There were a few months in time after Toby was born in 2010 that we had 3 kids ages 3 and under, and then 4 kids 5 and under for a few weeks after Eva was born this past November. I always have the baby on my hip these days, and people never fail to comment on how cute she is, which is normally followed up by, "oh, is she your first?" The look of surprise across their face when I reply, "no, she's my fourth," never gets old. There's apparently a shock value to that statement, and I enjoy it.
"Wow! You really have your hands full!"
"Wow! You must be really busy."
"Is it hard keeping track of that many kids?"
"Is four a lot to handle?"
The answer is, YES! Life with little ones, especially when ALL of them are so little, is tough. Some days are long, frustrating, exhausting, and brutal. The whining, complaining, mess, and poop never end. Sometimes I want to lock myself in the bathroom and ignore all the chaos erupting just outside the door. But for every terrible, no good, crappy, crappy, crappy day, there is a proportionally wonderful, heart-touching, lovely, great day to balance it out. Otherwise, why would we continue to have these little blessings in the form of children? Or perhaps someone needs to explain to me again where babies come from...
In my particular situation, a lot of the exhaustion comes from the fact that they are all so little and still need help with a lot of things. Brushing four sets of teeth, tying four pairs of shoes, picking out four sets of clothes and helping them get dressed, and so on...every...day... I know there will come a day when I just have to get myself ready each morning, but I honestly can't picture that at the moment. With Clayton in kindergarten this past year, it forced some of them to grow up a little and start taking care of themselves on their own. I relish the times when I'm able to launch them into a newfound area of independence! Change is often hard but sooooo worth it.
Gone are the days of bathing four children, as the two big ones take a shower themselves. Out of convenience and pure laziness on our part as of late, we've been putting Toby in the shower with Clayton to eliminate yet another bath time from our plate. Clayton is gone for a few days this week, however, and Ruby was very excited to have Toby as a shower buddy. They ran upstairs, by themselves, to hop in the shower. We assumed things were going okay until we heard Ruby yell,
"Mom!! I can't wash Toby's poopy butt!"
Perhaps we should've explained the rules of showering before we sent them streaking up the stairs... Everybody washes their own parts. Details. Alas, we had to help with bath time after all, but at least not without a good laugh. :)