On Her Flying Trapeze

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Tip Tuesday – Growing Family Logistics

So our family is growing. Now that the supply of Cadbury mini-eggs has been exhausted, we should be shrinking back down to our normal sizes in a couple of weeks. But we’re not talking about the size of individual family members today and no, I’m not pregnant Mom. I promise never to announce an impending grandchild via my blog.

We have two wonderful kids and although we’re not sure how far down this road of parentude we’re gonna travel, or at what speed, we know that there are more children in our future. When we got married, people were constantly asking us how many kids we wanted to have. Dan and I started to routinely answer, “Fourteen,” just to shut them up. We really do love kids though and want to have “as many as we can handle.”

Originally I think that meant, “as many as we can afford,” but now it’s come to mean so much more. How many kids can we care for emotionally, physically, spiritually, and mentally? We’re not sure. Somewhere between 3 and 100. After Laylee, the number was closer to 100. After Magoo and the trauma my body experienced, that number began to dip.

One of my readers, who doesn’t have a blog, is having her second child and lives in a 2-bedroom home. She asked me for tips on logistics for raising multiple children at the same time. She specifically wanted to know what to do for sleeping arrangements.

My tips for raising several children at the same time (2 counts as several, right? And let’s not forget the millions of tiny children within my ovaries that make their presence known monthly.) are these:

-Try to use the right name with the right kid. I’ve heard that it helps them feel loved or something. If you can’t do this, at least try to use a name appropriate for their gender. If you can’t remember that much, all children can be called “little dude” in a pinch.

-On a more serious note, I will address the sleep issue. I would suggest having the baby bunk in with Mom and Dad (in a separate bed or cradle if you’re a non-co-sleeper like myself) for the first several months until Little Dude Senior is old enough to sleep in a “big-boy bed.” Then put the two kids in the same room but put down the one who has the hardest time falling asleep first.

Someone who has actually done this and made it work, please help me out here.

What other tips do you have for big families, meaning families with more than one child? How do you work meal times, chores, the morning rush, driving them around, homework, etc? Do you have any tips for us new moms?

If you’re a newbie like me and a know-it-all who thinks they’ve got it all figured out, we’d love to hear your theories too. We may laugh at your glib inexperienced neonate hypotheses but at least we’ll be entertained, and isn’t that what this blog is all about – learning, sharing and opening ourselves to ridicule in a public forum? That’s why I come here every day.

43 Comments:

Anonymous Shannon needing a refresh..... said...

Well, I have no advice. NEED advice, have none. I will need to come back in the morning after a full refresh...until then....

4/18/2006 12:19 AM

 
Blogger Jennie C. said...

I have only five kids so far, but as far as sleeping arrangements for new babies go, I have this to say.

As much as possible, take children to doctors appointments with you. Let them hear the heartbeat, see the ultrasound, and feel the baby move. But DON'T PUSH IT! Sometimes they'll be interested, and sometimes they won't. With my third daughter, I went to most of my doctor visits alone, and I regret it, because the sibling relationships are the most strained with her. I am certain this is why.

I move the "old" baby out of the crib and into a toddler bed about a month before the new baby comes. Make a big deal about being a big boy or girl. Don't make it about the baby at all. Don't even mention the baby!

When baby is born, let the crib stay empty a few more weeks. Baby can sleep with you in a pillow lined laundry basket, or a cradle, or a moses basket...whatever. You can put babies to sleep anywhere, and I have. Then, gradually move baby into the crib. It is the baby who will have a hard time adjusting, not the recently evicted sibling.

As for chores, everybody helps. Meals, we all eat together every day, three times a day, usually something I actually cooked from scratch.

Morning rush, we don't have one. Well, we have to get their soldier dad off to work well fed and clean, but we homeschool, so no bus schedules.

Honestly, the second child seems scarier than it is. You think you won't be able to handle it, but a second isn't twice the work, like you'd think. It's only slightly more, and after a while, bigger kids help out, and it is not so bad at all.

4/18/2006 4:20 AM

 
Anonymous surcie said...

I have one child and I sometimes accidentally call him by my husband's or DOG's name. Sheesh!
Dude! I'm so glad you posted this. I agonize, on an almost daily basis, about whether to have a second child. I just feel like such a mess all the time. I seem to think I need to be better at getting everything done before I add another child to the mix. I'm sure that sounds like a pathetic reason not to have a baby. . .

4/18/2006 5:03 AM

 
Anonymous surcie said...

Is that TRUE, Jennie? I need others to confirm. A second child doesn't mean twice as much work/stress/etc.?

4/18/2006 5:06 AM

 
Blogger Nettie said...

I think you just have to think outside of the box and experiment to see where everyone sleeps best. My SIL turned her large walk in closet into a nursery for her 8th. The pull down stairs to the attic were in there, too. So, she slept "in the closet under the stairs" like Harry Potter!

4/18/2006 5:33 AM

 
Blogger Dreaming Mommy said...

Well I am definetly no expert and I am learning as I go, but after having baby #4 last summer I have learned that keeping a schedule and daily routine really helps. Bedtime starts after everyone has finished chores and dinner is cleaned up. We do bath, teeth, family reading time, and then individual reading time. Usually I get the youngest to bed first and work my way up. That way even though the oldest goes to sleep between 8/8:30 she feels she has really gotten to stay up late b/c the others are already in bed:-) After family story I rock,nurse, and sing to baby - then it is on to the boys room (6 and 3) I read to each of them a book they have chosen-we alternate whose book goes first or sometimes they will choose to read on their own while I read to the other one. Then a back rub and quick cuddle squeeze before moving on to the oldest. Age 9 she is usually reading a chapter book while I am with the younger ones. Sometimes I will continue reading with her or sometimes she just wants to talk about her day. I try to spend a lot of time with her at night b/c the others require so much of my attention during the day. Anyway after this long rambling - we start around 7:00 and end by 8:30. My husband works a lot of nights, but when he is home he alternates between rooms. But the most important thing for me is keeping that routine b/c they all seem a little wacky if we don't follow it!

4/18/2006 5:41 AM

 
Blogger Elena said...

Well I do have a big baby birthing tip. I've had three vaginal births of big babies, 9 lb 1 ounce,
10 pounds 12 ounces and 9 pounds 8 ounces in that order. Big babies are best birthed standing up or squatting. I tried the lying on my back pushing with my legs in the air that you see on tv with my first baby - that ended up with a section. I changed docs.

Gravity can be a birthing mom's friend when you work with it instead of against it. Squatting also helps to spread the pelvis a bit wider. Most "primitive" women birth that way. Biblical women use to birth that way. I never could have birthed my 10 pounder without squatting to bring him down and out of the birth canal.

4/18/2006 6:02 AM

 
Blogger Heth said...

Hmmm. This could go so many different directions.

The thing that has helped us out the most, especially with the morning routine and chores and meal time, is to give them more responsibility and quit doing everything for them. The school aged kids have a "chore chart" on the fridge. Really it's just a list of all the things they need to do to get ready in the morning. When I see them standing around doing nothing, I refer them to the list. Brush your teeth, put your shoes on, feed the rabbit. If they miss the bus, they know that they will have an earlier bedtime that night. Obviously this doesn't work for little ones but even a four year old can handle some responsibility.

I am a huge "reality discipline" fan. (shameless plug) Yay Kevin Lehman. We are preparing them for the real world and doing their homework for them doesn't teach them a doggone thing. Not that I think you are doing Magoo's homework for him.

4/18/2006 6:34 AM

 
Anonymous For a Season said...

We moved our almost 2yr old to a toddler bed and made a big deal about it. When baby came, we had him sleep in our room for about 2 months. Then he shared a room with 2yr old. They are still sharing a room and that was a huge concern for younger son (now 7) when we were looking for a new house. He didn't want his own room because he would miss his brother and their night talks. (As they get older, we put them down earlier, so they can talk for an hour. This gives mom and dad some down time too!:-)

4/18/2006 6:42 AM

 
Anonymous sarah hart kingston said...

I've only got 2, with a third on the way in October. We've had the same dilemma, almost. We live in a 3 bedroom basement, so right now the 2 are in their own rooms. I plan on moving The Bay in with Honey Bear in about 3 months, and they know it. I talk about it, tell Honey Bear it's not just his bedroom, but will be The Bay's room soon too. I firmly believe in the importance of sharing rooms, almost as much as I believe that children should have silings. My sister-in-law and cousin are both teachers and can always spot "the only child" on the first day of class, because they think the world revolves around them. And it really has, because their parents have been spending all their energy on just one kid. So, in theory, your kids should be slightly less selfish if they have a sib. I think.

I agree that it's not twice as much work to have two. Especially at first, when all the little one does it sleep, cry, eat, poop, sleep, cry... When #2 is moving around, they start to play together, and there are those blessed moments when you can wash half a load of dishes, scrub the toilet, or peel yourself off the wall in peace. Until one of them has a bleeding bite-mark on his back and the other is purple from holding-his-breath-crying after having his face squeezed until there are fingernail marks in his cheeks. No, it's not twice the work, it's twice the FUN! Really, it is fun, and they really do play together, and The Bay has incredible verbal skills because of his interaction with his brother. If you wait to have another until you're ready, you'll wait forever. Who is ever ready?

4/18/2006 6:59 AM

 
Anonymous Mom on the Gulf Coast said...

This info is great! I'm soaking it up for future reference.

I like the idea of making a big deal out of the "big boy bed" and not mentioning the new baby is filching the crib at all, probably saves a lot on tantrums.

I am also doing my best to get our son used to the idea of a new baby all the time. He gently pats my tummy when I ask him, "where's the baby?" and will occasionally kiss it when he's feeling especially cuddly.

He does go to all the OB appts, no other choice, but it's good for him too. We look at the photos of the newborns on the wall while waiting for the doctor.

Thank you all for the reassurance that it's not twice the work. I've been having mild anxiety attacks regarding the wiseness of this move (Translate: "what the *@&# were we thinking!!), but realizing that many other women have had more than one child and lived to tell the tale (children too) has helped a little.

whew!

4/18/2006 7:14 AM

 
Blogger April 1930s said...

Adjusting to baby number two was much easier than I thought it would be. A baby wasn't this overwhelming thing anymore and sleep deprivation was a way of life by that time.

Going places is a bit more strategic with more than one child, the laundry does increase, and getting every hungry mouth fed at mealtimes can be tricky at first but it's totally do-able. You just have to be flexible and give yourself permission to not be superwoman. So the beds didn't get made today-- so what?

I will say that spacing my kids 3+ years apart was a blessing. It wasn't my intention but God certainly knew what I needed.

4/18/2006 7:28 AM

 
Blogger Stephanie said...

As someone who had a heck of a time adjusting to life with two babies, I have this to say: Hang in There, It Gets Easier Over Time.

4/18/2006 7:42 AM

 
Blogger Jewels said...

I have three girls ages 8,7, and 5. I have been reading your blog for a while but had to comment here. I know I was organized and scheduled, but I really don't remember that part. People have asked me how did you do it and I don't remember. I just took it day by day.

As for sleeping arrangements, all three of my girls are in one room. All they do is sleep in there. Some nights more than others.

4/18/2006 7:48 AM

 
Blogger Cheerio's on my butt? said...

I think Heth and Jennie about got the good ol' big family routine down pat, so I guess I'll just add ditto on what they say....especially the part about putting the older kids to work on their own chores and self-care. Not to mention helping the little ones. They have a far greater self-esteem when they are needed and useful. They also have more empathy for Mom! As far as sleeping, sharing rooms is great once they pass about six months and they're able to bond with siblings. It makes great memories for them! Until then, I recommend sleeping with parents or in the parents room. Whatever works. Best advice? Relaaaaaaax! Their are no rules to this! So enjoy it and have fun! We won't traumatize them by making them sleep in the wrong room, or calling them by the wrong name sometimes, or not giving them the perfect food, etc. But they will be traumatized if we forget that it's NOT all about rules and perfection, but laughs and giggles and messes and smells and spontaneity and..... what are going to make the best memories later anyways? A clean house? Perfect food? The right number of kids and schedules? We all know the answer to that if we think back to our childhoods! Have fun with your kids everyone!!!!!! Perfection is boring! Life's a journey not a destination! You gotta learn as you go, and you'll never be perfect, so just be good at saying, "I'm sorry." By the way, I just number mine so I don't have to worry about forgetting names. "Yo! #1! Get over here!"


Just kidding! :)

4/18/2006 8:04 AM

 
Anonymous Lou said...

Ha! For once I am the someone who has actually done this and had it work! BOO-YAH! I feel like I've reached a major milestone here. . .

anyway, advice: Absolutely keep the baby with you until she can sleep in her own bed. We co-sleep, but a small crib works too. I recently bought the kids matching beds and put a stuffed dragon on one and a princess doll on the other (I have a boy and a girl). I always have to put them down individually. They are 3 and 16 months and can't fall asleep together. I usually tuck Jonas in and then snuggle Maggie until she falls asleep. When I am sure Jonas is out, I put her in her bed. Some nights are easier than others.

I know what you mean about changing from what can we afford to what can we handle. Our emotional reserves can sometimes be even less inflated than our budget.

4/18/2006 8:15 AM

 
Blogger Sariah in Vancouver said...

I'm the oldest of 8 kids and I agree with alot of what has been said. We all had chores, age appropriate ones. Mom had a checklist for morning and nightime routines. We all ate together - especially at lunch and dinner (except for when we were at school). As your kids get older, they will be able to help alot.

We have one almost seven year old currently. It was not planned this way, conceiving problems and miscarriages just made it this way. We are now expecting a healthy #2. I haven't had too many of these concerns because of the age difference. #1 has been praying for a sibling for YEARS and is thrilled to have a little sister coming! But she is realizing that there will be alot of changes, she won't get as much one on one time that she has been used to. However, we are including her in as much as we can. She has even helped put together some of the nursery furiture. She is helping with the name, decorating, shopping, etc. She will be included in just about everything once she's born too... rocking, bathing, reading to baby while I'm feeding her, and after a month or so even giving a bottle of pumped milk once in awhile to help them bond.

I do have to say to anyone who has an only child (whether by choice or not), it helps to really focus on service and giving to others. Yes, my daughter has "only child syndrome" to an extent. And she is slightly spoiled (heck, with all our problems trying to have more, we realize she truly is a miracle baby and yes, we do get to put all of our attention on her)... But we have worked hard at helping her to learn to think about others. It helps, she isn't perfect but she is eager to give her toys to children who don't have any. She begged me to let her donate a large trash bag full of toys to the Katrina victims (and we did). Her worse habit is her bossiness, I think, and we are working on it. However, her friends who do have siblings are just as bossy, I've noticed. Maybe it's the age?

Best of luck to all growing families. It's an adjustment, we learn to juggle a little more, but I am looking forward to the adventure!

4/18/2006 8:19 AM

 
Blogger At A Hen's Pace said...

Well, we have six, and as my husband likes to say, it gets easier after the first three! By then, you can do all the infant stuff blindfolded and half-asleep, and you also have older helpers to entertain the baby and hold him while you get dinner on the table. If you homeschool, like we do, eventually you even have built-in babysitters so you can run out to the store by yourself during the day.

About sleeping arrangements, it just depends on the kid. We broke all the rules this last time around and it worked out great. When the baby outgrew the bassinet in our room, we moved our 2.5 year old out of the crib and into a toddler bed, and put the baby in the crib all in the same night. She loved it--her new bed, and seeing the baby in her old one. But she'd never shown any sign of jealousy before, so I figured she'd be fine.

Our first two shared a bedroom forever, with the third sleeping in my husband's office in a crib at night and in a pack'n'play in our room during the day till we moved out of that house, a townhome. Then three of them shared a room and the fourth got his own room, since as a baby, he slept in it more. We currently have three boys--15, 11, and 7--sharing the basement together, the 3 and 1 year old share, and our 13 yr old daughter gets her own room.

I think the more you have, the less you worry about how you're gonna do it!

4/18/2006 8:22 AM

 
Blogger Angela said...

"And let’s not forget the millions of tiny children within my ovaries that make their presence known monthly" HA HA HA HA HA!!

I have two and I FINALLY figured out to plan, plan, plan ahead. Trips, meals, and naps. Sleeping is sacred in my home and "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" is next to our scriptures, with less dust. As a result, I have very good sleepers. While it dominates my life, I also don't have a lot of fits/meltdowns, and neither do my kids.
The adjustment from no children to one child is SIGNIFICANTLY more drastic than from one to two. It's true it's just a little more work, one more butt to wipe, 5 more loads of laundry, 1 more sandwich to cut up, etc. Also, the older kid suddenly becomes more autonomous when you quit doing everything for him. It's magic.

4/18/2006 8:44 AM

 
Blogger ABC Momma said...

Our first child had colic and lasted about a week in the bassinet in our room before he was moved to his own room. He's still a high-maintenance child. When the second one came three years later, we were relieved that he was so sweet and easy. He stayed about 3 months in the bassinet in our room--and would even come in my bed for his feeding in the middle of the night. Same thing with the third. She was a joy.

We have decided that three is really all we can handle. My husband decided first and had a vasectomy. Every once in a while I get sad about it, because I love being pregnant. But then I feel relieved as I realize I don't have to do the baby thing again--at least not with this husband :)

4/18/2006 9:01 AM

 
Blogger Trivial Mom said...

So I don't really have experience with large families, having only one here and one on the way . . . but this is what we are "planning" to do. (I always have a plan and seldom ever follow it)

So our doctor said that any changes we were going to make in our 19 month olds life needed to happen 2 months before the baby was born. So that means switching to a bed and potty training in our case. We switched to a bed at 18 months. (And not just a toddler bed, I don't see the point in those things, she is in a twin size bed a good 2 feet from the floor. She loves to climb on and off-with a stool of course-and she had only fallen off her bed once in the middle of the night and she was just fine. I just don't see the point in toddler beds.) And now at 19 months we're working on potty trianing, which I think is more training me then training her.

Our two kids our going to share a room, as soon as the baby sleeps through the night, or 3 months, whichever comes first. We don't really have a choice in the matter, we only have two bedrooms.

As far as any other problems . . . I don't know what I'm going to do. I'm scared and I really hope that it's true having a second kid doesn't double your work.

4/18/2006 9:11 AM

 
Blogger SarahLynn said...

I had my two youngest girls not quite a year apart. And for the first 6 months of the youngest's life we lived in a two bedroom house. All three of my children shared a room. They were 4, 1 and a newborn. The 1 year went to bed first, but we established what bed was early on. She went to sleep quickly, then the 4 year old, and later we would put down the baby. We did have midnight feedings and diaper changes, but if anyone got too rowdy we just took them out of the room until they were calm enough to go back to sleep. Didn't struggle too much with that...how do you get them up? lol

I like hearing how people are keeping organized with chore charts and such! That is something I need to get on top of a bit more.

I love your blog!

4/18/2006 9:31 AM

 
Blogger Leah said...

Personally, I have always kept the baby in the same room with me (bassinette or crib), until little dude was sleeping throught the night continuously.
We now live in a two bedroom house with four kids. It is challenging, to say the least, but here's how we do it:
Red (the eldest) has a loft (in the kitchen) and has his own little "play room" under it--he calls it his "club house!"
Blue (boy#2) and Pink (the only girl) currently share a room as they are just 5 and 2 1/2.
Baby Green boy lives in our bedroom in his own little cubby divided by the dresser and a partition like those movable ones found in churches and schools.
We manage, and it's a little stressful at times, but we have been forced into closeness.
Note to the reader: we live in two bedrooms not by choice, but out of sheer desperation to get out of debt.
God bless!

4/18/2006 9:33 AM

 
Blogger owlhaven said...

I also think it gets easier after the first three. And I agree wih Heth regarding kids and chores. I wrote a post about kids and jobs awhile back that kid of gives my philosophy... whiny baby here so that's all I have time for now..
Mary, mom to many

4/18/2006 9:33 AM

 
Blogger Cmommy said...

I have four children-ages 5, 7, 10, 12. As I read your post, my brain light was flashing on our "date with mom/dad" tradition and the little "mailboxes" that hang beside their bedroom doors.

The kids LOVE being taken out, one-on-one with mom or dad. I've heard the most fascinating things on these little journeys. Hubby, however, did just confess that he is having difficulty being with LilDollyGirl because she whines so much.......uh oh!

The mailboxes have morphed many times over the years. Creativity rules. Or, a sale at Michael's. When they were toddlers & preschoolers, they loved getting mail and leaving drawings in our box. I have a great Love Letter collection! Now, as they are getting older, this is a great way for me to encourage, impart scripture, or use a teachable moment through a note. Recently, I taped a photo of the oldest two onto a bookmark and wrote "You are SO loved!" In the pic, they are 2 & 3 years old, giving daddy a big hug! It's an unembarrassing way for us to remind them that they have been loved and are loved and will be loved.

Happy Tuesday!!

4/18/2006 9:52 AM

 
Anonymous Tabetha said...

I just had my 4th child, and I have a little advice to offer. It seems that I still have a lot to learn, maybe because my oldest is only 6. Anyway, I would agree that the work with a 2nd child does not double.

When I was pregnant with #4, I wondered if I was crazy because three was a handful! Amazingly enough, though, this 4th has been my easiest yet. I have heard that others agree with this. Maybe it is because the oldest is old enough to help some with the new baby! I am not really sure why it is so, but I am less stressed with 4 than I was with 3.

I think it is important not to push children to do things more quickly just because a new baby is on the way. My 2nd did not begin potty training until he was 3 years old because of a new sibling (and waiting for warm weather), and he was completely trained at about the same age as #1, who started training at 2 years! It did not really make #1 learn at an earlier age just because she started earlier! I guess I will find out if this is a true trend or coincidence as I am training #3, who will be 3 in a couple of months!

My mother-in-law raised 7 children and is one of the least stressed people I know. I think one of the most important parts of parenting, whether it be one child or ten, is the attitude of the parent(s)! It can be very stressful if you let it be, but it does not have to be that way! Relax and enjoy the children rather than stressing over whether you are doing every little thing right! The children will pick up on it if you are doubting your parenting tactics!! It never hurts to pray daily for direction as you parent each child individually in the best way you can for that child!

4/18/2006 10:01 AM

 
Blogger HLH said...

The only advice I have for someone having a second child (cause I only currently have 2) is this:

When you go places, always get the baby out of the car and settled into a sling, stoller, other carrier FIRST. Then get the older child out. Why you ask? Because if you got the older child out first you would have to keep him or her from running into the parking lot and oncoming traffic- all while trying to get baby out.

see, it makes sense!

4/18/2006 11:07 AM

 
Anonymous petal said...

I wish I had advice.
Best thing I can think of is surround yourself with women that champion you and your mother-intuition. But also are close enough to give you real, honest feedback when you want it. I couldn't survive without my cheerleading section.

4/18/2006 11:50 AM

 
Blogger Peter said...

Over here we take it one day at a time. I have found that they don't much care what you call them as long as you call.
I also think that a schedule is a must. Kids need routine to help them feel secure.

4/18/2006 12:01 PM

 
Blogger Maine Mom said...

I should be an expert by now with 4 children and a husband living in a 2 bedroom home, but I continue to learn myself. With such a small home, we do the best we can. Right now, we have our 3 girls in the same room. We have a bunk bed so the 7 year old and almost 5 year old sleep on the beds and our almost 3 year old sleeps in a crib...yes I am lucky to have toddlers that don't have any interest in escaping the crib. Our 13 month old is still in our room, not ideal, but for me, it's better than putting our almost 3 year old in a bed to put the 13 month old in the crib. The girls all have the same bedtime. Sometimes it takes them awhile to settle down, but they know they have to stay in their room so they talk/play until they fall asleep. I don't mind them being awake as long as they are in their room. The "baby" stays up with us until he falls asleep on the floor and then we put him to bed.
This probably doesn't help your friend any, but I thought I would write what we do anyway.

4/18/2006 12:42 PM

 
Blogger The Flip Flop Mamma! said...

Here's what you do, this is simple...you have all your children 9 years apart like me, 1st one @ 18 next one @ 27, so I'll be due for #3 around age 36! That way you always have a diaper bag carrier, and a bottle runner, a sitter while you shower, and you only have to dress one kid at a time! hahaha! All in good fun!

4/18/2006 1:24 PM

 
Anonymous Lauren said...

I worked for a family with four kids under 3 (a toddler and triplet babies). The two things their mother did that I so admired and that worked:
1. Stick to a schedule. It can require change from week to week, and by all means scrap it if it's not happening anymore, but if it works, do it. Every day.
2. Dinner every night as a family has to happen -- no matter what.
I so far have zero kids, so that's all I've got....

4/18/2006 1:55 PM

 
Anonymous Pam in Utah said...

I don't have time to say too much today, but my advice, from someone who raised 5 (and they turned out good in spite of some of my learning experiences), is not to give up! As in try to keep the job, as opposed to leaving it to a sitter. I think the world would be so much better off if everyone had a mom (and dad) who were with them from the get-go and taught them all personal responsibility. We always had a small house, and even when the kids got older and had such different schedules that they would sleep on the couch in the living room (often) in order not to completely disturb the others, we just did the best we could at the time. When we were growing up, my mom would try to keep things picked up and in order, and not have too much stuff, and she would say "we just don't have room to be messy". It helped, I think, to try to keep up with it, even if it was a loosing battle on the infrequent occassion--OK, even if it happened a lot. Good luck. It's worth it! Those precious kids are worth it! (Keep in mind I'm not the best at giving this advice--I went 8 years without an uninterupted nights' sleep--and I still thought it was worth it!)

4/18/2006 2:11 PM

 
Blogger Lei said...

-Try to use the right name with the right kid. I’ve heard that it helps them feel loved or something.

ROFL! I swore I would never mix up my kids' names. It was so FREAKIN annoying when my mother had to go through the entire family's names to get to the right one... and yet,here I am!

I have one good tip for the morning rush... have as much prepared as pssible the ngiht before... clothes laid out, backpacks by the door, lunch at least partly made... and for my kids, an expected routine works well. They get up, dress, brush teeth, say prayers, eat breakfast, grab bags/lunches and are off. We have it down to about 20/25 minutes!!!

4/18/2006 3:00 PM

 
Blogger A. Borealis said...

To all the ladies:

Thanks for the advice! It is so nice to have an online community of mothers who keep it real. A lot of us out here don't have too many mom-friends to compare notes with: it's so nice.

Gracias, las mujeres.

4/18/2006 3:59 PM

 
Blogger andrea said...

Have 14 kids -- please! My friend, at one time, had four BOYS under 8, a full-time job, a nanny, several rental properties to keep track of, about 8 pets, and still managed to go for a weekly run with me. If you're wondering, she alternated between goddess and fool, but I was always full of admiration for her energy.

4/18/2006 4:47 PM

 
Blogger Amy A. said...

When we were living in graduate student housing, we actually had four kids in the same room, (Three girls, one boy)all under age six. Olders in a bunk, one in a crib, and and the newest baby in a portable crib that we wheeled in when all the others were asleep. Crazy, but it worked for us. One thing we always did was run them like crazy all day so they fall asleep fast!
Another thing I finally learned after the fourth baby, is that putting them to bed awake and letting them fall asleep on their own is really magic. They learn to sleep better, fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer.
As for calling my kids by the correct name? That will never happen. Unfortunately, we also have two dogs, so my kids are lucky to get called by a human names!
God bless all you women fortunate enough to be moms! What a wonderful gift.

4/18/2006 7:20 PM

 
Anonymous Dene said...

Our family includes 5 boys - 8 and under. From the moment #2 came home from the hospital, it was impossible to keep our house quiet during naptime. I was surprised to find how easily an infant could sleep through normal household noise when they were accustomed to it. So, don't worry about maintaining a perfect naptime "atmosphere"; run a small fan or play music during naps to help mask the occasional shrieking :) and you'll find that your baby sleeps much better.

I also agree that your work is not doubled with a 2nd baby. It will take a few weeks - OK, maybe a few months- but things DO get easier and you've given your children a life-long comrade.

4/18/2006 7:49 PM

 
Blogger MrsWndr said...

Okay, I'm sure no one will even see this as there are already a ba-jillion comments on here...but I had to get this off my chest. I am the mother to an only child. She is wonderful! I've been struggling with the decision to have another child for a couple of years (hubby wants just Ryelie). In my heart I only want her, but I struggle with the guilt factor that comes from comments like a few on this post. I feel guilty for doing what's right for our family because people automatically assume that only chilren turn out spoiled! I'll admit that it's alot easier for that to happen with an only but if you're aware of it and work to make sure it doesn't happen, you can avoid it. I have a great relationship with my daughter (she's almost 5) and I know we'll continue to be close. I came from a family with 5 girls and to tell you the truth, I always wished I had more of my parents attention. Maybe if I had I wouldn't have the self-esteem problems I have now. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my sisters...but being the 4th of 5 is hard. I have seen just as many spoiled kids with siblings as I have with onlies. I think this is a terrible stigma that is attatched to onlies. Sure there will be some onlies that turn out to be selfish terrors, but there are more that turn out to be confident, nurturing adults. Just as there are great kids that come form families with siblings, but just as many that turn out to be not so great too. Please don't assume that because a child is an only that they're selfish. It's not fair to that child.
I just wanted to address that. This is something I've been struggling with and I think it's time I took a stand for my family, that I grew a back bone and stopped worrying what other's think. This was not meant to be 'troll-ish' in anyway and I hope it's not taken as such. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to vent this.

4/19/2006 6:24 AM

 
Anonymous Tiffany U said...

I have to agree that baby number two is easier. Maybe it's because I'm totally over the "Oh my God" panic attacks that I constantly had everytime my first daughter did anything.

As far as sleeping arrangements for multiple children goes, my husband and I asked our oldest for permission to let her sister use her "baby bed". This of course was after she had already moved into her big bed and was given other big girl bonuses. Our girls are three years apart and the crib has never been an issue.


Honestly, the best advice that I could give any mother is to just roll with things and laugh them off. Don't stress over the little stuff. So maybe the baby spit up all over the couch and now you have to have it cleaned. In the grand scheme of things, there are far worse things that could happen today.

4/19/2006 7:25 AM

 
Blogger HangerMom said...

I'm late commenting so may not help anyone, but wanted to add onto some of the other shared-bedroom comments. My 2.5 year old and 11 month old have shared a room since the younger was about 4 months and moved out of the bassinet in our room. At first we'd wait till both were sleeping soundly before sneaking the baby into the crib in the girls' room. Eventually we just started putting both in, though, and they've learned to fall asleep together. Some nights they'll both be crying when we finally close the door and walk away, but they usually settle down quickly. And I can't count the number of times I've had the blessing of hearing my older daughter sing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" to the baby when she starts fussing in the night, and then both will drift back off to sleep. It's the sweetest thing in the world!

White noise is a great tip as well - we've consistently had a humidifier or fan in the room that makes a little noise, as it helps mask crying or other sounds that might wake one of the girls.

I'm glad to have read the comments about even more kids sharing rooms, too! We plan to have more kids, but with our current house layout, though we have three bedrooms, only two are really useful for us and the kids, and I'm at a loss for how we'll set that up when there's a third.

Great topic, DYM!

4/19/2006 8:02 AM

 
Blogger Carrien said...

I had both children in a one bedroom apartment for quite a while. Of course we all slept in the same room. Older child at some point gets their bed moved to daddy's side so the new baby can sleep next to mommy. It helps to put all the mattresses on the floor so there is no falling out of beds or sense of isolation for the older child who can still have access to parents. Atleast that's what worked for us.
Even after we moved to a two bedroom they stayed with us and we had an office, which was lovely. The oldest is now four and this last move he got his own bedroom and I have a place to put all toys, but he asked me the other night why he had his own room instead of sleeping in our room anymore. I responded that I thought he wanted his own room, turns out he doesn't. He'll be fine if we ever move to Japan and live in a house with a family sleeping room that everyone lays their futon out in and sleeps together. Or anywhere but North America or Europe for that matter.

4/20/2006 12:47 PM

 
Blogger bon said...

Sounds like it's all covered, I just want to reiterate that every kid is different in darn near every way possible... but after a baby is sleeping through the night I like them to share a room with a sibling.

Ummm... unless it doesn't work, then do something different.

4/20/2006 2:48 PM

 

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