The truth about four…

…it’s hard and people will look at you with a weird squinty eyed judgement but since you’ve made your bed you must lie in it, even if there’s a faint smell of urine from the potty training one.

But if you want to have a ‘couple more babies’ then I recommend the following;

1. A big car.

D’oh! But seriously we’ve been to see some apparent seven seater cars in showrooms and put all the salesmen to shame because the cars they’re shown us aren’t true seven seaters. With four car seats you need to have four real seats that have iso-fixes for the car seats, plus one for mummy and one for daddy.

I remember waddling into a Honda show room thirty weeks pregnant with three car seats under my arm (it’s amazing how strong you get from holding so many children) and the heavily scented gentleman with cheese for a smile looked at me with such disappointment, he knew he wouldn’t get a sale that day as any seven seater car he showed me just wouldn’t work.

2. Lower your expectations of sleep but don’t rule it out.

As with any child rearing there comes with it a little troll who walks about with bad breath stealing sleep or at least that’s how it feels. The minute your toes get toasty and your back muscles release the tension of the day into the mattress a little whimper will come from somewhere and with all muscles fully contracted once again you’ll try and work out which child it is and how quickly you’ll respond but routine will save the day.

I am a firm believer of routine. Routine comes in like a large bosomed nanny with her aprons strings flying in the wind to save the day. She lets me know to ignore that cry she’ll settle in five minutes or to go to that cry.

Routine has saved my sanity. Routine allows me and the children to know exactly where we are and what we’re up to at any given moment in the day. It is hard to stick to it and like any good dictator worth their salt there will be consequences of not following the routine. An overtired toddler tantrum or a kick back from a pre-tween who doesn’t want to finish her tea but when seven thirty pm comes and the final call for ‘I need a wee’ or ‘I need a drink’ ends there is calm and in come my two very best friends, rest and sleep. Stick to them, hold them fast for although brief at times it won’t last. Sleep will come to stay again for a whole night and when it does you can tackle any amount of bed wetting, food throwing, ‘don’t forget your school bag’ shouting any day can bring.

3. Become elastic

The trouble with four so young is their developmental stages are so vast. Around the dinner table I can be talking to the oldest child about the first man on the moon and the perfect 23 degree angle the earth holds in space, to sounding out first letters…’P – P – P’ to my four year old. I can then be singing old Mac Donald for the fourth time to my toddler whilst serving dinner on a spoon sounding like an aeroplane to a weaning baby.

Your brain has to learn to compartmentalise which voice for which child, somehow mine gets stricter the older each child gets? And understanding how each one responds to you and how you love them is one key I am still learning. Turns out my older girl needs words of affirmation while my boy wants cuddles over words but not too many because too many makes him girly, apparently??

4. Cleaning toilets

You’ll become a dab hand at cleaning toilets, yes because there will now be six of you using them but mainly because children forget to flush the toilet. There will more often than not be a long forgotten turd moulding itself to the porcelain that you’ll have to scrub away whilst the scent feels like it’s decaying your skin like some kind of nuclear bomb went off down there. Just make sure you whip around the bathrooms when guests arrive with a full bottle of Harpic and a strong scrubbing brush.

5. You won’t think it possible…

…for your heart to be so full. You look at one womb fresh, pink, pudgy babe and wonder how on earth you lived life without them in it and then it happens again, and again, and again. You’ll be completely consumed by bafflement and wonderment at how your heart is once again expanded at this beauty that shot out from between your legs. It’s like the first time every time. The second, third and fourth were equally as painful and beautiful as the first and frankly its a good job my husband can’t medically provide anymore as just the reminder of that sweet moment in time makes me want a fifth…then I remember the whole after birth, the sleep stealing troll and the weird squinty eyed judgement from people and think, yes. Four is good.

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