Kids, Mom diary

On going from 2 to 3 kids

On going from 2 kids to 3

Last night my visiting aunt was hysterically laughing at my life. She literally said “I’m laughing at your life,” which made the rest of the family snort with laughter! I love that about her. Watching the ridiculous chaos my kids embody reminded her of when her boys were small. She couldn’t help but giggle at our everyday nonsense of poop and picky eaters and kiddie songs and wrestling and how Clara suddenly decided to take up spitting.

If you knew me back in the day this would make you laugh too! I have never been a baby person. I declared that no one should buy me a pot or pan for my bridal shower. And as a teenager I was as messy as they come. Fast forward to today, and I have three babies, make dinner most nights and love to organize. It’s quite a turn around!

on having 3 kids

And all of this changing is only intensifying as the baby of the family gets older. She’s napping less, eating more and demanding more of my time. The craziness of three little ones is just now sinking in, 10 months later.

Adjusting to the third child has crept up on me, but adding a second munchkin three and a half years ago almost made my head explode. I distinctly remember standing in the yard of a friend’s house with little Luca asking me to help him down the slide as someone was telling me that my newborn was crying inside at the same time. I just stood there, paralyzed, not knowing what to do first!

Today I can give a mom triage assessment and help the kids in the right order, but it’s taken time. Here’s a real analogy of how I changed from the first child to the third.

Child #1: A month before delivery, I fill my brand new, designer diaper bag with each and every baby item the internet tells me to have. I arrange everything carefully in individual pockets with care.

Child #2: I wash the bag as my due date approaches. I consult a list to jog my memory about what baby might need. I pack half the things I did the first time and have it ready for the hospital.

Child #3: I don’t have a diaper bag at the hospital. I don’t even realize I need one until just before her first check up appointment. Somehow diaper bags completely slipped my mind and I don’t know where it is. I find it on a back shelf and look inside. There are still Cheerios and fruit pouch caps from the last child. I take it in the front yard, give it a good shake upside down and quickly wipe the inside with a baby wipe. I throw some clothes, diapers and a blanket inside.

True story.

My goodness I’m chatty today. I’ll finally get to the point. Here are the main practical ways I have adjusted going from two to three kids:

Making a list of the top five thing I need to get done

I make lists.

Now that there is more demand for my attention with three, it’s hard to get my day to day things done. I get very distracted!

I find it helpful in the morning (or the night before when I’m laying in bed and involuntarily making to-do lists in my mind) to write down the top five things I’d like to get done during the day. I number them in order of priority to help my scattered brain focus when I find a spare minute. Sometimes only three things get done — or just one — but it’s a start.

Three meals and two snacks a day for kids instead of endless trips to the kitchen

I’m not a vending machine.

The number of times a day I hear “I’m hungry” is ridiculous. With everything going on, I cannot make a trip to the kitchen every 15 minutes, not to mention tackle the extra dishes limitless snacks create.

So, my basic plan I try to stick to is: breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner. And guess what! The kids actually eat more of their lunch and dinner. Ok, you probably guessed that. Why didn’t I do this sooner?

My house is a mess with three kids

My house is messy.

With two kids, I fought to keep the house semi-neat. Now with three, I don’t even have a chance! I could honestly work all day just to try to keep a clean and tidy house only to have little monsters following behind, creating more mess. So I try to shoot for one clean, organized room or space a day. It helps me from being overwhelmed.

Cleaning is not my priority right now. I’m more willing to let things go and focus on being in the moment with the kids than before. I figure there will be plenty of time for cleaning when they get older.

I stopped mediating so much when the boys play

I don’t respond to every argument.

I could be accused of being too responsive to my children. I probably mediate too much when I could let the boys work it out together. (Seen here with their best bud, Trooper, in one of the many, many ridiculous outfits they come up with.) I noticed when I was feeding Clara or putting her down for a nap, a lot of times they had resolved their own problem by the time I could help.

There’s a fine line between letting them find a compromise and finding a teachable moment on how to treat others. I’m doing a better job of discerning the two. I keep an ear out when I hear an argument, but now I don’t jump in right away.

Color coding with shoe bins and water cups

I’m experimenting with color coding.

We had a father of four at our house for dinner a few months ago and he shared that at his house each child has their own cup color. They are responsible for washing their own cup and this prevents 50 cups from lining the sink. I loved it! My boys are too small to wash their own cups, but we could try assigning a color to remember whose is whose.

So now Luca is green and Adriano is blue, and they have one cup for the whole day. It’s simple, but brilliant.

I also started doing it with their shoes in green and blue bins in the garage. I even added a pink one for Clara girl. Either this will stick and continue working great or they’re going to hate their assigned color one day!

Buying all of the same socks makes matching much easier

I buy all the same socks.

Because the boys are so close in age they share a lot, and one of those things is socks. I made a horrible decision one day and bought two big variety packages of socks. Each pair in the pack was different and trying to keep them matching was the bane of my existence. So they always had on mismatching socks. Whatever.

When they outgrew them, I made sure to buy two large packages of the exact same socks so each kid can grab two socks and they will match without fail. And if we lose one, the mate can still stay in the mix. I don’t even fold them together, just throw them in the basket. I started doing it for the little girl too. Apparently I’m really passionate about socks, but this works well when laundry could be a full time job in itself.

Target shopping with all three kids

Leaving the house is interesting.

At this stage I can’t really go shopping on a whim or “swing by” someplace to pick something up. My trips are pretty calculated with a fed baby, premeditated bathroom trips and snacks.

Marcello drops Luca off at preschool most days (thank heavens), but when I pick him up a whole three hours later, I have to take Adriano and Clara. Which means I pack up those two, unbuckle them and take them in with me to Luca’s classroom, take all three back to the minivan and buckle them all in to go home. Sigh.

Also, I drive a minivan now. Oh yeah.

About Kate at House Mix

My heart grows.

My capacity for love knows no bounds. After the first I didn’t know how I would love a second the way I loved him. After the second, I wondered what the dynamic would be. After the third, I know there is enough room in a mother’s heart no matter the number of children.

Do you have any advice to share? How did bringing home another babe affected your family?

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8 thoughts on “On going from 2 to 3 kids

  1. very very funny article and so real. Maybe the thing we miss the most is the time we used to have reading bible and praying. Now we are so tired that we hardly say goodnight eachother. Please keep on posting!

  2. Luis and Family, us too! Marcello and I miss time connecting as well. And spending time together in the Word and praying leaves a lot to be missed. Now we bond by watching TV in the evenings because we’re exhausted. Though I don’t think that actually counts as bonding!

  3. Love this post, Kate! A lot of these are good tips for those of us going just from 0 to 1. :) Also that photo of the kids at the grocery store makes me so happy. Totally see you and Marcello in those mean mugs. <3

  4. Thanks, Sassypants! Can’t wait to see your little sweetie!! And yes, somehow God packed a WHOLE lot of personality in those little bodies :) xo

  5. This is a great post! My husband and I were just talking about getting a minivan. I was one who said I would never own one ;) We have two kids and hope to have a third in the future, so I want to know, do you love your minivan? :) Great inspiration on being in the moment with your kids and just forgetting house work. That is a tough one for me, but the housework will always be there!
    Lindsey

  6. I only have two kids (we hope to have more but honestly I’m a little terrified about the idea at this point! ;)) but this post is so right on even going from one to two kids! Lindsey- I drive a minivan and while it’s not the most sexy ride, it’s so perfect when you have kids and all kinds of stuff to pack every time you leave! We leave the back seats folded down so there’s tons of room for anything you need to take along (or groceries!). PLUS due to the sliding doors you don’t have to worry that someone will park too close to you in the parking lot so you don’t have room to open the doors to get your kids in the vehicle. PS. my husband has always said he would NEVER own a minivan and now he talks about which one we’ll buy next ;)

  7. Lindsey, I love my minivan and I’m not afraid to say it. I completely agree with Mel on the sliding doors. I used to have all four car doors open and try not to hit the neighboring cars. But no longer. I walk up to my minivan in my sunglasses and baby in carrier, click all the buttons on the remote and everything opens up as the wind blows my hair and we all walk in slow motion. It’s beautiful. LOVE it. Hahaha! Seriously though, it makes things so much easier. I’m a fan.

  8. Thanks Mel and Kate! :) I was pretty much convinced on the minivan earlier this week after (just like y’all said) someone parked too close and I actually had to crawl through my front seat with my son’s infant carrier to get it into the back seat. It was awful! I did a poll with the moms in my MOPS group yesterday too, and have yet to find a mom who doesn’t LOVE her minivan. I think it will be in my very near future :) Kate, love the picture you painted, especially hair blowing in the wind and slow motion lol! I did see a woman driving a minivan at Chik fil a who had a bumper sticker that said “I used to be cool”. I liked it :)

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