Sunday, December 15, 2013

Raising three 4 year olds and a 6 year old.

Given that it is just the 15th of December in the states as I write this post, I think I can still fit it in (although Isla is already 5 years old here in Tanzania).  Isla is 11 months older than Ellie and Mia, so for one month we have three 4 year olds and a 6 year old.  I should be an expert on parenting four year olds, right?  Wrong.  Really, I have no idea.  Last year I wrote this long post on raising three 3 year olds and a 5 year old.  This year, I don't have much.  Some things are easier, some things are harder. 

The fact that they are all out of diapers finally and can pretty much dress themselves makes it easier.  The fact that they fight a lot about every little detail about their lives makes it hard.  I had three younger brothers growing up.  Things were pretty physical around our house, fighting meant a lot of wrestling.  Around here there is a lot of drama.  And it is high stakes drama.  The kind that is screamed at the top of your lungs type drama while promising that "you will never be my sister again!"  Words are already used very well to articulate every single emotion that is expressed during the 13.5 hours they are awake every day.  They are excellent at using tears, whining and everything in between to express themselves.  We do not have the type of household where anyone wonders what someone else might be thinking!  As an introvert, I hide behind my book a lot in an attempt to just get a moment "alone". 

Raising four girls is interesting.  Some care about their clothes, some could care less.  One will glare at me for hours if I don't let her wear her party dress everyday, one has to be reminded to change into clothes everyday and underwear is a fight.  They all love the outdoors.  The four year olds love their bikes and scooters and racing each other around the yard.  They love swimming, though that means something different for each one.  The three 4 year olds are the same height, give or take a 1/2 of an inch, though I suspect the twins will pass Isla by very soon.  Drawing is a favorite activity, as is book reading and driving cars all over around the house.  Stuffed animals come alive in their little imaginations. 

Raising four girls is interesting.  They have long debates over what words are truly "potty talk".  They have decided that some words are debatable.  The merits of the word "toilet paper" as a potty-talk word get discussed way too much.   I have good parenting moments and bad parenting moments.  I yell sometimes and I wish I didn't.  There is a lot of "desperation parenting" done that I never thought I would do.  Yes, I am the parent who actually took all four of my kids out for ice cream cones this past summer and gave one of the girls an ice cream cone with no ice cream in it!  Because she had been so very naughty that week and almost made the babysitter quit.    I have bribed, threatened, coerced, pleaded with varying degrees of success.   I have done all those things that I never said I would do as a parent. You know, like that day when three of the four kids were driving me nuts (yes the three 4 year olds) and I gave the fourth kid (who was acting like a normal human being) an instant coveted snicker bar saying to the three little ones,  "you could have had that snicker bar too but now you have to watch your sister eat it!"  Yup, stellar parenting. 

In the end, there is the parent I thought I would be and the parent I am.  And they don't match.  It's okay in the end.  The kids know that they are loved and they love each other.  They fight, they forgive each other, they keep on going.  Life lessons.  They teach me a lot.  They humble me every day.  I'm so grateful I get to be their mom. 

Taken today in Tanzania

Just as a last word and reminder, we are raising funds for Reeds of Hope for the end of the year and the next six months. Please check out this post.  Also included are recommendations for organizations to give to at the end of the year. 


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

LOVE the photo...and the four year olds .....and you.....and the other two people in your family too. xo - RH