Some days this is literally my mantra, these two words can just bring me back to a level of reality, and give me a little more clarity. They also often provide me with a little breathing space (no pun intended!!) to plan my next move – in both family and work situations.
Juggling wifedom, motherhood, friendship, work and just life is just that – a constant juggle. It is also a battle against time, four independent minds (my tiny little army) the harshness of sleep deprivation, and the real world. Sometimes, on ‘those’ nights when one of my chickens is sick, or is having a bad dream, or is just unsettled, and it is just me, I wonder, when the nights like this will end. But then you get really philosophical when discussing that there is no boogie monster (after searching everywhere and sitting on guard for possible ninja boogie men (true story)) and wonder how much ‘longer’ you will be the absolute centre of knowledge and well, everything, for these kids. Right now, these four kids think I know just about everything, but sometimes Google is required, and that I can in fact fight against trolls, boogie men, ninja boogie men, and have ‘all the moves’ necessary to deploy a tactical take down of a Lego army. That in itself is a pretty cool accomplishment! But now, I see the role slightly shifting.
The trio have started Kindy, and their teachers are also a source of influence. Their teachers are amazing and are truly nurturing and enriching my kids lives. They also have very interesting questions some times for me – about little bits and pieces of our family life that obviously comes up in conversation at Kindy. At the moment we have a ‘free kick’ policy. If one kid kicks/pinches/hits or just hurts one other child (and let me be clear, only MY kids) the child that was hurt gets a free kick. The hurtee must stand still and cop it sweet. Generally it is a free kick up the bum. It is hysterical, and is not hard, it is more about a bit of justice. It is really difficult some days to stop the picking, and the free kick system has helped our family a lot – not that I am promoting it at all! So the Kindy teachers got a bit of a giggle about that! I think it is also quite interesting for them to see three siblings so incredibly different but interconnected in so many ways, go about their day and their ‘jobs’ at Kindy.
Then there is Hayden. Who is now in grade 2. I mean seriously, he is 7 already. He has grown so much, and some days, I get a glimpse of the man that he is going to be. He has an insight that is beyond his years, and has an understanding of the world that sometimes is scary. I want to shield him from so much, but the big bad world is out there and I can only inform, soothe and ensure he is prepared for it all. One of the biggest things with Hayden is that he is emotionally a 7 year old, but intellectually much older. We have to try and strike the balance there somewhere and guide him safely. He is struggling with his handwriting, but has improved IMMENSELY in the past term. So much so that he scored student of the week last week (so proud of his hard work). He still needs his lullaby from me every night (and if I am working clinically I have to call and sing it on the phone to him – and let me tell you, so many people have heard me sing it at work, and I am a total crap singer, and I could care less!). He is quite possibly the bestest big brother out there – and second bestest big brother is B.
Hayden has really taken the big brother role in his stride. For a long time he thought it was ‘normal’ for people to have three babies at once, and I remember him asking my sister in law when she was pregnant why there was only one baby in there! He knows the names of all his sisters teddies and dolls, and knows how they take their tea. He knows the name of their favourite stories and even reads them too them (B included) when he thinks no one is watching. Brendan also knows all his sisters toys names, and it is so cute to watch them seemingly take on the protective role of their sisters. Funnily enough, if there is something really scary (like the big arse huntsman that was in their room last year) Caityln is FEARLESS and takes front stage and generally herds the ‘others’ back, and then proceeds to throw things (everything in her reach) at the said spider. Hilarious. Boys are prepared for all, BUT that! Haha!
In an effort to get the kids a little more coordinated, socialised and active, we have put them into dancing. They are in love with it. I mean, totally and utterly in love with it. It brings me such joy to see how happy they are when they are dancing, talking about it, and getting ready for it. It is like a secret club as parents are not allowed in the studio’s, only the drop off areas. I get little tid bits of information about what they are doing in there. Hayden is even tap dancing!!
So now we have more activities to add into our routine. It is busy, and I feel like I can now completely understand the “Mum’s Taxi” stickers I see on cars. I feel some days like I am running them here there and everywhere, and I know it is only going to get worse! So they swim and they dance. The swimming class is made up of three – so we had one class for just us!! Hayden swims and is loving it. They are all becoming much more water wise/aware, and able to swim in a purposeful manner. In saying all of this, I remember so many times feeling like the worst mother in the world because I had not been able to get my kids to swimming lessons (as *everyone* was taking their kids). The reality of juggling triplets and an older sibling and getting them *safely* to the pool and home was just not going to happen. There really is an element of fearlessness in a pack of triplets. I think pack is a suitable word as they really feed off of each other, and just don’t see the perils of walking in from a car park with one adult and four kids. All holding hands is just fine, but it takes but one small misstep when crossing or moving into the road that freaks me out! This, while has not deterred me, has been something always taken into account in anywhere I go. I have not felt, until now, that they have been aware and old enough to get to things like swimming or dancing and appreciate it, and actually thrive and grow from it!
A true testament to how much time has flown is the mere fact that it is almost JUNE, yep, the halfway point of the year, and another month closer to the trio turning four. Crazy! This year has flown by in a blur – weeks seemingly roll into one another with the school holidays being parentheses or intermissions. Term II, already. CRAZY!
No matter how busy I am, I know that there will be a time (when I am not sure!!) that I will look back and miss this. This right now – the four kids full of boundless energy, questions and ‘will you play with me’s?’. I am feeling pretty special that I am everyone’s best friend, as Caitlyn is quite picky and quite often people are not her best friend for some small Caitlyn-esque reason. I have four children who singlehandedly are heartstoppingly beautiful and take my breath away when I think about all that they are now, and what is still to come. Then I look around at the devastation that is my home. I mean it looks like a giant lego vomit some days. They pick it all up for sure, but some days, you look around and think – if someone where to drop in now, they would think that we lived in squalor! But, then my reality sets in – my kids have fun, and my house is a home, not a model – quite like me really, well lived in hah! I don’t have spotless floors, or a fingerprint free fridge, but I don’t want one either. Those fingerprints are from a little being trying to (likely) steal fruit, or get a drink. And it is real. So I just breathe. I do want clean floors though, so if anyone has any ideas on how to keep them clean, please pass them on!
I have learned to let some things go. Not cleanliness or anything like that if that is what you are thinking! But just the importance of having a constantly neat and tidy home. It is not going to happen. I can’t even keep my craft area tidy, so I highly doubt my success there will spread to the household! I try, I really do. But there are only so many hours in a day. Some nights, when the kids finally get to sleep, I sit there wide eyed and likely vacant looking wondering what it is now I am supposed to do. Then I remember the list – bins, washing, dishes, recharge iPads, find lunchboxes or missing items, finish marking something, work, maybe some craft and make a cup of tea. A cup of tea that I can drink while it is still HOT. That cup of tea is the best cup of the day! And the moment I sit down to do something that is not work related or child related, I fall asleep!
I know that I will miss the mayhem of these days, and the kids at this age. I know it. But I also know that they are still going to need me, it is just going to be in differing ways. I still get asked how I do it all. I don’t know is the simple answer. I do it all because I don’t know any different. We chose to have kids, and instead of one sibling for Hayden, we got three all at once. So I don’t know any differently. I know that it is challenging and mighty expensive buying three of just about everything – but it would be similar for larger families to some extent I am guessing. It is challenging, and it is difficult, and some days I want to cry, and some days I do. Some days I think I am drooling in the corner after their bed time, because the inevitability is that tomorrow will be the same. I make lists, I make menu plans, I try to be consistent. I like routine, and they seem to cope well with it. I probably put my hand up for a few too many extra jobs with school and Kindy, but I want to be involved as both play important roles in my children’s lives. I forget to mail cards to friends, or mail them months late, and I sometimes even then mail a belated birthday card instead of the pretty birthday card I made. I try to juggle everything, but, sometimes I let a ball drop. I can be crap at returning non-work calls. Because some days I literally cannot stomach the thought of talking on the phone anymore as I have done it all day. I crave peace and quiet – but once I get it (rarely!!) I worry that something is wrong.
I suppose my friends are the ones that are not getting as much of my attention – and it is not intentional. It is just life. This has been something really difficult for me to accept, and I have been really upset many a time about it. I have four kids, I work and I am a wife; and they have lives too. I have to find a balance and right now, I am where I need to be. I think things are cyclical, and before I know it I will be able to devote a chunk of my time to my beloved friends again. Just as well they love me!
There is great strength in knowing that you are doing all you can – and that are doing a good job. For me, looking at how happy my kids and husband are is proof that I am doing a few things right. It has been tough dealing with Jason working away from home and only being home 5-6 days of every fortnight. But we have adjusted, and it will continue to be a challenge at times, but I think we are all used to it now. The days that washing gets forgotten are generally the days that Jason is home as he has messed with my routine!
So on the days that stretch into hours of tears, or sick kids, just breathe. Because slowing down, and rethinking things can often make a situation change. And that right now, is all I can do. Because before I know it, I will have kids that don’t want to play with me, or don’t want a lullaby before sleep. Until then, lego vomit is acceptable, and so are fingerprint stained doors and fridges (like how I snuck the doors in there as well!)