In the last two years we have gone from zero to five kids and I have discovered some interesting differences in our lives during this transition. These are in no particular order, they are all equally true.
1. “When are you buying a bigger house?” In our current culture it is so engrained in people that every child needs their own room and we all need multiple living spaces to spread out. We are completely comfortable being in our “small” house and think room sharing will make our kids closer. Additionally, we want to be sure we don’t live beyond our means just for the sake of keeping up with the times.
2. Leaving your house becomes like a long vacation- it happens rarely and you have to do a great deal of preparation. You have to pack multiple bags to ensure you have cups, snacks, bottles, paci’s, diapers, wipes and the (inevitably needed) change of clothes for each child. After twenty minutes of prep and another twenty to get everyone in the car you are ready to run to the store for that one thing you forgot- don’t worry you will probably forget what you came for once there.
3. The rare trips out of the house without children truly is a vacation and fills you will elation and guilt simultaneously.
4. The stages most parents dread are a way of life for you- teething, potty training, terrible twos and trying threes are not stages in your house because you have children in each stage on a continual basis.
5. “Are you guys done yet?” Maybe. Maybe not. Every family is different and the right amount of children is also different for every family.
6. “How do you do it?” This usually quickly follows #5. Honestly, some days we don’t know either. We have what may appear to be a somewhat rigid structure to our days and routines- sometimes the routine works and sometimes it doesn’t and life is a crazy circus. We are just hanging on tight and trying to enjoy the ride. Similar variations include; “You sure have your hands full” and “They aren’t all yours are they?”
7. “Listen Dam-Per-Cal- ALIZÉ” don’t feel bad when you mix up our children’s names- we do it at least four times a day ourselves.
8. Diaper changing takes up a significant portion of your day. When everyone is potty trained you know you will get back close to three hours a day.
9. Going to the store for milk looks like you are preparing for the apocalypse. “Wow, you guys sure are buying a lot of milk.” The young cashiers inevitably comment and then spend the remainder of your order in shocked silence when you tell them why you buy so much milk.
10.Oh,the papers. In general children being a lot of paperwork but when you adopt your children from foster care paperwork begins to form mini skyscrapers in your house.
11. Finding a sitter who can handle it all is akin to finding the lost treasure of The Templars. It’s a lot to handle as a babysitter or nanny and we get that but we all need the ability to call in help at one time or another. When you do find one that works you want to clone her to ensure you’re covered as the kid’s grow up.
12. Yoga pants. Yoga pants for life. Yoga pants are comfortable and allow you a complete range of motion as you chase your children. Additionally, it is hard to convince yourself to dress up when you know five different bodily fluids will be covering your clothing before 9am.
13. People are leery of inviting your family over and will sometimes extend invitations only to a subset of the family because the numbers overwhelm them. Side note, if only some of us are invited none of us will be coming- that’s only fair to our kiddos.
14. Birthdays seem to happen every time you turn around. You are sending out so many party invites you feel like you should open your own postal branch.
15. Christmas is an epically large event and the idea of everyone opening their gifts in turns so everyone can see what each other received is a thing of the past. There is a wrapping paper explosion that will take hours upon hours to clean up.
16. That new little SUV that just came out is cute as can be but there is no way your family will fit in there. You need room for five car seats and the many bags discussed in #2, say hello to the passenger van.
17. You look longingly at families with teenagers. Sure those teens may not want to help but a teenager could hold a baby, change a diaper, make a bottle or run a bath if needed.
18. Bath nights are special days of the week. It turns into a wet, slippery assembly line of kids racing each other for the tub, splashing each other in the eyes and then screaming because they don’t want to get out.
19. Toys. Oh the toys. We could open an independent toy store using the toys in our basement alone.
20. Laundry never ever ends. A normal sized load of their little clothes turns into folding for 45 minutes and another hour of trying to stop the kids from running off with the clothes while you try to put them away.
21. If you watch Rio one more time you will certainly start sprouting blue feathers. Each kid has the one movie they always want to watch and those five movies are painfully familiar now.
22. Making dinner is a balance of early prep, cooking with children trying to climb your legs and attempting to make real meals whenever possible while accepting that sometimes dinner will be hot dogs and Mac & Cheese.
23. At least once a day over half your children will be having a complete meltdown because they all desperately need your undivided attention at the exact same second to vital things like the fact that their dinosaur they threw over the baby gate hasn’t climbed back over on it’s own yet or because their blanket is stuck on the corner.
24. Sippy cups can be found in every nook and cranny of your cupboards not to mentioned hiding under the couch and tucked into the toy box.
25. Given the daily circus some would want to run away but you would not trade a single tantrum throwing, baby puff eating, spilled cup cleaning, sleepless, hectic second.