I didn’t plan on having five kids. Ken thought one would be good, but I wanted at least 2. Then we started fostering and adopted Sam. We were going to take a break….and then Little Man was placed with us. A year later just as Little Man’s case goal was changed to adoption and we were formally asked to adopt him, we were told that the birth mom was pregnant and they asked us if we would take the sibling too. We said yes, and in July Sweet Pea joined our merry crew.
Five kids aged 9 and under.
Three kids aged 3 and under.
A one year old and a 7 month old.
Life got really crazy, really fast.
There are a lot of parenting books out there, but believe me, none of them cover how to multi task when you have five kids. Because honestly, when you have five kids someone is always doing something they shouldn’t do….and when you are cleaning up that mess…..someone else is making a new mess. I kid you not.
I can’t tell you how many times I have to tell Sam to get his shoes on so we can leave the house, or how many times I ask Bella to get her glasses….and then ask Sam again sweetly with my teeth clenched together so I don’t yell to get-his-shoes-on.
Yep. Life with 5 kids is very interesting. I’ve learned to make sure that Sam’s cup is different from Little Man’s cup, because obviously Sam can’t drink from a baby cup, although Little Man has no trouble drinking from Sam’s cup. I’ve also learned that Little Man likes to help feed Sweet Pea and he doesn’t understand why a 7 month old can’t have goldfish crackers yet.
I’ve learned that having 2 babies a year apart means that we are going to need two of everything because Little Man isn’t going to be done before Sweet Pea is ready. Two car seats, two high chairs, two sets of everything. It’s almost like having twins, except it’s not because Little Man is bigger than her and while he likes her, he also likes to be the one in charge and let me tell you, he knows how to throw his weight around.
I’ve learned that people are going to make comments everywhere we go, and that most of them are nice but a few border on *don’t you know when to quit?* or *you know how babies are made, right?* Why yes, yes I do. My favorite are the people who look at Ken and I, and then look at the kids and try to figure out how 2 white adults with brown hair produced 2 white blond girls, 2 darker skinned boys, and a darker skinned baby girl. Fun times.
I’ve also learned that most people think we are Catholic. I actually thought people were being really nice and commenting on my parenting skills when we visited the Vatican Exhibit, until Ken told me they were happy we were populating the Earth. We are actually Presbyterian, but apparently Presbyterians aren’t expected to go forth and multiply.
I’ve learned how to move car seats all over my van, and I’ve learned to change CDs quickly to avoid meltdowns. I’ve learned that what my 3 year wants to listen to is not what my 9 year old wants to listen to so we work on conflict resolution. A lot. Anyone who wants to work for the UN should spend an hour traveling in a van with my 5 kids. They would be prepared for any negotiations.
I’ve learned how to pack a diaper bag to include everything we might need without breaking said bag. I know never to leave the house with diapers, wipes (lots of wipes), snacks and extra clothes. And band-aids. I buy band-aids by the case, because a band-aid can fix anything. Ask my toddler.
I’ve learned that when I hear a crash to wait and see if there is a cry for me. I’ve learned that scrapes multiply with kids and to not overreact when the 7 year old runs over the 3 year old chasing a ball. I’ve learned that head cuts bleed a lot, that teeth can be knocked out and that no one likes to have their boo-boos washed in the sink. I’ve also learned to have my MIL on speed dial to back me up. I married smart – my MIL is a nurse.
I’ve learned how to grocery shop with 5 kids (thank you Pea Pod) and that I’ve now graduated to needing Club Status at BJs and Costco. We have reached the stage where buying in bulk is not only cheaper but necessary because if I don’t we’ll run out of food, and then I’ll have to actually drive to the super market with all 5 kids. Yikes.
I’ve learned that life with 5 kids is expensive. Gone are the days when we could pop into a museum, now I search for deals on memberships. Groupon has become my new best friend. I’ve learned that sometimes we have to say no to opportunities and field trips simply because they either aren’t in the budget or it’s not someplace I can take all the kids.
I’ve learned that everything takes negotiation and that sometimes mom and dad lose the fight. I’ve learned to pick my battles and to let the little things go. And I’ve learned that when I let the kids work something out themselves they are capable of talking to each other without hitting. Most of the time.
Most of all, I’ve learned that while I didn’t plan life with 5 kids I can’t imagine life without these five kids! There are days when I do count the minutes to bedtime, but I think every parent does that. This life is beautiful and crazy and hard and awesome. It’s full of tears and hugs and kisses and giggles. Times five.
Life with five kids is awesome. Really.