The Trenches

This three-under-three thing. It sounds cute. It certainly makes for a catchy hashtag. But the WORK. So much work. Somehow it wasn't so bad at first. I thought the first few weeks/months would be the hardest...a newborn! Twin toddlers! Constant nursing! Night wakings! Juggling it all! Somehow we escaped what I had drummed up in my head to be "the worst". Sure we had some help from family at first, but even after that, it just wasn't so bad. Nolan was a really good sleeper, the twins didn't have any issues with having a baby in the house, we relaxed and adjusted...I don't want to call it easy, but it certainly wasn't bad.  

+++++

Somehow over the summer it became much more difficult. Maybe when Nolan became more scheduled and needed naps to happen at home, and only at home? When activities basically ceased for the summer so our predictable routines to get out of the house kind of vanished? When the twins naps became suddenly shorter? I'm not sure. Probably a combination of it all + the reality of having two 2-year olds and a baby around. Whatever happened, I can hardly find a chance to write now, to read, to get done the things that need to get done, much less the things I want to get done. Keeping up with birthdays, holidays, the playdates we have each week seem virtually impossible lately. Things keep sneaking up on me. This isn't me. I'm organized, I swear! I schedule everything there is to be scheduled and probably more! I still use a paper planner, dammit! How does this happen?

+++++

I thought I'd been here before. But certainly this is what they call "The Trenches".

It looks so nice, doesn't it? DON'T BE FOOLED BY THE PRETTY PICTURE.

+++++

It's exhausting. So much right now is just getting from sun up (or *ahem* before the sun is up, thank you very much, toddlers) to sun down. A daily endless loop of food-COFFEE-dishes-playtime-snacks-nursing-naps-cleaning-picking up toys-washing clothes-folding clothes-picking up toys *again*-teaching-disciplining-changing diapers-bathtime-go to sleep-go to sleep-go to sleep. It is such a marathon. Especially since the twins have decided their naps should be no longer than 1.5 hours (gahhhh!), the days are loooong. I usually get to the end of the day and have zero energy for much of anything. I've had approximately zero time to write or read or catch up on photos lately, two things I enjoy doing, because I'm either A: pressed for time B: mentally and physically exhausted or (most likely) C: both. It's been enough to just get through each day lately without adding anything else to the end of it.

+++++

That's not to say the days are hard, exactly. I mean, they certainly aren't easy. But I don't have any extra worries or concerns or issues. The kids are all developing fine, none of them have been sick, we hang out with friends and get out of the house, we're pretty much settled into our "new" home. We have enough money to keep a roof over our heads and buy food that I'm usually able to find time to cook. They're generally happy, good, agreeable, lovely little children. Frankly, it's exhausting enough to get through the day (2-year old DRAMAZ x two!) without any additional problems.

In fact, 90% of the time it's actually pretty okay. The kids are playing well, they're listening or eating what they're supposed to, the house isn't any more of a mess than is to be expected. It's the OTHER 10% of the time - when the you-know-what hits the fan - that is stressful. Everyone decides to cry at once or a 2-year old decides to see what happens when they hit one of their siblings (usually causing more crying) or we're all ready to leave the house but someone needs a sudden diaper change while another wants "NO DAAAAA-DDDDYYYYY" (who is working, of course) to put their shoes on.

+++++

And this so close in age thing is weird. While it seems like virtually everyone else with multiple kids (and especially 3+ kids) has at least one that's headed back to school, we're, uh, still just here. All of us. Hi! Here we all are! Same old routine. No one is even headed off to preschool for a few blessed hours a week. While there are a few activities we're gearing up for again, there is no drop-off and pick-up involved. No break or much change of pace, no chance of having less than three children around for a routine span of a few hours.

I mean, there IS their parent-child class. But it's generally frowned upon to ditch your child(ren) at the parent-child class while you go get coffee and a pedicure. Bummer.

+++++

The so close in age thing also means it's difficult for Tyson and I to get away. You can't just hire your average teenage babysitter and leave for the night. The only people we can really trust with bedtime are grandparents. Twins + a baby + bedtime basically requires the management efforts of two people. Even with a couple of capable teenagers, Tyson and I would basically have to go sit outside on the front steps for our date, since after paying for two babysitters we would have used up any and all money we could have used to go out to dinner or do anything for the night.

+++++

I told Tyson that this is probably (I mean, we'll see, but let me have this here) the most difficult time in our married/parenting lives. Sure if we have another kid that's, y'know, another kid, but Caden and Brooklyn will at least be in some sort of school by that time. Twin 2-year olds and a baby are just all so needy right now. No one can get dressed by themselves, Brooklyn and Nolan still need diaper changes, no one can get food on their own (well, okay, Caden can open the pantry door and both he and Brooklyn know how to pull up a chair to get at the good stuff, so it's not like they'd exactly starve...), they're still too young to play outside by themselves...  

+++++

There are glimpses, though.  Caden, my miracle potty-trainer, goes to the bathroom like a champ (besides needing help pulling those pesky pants back up). Some of the older kids in the neighborhood love to play with the twins, and I sometimes get a break once the big kids are home from school for the day, while the twins run around outside with their "friends" while I nurse Nolan in peace and get dinner started. All three have an independent streak, and don't mind being dropped off at church or playing with their teachers at school. Heck, even when I'm around at their parent-child class, Caden and Brooklyn could usually care less that I'm anywhere near them. They're getting better at playing independently even while at home.

+++++

And, so this isn't one entire, long rant of a post, it can also be really fun. Two-year olds, two-and-a-half-year olds, are a lot of fun. They talk a lot (like, a LOT, a lot) (okay, it can get kind of annoying), and constantly crack me up with their conversations. They love their baby brother, who is in danger of being smushed, smashed, and/or suffocated from so many hugs. Caden and Brooklyn can do so many more things now, like ride bikes, play with toys that are actually interesting, and interact with other kids in a way that they just couldn't before. And Nolan continues to be the world's easiest, happiest baby.  

+++++

We have five more months of this three-under-three business.  The only way out is through.  Then we'll have three-under-four!  Though that hashtag isn't quite as catchy.