August 9, 2015

4 Under 4!

I now have 4 kids under 4! My kids are ages 3, 2, 1 and newborn- all boys!

I've had people ask me if it gets easier. Well, labour definitely is not easier. This one was as hard as any of them if not more so because it actually lasted longer. I was over a week late and the doctors wanted to induce, so the day before I did everything I could to get things started including walking, getting a stretch and sweep, pumping and finally taking castor oil. I was probably the most tired I have been for any of the births and the last hour and a half was excruciating. But I lived as I have each time and consider the pain well worth the beautiful baby I now have. It doesn't take long to forget how painful it was.

On the other hand, I am a much more relaxed mother of 4 than I was of 2. I no longer infant potty train or do cloth diapers. I'm less concerned about having an exact schedule and go with a routine instead. On days the routine gets done and I still have energy, we go outside or do another "project" in our preschool. And on days I don't have energy, I consider it enough to at least have clean underwear or diapers on my kids and food in their bellies.

In some ways it is easier. Because they have each other to play with, they don't need me to play with or entertain them all the time. My 2 and 3 year old play well together and can do for themselves many things if I just instruct them. My 1 year old needs me to do a lot of things for him, but his needs are not so urgent so he can wait until I'm done taking care of the newborn. Of course, a newborn's needs are always priority and do take up a lot of time. But that would be the case no matter how many other kids there were.

I now consider it an essential part of my day for me to get a nap. I used to try to nap when I put the kids for naps in the afternoon, but they were not always so ready to nap and I would find myself getting very frustrated with them for not going to sleep so I could sleep. Plus, their routines didn't always coincide for them all to need naps at the same time. Instead, I've found it better to send them all to their beds with some books immediately after lunch and set an alarm. The only rule is that they have to stay in their beds until the alarm goes off. A short time like 15-20 minutes is something they can handle and I feel more refreshed after a short nap than if I had a longer one. As long as they're not overly rowdy, then I consider it fine for them to talk to each other from their own beds. This works pretty well. I am a much happier mom for having this short rest.

Kids are so precious and delightful. They are always learning and discovering something new to them and it is fun to be the one they want to share their wonder and excitement with. It could be a little bug they found or a truck they built out of lego or climbing up a jungle gym for the first time. Small things are so important to them and it's interesting to try to see things from their perspective. It is very upsetting when their brother breaks a lego structure they made or when their sandwich keeps falling apart when they're trying to eat it altogether. It's so easy to get busy with being busy (cooking, cleaning, etc.) and to always look forward to when the kids finally go to bed so I can have "me" time (or even just time to get things done that are more difficult to do when they are all around). As a stay at home mom, my job never ends. But I also have the delight of being able to watch my kids grow and being the one who knows them better than anyone else! If I just keep busy with my work, I lose out on the little joys that happen throughout the day, but if I take some time to spend with my kids engaging in what they are doing or even just watching them play, I can see their little worlds and appreciate their individual persons. I love my kids!

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