When I was pregnant with my third child people told me that having three kids was no harder than having two kids. Those people were big, fat, horrible liars. Having three kids is so much harder than having two. Here are a few of the many reasons why: There are only two parents, which means we are obviously outnumbered. I only have two hands, which makes it difficult to hold every child’s hand in a parking lot. Someone is always left out, which makes for various combinations of sibling rivalries and squabbles. And it is hard to go to amusement parks when only two people can sit on a ride.
Last night was a perfect example of why having three children equals utter chaos. I got home from work at 6:00 and picked up Little Man from daycare. On our way home we had to stop by the park where my husband and Mr. Wizard were having baseball practice to drop off a bucket of baseballs that somehow ended up in the back of my car, along with three dirty socks, a Saint Peter trading card (???), a yoga mat, and some crushed up pretzels. We just dropped off the balls, the rest of the crap stayed in my car. We traded the baseballs for Sassafrass and I was on my way to take the two youngers home to feed them some dinner when my husband asked one of Mr. Wizard’s little friends where his glove was.
“Ummmm….in my bag.”
“Where’s your bag?”
“Ummmm…..at your house.”
Sigh. So then I drove to our house, picked up the kid’s stuff, took it back to practice and then finally headed home. By now it was about 6:30 and Little Man was ready to gnaw his arm off he was so hungry. I had decided as soon as I drove into the driveway and saw the jungle that was our lawn that I was going to try and mow, edge, and trim the lawn as quickly as I could because the forecast called for rain and snow the next day. Snow. On May 1st. Ridiculousness.
Anyhoo.. I asked Little Man what he wanted to eat for dinner.
“Waffles and cereal.”
Oh my God. Haven’t we had this conversation once before? I should know better than to ask an irrational two year old what he wants for dinner, as if he really has a choice in the matter. In my rush to get going on the lawn I lost my focus and thus lost control of this situation in a hurry.
“Mommy will make you a sandwich.” I said.
“NOOOOOOO!!!!!! WAFFLES AND CEREAL!!!!!”
Sweet baby Jesus.
“Fine, you can have some cereal.” Since we didn’t have any waffles I threw a bowl of Cap’n Crunch on his highchair tray and ran out the door where I proceeded to attempt to edge, trim, and mow the grass in our yard that was about 4 feet high. When I was about 1/2 finished with the front yard, I went in to check on Little Man. He had dumped most of his cereal on the floor and the rest was on his head.
Apparently he was full, so I cleaned him up and let him go play outside. Meanwhile, Sassafrass was begging me to let her invite two little neighbor girls over from across the street. I felt as though we had plenty of children already at our house, so I told her she can play with Little Man.
“He’s a baaaaaaaabyyyyyyyy.” she whined.
As we both turned to look, Little Man proceeded to dump a bucket of sand on his head. Since his shirt was already covered in milk from “dinner”, he was now a wet, sand covered mess. I didn’t blame her for not wanting to play with him. I didn’t even want him in my house at that moment.
“Fine, you can invite them over, but you have to stay in the back yard and keep an eye on Little Man for me until I am done mowing in the front.”
Soon after I went back to my mowing duties, I saw Sassafrass coming back across the street with her friends. They are adorable little Chinese girls named, I shit you not, Ruyi and Ruyi. The older one’s name is actually Ruyian, but they call her Ruyi for short. So they are both Ruyi.
So Ruyi, Ruyi, and Sassafrass went in the back yard to play while I kept hacking away at the poor grass. Ten seconds later Sassafrass came over to ask me if they could set up the sprinkler.
“NO!” I had to yell over the mower.
A few minutes after that she came back. “Mooooooom, can we go play in the house?”
“Why nooooooot?” Man, that whining was getting to me.
“Because there is no one in the house to watch you.”
“You’re not watching us anyway.”
She had a point. But my answer was still no. And I was catching glimpses of them in the back yard as I was making my OCD diagonal rows in the grass with my mower.
A couple minutes later she was back.
“Moooooooom…. can I go play at Ruyi and Ruyi’s house?”
“No, because then Little Man will want to go.”
“You just hate me.” Then she stomped back to the back yard.
Finally I was finished with the front yard and moved on the the back yard. Little Ruyi apparently had never seen a lawn mower and I had to keep stopping because she kept running over to look at it and I thought I was going to cut off her toes.
I had had enough and the sky was starting to look a little ominous, so I sent the Ruyis home, put my kids in the house with some Little Einsteins on the t.v., prayed that they wouldn’t hurt themselves or break anything, and finally finished mowing the grass. I spent an extra 15 minutes picking up 89 balls, 62 dinosaurs, and 3 giant hula hoops from the lawn before I mowed it. I was kind of hoping I would find an Easter egg that had been missed from the kids’ Easter egg hunt weeks ago because I could have really used some chocolate at that point. As soon as I finally finished mowing it started to rain.
I went inside expecting to find a disaster, but instead found my sweet babies snuggling together on the couch watching t.v. And sitting in a pile of sand that Little Man’s had dumped on the couch when he took off his shoes.
I started to get the kids ready for bed and had just laid Little Man in his crib when Mr. Wizard came home.
“Mom! Do you have a viola?”
“Uh… yes, why?”
“Can I play it?”
“Yeah, I think I want to either learn how to play the cello or the viola. I tried out the violin but the notes are too high and I think loud notes hurt my ears kind of like a dog is sensitive to high frequencies, but the viola and the cello are both lower frequencies and that sounds better to me, plus when I tried out the cello I was pretty much a natural and I think I am really good and so can I play the cello or the viola? I want to try your viola. Can I play it? Where is it?”
“Wow, take a breath buddy. I just got Little Man in bed, so I think we will wait to get the viola out until tomorrow, okay?”
He looked at me like I had crushed his lifelong dreams.
“Fine. Oh, Mom? Hey, Mom? Mom. I think I will be really good at the cello. Can you buy me one? I only need a 1/2 cello. And Mom? Hey, Mom? At first I thought ‘cello’ was spelled with an ‘h’, like ‘chello’ because that would make sense, but it doesn’t have an ‘h’, did you know that? And, hey Mom? do you think I can play the cello? Or maybe the viola? But I’m really good at the cello”.
Apparently the elementary strings teacher visited Mr. Wizard’s 3rd grade class and let them try out some instruments. And I got the sense that Mr. Wizard might be interested in trying out the cello.
I finally got him and everyone else in bed and had a moment to catch up on some laundry and dishes and a moment to reflect on the night. There are definite challenges to parenting three kids who are all in different stages of life and with such different personalities. We parents are by far outnumbered and life is always chaotic.
I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world.