laundry on the floor, then there's the.....

Six is hard.

Things could be much harder.  Louise and Kat are very easy going girls.  No baby has ever been more affectionate than Louise and Kat really never fusses unless she has actually been wounded by a sibling or her bottle has been stolen.  Manny is down to just a few meltdowns a day and we have taken most of the furniture out of the house that JoJo could climb.  Grace and Haven are old enough to start chipping in and doing chores well enough that we don't have to go back and redo them.

**Amusing anecdote--the other night it was Grace's turn to sweep the kitchen after dinner and she was not enjoying it one bit.  She said to me "Mama, I am going to be a doctor."  I told her that was wonderful and her old mama would definitely need a doctor in the family.  "So, if I am going to be a doctor, why is Daddy making me practice being a servant!!!"  Apparently we have seen one too many princess movies :)

I know that there is a light at the end of the "survival mode" tunnel.  I know that probably within the next year, all four of my Littles will be potty trained.  I know that within 2 years every single person in our house will be dressing themselves, feeding themselves, walking to the car by themselves.  I know that within 3 years my children would all be old enough to appreciate Disneyland (we won't be able to afford it, but dreaming about it is nice)

Six is harder than 2 and 4, but in spite of all the really, really hard times, six is really, really great. 

Wonder what seven would be like?

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