3 is an awesome crowd…

Been thinking heaps lately about how absolutely blessed we are to have these three super cool wee monkeys in our lives. Think my hubby thinks I am a bit crazy as I keep saying things like… “can you believe we made them?” and… “seriously we are completely responsible for them!” I’m not sure what has happened, maybe it’s the fact that Miss Matilda has mastered walking so when I look out the window there are three beautiful wee people outside playing together on the deck, they suddenly seem so independent and like a real ‘team’ of siblings. Unfortunately for us that ‘team’ also outnumber us, so when the boys decide to run around squealing and avoiding the bath while their sister is already in there, it is near impossible for the remaining adult to coax them into the bath without some serious bribery!

Willem is now 4 (and a very important) half! Completely and utterly ready to go to ‘Daddy’s School’, he has a keen interest in books, letters, sounds, numbers, countries, animals, building stuff, singing and talking. He loves his baby sister to the moon and back a million times over, he feeds her breakfast, invites her into his room to play and finds her beloved ‘taggy’ when she is sad.

Louis is now 2 (and a just as important) half! He is quite seriously 2 going on 52, he likes routine and especially likes negotiating to get what he wants. Louis loves boats, diving, gear, fishing, fishing gear and books about fishing and diving! Nothing fills him with more pleasure than playing with Daddy’s dive gear. He stills loves his afternoon siestas but I suspect this is because Daddy told him he has to sleep to grow… and he’s got a lot of growing to do to fill Daddy’s wetsuit!

Our baby no more Matilda is now 14 months old and she is a very busy young lady. Having just refined her walking skills she is on a constant mission to return the boys drink bottles, shoes and socks to them! Matilda can locate Louis’ special ‘taggy’ and ‘wol wol’ quicker than any of the rest of us. She loves to do whatever the boys are doing, especially bouncing on the trampoline with Willem or fishing with Louis in his inflatable boat.

3 kids means… a full back seat, a full washing line everyday, not having enough hands to hold every child’s at once, chaotic meal times, a constant rotation of making and tidying up snacks and what seems like a million pairs shoes to dig through to find a pair. It’s 3 times the tantrums, tears and bums to wipe!

3 kids also means… a full bed of snuggles in the morning, constant hilarious conversations, days that fly by in a whirlwind and always having a buddy to play with. It’s 3 times the high fives, smiles, cuddles, kisses goodnight and 3 times the LOVE!

If you had told me 6 years ago that I would be sitting at the dinner table looking at three grubby little faces with bright shining eyes I don’t think I would have believed you, but here we are… absolutely and totally BLESSED!

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4 already!

With the recent 4th birthday of our eldest, I have have been reflecting on the last 4 years and how our lives have changed from the days of being on double incomes with just a labrador, to being a crazy, chaotic family with 3 kids (and a labrador) on one income.

I get asked all the time how I cope with having 3 kids, people are especially interested in the fact that they are so close in age (21 months between the first and second and 20 months between the second and third). My usual answer is that number 3 is a breeze, it’s the other 2 that are tough going! In all honesty the age gap is a personal preference kind of thing, we had a long journey to have our first baby so were slightly older than we had planned to be when starting our family so it made sense to us to try and pop them out in pretty quick succession. My theory is also to get all the ‘baby-ness’ over and done quickly without leaving too much time for the body and mind to get accustomed to long stretches of sleep!

Honestly though, 3 under 4 has really not been too bad, we have a good daily routine including the 2 big kids going to preschool 3-4 mornings each, compulsory sleeps/quiet TV time at 1pm and a pretty strict dinner, bath, story, bed routine between 5.30 and 7pm. Oh yes… it feels like groundhog day everyday, but it’s just what we have to do for the foreseeable future to maintain our sanity and make sure we get some time together in the evenings. It might seem like a bit of a random thing but… I do washing everyday… yip everyday… rain, hail or shine, if I miss just one day I tend to feel like I am drowning and it becomes the catalyst for feeling like life is getting on top of me.

Each week we each try to spend some time 1:1 with the kids, especially the boys. Louis has 2 and Willem has 1 “Mummy Day’, a morning spent with Mummy and their baby sister while the other big boy is a preschool. Louis loves to help me bake or prepare dinner, while Willem has a swimming lesson and a cafe treat in town. Daddy also tries to slip in some time during the weekend with one or both of the boys, he takes them out running in the buggy stopping at the beach to hunt for crabs or they take the dog to the beach for a swim and try to skim stones. They are all growing up so quick so we really try and make the most of these precious times.

Sometimes the hardest thing in such a busy house is to find time to connect as a couple, the moment Daddy comes in the door the boys want his undivided attention so they can tell him about the songs they sang at preschool or show him their latest Duplo creation. This often frustrates him as he often wants 5 minutes peace to get changed and wind down after work, he has learnt though that it is best to give them some time and the last of his energy before setting them up in front of TV. We then find ourselves with a 20 minute window to catch up on each others days while one of us puts the finishing touches on dinner. And as I said we are real sticklers for the 7pm bedtime, so that we catch a couple of hours together before hitting the hay. Thanks to my husband’s awesome parents who live relatively close we get to treat ourselves to the odd ‘date night’, although we do find ourselves home and tucked up pretty early in preparation for our gorgeous little early risers!

Oh how our lives have changed in 4 super short years… from sleep inns, late dinners with friends (and copious amounts of wine), weekends of going our separate ways to play sport and early morning walks together with the dog to arguing over who lies next to Mum in the big bed, McDonalds Happy Meals, weekends doing the rounds of the local playgrounds and sneaking down the hallway hoping for that first cup of tea alone and in peace! It’s crazy and chaotic, fast-paced and at times frustrating but I firmly believe the keys to making it look easy are… Routine and teamwork.

If the last 4 years are anything to go by I am sure the next 1 will absolutely fly by… so crazy, exciting and nerve racking to think that in less than 12 months our dear wee man will be off to “big school”, I know he will be well and truely ready and we will all embrace the next crazy and chaotic chapter of our lives.