There are so many drafts sitting in unpublished so I can’t guarantee this one will get published either but at least I have some sort of documentation of what’s been going on.
Myself and the kids have had a busy summer and everyone is growing up fast. My son is now 4 going on 14! And the girls are ‘big girl’ two and a half.
Summer is a time when routine gets thrown up and can be extremely tough at times. I have learnt a lot about myself these last couple of months. The house is FULL to the brim with toys, clothing and added furniture so order is really important. Summer holidays have meant that this order slips. I can handle the world if I have a tidy house so I have been known to just sweep anything still lying on the floor at the end of the day and just deposit it into the bin. I am trying to instill work ethic into my children’s routine but their idea of tiding up their toys and my idea of clearing LEGO, cars, dolls, jigsaws and bits of plastic are very different. As for routine, holidays has meant later to bed, lax daily routine, treats slipping in. I now realize that I need routine, never mind my kids! My stress and anxiety goes through the roof with an untidy house and no normalcy. It is not that kids change or that their behavior all of a sudden becomes a nightmare it’s that they need normal too! So in the last few weeks I have tried to put in a good routine and stick to it (sort of). This has really helped me.
But being a mother of toddlers is naturally going to be tricky at times. They are determined to express their independence and want to push boundaries to discover for themselves what is safe and what’s too far. I recently visited the supermarket with one of my girls. She didn’t want to sit in the trolley (none of them do anymore). So I said that was fine, but stay beside me. The trip started fine. She was being a great helper. Then she started to get bored so ran down the aisles on her own and then would reappear thinking this was a great game! All fine – until she didn’t reappear! In those moments you try to stay calm, try to say she’s only hiding, but time passes so slowly and security we’re searching, I was frantically calling her name. After a few minutes, there was real fear. I could hear a child screaming – in a logical state I would know this wasn’t her but in this case I couldn’t ignore it – was that Abigail? Had someone taken her? Where was she? Oh god who has her?! Security! Security!
Thankfully in this situation she reappeared. But as I say being a mother of toddlers is tricky. I definitely had a few more grey hairs. Children disappearing on me seems to be a running theme in my life at the moment. Each of them have done a runner at one point or another and all come back with a grin, thinking this is a great game. I just hope it remains a ‘game’ and nothing serious happens. I have been thinking though … stranger danger is a very real thing! All of mine love saying hello to everyone they pass, telling these people all their news. When they were still staying close to mummy and not running off this seemed very cute but now I feel this will need to change. That lovely innocence will have to end, their world is becoming bigger now and I am not always going to be right beside them to move them on. At the moment if someone offered them some jellies I have no doubt they would hop into the black van waiting to speed them off! Horrific thought!!!
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!