Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Adjusting

We've had 4 kids for 3 months now.  It's been a big adjustment.  I've had more than a few days where I felt like the mom off Malcolm in the Middle, ready to explode at the next provocation.  If it's this hard with four generally well-behaved kids, I can only imagine what it's like for other families.

It might be another 7 or 8 months before my blood pressure is back down to the 3-kids levels, but I'm finally learning to chill out once in a while and stop panicking all the time.

Ya know, when we were pregnant with N, I was a neurotic mess.  I wondered if I could be a good dad, or if I could take care of a newborn child.  That neurosis doesn't lessen with each additional kid, it just gets pushed off and moved to your subconscious.

Why is 4 such a hard adjustment?  Well, a new baby is always more time-intensive than a toddler.  Toddlers want to explore on their own, and some even fight you for their independence.  Babies take at least one parent out of the game when they're awake.  So, even though the baby is starting to sleep more regularly and takes frequent naps, it means there are effectively 4-8 hours a day where either Dani or I am a single parent of 3 kids under the age of 7.

I have my limits, and taking care of these four kids is beyond them, so I think the reason adjusting has been this hard is because we've had to teach the older kids to help take care of the younger.  That requires even more of our time to teach than to just do it ourselves, so we've invested so much more into parenting in the short-term in hopes of long term benefits.

It is working, slowly.  N will now get bowls and get breakfast ready in the morning for her two younger sisters, and she'll help clean up after them (she's rewarded with extra marbles for doing so).  Dani has taught all the kids to clean their room and helped them immensely with that.

I guess, in retrospect, if I had known that each additional kid was this much harder, I would've forced my kids to learn how to take care of themselves sooner and saved me all this stress.

Why I'm (still) a Mormon

I don't expect much more to ever be posted on this blog, and I'm largely just posting this to share it with some particular friends....