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I’ll be running some guest posts from my real-life friends, relatives, and some online buddies, too, while I try to adjust to having three kids now! This one is from my friend Beth Moore. Yeah, I really wanted to publicize that Beth Moore is guest posting for me, but she’s not THAT Beth Moore. Still, she’s a fun gal and mommy of FOUR little boys!
For those of you who don’t know my background, I had two boys who were born 18 months apart. My husband and I figured our family was complete with the craziness that these two brought to our life. Then a series of unfortunate events occurred and forced me to rethink the decision.
We had one chance to try for another child before we made our family of four permanent, then I found out that we were indeed pregnant right before Thanksgiving.
I went to the OB/GYN for the regular eight week exam right before Christmas, and that’s when I heard him say “I see two.” Our life changed dramatically at that very moment.
Skip ahead to the birth of the darling twin boys, F and E. From the moment they entered this world, there was a huge amount of adjustment for everyone in our family. I had often heard that when you have two children, any subsequent children are fairly easy to get used to, I did not find this to be the case. Maybe it was the challenge multiples bring, but with any life change, there is a degree of growing pains that go along with it.
One thing I learned is that I was going to have to grow extra arms, fast! With one or two children, you have an arm for each child to comfort and cuddle. I spent many hours sitting on the couch, a baby propped in the Boppy pillow on either side, and a bottle in each hand (photograph below). For a time, I was also hooked up to a breast pump simultaneously (fortunetly, a picture of this does not exsist).
Meanwhile, the toddlers were running, jumping, and fighting in front of me. My legs and feet served as my extra arms and hands. If one child was about to fall, my legs would catch him in a scissor-like fashion. If one child was hitting another, my scissor legs would grab him as he ran past me. I wish I had a picture of this, because it had to look really awkward, but I didn’t have any other extremities to take one.
I also learned that I had to discipline them from this position because they discovered that they could take advantage of when I would get set up on the couch, and see their chance to misbehave. The discipline consisted of holding them in my leg scissors until I felt they had “served their time.” I called this method, “mommy jail” and it worked pretty well, not to mention it was a good work out for my calves!
If I wasn’t tied to the couch, I would have the babies set up in bouncy seats or swings on the floor. We would be in a corner of the room so the big boys couldn’t do sneak attacks from behind. I would also hold a small pillow in my hands in order to deflect any object that might fly toward us. Don’t get me wrong, the boys loved their baby brothers, they just got so wild trying to “entertain and play” with them.
In the early days we didn’t get out much, the biggest field trip the twins got to take was to drop off and pick up their brothers at preschool a few days a week. What a sight I must have been pulling into the closest parking space I could get with my mini van. Suddenly, both side doors and the trunk open and out comes one frazzled mother, two rowdy toddlers, and two crying infants. I would run around the back and pull out my lifeline, the double stroller. The only way to keep the older ones from fighting over who got to help was to have one go in front and pull and one stand back with me and push. It was up to me to make sure there were no casualties while we made our way to the classrooms.
The thing I truly was not prepared for, and probably never will be, was the amount of work that would be involved with having a lot of young children. I’m not even talking about the childcare itself, I am talking about all the things that go into maintaining the family. The laundry, dishes, food, and supplies; there was an abundance of all of it! I went from washing all the big boy’s clothing in one load, to doing about four times that a week. The amount of bottles, sippy cups, and dishes ended up being about two loads in the dishwasher a day. We would buy the twin’s formula in bulk, and the amount of milk I would bring home from the store would have justified having a milking cow in my backyard. The baby supplies that are a necessity with one child doubled with twins, and that included swings, bouncy seats, car seats, pack ‘n’ plays, high chairs, and exersaucers. I had this idea that I would have one bouncy seat and one swing, and they would take turns, but of course, even as infants, they always wanted to do what their brother was doing, thus the additional equipment was added. I really could go on about this, but I do think that could take up a whole other post (the pictures below can help to illustrate my point.)
The best thing about going from two kids to four is the amount of love and fun they share. Now that the twins are old enough to be able to run around with their brothers, games of chase have become a favorite pastime. I will see B1 showing F his leapster game or B2 “reading” a book to E.
Even from the beginning, the older boys have showered their little brothers with love. They were a great help to me by getting me supplies, taking wet diapers to the trash can, and making silly faces to get them to smile. A favorite game of the big boys’ was to “shoot hoops” with the babies’ wet diapers. After scoring points, they would run back and give the babies high fives (after they washed their hands of course.) In the mornings when I go to get the babies from their room, B2 insists on accompanying me and singing a “Good Morning” song to them. The twins have come to expect it, and run around with delight at the sight and sound of their beloved brother. B1 and B2 look forward to weekends and days off from school so they can play with them even more.
If you enjoyed a brief glimpse into my hectic life, then please read more posts on my blog Mama Moore Four. I wish Vanderbilt Wife the best of everything with adding her third child and pray the older two will help their family transition well. I have enjoyed guest posting, thanks for the opportunity!