I know we are just 7 weeks out, but I'm gonna say it. Adjusting to 3 kids has not been that bad. Like, at all. I am no supermom, and my kids are rascals just like everyone else's. But the transition from 2 to 3, has been so much easier than the transition from 1 to 2. And the difference is that Hailey and Casey have each other. Yes, they are best friends one minute, and enemies the next....but! They have each other! When Casey was a baby, all Hailey had was me. But now, she and Casey are playmates for one another and it is wonderful. I can also still be super involved while nursing. I have a swivel lazy boy rocker in the living room and I love it. I can face toward to "living room" or the "play area" and wherever they are, I can supervise their play - aka, end fights and enforce sharing. They build me towers with their leggos and blocks and color me lots of pictures. Hailey plays dolls, Casey plays cars, and just by talking to them and encouraging their play, they know that Mommy is paying attention to them too.
I have had the easiest adjustment and transition period yet and I think the sibling factor is the x-factor. Also, the more kids I have the more of my selfishness dies. It has to. There are more people needing me now more than ever and dying to self maybe has gotten a smidgen easier the less time I have for little ol' me. These kids really have a way of sanctifying me!
But here are some samples of things I now find myself doing as a mother of three:
When Hailey and Casey get up at 7am, and Owen isn't due to wake up till 8am, I might be tempted to put on a show for them and lay in bed that extra hour. But then remembering that when Owen wakes up at 8am, and the older kids show is over, they are ALL going to be wanting me at the same time. Or at least food, and I have to get it for them. H and C will want breakfast, which, if left alone only spells disaster, and Owen will want to nurse. So instead, I get up at 7am, and when changing Casey's diaper, and taking off Hailey's night time pull up, I put them in their clothes for the day. Yep, they are dressed and ready to go at 7am. Hey, as long as I'm changing them I might as well do it all at once. It goes faster too. And clothes stay in the bedroom. If I don't do it then, it won't happen till like 10am. Which sure, is ok, but then they run from me, wiggle more, pj's are all over the house. Ridiculous. After they are dressed, then I put on the show, give them some juice and get in the shower. When I'm dressed for the day, we all eat breakfast and then, as if on cue, Owen wakes up. Of course every day looks a little different and Luke does mornings 98% of the time. But getting your kids dressed at 7am, just might be one of the things you find yourself doing when you have three. It also then actually makes it possible to get somewhere like storytime or playgroup by 10am.
With three children we all of a sudden have a toilet paper crisis daily. Two causes here, named Hailey and Casey. Hailey now, by necessity, goes to the potty unsupervised. This happens when I'm nursing, which is often. She uses the potty....and a half roll of toilet paper. We are training her in the ways of using less. It's a work in progress. Casey, by way of escape and my inability to follow him, because you guessed it - nursing - finds his way into the bathroom after Hailey uses it (she doesn't remember to close the door which he still can't open) and he unrolls the other half of toilet paper.
And lastly, creative and strategic discipline. Newborns are needy and time consuming. Which makes enforcing effective disciple a challenge at times. I've been reading "Discipline, a Gift that Lasts a Lifetime" by Dr. Ray Guarendi and one of his tips is better to say nothing when you aren't sure how to discipline, or unable to (because hey, you might be nursing!) than give an empty threat and loose credibility. It might look or seem like they are getting away with things but really it's a matter of timing. I can't physically put Hailey in time out when I'm with Owen. And if I tell her, "do that one more time and you are going in time out," and she does whatever it is, one more time, guess what? Not going to timeout on her own. (sometimes she will, but not always) So I've had to choose my battles more carefully, use different tactics to get them to listen and obey, and when I am able to give them a consequence, be consistent and make it count.
We have had some really hard days, but I'm learning a lot every day, and mostly if they just know that I love them, that they are important, and what they care about matters to me, our days go so much more smoothly. And seriously, siblings are where it's at. So thankful we have been able to give our children that gift!