Posts Tagged "Life With 3"

Looking Back

Posted on Jan 4, 2012 in Featured, Parenting | 1 comment

Looking Back

Last year at this time I was in the middle of my third trimester of a surprise pregnancy. I wanted to spend the last week of 2010 reflecting on the previous year and anticipating the next. I wanted to choose a word of the year. But I just couldn’t get past anticipating how the new baby would change our lives. All I could think about/plan for was the upcoming birth and my fears/excitement about becoming a family of five. I felt like I had just boarded a roller coaster and well, a roller coaster isn’t the best place to write in your journal or have a strategic planning session. I let the planning and reflecting go and I sat back to enjoy the ride (or hold on/white-knuckle it as it were). This year I am again in a mental space that allows me to step back and look at the bigger picture. This year I’ve chosen a word and I’ve been able to look back at the last two years to see the themes and lessons that brought us to today. 2010 began with me seeking a clear vision of my path, and consequently, faith and trust that my dreams were achievable. It was supposed to be a year of planning and moving forward, but we got thrown a curve-ball mid-way through the year, in the form of an unplanned pregnancy. Just like that everything changed: I forgot all about my intentions and plans from January and focused on the baby we would be welcoming. Yet, looking back, I see that the year was still embodied by vision, faith and trust. I had to rewrite my vision of our family and our plans and I again found myself looking for clarity of purpose as I reconsidered my dreams. I learned to trust the process and have faith in myself and my family as I fearfully wondered whether we had the energy to welcome/care for another child. I learned to relax and believe that it would all work out. 2011 ended up being a year of being, of presence. Mindfulness is a bit of a catch word in the last decade and I wish I could say that I consciously chose to be present but the reality is that it just happened. This summer, Aaron and I made the decision that our family was complete and Aaron went in for a vasectomy which meant that 2011 was the last year I will ever be pregnant, or give birth, or hold my own newborn baby against my skin. I spent 2011 reveling in the anticipation and feeling gratitude for the childbearing phase in a woman’s life. I spent 2011 watching my baby grow and trying to soak it up, knowing now, the third time around, how very fleeting it is, knowing that I can’t slow it down, knowing that I won’t experience this first hand ever again. After all the fears and uncertainty and surprise of 2010, we were delighted to welcome Silas into our lives. He has been a wonderful ray of light and sweetness in our family. He balanced us out and healed old wounds and the first 5-6 months with him were so beautiful and—I still can’t believe it—easy. I couldn’t believe how lucky we were to have him. The last few months have been harder as sleep became a huge challenge and as a result, 2011 echoed 2009 in being a year of family, a year of being still and getting to know each other, a year of not taking on too much. I even went so far as to broadcast on facebook that we were struggling with sleep deprivation to the point where I was focusing only keeping my kids’ fed and clothed and as such my friends would have to forgive my lack of phone calls/visits. 2011 was about living day-to-day. 2011 was about the moment. 2011 was about now. But here we are: it is January. The days have slipped by. We have a new year. We can see Silas’ first birthday there on...

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3 Ring Circus

Posted on Aug 25, 2011 in Featured, Parenting | 1 comment

3 Ring Circus

{A couple of weeks months ago I wrote about everyone asking us how it’s going with three kids. Since that is THE question, the only thing people really want to know, I’m going to answer it, honestly. Not just with the “fine” that I tell people in real life. Part 1: the good stuff…and today, because I promised to be honest, Part 2: the hard stuff.} For me, the hardest things about having three kids: I don’t have a single minute in the day where I’m not actively caring for someone. Have you noticed that I almost never post here anymore? This is why. When Rain was a baby, he went to bed when we did but at least he took occasional naps during the day. When Noa was a baby, I was so so lucky that her afternoon nap was often at the same time as Rain’s (I know – THEY say that never happens but it does, and regularly did for me). Then, when Rain and Noa both stopped napping, wonder of wonders: we had our evenings to ourselves! From 8-10pm every night, I could punch out on the mom clock and just have time to recharge myself. Not so anymore. The big kids don’t nap so I’m caring for them all day and Silas has a fussy spell from 7-10pm every night and often doesn’t settle until AFTER I usually want to go to bed. This means no more day time breaks (though Silas naps well) and no more evening breaks. I’m even parenting in my sleep as I sleep lighter when I have to listen for a hungry baby and I’m nursing 8 times every night right now thanks to teething and 6 month developmental leaps like sitting and crawling. The moments when all 3 need my attention at once. I’ll set the scene: I’m changing Silas’s diaper (on my bedroom floor) to get him ready for a nap, and Noa falls and hurts herself badly. She begins to wail. I leave Silas and go find Noa. While I’m comforting her, I hear Silas beginning to fuss. I bring Noa with me to finish putting on Silas’s diaper. By this time Silas is screaming, probably hungry and tired too, and Noa is still clinging and wanting to be held. Then I hear Rain climbing the cupboards in the kitchen to get something from the top shelf that he’s not supposed to. I carry crying baby and clinging toddler with me to the kitchen to make Rain get down from the counter. He throws himself on the floor whining that I’ve spoiled his plans. These kinds of moments don’t happen all day long but I would be lying if I told you they never happen. When they do, I come pretty close to throwing myself on the floor and crying along with them. When 2 or more are crying/whining/yelling/shouting/singing at the same time. Does this really need more description? I didn’t think so. It’s amazing how our tolerance for chaos increases with every kid. Our house often feels like a nut house but I’ve resigned myself to that. I don’t get as worked up about it as I used to. I know it’s a passing phase. I know it will get easier and I know that there isn’t a lot I can do about it right now. It might seem ridiculous to say on the one hand that I’m hanging on for dear life and on the other that it isn’t nearly as bad as everyone expects. But you know, we’re complex beings: I think we can handle the contradiction. The circus may be loud, disorienting and a little frightening, but there’s also amazing acts, music, and popcorn. I might as well sit back and enjoy the show. Tell me about the circus at your house. I could use some...

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Easy as 1-2-3

Posted on Jul 15, 2011 in Featured, Parenting | 0 comments

Easy as 1-2-3

{A couple of weeks ago I wrote about everyone asking us how it’s going with three kids. Since that is THE question, the only thing people really want to know, I’m going to answer it, honestly. Not just with the “fine” that I tell people in real life. So, then Part 1: the good stuff.} In many ways, having three kids isn’t much different than having two. Our life was already pretty loud, chaotic and sleep challenged. It was already a gong show getting dressed and in the car to go anywhere. Silas doesn’t really change that much. In fact, on the whole he’s very quiet and easy to deal with. We’ve already raised two babies. Pretty much everything Silas does is old news to us. We know how to take care of him. We aren’t surprised by the lack of sleep or the inconsistency of newborn clothing sizes or meconium. We were even better prepared for dealing with the big siblings in the transition this time. We learned from the mistakes we made when Noa was born so that this time both of our bigger kids have adjusted to their new little brother much more easily than Rain adjusted when he became a big brother for the first time. The third time around, it seems that we more or less know what we’re doing. Finally! It’s mostly just a matter of integrating a new personality into the family and as far as that goes, it’s luck of the draw. If your first two babies were quiet easy babies and your third is high needs, you’re going to feel that the third time around was the hardest. For us, all three of our babies had more or less the same temperament and so we haven’t had to make huge adjustments in the way we parent our babies. Another little bonus is that once you have three kids, those times when you get to go run errands with just two of them suddenly seems totally doable, fun even. Truth be told, by the time you have a 5 year old and a 3 year old, you realize that babies are nothing compared to the sassy, mess-making, willfulness of preschoolers. So while I say babies are old news, I don’t mean for a moment that I don’t delight in our baby. Silas is my secret little joy right now. Thank goodness for him who brightens up my often frustrating, head/wall banging days. When the older two won’t listen, when they fight and scream, when they pee on the floor, when they refuse to pick up their toys, I breathe in extra deep to inhale the smell of the top of Silas’s head, squeeze him a little tighter and nurse just a little longer because he’s not big yet. There may always be some stress when you add to your family but for us, so far, it seems to get just a little easier every time. If you’re curious about the hard parts, stay tuned for Part 2. In the mean time, how have you found the transitions each time you added to your family? Did it get...

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The Question of Three

Posted on Jun 30, 2011 in Featured, Parenting | 3 comments

The Question of Three

“What’s it like, having three kids?” “How’s it going with three?” “How are you doing? With three kids, I mean.” That’s what everyone wants to know. The question is usually asked with a mixture of genuine curiosity, horror and pity. It’s like they are staring at a picture of a train wreck and asking a survivor how they managed to get out alive. They want to hear all about it but they can’t help but betray the better-you-than-me attitude. Our concerned friends—the ones who really care about us—seriously want to know how we’re managing because God, three kids (!), how does one manage? They want to know if we’re ok because well, they are scared for worried about us. They are checking in to see if everything is going well, or if we need help, but there is always that hint of a suggestion that three kids is just too much for two parents to handle these days. We also get this question from strangers and acquaintances: parents who kinda sorta wanted to have three but weren’t brave enough (or managed to get the vasectomy before there was an accident), parents who find one or two kids completely overwhelming and who think we are totally nuts, or people who secretly think we’re being greedy. These queries are actually in the hopes that we’ll tell them it really is as bad as they imagine, thereby affirming their own parenting decisions. Coincidentally, we asked this very question a lot after we found ourselves unexpectedly expecting a third. Every time we ran into someone with three kids or even heard of someone with three kids, we would ask this question without even attempting to hide our hopes. Our question was really more of a pleading to please, please, tell us it isn’t as hard as we fear it will be. Tell us that by the third time around, the kid just slots right into the family and no one even notices that it wasn’t there before. Raising young kids is hard physical work. It’s tiring and often kind of drudgerous. Discipline issues can be frustrating and mentally taxing. It really isn’t easy and with three kids, we’re outnumbered. Two parents, two hands. I can physically only hold onto two kids at a time. If they all run different directions, two parents can really only chase down two of them at any one time. It takes a different set of skills to manage three than it took to manage one. Fair enough. I totally get why people ask, why I asked and why I feared (heck, why I sometimes still fear) being a mom to three kids. But I do find it interesting that the idea of three children is so universally considered to be such a terrifying burden. It seems to be the absolute limit to how many children people can even try to imagine having. I bet you anything that by the time someone announces their 4th or 5th child people don’t even ask anymore. They just smile and nod. What do you think? Have you asked this or been asked...

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Navigating Sleep with a Third Child

Posted on Jun 3, 2011 in Featured, Parenting | 8 comments

Navigating Sleep with a Third Child

{This is a follow-up to my January post Reconsidering Co-sleeping where at 35 weeks pregnant I revealed that after 2 kids and 5.5 years of co-sleeping I was considering a crib for my third child.} I had this idea back in January that I wanted to write a post that would realistically present the nuances of co-sleeping, that would argue that Attachment Parenting is not a set of cult rules but rather a complex personal philosophy that shifts from family to family, from child to child, and over time. By highlighting my own sleep struggles and divided mind on the issue of co-sleeping, I wanted to show that you can still be an attachment parent even while you decide not to embrace all elements of the philosophy…because you are making the best decisions for your family in the spirit of striving for balance in personal and family life. I believed that my post was balanced in that I could be honest about my struggles while remaining incredibly supportive of co-sleeping (from personal experience not just a theoretical standpoint). Some commenters correctly pointed out that there is a difference between co-sleeping and bed-sharing. Dr. William Sears, a well-known pediatrician and author of many parenting books, defines co-sleeping as sleeping within arm’s reach of the baby. Bed-sharing on the other hand is actually sleeping on the same surface, in the same bed, as the child. Having slept with both of my kids since 2005, I know that distinction, and yet, for some reason, I seem to continually use the two terms interchangeably. To be honest, I find that many people do this on a regular basis and while I find the distinction can be important, I also feel comfortable with my use of co-sleeping to encompass all the ways that parents share sleep with their children. I really enjoyed all the commenters who shared their personal stories, experience and tips. I appreciated the tips and atmosphere of support though as a long-time co-sleeper and supporter of the practice, most of the ideas were ones that I had entertained and discarded as not working for us in our 800 square foot, 2 bedroom house. No chance of a mattress beside our King size bed that took up our whole room. No chance of a double bed in the kids room that already housed a loft bed, toddler bed and all of their clothes and toys. Nevertheless, I really appreciated the helpfulness and understanding. However, there were also comments (notably in response to a re-posting on the Natural Parents Network facebook page) along the lines of “every child deserves to be co-slept with” and “I co-slept with all 4 of my children and wouldn’t have it any other way.” I regretted that I had somehow given the impression that: I was planning to stick the baby from Day 1 in a crib in a room down the hall, I had no intention of being sensitive and responsive to the individual needs of this particular baby, I was absolutely, certainly never going to sleep with this baby at all, I no longer supported co-sleeping, My mind was made up. My intention from the day of that post was to start with a bassinet beside the bed and move after a couple of months to a crib in our room, a few feet away from our bed. This way I could still hear the baby easily and respond before baby cried but I would have a little more physical space so that I would not jump to attention every time baby stirred and so that baby wouldn’t get in the habit of nursing every hour. As a mother of two other children, I was also well aware that even our best intentions are at the mercy of our individual babies. I was prepared for the fact that this baby might not want to sleep anywhere other than on my body. As an ardent supporter of co-sleeping for its benefits, I was also prepared to share my bed with the baby whenever necessary, if we were...

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