While families can be a strange bunch, they'll always be just that—family. I'm so glad that my kiddos will have a strong sibling bond and we celebrate that just a tiny bit more on days like National Sibling Day.
The kids are growing up! They'll be three next month and I just can't believe it.
Personalities have matured exponentially, grown wings and taken flight. Trystan is still a sweet little redhead with a twang to her words; Kailey is head strong, independent and literally never quits (and is the reason I'm so tired much of the time!); Harrison is a loving, sweet, laid back and very intelligent boy; and Logan is a caretaker, cleaner upper and thoughtful. All take initiative to do things on their own, whether it's work out a new toy or clean up a mess in the house. Harrison grabbed the broom and dust pan the other day and actually managed to sweep up some goldfish he'd spilled! They know where some of their snacks are and retrieve them on their own for a post-nap nosh. They pick out their clothes to wear for the day about 80 percent of the time. They sit in grown-up chairs around our grown-up kitchen table and the mess has definitely improved. They get out and put away their own coloring papers and crayons and are much more interactive about what they want to do and play with. Other chores they do around the house: set the table with napkins, utensils and milk cups, clear their dishes from the table and empty them into the sink and put their milk cups on the counter, help empty the dishwasher, take out the trash and put in new trash can bags, pick up clutter from the floor and put into toy bins, pull the sheets and pillow cases of their beds to prep for new ones, fold towels from the laundry, spray and wipe down the table and clean windows. Their language has also improved drastically over the past several months and we carry on conversations all the time!
More importantly, they are potty trained! We chose to approach it very casually and gradually, introducing the toddler potties, then the act of going, followed by underwear and actually wearing it for small increments of time. We use Target-brand training pants for nap time and some outings, though they're continuing to improve so we opt for under wear for car rides and outings much more. And we still use Huggies overnight diapers for sleeping because there's no way I can expect them to stay dry at the moment with as much as they pee while they sleep (which averages 10-12 hours). At first we were asking them every flippin' two minutes if they needed to pee. Now it's every 20-30 minutes or so and they initiate it most of the time, thankfully. Accidents still happen (probably 1-3 times a day among all four) and we just try to take it in stride. Extra pants stay in my bag and a potty stays in the back of the suburban as well, so we're never stuck somewhere without options! Hello peeing in the parking lot.
Naps are, sadly, not what they used to be. Originally, I'd get an incredibly awesome three-hour break in my day because they'd easily spend that amount of time playing and sleeping in their rooms. Now it tops out at about an hour and a half, since they typically play for a few minutes then snooze for an hour then scream through the crack at the bottom of the door. Since both the kids and our daily schedule stays much busier than before, this isn't the biggest issue but it is when they fight it and refuse to nap (Kailey). She becomes downright difficult if she doesn't get at least an hour. I shudder at the thought!
Outings are soooo much more frequent than ever before. I take all four places by myself all the time—usually Target, Costco, the grocery store, play dates, the library, our local park. I'm still hypersensitive when I'm alone with the quads since I'm vastly outnumbered and they're quick as hell sometimes! We tend to go in the mornings when everyone's happiest, though afternoon outings are fine too as long as everyone's napped and we have snacks in tow.
Right now, our daily schedule looks something like this:
8:30am - wake up, potty and underwear on...unless we're going somewhere, the kids sleep till they wake up. occasionally this is as late as 9:30 or 10am!
9-10am - breakfast....I'm always cooking—check out some of our go-to meals!—so we take our time. If we have somewhere to be, we'll opt for Nutrigrain bars or something quick they can scarf down or even eat in the car
10am-12pm - free play time (coloring, blocks, legos, baby dolls, backyard playground, chalk, dress up, lacing shapes, crafts, puzzles, flash cards, etc.) or we go on an errand or to the gym and they play at the kid's club. Occasionally we'll change things up and head to the mall for play time at the kid's area and grab lunch at the food court in between a quick stop at a store or two.
12-1pm - lunch
1pm - naps (it could take an extra 30 minutes to get everyone situated due to continuous trips to the potty or if we're late getting home from somewhere)
3:30pm - get up from naps, change back into undies and go outside to play or do a group craft. I also allow a TV show or two in the afternoon if we're just hanging out. (Our favorites include Paw Patrol, Bubble Guppies, Mickey Mouse, Tumble Leaf, Shaun the Sheep, Daniel Tiger and a new addition, Super Why.) The kids also hang out with me in the kitchen and help empty the dishwasher and watch me prep dinner or help throw clothes into the dryer and such.
7pm - dinner. Always a family event! Family dinners are very important both to myself and the husband and the kidsddddfcfghy261seem to treasure the experience, as well. Every time we sit down, Logan will smile and say, "We're all eating together as a family!" And of course, dinner always gets dessert.
7:30-8:30pm - play time, baths, change into pajamas and hang out with daddy. Since the husband usually doesn't get home until right at dinner time (or even later if he's working late), this is a special time for us all to be together and hang out. We read books, talk about our day's events and start the bedtime process.
8:30-9pm - bedtime. This has started to take awhile between lingering over books, brushing everyone's teeth and, again, repeated trips to the toilet. Ay yi yi! It's enough to make me want to pull my hair out some days but we try to grit our teeth and plow through.
So that's the typical schedule we follow, with exceptions for activities we choose to do. Monday's the kids go to Mother's Day Out (sort of like an introduction to pre-school) and on Wednesday they spend the day at my mom's house. Those days are both awesome because I get invaluable time to myself to run errands solo, knock out cleaning and work in peace on my computer at home! (I still write articles for magazines and books on a freelance basis.)
Got questions? Want to hear more about a particular topic? Dying to see posts on something special? Drop a line in the comments!
And don't forget to hug your siblings!