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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Guest Blogger: Life with Three


I am NOT pregnant with baby #3 but we know we want a third (and a fourth and maybe even more after that!) and I hear people CONSTANTLY talk about how the third is the hardest. It really is discouraging and kinda freaks me out haha

I "met" Shea somehow through this cyber world we live in and she has the most ADORABLE girls! Plus she's a fellow Babywise Mama ;) She offered to do a guest post on this topic and I'm so thankful to her for writing this! I feel MUCH less stress about how life will be when that day does come for us!

Here's her post and be sure to visit Shea over on her blog: Five's a Crowd!

*****

Right now in the United States, the average amount of children born into a single family is 2.5. I will never understand the decimal in these studies - I know its all scientific...but I am not sure that a .5 can't turn into a 1 after 9 months of pregnancy, right? No. Oh well. The things we will never know.

About 6 of 10 Americans believe smaller (2 or less children) families are ideal. This leaves about 1/3 of Americans who openly prefer a larger family. This is a significant decrease since the 1970's. Prior the the 1970's the majority of American families preferred larger families (meaning more children were a welcome part of the home). Clearly - the sexual revolution movement and the invention of the birth control pill changed the way Young couples saw the future of their families.
I got that information from this article online and this one, too.  

Why We Chose 3:
Well, actually we did not choose 3. So far, 3 has chosen us. In fact, if our plan would have been put into place - we would probably only have our 2nd daughter right now. Our 1st and our 3rd pregnancies were surprise blessings. Both of which we are and will be forever grateful for.


I came from a 2 child family. My brother and I are 13 months apart, I am the older of the two of us. Tyler, my husband, is the youngest of 3. He has two older sisters. I always pictured a family of 4, because that was what I knew. Tyler always pictured a family of 5, because that was all he knew. We both agreed on more than 1. Thinking back to welcoming our 2nd daughter...and how she came out of the womb acting like a "middle child" I was pretty sure our family was not complete. I was not, however, ready to welcome a 3rd pregnancy when it happened. 10 months ago, I gave birth to our precious surprise and simply can't bear the thought of life without her. A family of 5 we became. 3 daughters had been gifted to us. 

My daughters are 4.5, 2.5, and 10 months. When Laynee, our 3rd, was born her sisters were 3.5 and 18 months. We are busy, our house is always a disaster, and people give us lots of sympathetic smiles when they see me at grocery store wrangling all of them. I think I will always think back on this time in my life and wonder how I did it - but right now, I don't know anything else. All of these kids need to be fed, have naps, be playing, and learning to grow to be functioning future members of society. That is my job - and so I do it. Every day. I don't know anything else. I used to know what it was like to have 2 small children. I don't remember that very well anymore. 

The Adjustment Period:
Whenever you add a baby to the family, the dynamic has to shift. You never know what its going to be like and how the family will react until the baby comes home and becomes a normal part of life for each member of the family. Our two daughters are on such a routine, and they are so young - that their adjustment was easy and comfortable. They continued on with everything they knew - their life was not shaken a bit. They carried with the same daily activities and really never skipped a beat. One advantage in having all of my children so close together is that they were still both so egocentric in their development that while they may notice the baby being there, the baby didn't interfere with the only world they lived in: the world of "me". 

Tyler and I had to of course find a new normal. This time, VERY UNLIKE when we added the 2nd, we were able to ease into our new life. We already had the experience of having to multi-task and divide and conquer. We were still in that mode - and just stayed in that mode and it was no different. It didn't really even feel like more work - just a slight change into how we would set up our many different tasks for the day. 

Before we welcomed Kesington (our 2nd daughter), I had a lot of anxiousness in regard to how in the world could I give another human the same love to another. The love I had for Anslee was unlike any type of love I had ever experienced. It was one of kind, and it was love to the core of my very being. How could I not be "cheating" on Anslee if I let myself feel that for another? I struggled with this for my entire pregnancy. When we added Laynee, I was very aware that it is POSSIBLE and such a GIFT to feel and experience that for each child and love is never divided - only multiplied. My love for Anslee was never compromised or lessened when Kensington came. When Laynee came, we added more love to the mix and we knew that emotionally that was NOT going to be a struggle. I feel that alone made our adjustment easier - being confident that nothing was going to be taken from the older siblings emotionally by adding another. 

So, we knew how to meet the physical demands of multiple children and knew all it would take was figuring out a tweaked system to make it work when we added the 3rd. We also knew how to meet the emotional demands of multiple children and knew that adding a 3rd child would just grow the love of our family even more.


Our Day
So, how does our day look like with 3 kids that have needs to be met? I'll share how our day unfolds!

6 am : mom wakes, spends time with Jesus, goes for a run, and showers. Dad goes to work
7:15 am: I wake up the girls. I get the big girls to the potty. As soon as they are done, I grab Laynee out of bed and change her diaper and give her a bottle.
7:30 The girls are eating breakfast. I usually make breakfast casserole once or twice a week and I just heat it up and serve it to them. I ALWAYS make their drinks the night before - so all I have to do is set it out on the table in the morning. I also feed Laynee her puree's while the big girls feed themselves. I usually have toast for breakfast really quick in between feeding everyone else.
8:15 I get all the girls dressed and brush their teeth. They usually match because that keeps my brain going in the same direction. Its really just easier. I also do my very best to have their clothes picked out the night before as well. Then I do their hair!
9:00 The baby goes down for her nap - and I play with the big girls outside or do some sort of playtime/learning/craft with them. I take Kensington potty. 
10:00 I try to split the big girls up and have them play separately for a while. Sometimes - They watch TV I drink coffee at this time :) I usually try to get Kensington to the potty again. Anslee just goes whenever she needs to and I don't keep tabs on her like I do with Kens still.
10:45 I get Laynee up and give her a bottle. While she is drinking her bottle - I will make the big girls lunch.
11:15  Again, another potty break and washing hands before we eat. the big girls are typically having lunch now if we do not have a play date or lunch outing planned for the day. If so, we are playing/eating together with friends at this time. I feed Laynee puree's and finger foods while the girls are eating. If we are out and about, I feed Laynee in her carseat or in her stroller.
12:30 Kensington (2.5) goes down for her nap. She is always ready at this time. She usually passes out within 3 or 4 minutes of being laid down.
1 pm Anslee (4.5) goes down for a nap in my bed (they room share, but not for nap time)
1:30 Laynee goes down for her afternoon nap. I love the 30 minutes I have alone with sweet Laynee bug. We do lots of clapping, and peek-a-booing during this time. As well as reading a couple of books. I eat lunch when ALL the girls are in bed for nap. I enjoy my food when I can eat it in peace, without interruption so I choose to wait to eat.
2-3 pm: I work on my Rodan and Fields business :)
3:00 Kensington and Anslee get up from their nap and we re-do their messy hair. Potty break. Daddy is home from work! yay!
3:30 Laynee  is up from her nap, and needs a diaper change and a bottle.
4:15 We usually try to leave the house for a quick errand or activity as a family at this time. OR I am cooking dinner (if I didnt let the crock pot do it for me earlier in the day) and Tyler takes the girls somewhere or at least into the backyard!
5:15-5:45 Dinner happens sometime in this time frame. All girls get fed.
6:15 bath time. This is an interesting time of the day. If its a weekend night - I am flying solo, as Tyler would have been home during part of the day ( he usually works overtime) and works nights on weekends. I put all 3 of them in the bath together. We brush teeth, blow dry hair and get in our PJ's. 
7 pm - in bed
7:30 usually everyone has fallen asleep finally. I eat dinner and do whatever chores need to be done. I do more R+F work.
10:00 I watch FRIENDS re-runs on nick at night and fall asleep.

That is a pretty typical day in our world. If it is planned out and makes sense, and if everyone knows what to expect things run smoothly. Even with being so busy. This is our schedule now - but when Laynee was younger and napping more..we of course had to make adjustments. Of course, Sundays are a little different. Next year - Anslee will begin her classical/university modeling school program in the fall - so this will look a little different as well. We roll with the punches. I don't expect this to change much over the summer months though.

How I handle the "little things" with all 3:

potty training.
-Ive never potty trained a child without a baby being around. I do not know anything different. Every time I have potty trained a child, they have had a younger sibling around that still needed tending too. When I potty trained Anslee, Kensington was 4.5 months old. I was nursing her, and she was still a little bit colic. But - its do- able. When we potty trained Kens, Laynee was 7.5 months old. The method we use (Lora Jensen 3 day) requires ALL attention be placed on the trainee child - so we do have to tweak the schedule when we are doing this. Our potty training method is a post all on its own, for sure!  We did send Anslee to the grandparents for the 1st day - because Anslee would have been bored with having NO attention from us, and she would have REALLY been wanting Kensington to just come and play. By day 2 - Kensington had a good enough grasp, that Anslee came back and was her biggest cheerleader. Laynee, just sort of hung out. Tyler was off when we planned this - so someone was always available for Laynee, while Kensington was still being closely monitored.

loading the car.
I swear it takes 17 minutes for us to get from "get your shoes on girls" to buckled in the car and backing out of the garage. Really. I have to really get started getting into the car 30 minutes before we need to pull out of our driveway. I always load Laynee first. She needs help for every step in getting in the car obviously. Kesington is to climb into her carseat and sit and wait for me to buckle her while I finish up loading Laynee. Anslee, is to get into her car seat and buckle the chest buckle part herself. She can get one of the acutal bucks on the bottom bucke by herself - but not the other yet. She is almost there - so after I have buckled Kensington and Laynee - I snap Anslee's last buckle. Then I get in the car. 

*Note* We have a van with automatic sliding doors. AMAZING. The middle row of the Van is actually two captains chairs. The captains chair directly behind the passenger seat in the front is Laynee's. Her carseat lives there. We TOTALLY removed the captains chair behind the driver seat. This is great for 2 reasons. 1. I can easily get in and out to help Kensington and Anslee who are in the very back (bench) seat in their carseats.2. There is a LOT of floor space all of the sudden for when I go grocery shopping or when we travel and have a lot of junk.

Traveling:
We do not travel very much. We really don't. In fact, the longest trip that Laynee has ever made has been 1 hr and 10 minutes down the road. We always leave first thing in the morning - and have breakfast in the car. We try to get wherever we are going in time for Laynee to get her first nap. If we were traveling further - we would leave a bit closer to Laynee's nap time, in hopes that she would take her first nap in the car. She has just truly never had to do this. Our family is 30 minutes away or 1 hr and 10 minute away - so that is usually how we handle that. We have a pack and play for Laynee when we travel and the big girls can stay in a regular bed at my parents or at my in laws home. Still, if we keep a general routine that is close to "Normal" when we travel - everyone is happy and content. We still have yet to stay in a hotel room with any of our kids. Ha! Well - Tyler did once, with Anslee and Kensington - but I never have. (When they did, it went fine - they rented a crib at that time for Kensington)

Room Sharing:
Anslee and Kensington have shared a bedroom for about 10 months now. Its gone REALLY well. In fact - they have become so much closer because of it - and better sleepers because of it. They can both sleep through each other making noise. They began room sharing when Laynee was 3 weeks old. For the first week, they had a bedtime an HOUR earlier than usual - so they could enjoy the novelty of being in the same room and could talk and laugh for a while...but still actually fall asleep at a decent hour. I separate for naps. They would not fall asleep for nap time if I had them in the same room. We have tried before a couple of times and it did not work, so now Anslee naps in my bed. She sleeps great for nap in there. At night - they will end up tuckering out and will fall asleep - but they could literally waste the entire normal nap time talking, so we do separate.

Bath Time:
Bath time is crazy. My girls have sensitive/dry skin - so I try to just bathe them every other day, because it can really dry their skin out more if they are in the water too often. They all 3 will take a bath together. I wash the big girls hair first and then wash their body. They can play for a little bit while I get Laynee all washed up. The difficult part is after everyone is all clean. I take Laynee out first, dry her off and get her in her PJ's. I let her craw around and play with toys on the floor while I dry the big girls off. Then I will blow dry the big girls hair and bring Laynee up to join them for brushing their teeth. 

Bed Time:
I always put Laynee to bed first. I give her a bottle right before bed, still, but she is taking less and less each night it seems - but I am still happily offering it to her. While I am in her room doing her bedtime routine with her, the girls are usually entertained with Mike the Night or Mickey Mouse clubhouse. Then I will come and get them and put them to bed together as soon as I am done with Laynee. Of course if Tyler is home for bath and bedtime - he is super helpful and will divide the responsibilities with so we can be as efficient as possible! 

Sundays:
Sundays are tricky for us. Church is clearly a huge priority for our family, and we do our best to keep our girls on a normal "Sunday schedule" as best we can. Our Sunday School begins at 9:45 am and Church begins at 11 am. Tyler and are currently switching off who gets to go to Sunday School (and take the big girls) so that Laynee can get her nap. So every other Sunday I go and the other Sundays - Tyler goes. Like I mentioned before - Tyler works weekend nights, so Saturday nights he is usually out until 2 am at the earliest. Every Sunday I will get up and get the girls  up and dressed and fed and ready to go. If its my Sunday, Tyler never wakes up until its time for Laynee to get up from her nap at 10:45. If its his Sunday, I wake him at 9:10 so he can get himself ready - but still have had some sort of sleep from the night before. If he is off on Sunday (He works a 1 pm - 10 pm shift on Sunday to ease him into day shift work for the weekdays) then whoever went to church will come home, and pick up Laynee and whoever stayed home and we will go to big church. (We live 4 minutes away from our church...if that).

So life with 3 is wild, and certainly requires a lot of "movement" throughout the day, but I feel like if you make a plan that has a purpose for what you want to accomplish for the day - it can be done with minimal stress! Having 3 is wonderful, and truly - does not require much more energy than having 2! 

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