Friday, January 9, 2009

Why I Shouldn't Have Four Kids*

And I promise, this post has nothing to do with the two children of a friend of mine that I watched all morning and part of the afternoon today, in addition to the wee ones.

I can only explain "Don't slide down the snow mountain towards the driveway. Slide towards the grass. I'm trying to get the snow off the driveway right now" in a patient voice so many times. It's possible that I reached my limit this morning.

I only have so many eyes. I can't watch four kids playing in different parts of the basement and referee all disagreements fairly at the same time. I just don't have it in me. And I don't believe kids when they say that someone else started it. I don't care who started it, what you did is not the appropriate reaction, and person X isn't going to get in more trouble, so just tell me what happened to we can figure out how to avoid it next time.

I wouldn't look good in a size zero. I know how much work it is chasing after two wee ones. Add in two more and it is geometrically more work. I'd never stop moving, and I'd never have time to eat. Besides, I wouldn't want you all to hate me because I were thin. As a challenge today, once we moved inside, I spent all the time not refereeing arguments picking up toys and straightening. I was unable to ever get caught up.

Bad excuses don't fly with me. And little ones (and big ones) come up with way too many. Today I made myself an iced chair latte and brought it downstairs while continuing my referee duties. Within five minutes, Little Miss had knocked it onto the light beige carpeting. Very light beige. Her excuse? "It was in my waaaaaayyyyyyyyy." Right. Because the middle of the coffee table while you're twirling around the room, arms akimbo, is justifiably in your way. Much like the tower one of the boys was building in the middle of the room with plenty of space on all sides was in your way when you wanted to walk by. I just don't buy it.

I only have so many ears. I can only listen to so many stories or requests at one time. When children are talking to me, I really try to give them my best effort and engage them and encourage them. I lost so many threads of conversation today... and the poor kids were so excited to talk to me, too.

My health insurance only covers 30 days of inpatient mental health. When the babysitting children left and the wee ones went down for a "nap" (and I use that term loosely), I literally sat on the couch staring into space for a good twenty minutes. I think I was close to drooling and catatonia. I am not cut out to watch that many children, and I know I'd end up in the loony bin.

DCFS would be called on me. It would probably be partly my fault, too. Let's just say that I'm not one hundred percent caught up on laundry right now. Mister Man wore his last clean pair of pants today (I did the wee one's darks and lights today so he has more clean clothes now, don't worry). I can just see it now when I get the call from his teacher, "Hello, I just wanted to make sure that everything is ok at home. We've noticed that your children have been coming to school in clothes with Nutella stains on them. Sometimes the clothes have little holes in them, and we're just concerned that there may be something wrong." We haven't gotten there yet, but if I'm down to the last pair of pants with two wee ones, imagine what would happen with four.

Along those same lines, it's possible that we don't have enough time for the wee ones to get a shower every single day. Now double the children. I know there's the saying about getting a bath on Saturday whether you need one or not, but I really don't want to start putting that into practice.

God gave me two arms for a reason. When I need to referee, sometimes the wee ones are in a bit of a tussle. I can separate them and hold them apart while talking to them, if necessary. I'm just not good enough at yoga to try to keep four kids from getting into it.

I can't drive a minivan. It's a mental thing. I know a lot of people have them and love them, but I just can't do it. I've given in somewhat with my Pilot with the three rows, but it's still not quite the same. In my head, I mean. With two wee ones, I can periodically get into the third row to fasten Mister Man's booster seat. Having two wee ones in the way back and two in the middle in child safety seats of some sort would require contortions that I'm not capable of. To do this on a regular basis, I'd need an aisleway, which means a minivan. Nope. Can't do it.

And the number one reason I don't have four children is that I would lose my free childcare. My parents love watching the wee ones. They do daycare for me every Thursday, which is a huge moneysaver. And whenever I need a babysitter, whether it's for a Nothwestern game or a wedding or a night out or a daytime appointment, my parents are there for me. For free. But I was warned after Little Miss that I should not have a third child or this status would be in jeopardy.

So what reasons did I miss?

* Now, let me clarify that this is my personal view. I am not cut out to be a parent of four children. I admire those who have more children and carry it off with aplomb. It's a real talent, but it's one that I recognize I don't have.

However, if two months from now you hear that I'm pregnant with twins, you'll know it was this post that jinxed me.


Anonymous January 9, 2009 at 6:04 PM  


I have only two also. After my girl was two I knew she could not be an only child or DCFS would have locked me by now. So I told the husband 2 was the magic number. She needed a sibling/ future partner in crime. Someone, she would have to share with. Someone, to have her back. The day after the boy’s birth I was tied off like some house pet (no cone around my neck)
Now the girl will be four in a few weeks and the boy just turn one. If there were more I would be in jail or a psychiatric ward already.

Melissa January 9, 2009 at 6:08 PM  

I can barely handle the one I have...add 3 more and I'd probably have a stroke!

Good job today!!

MaBunny January 9, 2009 at 6:43 PM  

The one I have is plenty!
And substitute teaching, and dealing with 21 tattletales/runny noses/ potty requests/whining... gets on my nerves, lol. I've subbed for kindergarten twice this week. I've had my fill of ankle biters for awhile, lol.

Michelle January 9, 2009 at 10:25 PM  

Elftea - That's so funny that you needed a second one! I joke that had Little Miss been the first, she would have been the only ;) No surgical corrections on either end though.... so knock on some wood for us, wouldja?

Melissa - Ok, now I feel good about at least being able to manage two on a regular basis. I forgot to mention the likelihood of a stroke. You're right.

MaBunny - Yeah... you've got your hands full, for sure. I really admire teachers. To put up with what they do for what they do is a real talent (my husband included -- he's great with middle schoolers!).

Cookie January 9, 2009 at 10:37 PM  

I think having more than 2 kids automatically makes you a saint. Assuming you don't harm any of them, well seriously harm any at least!

I had a friend named Michele in NJ. She had one daughter just a few months younger than my son. She used to see me with my 2 kids (ages 2 years and 6 months at the time). She told me that I was her birth control. Whenever she saw me struggling with 2 kids, she thought she would never have any more kids. Then she took in one foster child. He was 1.5. Then she found out she was pregnant with twins. She went from 1 kid to 4 in one year. And the oldest was 3! The foster child has sinced moved in with his aunt. So now she's back down to 3. Still, she's so busy that I barely hear from her!

Beverly January 10, 2009 at 4:59 AM  

My sweet husband came with three children (whom we homeschool). I had two quick pregnancies after we got married. Zero to five in 2.5 years.

I was skinny before. Want to know why I'm not now, even though I am constantly on the move? Because chocolate and french fries make you feel good when your stress level is high.

Don't get me wrong -- I love, love, love being a mom to five. It's the most difficult and the most rewarding thing I've ever done. I still have a deer in the headlights look most of the time, but there is never a dull moment here!

Hopefully, I will find my waist again soon, along with my sanity. :-)

So glad you survived the day.


Veggie Mom January 10, 2009 at 8:34 AM  

I'm of the opinion that once one changes your life forever, then why not add a few more? Although I think I stopped at 2 for a reason!

Jen January 10, 2009 at 11:42 AM  

I have 2 kids of my own but watch my sister's 3 kids about once a week or so. I love having them around but when they were all little (mine are 3 and 5, her's are 6, 4 and 18 months to give you the age differences) it was hard. Now that the boys are older and can play by themselves it's actually nice. The girls are the 2 youngest and play nicely together. On the days when they are here longer I am happy to send them home though. My kids are active and I defintely don't think I could handle anymore! My sister, on the other hand is pregnant with her 4th and due on her youngest child's 2nd birthday. And she handles them beautifully!

Jen January 10, 2009 at 11:42 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michelle January 10, 2009 at 3:18 PM  

Cookie - Wow, that does make for one busy momma! And you're right that having more children definitely means you spend more time with your family than you do keeping up friendships and the like. And kudos to her for taking in a foster child!

Beverly - Good luck finding your waist! And you're right on the eating thing. I won't confirm, but it's possible that my lunch yesterday consisted of seaweed (don't ask) and M&Ms.

Veggie Mom - Very true. Every child definitely changes us. And they all have their perfect place in the family. But I think it's probably best for everyone in our family that we stop with two ;)

Jen - Wow, that's great that your sister handles them so well. That's also probably the reason she's pregnant with #4! And sadly, I have the 3 and 5 and the boys here were 4 and 6. It was not pretty. But I will admit that a lot of that was due to the other boys. I am able to go outside and shovel for a half hour (with the wee ones knowing where I am and how to find me), and they'll just play together in their roooms. But I'm still good with just two!

anymommy January 11, 2009 at 4:11 AM  

This one cracked me up. So make that twin announcement soon, okay, so we can have four together ;-)

JANE January 11, 2009 at 12:48 PM  

Hmmmm 4 kids..... Actually it's all very mind boggling when I stop to think about it! Sometimes I really do stop and kinda go "OMG, I have 4 kids", LOL!! My hubby is just glad I haven't misplaced any of them yet. After 4, my memory is shot!!

Michelle January 11, 2009 at 6:35 PM  

anymommy - Ironically, I was thinking of you when I wrote this post (because you're going to have four not because you have holy terrors). And ummm I'm going to do my best to avoid that announcement ;) I'll leave you to the four children under four world!

Jane - I can imagine your memory would be shot. I have huge problems myself! It's amazing sometimes the things we do when we don't think about how hard and impossible they are.

Lisa M January 29, 2009 at 7:30 AM  

What's an Iced Chair Latte? ;)
If you have a third child (not one you are watching), it gets a little easier and then if number 4 comes along, it's only crowd control. :)
You've got the other stuff down by then :)

Michelle January 30, 2009 at 11:45 PM  

Lisa M - Ummm. A typo? Oh wait no no no. It's a special chair that massages you as it feeds you lovely sweetened coffee drinks. Yeah. That's it. I'll take your word for it on the easier part. I definitely have my hands full with two -- especially Little Miss!

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