The first three arrived within three years and nine months! I was coping with two, but the first time I was left alone with all three I had a little panic attack thinking, “What do I do? I only have two arms?” Soon after, I learned the ropes.
Barney, the dinosaur, was my televised babysitter for many years. “I love you, you love me, we’re a happy family.” You do things as a parent of small children that you never thought you would otherwise do. (Bribery with candy is not out of the question.) It’s all about surviving another day in one piece. (For both parties, and it was no party!)
As fast as you clean, another mess is made at the other side of the house! One day I was doing the same old redundant housekeeping when I walked in on my oldest boy baby powdering his sister from head to toe. Well of course I flipped out, but no cleaning of the ghost toddler took place until I got my camera and chronicled this funny event. (Well, in hindsight it was funny.) They were always doing something crazy!
Kids are so destructive in their busy curiosities. I had a small village collection. I purchased a tiny scaled “H” gauge train that would highlight my houses beautifully for the holidays. (Not for long.) I assembled it proudly up high on top of an entertainment center to keep out of the reach of grabby children. But my first son and my niece climbed on the arm of the couch, balanced teetering on the edge of the arm, and pulled all the wheels off each car! We just couldn’t have nice things during these years!
My three musketeers did everything together. That was okay on the farm. It was convenient when one did something stupid, one could stand by and one could go for help. They spent many hours in the sandpile digging and building and burying. It was hilarious when they buried my third son and proceeded to make him breasts out of sand! They swam in the ditches, played in the feedpiles, and climbed on the hay bales – all under dad’s watchful eye. The tall weeds and grass were especially fun. Dogs and cats were usually part of the antics. Who needs expensive toys, we’ve got a farm!
It was eight and a half years later, and we were content with our three. They were finally self-entertaining. (Whew!) We had cleaned out and donated all the baby clothes and equipment. (Three kiddos will wear most things out!) We assumed we were finished having children, but you know what happens when you assume? God says, “Not so fast!” I was unexpectedly expecting a fourth child.
Within about four and a half years three girls graced our home. It was a wee bit easier having built-in babysitters, but now we were raising six ankle biters! Whenever we went somewhere as a family I would instruct the older trio to watch their personal “Mini-Mes.”
Laundry and dishes were never-ending. It was an eternal round of dirty things.
Kids do say the darndest things. My youngest had a thick toddler accent. The best was when she asked for, “Ass-cream,” especially with hot fudge and bananas! I loved when my second had to go. She was really doing wildly uncomfortable motions. My husband asked her if she had to go. She said, “No, I just like to dance this way!”
Three littles girls under four made for a crazy estrogen-filled madhouse. Dora, the Explorer, was our go-to tv fallback for quiet time that was usually snack related. “D-d-d-d-d-Dora! Grab your backpacks. Lets go! Jump in! Vomanos!” (I can hear her annoyingly high-pitched voice right now!) It was like a land mine field of naked Barbies and razor-sharp Legos strewn from heck to breakfast across the floor. (I got that from an older generation.) Housecleaning was frequently done, but it was a futile exercise. Keeping the house clean while they were growin’ was like shoveling before it stopped snowin’! (I love that saying. Don’t know who said it.)
I had fun with those girlie girls, I could dress them the same until they started protesting. Hair ties littered the bathroom. (Still do!) Each of my triple sets had a random large-scale haircutter. It was very traumatic for mom. In both cases, we had to just wait it out and do hairstyles that accommodated the situation. Dolls lost their hair, also. I reluctantly witnessed the sacrifice of many pairs of scissors when an angry dad would toss them.
Girls and costumes were synonymous! We had all the princess dresses, wings, boas, shoes and every other accessory associated. I had amassed a whole box of costumes through the years. (You never know when you’ll want them again!) Dressing up is a key part of childhood. The year #5 wanted to be a fairy Snow White for Halloween, I knew it was not a battle worth fighting. I think the fourth daughter wore the Cinderella dress for a good six months straight. I had to wash it while she napped. It ended up being Cinderella’s rag work dress.
But getting them ready was quite a task. There was ALWAYS a shoe missing, it never failed. (Every time!) It habitually happened when you were running late. Someone had to consume something messy, or screw up my well-planned strategic dressing system. Being on time was really not an option. Trying was quite unrealistic, but we attempted it anyway. I would stressfully exclaim, “Don’t make me be a mean mom!” (I said that a lot!) I won’t even start on how dirty the car interior was, constantly!
Raising six kids is quite a daunting endeavor. It is not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach. Many unpleasant diapers were changed, cartoon bandaids unwrapped, and late night vomit messes cleaned. Looking back, I know it was all worth the exhausting effort. And I will thoroughly enjoy the sight of them experiencing the unbelievable pleasures themselves with their own kids. (What comes around, goes around!) “The circle of life…”