Okay, since I’ve only been outnumbered by my children for a little over two months, I am hardly an expert. In fact, it’s fairly laughable that I’m even writing on this topic. I could probably have titled this post “Please help me figure out how to manage my household now that I’m outnumbered and putting on a brave face despite the niggling fear that I’m being overly optimistic about the reality of my new domestic situation.” But that would have been a little long for a title.
Here are some situations I’ve experienced since the arrival of Little Lady:
A couple weeks after Little Lady was born, I was in the kitchen with a friend, who had kindly and generously brought us food. During this pleasant moment, my children fled the apartment. Well, two of my children fled. The third was firmly held in my arms. My industrious boys had taken the green bin in which blankets are held, overturned it, dragged it to the door and used it as a step stool to reach the deadbolt, unlocked it, and thus, escaped. I exited the kitchen to find my front door gaping open and nary a boy in sight. But I heard giggling from the hallway. This whole scenario was two days after my mother left, and, I believe, my first whole day alone with all three kids.
I went to retrieve my boys, who had decided that they wanted to play outside. This would have been fine, but the baby needed to eat. She was rooting with increasing urgency. Of course, when I told the boys they needed to come inside, I met with stiff opposition. Not wanting them to escape from the apartment building’s hallway into the actual outside, I somehow managed to convince Really Little Man to come down the stairs, and started to help him navigate the stairway, as he is still somewhat wobbly on the stairs. I was still holding the hungry baby with my other arm. This development incensed Little Man, who, in protest, grabbed the back of my skirt.
So I’m holding my very newborn baby, trying to help my toddler down the stairs with my other hand, and my oldest is screaming his head off and doing his best to prevent us from descending the stairs.
It was a miracle no one got hurt.
After depositing my youngest son inside the apartment, I half-pulled half-dragged Little Man into the apartment, and I think I nursed the baby amid a not-very-small amount of tantruming. I honestly don’t remember. I must have blocked it out.
Going to School (or the Store, or the Doctor’s Office…)
This situation was one that produced much anxiety in me pre-baby. I mean, I only have two hands, and somehow I needed to get all three kids safely into the building, through a parking lot, no less. The mere thought of this circus act caused me to break out in a cold sweat. After much contemplation, I came up with the following plan: Park the car in one of the 6 spots next to the sidewalk (no trekking across the parking lot this way); take the baby out of the car and place her carseat on said sidewalk (she can’t wander off like the boys could, and she’s not sitting in the parking lot, though she is, momentarily, unguarded on the sidewalk. (shudder); rush to unbuckle the boys, the littlest one first; manhandle the toddler out of the car while his older brother “just checks something” in the car; carry the toddler/walk with Little Man to the sidewalk; somehow convince both of them not to “help” me carry the infant car seat; hold Really Little Man’s hand and have Little Man walk “right next to me,” or hold his brother’s hand.
This is how we get out of the house.
Feeding the baby
When Little Lady was brand new, I found I couldn’t feed her on the couch. Or the bed. I only fed the baby in the big, wooden rocking chair. It was the only place I felt secure that she wasn’t going to get inadvertently smushed by some emphatic affection by her brothers, who had been firmly coached that they could only touch her feet (Her feet! Her feet! We just touch the baby’s feet!). Now that she’s a little bigger, and feels less fragile, I have more flexibility regarding feeding location. Like on the couch or at the kitchen table.
When I first attempted to nurse under a blanket, for some privacy/modesty/something, Little Man simply peeks under the blanket. There I was, sitting in the massive rocking chair, blanket draped demurely over my shoulder, 3-year-old standing directly in front of me, blanket draped rakishly over his head. It was quite the picture. He’s since gotten used to it, and is no longer curious about what’s going on under there.
One day, after the baby went to sleep, I gave the boys a speedy bath. Of course, as the tub was nearly drained, I heard the baby wake up. I sent Little Man to his room, wrapped in a towel. Really Little Man didn’t want to get out of the tub, so I had to pick him up and haul him off. Naturally, he disliked this course of action. The whole time, Little Man is hollering from his bedroom that he “wants Mommy.” The baby was crying louder, but I still needed to at least put diapers on the boys so we wouldn’t have any accidents. Putting diapers on the boys while the baby was screaming progressively louder is an exercise in high stress levels.
Lately, I’ve been giving the boys a bath immediately after Little Lady has been fed, as she is usually content for a reasonably long period after eating, and I can set her in her little baby reclining seat while I give the boys a quick scrub. It seems to be working pretty well, thankfully. Otherwise I don’t know if the boys would ever be getting clean. Seriously. It was that stressful.
~ ~ ~
Are you outnumbered? How do you manage your brood?