Then I proceeded to start to write a long comment, which turned into what should have rather been a blog post…
What it’s really like to have three kids: The good, the bad, the sticky floors and the always late:
1) The teachers at conferences will almost certainly remark on how socially well-adjusted, able to share, take turns, problem solve, etc, your kids are, since they practice these skills all.day.long. The teachers at conferences will NEVER remark on how neat and beautifully-coiffed your children are. Nor will the teachers positively remark on your children’s on-time-attendance records or your time and effort spent on bento box creations for their lunches.
2) You’ll never (or rarely) hear “I’m bored.” But you may, from time to time, hear a shelf crashing down upstairs and frightened feet scampering back to their rooms when your kids are supposed to be going to bed. And you may, from time to time, have to replace a chunk of grass when your trio creates a giant mud-hole in the lawn from the hose and some fancy maneuvers with the ride-on toys.
3) Your house becomes the “hang out” spot for the kids in the neighborhood, either because you have the most kids or because you have the most
kid shit sleek and sophisticated chunks of plastic decorating the yard.
4) Say good bye to your job if you work and do not have a sitter who is willing to watch sick kids. One (or all) of the kids is sick at any given time in the winter, since your home now shares germs from three different classrooms. (You won’t be needing the paycheck for anything nice for yourself anyway, as, ever since your third child, floors, sofas, walls, and clothing have basically become disposable.)
5) It costs a small fortune to feed them. And by “feed,” I mean present them with food that they refuse to eat.
6) Your marriage, to use the clinical terminology, is now in “mother-f%&*#ing sink or swim” mode. Godspeed as you and your partner navigate three times the doctors appointments (and approximately six times the ER visits), three times the soccer practices, three times the conferences, three times the science fair projects, three times the sleep interruptions, three times the dishes and three times the laundry (errr…seven times the laundry if you have any bed wetters).
7) You may feel a pang of guilt every once in a while, as your youngest child has never ONCE “played” in the bathtub (bathtime is for hosing off and making sure no one cracks a skull and every slippery one of them makes it out alive. Or maybe that’s just me.), and your verision of teaching your youngest to read is having him play legos within earshot of your oldest doing his homework.
8) The rapid succession of bedtime stall tactics of three children is so brilliant and relentless, that you end up pausing Game of Thrones about 47 times before you finally threaten to
take all their toys and burn them in a fiery blaze if they don’t shut the hell up remove Super Mario privileges the next day.
And with that short list, I am now off to pick up my oldest from school, something my other two kids look forward to all day. Not because they get to go for a walk, but because they get to see their buddy who helps them reach up high to make the best sheet-forts and lets them pick out the biggest bowls of ice cream, who thinks an elbow to the ear is worth a giggle, but would cry himself if he ever really hurt one of them, who taught them how to replace batteries in their toys and told them “good job” when they learned to pump on the swings: their big brother. And yes, the random before-bed announcements that they are each other’s best friends, the sitting on the edge of the tub to keep each other company as they each potty-trained, the ganging up on me and sticking up for the brother who got put in time-out, the fact that they will have each other when their dad and I are long gone… Those are probably the greatest things that parents of three kids understand– And what makes the always being late and the bedtime mayhem and the stained couches and the endless errands and all the rest of it absolutely worth it.