Being the parent of one child is easy.
Two kids is an adjustment.
But three kids is just craziness. Why didn't anyone tell me this while I was pregnant?
Lately, I've been finding myself jealous...maybe that's too strong of a word...but I've been imagining how easy life must be with one kid.
There's no sibling fighting.
No having to divide things equally.
No struggling to get each kid to look at the camera at the same time while smiling.
No stretching yourself thin trying to be hands-on for each child.
I imagine that one-kid households are peaceful and free of toy clutter. Trips to Target don't include a harried mother trying to get out of the store hurriedly before a meltdown occurs.
I tweeted this the other day: "I sometimes get jealous of people with only one child. Then the kids are playing together & keeping each other busy and I forget all about it."
I remember when I only had one child. It was easy to buy him whatever he wanted and do what he pleased. But it was also exhausting being his playmate and keeping him busy.
While the tattling and bickering can drive me to my wit's end most days, what warms my heart is the relationship that is blossoming among each child. I think back to my own childhood with my younger sister. It was nice to have someone to vent to about our parents. And it was good to have someone to lean on when our father died four years ago. I can't imagine what it would have been like to pack up my father's belongings alone because my mother was grieving too much to do it.
When I'm gone, they'll have each other to lean on and walk each other through the process. Right now, they have each other to entertain. To laugh with. To explore life with.
Last month, we had parent-teacher conferences for the boys. When I asked the five-year-old's kindergarten teacher how he's doing socially, she said great and added that students with siblings are the most adaptive. They already know how to share and negotiate. She added, "They've learned at home that eventually someone will get to me and they are not as demanding." I'd never thought about that. Giving our children siblings has provided them with built-in social lessons that they're getting on a daily basis. Unknowingly, by giving them siblings we are helping them realize that they are not the center of the universe. Who knew?
Sure the bickering, fighting and chaos that goes along with multiple children drives me batty. But then there are those surprising moments when you see them sharing what they were fighting over the day before. It warms my heart when I find my oldest reading a book to the baby simply because he wants to.
These three kids of mine didn't get to choose their siblings, but it's my hope that they will learn to be life-long friends. Maybe one day they'll look back on their childhood with fondness and adoration because they had each other.
I never imagined I'd have three kids, but I'm so glad that I have them...and most importantly, that they have each other.