Monday, January 28, 2008

The Truth about Three

This is a follow-up to my "Ode to Three." If you haven't read it, please go here (or scroll down a few days) and read it first.

Then come back to hear more about it!


I need to share with you the background of my post "Ode to Three." Picture me at my computer, composing loving thoughts about my children. While writing about the wonder of the first baby, Big Girl was standing next to me throwing a HUGE fit because she couldn't find her silver locket. Tears flying, much yelling, not pretty.

While writing about my two daughters, so devoted to one another, Big Girl was bawling that Middle Girl had "given" her MG's gold locket "to keep forever" and now WANTS IT BACK!! WAAAAAAAAAAAH!!

While waxing poetic about how wonderful it is to have three children, The Boy was putting stickers all over our wooden TV cabinet. Daddy came home and said, "TB, WHAT have you been up to?" Between that and throwing every ball we own over the fence and into the pool FIVE TIMES last weekend, we're sure glad to have our three!

So, now that we've both enjoyed a good laugh about that (and SIL S. gave me a pat on the back for still being able to focus on the positive in my writing during that scene), it's time for the TRUTH about three.


It takes them less than ten minutes to make a complete mess out of any room in the house. And often, this is happening in two or three rooms simultaneously.

One urges another to remove all of the couch cushions and turn the couch into a trampoline.

One decides to tackle the others and knock them to the ground (over and over) whether they like it or not.

Another decides to wail and moan and play a victim instead of just getting away from the tackling sibling.

You know how kids suddenly do ANYTHING to get your attention when you're on the phone? Now imagine three kids doing it, while also competing with each other over who can be the loudest and most demanding.

You think you've got it made, two kids have agreed on the same thing for lunch! or are in agreeable moods for an errand or the walk to school! But wait, before you thank your lucky stars, there's another kid in the mix, and they are NOT agreeing to the plan.

I'm so used to the chaos at this point that it has become background noise. I don't really hear them anymore! I wish I had a dime for every time I've been talking to someone and they say "Um, I think your son is trying to get your attention," and I suddenly realize he's been wailing at me and pulling on my leg and I hadn't even noticed! So, yeah, the chaos has pushed me over the edge a bit.

When other mothers find out I have three kids, they almost always say, "You have THREE? I don't know HOW you do it." and I just give them the answer my moms have both given me about coping with kids: you just do it.

The thing that seems to give people pause most often is the idea that they would be outnumbered by the kids. With two, each parent can handle one kid, and everyone is covered. Each child is holding a parent's hand, and that lessens the chances of somebody running off. But it's okay - we learn that we all need to take responsibility for our family. There are only two parents, but the kids learn that if we all help watch out for each other and share ownership of our family, we'll all be okay. And I think that's a really great thing to learn. I admit, it's not like they act this way all the time, but I think it's an underlying lesson that slowly is taught just by how the family works. We can't rely on someone else to take care of everything, we have to participate in order for our world to work.

And similarly, we can't control everything and have it be a certain, precise way, we've got to relax a bit and be flexible and creative. Because there are other people around who demand (and deserve) a say as well.

So bring on the chaos. I don't mind it. (Well, sometimes I need a break from it, but that's okay too. We learn that we need a break and we find ourselves a getaway sometimes.)

Yeah, maybe three ain't always so pretty. In fact, I'd say it's messy, but also ... beautiful.

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