So often, I feel terribly guilty that I am not giving my complete attention to one child. What I've noticed is that one child acts a whole lot differently when they are not surrounded by their siblings and jockeying for my attention. For example, they'll do things like ... listen and pay attention. Kinda sorta. Well, not really. I suppose I'm just more capable of chasing down one toddler than I am three.
Although the benefits of having built-in playmates for the children are numerous ... I think it's extremely important that they also have the undivided attention of their parents every so often, too.
I know it's relative ... but in my world, one toddler is a breeze. And two toddlers are a lot easier than three - mainly because I have two hands. Even though
(Yes, I just tried to apply Einstein's Theory of Relativity to parenting. Wait until you see my discussion on energy. Then you'll really see why Physics was one of my favorite classes in college.)
If you don't count the time I got hung up on the side yard with safety harnesses, the last time I had the whopping realization just how outnumbered I am, is when I took all three children Christmas shopping, by myself.
That would be one of me. Plus (+) 3-14 month old babies.
In. A. Store.
I had tried to do as much shopping on-line as I could, but there were a few items I had to go to the store to purchase. Because it was Charlie's day to work, we don't have a babysitter
Within 5-minutes of arriving, Elizabeth threw up, William had a blow-out poop and Carolyn had an absolute meltdown when a stranger looked at her and said "What a gorgeous baby!" I made a quick sweep around the store, eyes rapidly scanning what else I could possibly need, and with a carriage full of clothing (strategically placed to avoid Elizabeth) - I rushed the front register and unloaded everything. I hardly hesitated when my purchases totaled $150.00 more than I expected. The only thing running through my mind was "Must stop the screaming ... must pay - must leave - must get out of here."
The next day as I prepared to wrap my goods, I figured out that the reason I spent $150.00 more than I expected is because I purchased $150.00 worth of stuff I had not intended. Stuff like ... men's slippers in a size 14, an icecream ball, an XS flannel shirt and a book entitled "How To Shit In the Woods".
What I concluded is that as I was walking around the store, the babies were grabbing whatever they could reach and pulling it into the carriage. When I arrived at the checkout, I didn't pay attention to the stuff I was unloading because of my partially crazed mental state. If it was in the carriage, obviously it was stuff I had put there. Clearly this was before the time I was enlightened to the fact that our babies had minds of their own and a desire to defecate in an environmentally sound manner, while making icecream and wearing an XS flannel shirt and pair of size 14 slippers ... in the woods.
Either that, or ... I had three pint-sized kleptomaniacs.
The following day, I went back to the store with only one baby in tow. I loaded Carolyn in to a Kelty backpack and took off to do my returns and pick up the remaining items I still needed. For the next 90 minutes, I perused the aisles and nearly forgot I had a rider. She was perfectly content. When I finally meandered up to the front to check out, the cashier gave me a surprised look and said "WOW! You really have your hands full. Taking a baby Christmas shopping all by yourself? Boy are you brave!"
At first I thought she was joking and kind of chuckled along with her. When I could see that she was serious, I snorted and said "You think my hands are full with ONE baby? Lady, you have no idea. Really, you have NO idea."
Shopping with one baby? Yes ... I suppose that could be tricky. But after shopping with triplets two days earlier, this was like taking a
Because I really enjoy one-on-one time, I capitalize on it wherever I can. For instance ... if one of the children wake up from their nap early - I will scoop them up and play quietly while the other two sleep. Most recently, I got a head-start on teaching William his colors with the help of plain M&M's while his sisters continued to snooze. (I need to interject it is FALSE advertising that M&M's don't melt in your hand. They melted all over William's hand. While he sat on our white bedspread. How brilliant am I to teach our 22-month old child colors with the assistance of multi-colored chocolate on a white bedspread, you might ask? Well, this was definitely not something I thought about beforehand ... kind of like the safety harness fiasco. I think my mind is shot.)
So, the point of this ramble ... because, yes - there is a point
Quick pause while I hyperventilate because the only thing worse than me being on a plane ... is my husband taking my baby boy on a plane.
Tonight as I was helping Charlie pack, I could sense his excitement about the upcoming trip. And it made me think... if you were to ask a man what would he like to do for a vacation, I doubt he'd say "I would love to fly somewhere with my 23-month old son ... ALL BY MYSELF! I'd be overjoyed at lugging a stroller and carseat through the airport and I'd jump at the chance to install that carseat into some rented vehicle, and then try to navigate around a strange city I haven't been to in five years. Where, praytell, do I sign up for a trip so grand as this?!"
See, it's all relative. Because I know that this flight will be a lot easier than the last few times Charlie and I have been on a plane with all three kids. More than that - I know Charlie is ecstatic about showing William off to his family and unless he wants to drive 12-hours, a 1.5-hour flight is his best bet.
As for me, I'm really looking forward to some quality time with "just the girls" this weekend. Since they've never been separated before, I think it will be interesting to see how the children do away from each other for the next four days and I'm excited to see how they greet each other on Sunday.
This should be fun