Isla, Mia, and Ellie
They also really love each other. They are each other's best friends, they stick up for each other, they defend each other and they ferociously protect each other. They kiss, hug, and cuddle with each other constantly. The littlest of the bunch, in age and size, is Mia. Mia loves loves loves hair. She loves to suck her finger and stick her other hand in my hair and cuddle. My hair or Isla's hair. You will often hear her say, "I want Isla's hair" and Isla patiently says "okay, Mia" and lets her cuddle with her. I really don't think that my three younger brothers and I showed each other affection in the same way (hardly!), so it's quite amazing to me.
Keeping Ellie company as she gets her neb treatment.
From my view of life, as the mommy of this cute bunch, I alternate b/w laughing and smiling at their sweetness, to wanting to scream when the needs of taking care of so many children under 5 overwhelm me. There is one certain little miss of the bunch who loves to hang on my legs and has a very faithful and persistent whine. I am so thankful for the ergo wrap because I can put her on my back for an hour or two and she is happy. But when there is more than one craving my touch and crying at my feet I often run out of patience and dream of escaping! I have tried the good old escape to the bathroom, but it isn't really a refuge when little people are dramatically throwing themselves at the door, trying to peek under the door, generally yelling at one another about where mommy went, or puddled in a pool of tears crying like I have left them forever. I have given up and leave the door open.
I recently went to the doctor and was told that I had to give up caffeine (as I was having too many funky heart rhythms). I blissfully (and foolishly) replied, "no problem, I just drink tea" (it's not like I drink coffee). What's that saying? Pride goes before the fall. Yes, that is what has happened to me. It seems that one of the major ways I get through my days at home with the kids is my two lovely cups of Kenyan Black Tea. And when I stopped those two lovely cups of tea...well, let's just say I wanted to go hide under the table with a blanket over my head and cry all day! It hasn't been pretty. I want to tell you, I love caffeine and I despise the fact that I can't drink it! How does one take care of 3 two year olds and a four year old without caffeine? I don't know. (Oh, and I'm about to tackle potty training them all at once :)!
Natalie and Ellie
The last little tidbit I want to share is that it's hard to parent little ones as an introvert. Just like I crave caffeine, I crave time totally alone without anyone talking to me, touch me, needing me, or crying for me. I love my kids, but I also need time to myself to find energy and joy to take care of them well. Our younger two girls spent the first 5 months of their lives in a crib and were rarely held. They desperately seek out physical touch. Which is a great thing! Their little love tanks need constant refilling. So they want to be held and cuddled as much as possible. When I sit on the floor, they rarely want to play with toys, they just want to sit on me (any body part they can get) and will often push and shove each other to make sure they have an equal share. I'm very grateful for this need of theirs, it shows they are attached to me and are seeking me out for affection and love. I also struggle with being so needed all day long. At night I stay up too late because it is quiet and I can get the alone time I need.
Parenting little ones is beautiful, because they are lovely, sweet kids and it is also really hard. I'm thankful for them and I'm thankful they are in my life. I have never been stretched so much before to be a more loving, kind, patient, gracious person. I am trying to not have unrealistic expectations for myself. We keep life simple. We rarely go out (we last about 10 minutes anywhere and the two youngest are not great about staying by me in areas where there are cars) and most often stick close to home. It works for now. And since we know so few people here we have few demands on our time, so we can spend most of our time with each other. I'm grateful for this. Meanwhile I am trying to learn how to take care of two year old triplets and a four year old. Without caffeine. And as an introvert.
(P.S. Great, thought provoking blog post here.)