Tuesday, June 28, 2011

4 is the New 3

I'm still alive.
And actually, it wasn't bad at all.
Actually, it was great.
Turns out, 4 isn't much different than 3.
We just have a little mascot we're toting around with us now.

It seems like every time people find I have 4 kids, they want to know, "is it much harder to go from 3 to 4?"
Obviously I have not been doing this long enough to give a real answer, but I do know that thus far, 2 to 3 was much, much harder than 3 to 4.
For one thing, this time I have older kids.  
Last time I had a just 4 and just 2 year old.
I had 2 in diapers.
2 year olds are not very good at waiting for mommy to feed the baby before they get their breakfast.
But older kids get that.
Last time it seemed harder to keep track of everyone.
This time I don't have to worry about little boys running off.
They know the rules and most of the time, they obey them.

And all those things that seem overwhelming or stress inducing the first, second or even third time around, I've done before.
With experience comes confidence.
I can nurse a baby anywhere.
Temper tantrums?
Been there.  Done that.  I know how to deal with those bad boys.
Crying baby?
Doesn't bother me.
No time to finish a task, sentence, or thought without interruption?
Been doing it for 7 years.  I'm pretty used to it now.
I think this is like any other job.
You get better at it with practice.

But for the most part. the biggest difference is me.
More than ever, I realize, that I am the one who sets the tone for the day, the outing, or the task at hand.
My kids know when I am faking it.
It's pretty convicting when my 2 year old says to me, "make a happy smile, Mommy," because she knows the smile I have on is not real.
If, instead, my heart is cheerful and ready to accept the day with all its interruptions and derailed plans, and just make the best of it, we are all so much happier.
"Rejoice in the Lord always." Philippians 4:4

So yesterday started with donuts.

We had no groceries for breakfast.
Poor planning on my part.
A nap after church and a trip to the beach sounded so much better than grocery shopping.
I embraced it, and before heading to the store, we got donuts for breakfast.
Besides, we were all feeling a little low that Daddy was back at work.
And sprinkles do a world of good when you're feeling low.

Then, to the grocery store with all 4.
There have been times when I have put off shopping until evening because taking all the kids wore me out.  
At the end of this pregnancy, for example.
But for the most part, my kids go where I go because that is the way we have to do things.
We're a team.
I admit to feeling some trepidation at my first attempt.
So I gave them a pep talk.
I'm big on pep talks.
"This is our first trip to the store with Davy.  I need you all to be my helpers. We're a team"
Given the opportunity to help, they really want to.
James offered to push the cart.
William offered to load it,
Lilly was so excited that she finally got walk instead of ride, that she held onto the cart the whole time just as I asked her to.
Team work.
I was proud of them.

Also, it never hurts to strategize.
We went early.
No one was hungry.  No one was tired yet.  No one was cranky yet.
Because any kids with those problems can send everyone over the edge.

The rest of the morning went well.  
Things move slower with a new baby in the house.
There is more waiting for our own needs to be met because someone else's needs come first.
It can be a hard lesson to learn, but so valuable.
And there is more responsibility placed on our shoulders.
We have to watch out for each other and take care of each other.
We're all in this together.

So when they wanted to go to the beach, I agreed.
But only if we got everything ready and packed up before Davy's dr. appointment.
They jumped to it.  Davy got his check up.
And then I took these 4 to the beach for the afternoon.
By myself.
And it was great.  

The only hard part was making sure this girl didn't go out too deep.
She didn't see the problem with going deep.
And she assured me, passionately, "I AM A GOOD SWIMMER!"

Thank goodness for sleepy babies, slings and snacks for "good swimmers" to eat while I am feeding the baby.
Here's hoping today will be just as great as yesterday.
But if it's not, I am ready to roll with it.
And, in case you were wondering, I think that 4 is the new 3.

Love from,


katie said...

You are mothering your kiddos so well, Greta. I love the beach you get to go to. I wish we had a place like that here so the kids could wade where it is shallow without waves. Keep it up, Mama!

Aaron Eskridge said...

You are the most wonderful mother our four beautiful babies could have. And I am so blessed to have you.

Thank you for everything that you do.
Thank you for loving the five of us with all of your creative heart.

Love, your biggest fan, your loving and admiring husband,


hannah singer said...

{melt my heart, your sweet husband!}

way to go, greta! you are a champion mama! i'm reminded of my childhood when you mention the pep talk;) i will never know how my mom managed with four by herself on outings-my pops is a pastor and wasn't home very often! but she thought four was no big change either;)

press on, keep rejoicing. your life is a beautiful adventure!

love lily's swimsuit, too.

Sheila said...

Yeh, I thought going from 1 to 2 kids was more challenging than 3 to 4. I'm already way outnumbered. LOL. Looks like you're doing great. And the beach does sound better than the grocery store any day.

Betsi* said...

You're awesome! I only hope I can do half as good a job in a few months when it's my turn for the jump to 4!

Anonymous said...

I can't speak from experience but a friend who has 8 kids says 4 was the magic number for them. It all started to get easier with number 4. Probably because the older kids could be more helpful. They're all 2 years apart for when #4 was born the others were 2, 4 and 6. Another friend is pregnant with her third. When the baby arrives she'll have a 2 yo, a 1 yo and a newborn. I'll be praying for her!

hannah singer said...

greta-how did i miss that you're coming to blog sugar?! woohoo!

the Blah Blah Blahger said...

You are Super Woman!!!

Can't wait to meet you at Blog Sugar!!!

Michelle Elkins AKA Mickey said...

i love everything about your blog!!!!

michelle michael said...

hi! i'm michelle and i'll be meeting you at blog sugar. i'm so excited to see you spell your daughter's name with 2 ls, like silly or billy cuz we do too! 4 kids sounds like a lot of crazy fun!!

Anonymous said...

you are a rockstar.

JDaniel4's Mom said...

You are amazing! You planned this so well! Your family is beautiful.

christi @ burlap and basil said...

what lucky kiddos! there are 4 of us, too, and my mom always said the last two were the easiest. being the second oldest, i remember all the pep talks and bribes ... and being the helpful/bossy/oldest sister! =) looks like a lovely day at {balboa?} beach? love our socal beaches!

popping in to say hello to the other sugar babies! yeah blog sugar!

i'm hosting a july giftaway - anthropologie pillow and some goodies! i hope you'll enter!

Kristen said...

you are amazing... the beach and the grocery store with 4 kiddos one of which is a newborn. i applaud you. it sounds like you are taking it all in stride with a positive attitude.

my sister in law always told me once you have 3 kids and can manage 3 kids you could have 6. its the jump from 2 kids to 3 kids that seems to be the hardest.

see you at blog sugar!!