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.
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Are you outnumbered? How do you manage your brood?
20 thoughts on “Being Outnumbered by My Progeny, Part One”
This is why G-d broke my womb! I could not multi-task like you. Incredible! And it sounds like you are figuring out systems. you know it gets easier, right. At least that’s what people with lots of kids tell me. ;-)
It’s sink or swim, really. It’s definitely getting easier. I mean, I’m blogging, right?
My kids are the same age and I only have the two and autism is thrown into the mix so my situation is different, but in my case I have to deal with the kids solely on their personalities. Chananiah’s personality is that he listens if I tell him to walk somewhere— he stands by the car if I’m busy buckling Reena into the carseat. So if someone needs handling, it’s generally her. I ALWAYS put her in the car first— otherwise while I’m buckling him, she’s halfway across the parking lot giggling her brains out. I would be doing the same as you with the car— putting the baby’s carseat down and handling the boys— I WOULD be using a stroller through, trying to walk 3 diapered cuties anywhere—- the benefit of a stroller is the basket below for your diaper bag and all the STUFF you need for 3 kids—- blankies, diapers, wipes, juice boxes, snacks, kleenex……. etc etc. I think if I were in a parking lot with your 3 I’d have the younger 2 in a double stroller and be pushing it with one hand while Little Man holds my other hand.
With bathtime— if I had toddlers and babies— the thing is with BABIES they stay where you put them. So you can put a baby in a crib or a swing for ten minutes and know she’ll stay there— she’ll scream and cry perhaps, but you don’t have to worry about danger. while you’re dealing with the baby the boys could be planning their next escape— so yeah with bathtime I’d be focused on those troublemakers— I mean boys. :) and probably LOCK them in the bathroom with me with some toys while I’ve got her in the bath— or heck, she’s young enough to bathe her in a baby tub on the kitchen table while you watch the boys.
You have a great handle on it. I just wish you all the luck and energy in the world when it comes to toilet training them one at a time one right after another….. right now all 3 are still in diapers? that’s the easy part I fear. When my 2 were still in diapers I would take diapers and wipes with me, and change them in a bathroom wherever anytime I needed to go to the bathroom anyway and that’s it. Now it’s the “do you have to make” “no I don’t need to make” puddle on the floor ten minutes later game.
You’re an awesome supermom!
Aw, thanks Heather! I love those warm fuzzies. And yes, you definitely have your hands full! There’s not all three in diapers anymore, Little Man is pretty close to potty trained, Thank G-d! But I’m still with the diapers/pullups/change of outfit… I definitely need a bigger purse right now!
You are my hero :)
I’ve been outnumbered for a while–and I can tell you it DOES get easier when they get older. In fact, now I have a 12 yr old in the mix which makes it was easier—and way harder in an entirely different way (like for instance–did you know that 12 yr olds have no interest in taking daily naps? huh. Go figure, right?) But now I’m about to have this new baby and all I can think is that I hope and pray that my three yr old doesn’t try to love on the baby too hard, or pick the baby up, or give the baby a price of his bagel… he’s um… VERY loving. to the point of worry.
I don’t plan on leaving the house without my husband any time soon.
Lol on the naps for a 12-year-old. Hysterical. Hatzlacha with the uber-affectionate 3-year-old. Constant vigilance is my recommendation. I use my gated-off kitchen for protection, if I need to go to the bathroom or something like that. I put the baby in her chair in the kitchen, and then she’s safe. For now.
Lots of dividing and conquering. Baby often gets left behind (now that I’m done nursing.)
I can see that being mighty convenient. I’m definitely looking forward to when my two boys are in “school” for the mornings. September, I’m looking at you!
Thanks for a taste of the future, B;Ezrat Hashem! You sound like you’re doing amazing, and you are definitely helping the one-childed among us know what to expect!
I may sound not down-to-earth here, but it’s people like you who are building the Jewish Nation and replenishing our ranks from six million lost. And fighting the Arab demographic war.
I can just imagine the crowded wedding pictures of your youngest years from now, and all the nachas you’ll get!
Go Mama Rivki!!!
Wow, Yiska, thank you! I will remember your kind words when I’m having one of those moments where everyone is crying…!
Sounds like you’re doing great (how do you even have time to write??). I’m expecting #2 and can’t imagine how I’ll juggle 2 kids. Nice to know it’s possible :-)
I make the time to write – it’s good for my mental health! It’s definitely possible to do lots of stuff, but I’ve also had to be realistic about what I can and cannot do, and when I can and cannot do things. :) Good luck, and feel good!
Rivki–you are smart to make sure to find time to write. The worst thing that happens to parents is letting stuff slide–and then first things to go out the window are often the fun things for mom (or dad). The problem is that those little things are what keep us feeling like a human instead of a giant milking and diapering machine. We SO need to feel like we’re a part of humanity, especially when we’re exhausted, otherwise we have nothing to give the kids emotionally.
I put down my writing for a long time and it took me years to find it again. I regret it a lot b/c I’m just now realizing how good it is for my mental health. Granted I can’t spend all day writing like I sometimes wish I could–but i make sure to get enough in that I feel good about it.
Hey, friend! Man, do I remember those days. Wait, no I don’t. I was in a five-year fatigue-induced stupor. Yes, it totally gets easier. Now we are outnumbered 7:2 BUT the older ones are like jr. parents so actually the little kids have, like 3 moms and 2 dads apiece. Hmmmm….
haha, you’re like a frum commune or something. I’ve heard it gets easier when they can do things like dress themselves or feed themselves. Or so I’ve heard. :)
The baby wrap is my best weapon. I put it on after my 2 yr old is buckled in. When I get wherever I put the baby in it and then let the other kids out.
Love those wraps. You are my wrap guru, and I had a moment the other week, when I was teaching a neighbor to use a wrap, and I thought to myself, “hey, I’m kinda being like Rivky Weiss right now. Awesome”
This is how we used to go out when number three was very small – no lugging infant seats for me (for the most part). I have a very easy to fold lightweight stroller in the car, so I first take the stroller out, then put the baby in. Then I can wheel him around to the other side of the car while I get the other two out. They then hold onto the stroller, one on each side, while we walk to wherever we are going. Now that 3 is 16 months old, sometimes I take the older ones out first and they must hold onto the car right next to me while I unbuckle baby. This is a rule that they know and respect (for the most part). :) Then I hold hands with one older child, who holds hands with the other older child, and carry baby. We make a game of it and are a “sandwich”, with baby being a slice of bread and the kid on the other end a slice of bread. The rest of us are various fillings.
Family sandwich – I love it! I also think lugging the carseat is no fun. Thank you for sharing!
It seemed as if I was reading about my life! I was outnumbered very quickly when 1 went to 3, after the birth of my twins. My oldest is now 5, twins will be 3 in November and for some extra fun, I have a 7 month old! It’s amazing how much we can multitask (serving dinner to the older ones, while walking around feeding the youngest!) Enjoyed reading your blog! Thanks!!