I was chatting to a family member last weekend about kids and he was asking how on earth I handle four kids as one child was a challenge for him. I agreed completely that it was and it got me thinking about our numbers and how each child affected me.
One child – Exciting ( & exhausting )
The very prospect that I was now married and could get pregnant if I wanted to was a very big stamp in my ‘grown up’ book. I was now ‘allowed’ to get pregnant. That was a very novel and exciting thought to me.
The excitement didn’t wear off either from first discovery and secret smiles, to telling the world, and carrying life into a large bump and – okay not on everyone’s ‘exciting list’ – but all the way to labour! Everything was brand new to me, how I was feeling, thinking, craving. It was an exciting adventure that only I could physically and emotionally experience.
As most of you know I was told I may not be able to have children, let alone carry one due to my kidney transplant but my husband and I believe in an awesome God who can do the impossible and He did and along came our first girl.
When we brought her home and life began it was like being smacked in the face with a tired stick several times in a row, every single day and looking after her was utterly relentless but it was a joy because I’d never known a love where I would literally bite someone’s face off if they so much as laid an uninvited finger on her.
Two children – Exhilarating ( & exhausting )
In my naivety I thought I had motherhood down and so when the question; “Shall we have another?” came up I answered, “why not?” After all two’s company right?
After a reasonably ‘simple’ labour (if that’s possible?!) of just two hours my boy entered into the world like a whirling dervish. Completely the opposite of my first girl who was text book. He was born with a poorly heart and needed surgery at 3 months old, then he started teething at 4 months (!!) so I don’t think we had a solid nights sleep in months. That alone isn’t good for the mental health yet we had two kids. Everything worked. The ratio worked. One child per hand. One child per adult. A ‘normal’ sized car. One girl and one boy. 2.4. Done right?
It just wasn’t enough noise for me. Enough chaos. Enough bodies to hold. Enough cereal to pour. So we went for number three which for me was…
Three children – Experimental ( & exhausting )
It was juggling on a whole new level. Yet since we’d already dealt with the initial juggle of two, one in each hand, three just seemed to keep rolling. The eldest was turning four and at school later that year and she wanted to be treated as a ‘big girl’ which meant a whole new independent phase for her, plus she was more than happy to be the ‘entertainment’ for the others which helped me immensely. Plus this second girl was different all over again and the thrill of guessing what she would look like and act like kept us on our toes.
( She, if you want to know, is a brown eyed, brunette, curly haired fire-cracker quite the opposite of our straight blonde and blue first girl. )
Four children – well…I haven’t got a word for that one yet but I can definitely tell you … Exhausting.
Now, in a strange Mother Earth kind of way, I feel complete. Satisfied. Full up and mostly at my wits end.
I mean I wanted chaos – I got it. I wanted bodies to hold – I got five! And meal times? I’m considering buying a trough and just pouring it out in front of them each time.
There is a constant commentary from each child about what the other child / children are doing and frankly there’s only so many times in a day you can say ‘oh right’ in an interested tone.
The baby is currently going through a growth spurt, touch of tea-time colic (apparently it’s a thing) forgetting how to sleep, post injection meltdown so cries the whole time she’s awake which doesn’t really work along side the Sonos blasting out ‘Hallelujah’ in a bid to exercise her spirit.
But I have made my bed and sometimes I wonder why I made it so big because some days I could drown in it but most of the time I happily lie in it surrounded by sweaty little bodies and stinky morning breath and it is heaven to me.