Oh sweet Jesus! Day one done and that is a day I don’t want to repeat. I can’t even say it was a full day because the girls were in playgroup all morning but training three is no walk in the park.
They say bring them to the potty every 45min and that would be fine if all three had bladders in sync but they don’t!! Each wees at there own pace (like every normal person!!). So once the ‘let’s go potty’ at 45 minute intervals was broken that was the end of it – game over. However I do have one daughter (thankfully) who seems to be relishing the potty training challenge. Abigail has had very few accidents today and seems to embrace this new rite of passage. My other two don’t enjoy this at all! Stella had a few ‘star sticker’ moments on the chart (I frantically made up today as motivation). Francesca is just having none of it. In fact I think it’s been all too overwhelming. Lots and lots and lots of tears later and we are now compromising with pull ups. I feel we both won!
In the meantime my son is furious with this carry on, taking all mummy’s attention away from him. How dare they!! So there has been plenty of aggressive moments and expressive sighing.
Now the next part I already know is entirely my own fault!! Why I picked tonight to broaden their taste buds – I honestly put it down to a slight moment of insanity! I decided tonight was the night to make a chicken curry with rice. All three elements are hated by all four. The rice, the curry and especially the chicken created an explosion! It was above and beyond any previous gastronomic disaster. Red threw a grand tantrum – spat out food, threw things at me and across the room. The girls just continually broke into unison crying. In the end I had to send Red to bed for what can only be described as momental roars and fits. He didn’t really complain too much when sent to bed which makes me think – he’d had enough too. Today needed to end. After 60 minutes of patiently coaxing I managed to get the girls to eat their dinner.
So day two is tomorrow. A few lessons I have learnt from today:
1. Not everyone pees in sync
2. Each girl is independently strong willed
3. I need to compromise with Francesca. She’ll get there when she’s ready!
4. Comfort food (pasta, lasagna and sausage) are on the menu for the rest of the week
5. Reward charts only create a minefield of competition and disappointments
6. Best to not have toddlers wear Disney ballgowns while potty training.
I can remember so many changes and milestones when my son was born but when the girls came along it seemed to blur. I always thought it was so important to remember key dates and put pressure on myself to be that parent who would be able to recall key seminal moments. However, once another child comes into the family (or three!) this quickly becomes a thing of the past. In reality I have come to realize it’s not actually important.
It’s not about remembering the exact date and at what time your child spoke a three word sentence or even their first step. For me it’s about being present to them when I am with them. Yes gradually over time they have developed speech, run the legs off me and can have conversations with me and each other. Every once and a while I sit back and watch them becoming independent people. Today I noticed that they had there own separate conversation without me, came to their own conclusion and continued on without needing me. I’m sure this isn’t the first time this has happened but it’s the first time I noticed.
So although I don’t remember all the little steps, every once and a while (if I step back and watch) I see the people that are emerging.
It is the week before Christmas and everyone in this house is getting very excited. It’s the first year that all four can enjoy and absorb all the festivities and build up. They don’t quite understand Christmas ‘day’ but for them it’s a month long celebration of lights, songs, parties, Santa etc… This frenzy of excitement has meant our daily routine has gone slightly. Daytime snoozes were never great in my house and this time of year isn’t helping.
My girls share a room and as a result nap time tends to become a bit of a party. The sound of singing and chats streams down the stairs while they’re supposed to be having ‘quiet time’. I am not giving up though – they’re only 2 years old so still need sleep and some days it happens.
Anyway, at the moment there’s too many distractions. As a result they are tired by the end of the day and devilment kicks in. Of course, by now I should know this and should learn! Seems I forget easily these days. So on Monday, for our afternoon activity, I thought a trip to our local shopping center to get shoes for everyone would be a great idea. Under normal circumstances, when everyone’s slept well and it’s not Christmas shopping madness, this could work. However, that’s not how it played out….. the girls saw this as a great opportunity to play chase and show mummy how fast they can run through crowds. While opening the car door in the very busy car park one of my girls bolted just as a car was headed our direction. Obviously the chances of this happening with one of the four is high but I never believed it could happen. My minder was with me and we were both on high alert but even with that she ran. All it takes is one split second and your life could change forever. In this case my daughter lives to tell the tale but how easily it could have gone so so differently.
After the initial shock we all got, it was absolutely gratitude that I felt. Here we are another year is closing and I am blessed with four perfect, healthy children. Each is full of their personality, creativity and curiosity.
I thought I’d end this post with a picture of all of us meeting Santa. I love this picture. It’s not perfect and certainly doesn’t paint everyone in a great light but it does show all of us in our individual glory.
Okay, so up to now having four little ones has had its tough moments. Lack of sleep being a major issue but honestly the woes of four babies is nothing on the trials of four toddlers. All of a sudden I find myself having to say ‘no’ and ‘stop’ a lot. This coupled with the fact that everyone is talking and expressing their opinions makes for a very interesting household.
To be completely honest, up to now was like the honeymoon period in comparison to this phase. It’s really tough to not loose myself in the moments of madness. I find myself saying no a lot. Can I have juice? Can I watch cartoons? I want chocolate. I want to chew the charger cord. I want to pull everything out of the office. I want open the fridge and pick at things. I want to go this way. No mummy I’m not doing that. Etc etc…
But the toughest challenge so far is trying to stop them from killing each other!! It’s one thing saying no all the time but honestly nothing prepares you for the fights little ones can have. I’m told rise above it, don’t let it get to you. All sound advice but what do you do when one child is whacking the other with a stick or another is biting a chunk out of the others arm?!
So I find myself in a house with three 2 year olds (nearly) and one 3 year old all presenting themselves to the world, each with their own determination and self will.
I have plenty of patience and most of the time I can get through tough times but occasionally it gets under my skin and I feel anger and frustration rising. I know I’m not alone on this but it can be really hard to be a ‘grown up’ and not get lost in this anger and frustration. I am trying to use different techniques i.e. Ten deep breaths, walk out of the room, pause before reacting, ignore until i need to step in. However, this is a tough stage. There are definitely moments when i feel like i am lost and it is at these times when my alarm bells are ringing – I need to look after myself. Yes, I am devoted to being mum but I also know that when I am most frustrated it is because I don’t have any breathing space.
Time apart is not so easy to arrange but is very necessary. As the summer ends and a new school year starts, I know that in order for a happy mummy – playgroup and Montessori are essential!