Four under three

“How old are your children?”

I am asked this question frequently.

“Neala is two. Lincoln is 18 months. And the twins are 7 months.”, I say.

I see them doing the math in their head and try not to grimace because I know what’s coming. After they’ve crunched the numbers, these are the typical responses:

“Oh my goodness, you have four children under three?”
Yes. Yes, I do.  I did not plan on having four children in three and a half years, all in a row like a baby factory. But the hospital was running a special on adorable newborns and I really wanted a collection of those large cups they give you after delivery.

“Wow. You must have your hands full.”
I want to kick them in the shins. But daddy says this isn’t kind. So instead of violence, I smile and tell them I am definitely busy.

“You are a supermom.”
Nope. Just super tired.

“Don’t you know how this happens?”
I want to just stare at them. Make it good and awkward.
But I don’t. Mommy does the right thing and forces out a courtesy laugh.
I tell them I mailed a letter to Santa asking for a baby and he just kept sending storks. Isn’t that how everyone gets a kid?

Neala, your third birthday is in 19 days. I am excited for the obvious reasons. Watching your eyes light up when you open presents, giggly toddler friends, eating all most of your leftover cake once you’ve gone to bed.
But the main reason I am so excited is because you won’t be “under three” anymore.

Now people will ask, “You have four children under four?” and I will proudly tell them yes.

Four under four sounds much more balanced and manageable. Then again, I change 14-16 diapers a day, so manageable might mean something different to me than most people.

When I was pregnant with Lincoln, a dear friend came to visit. She and her husband joked with me about “becoming a real parent” once I had a second child.  Boy, were they right.  Two kids are definitely more work than one.
If two kids makes you a real parent, then more than three should win some sort of award.

Four under four sounds like a new hit series on TLC. Or a best selling book.
If the show or book doesn’t work out, I feel at the least I should be able to wear a badge or medal.  It would read, “I kept four children alive today.”


Having four children under three is hard.  Stupid hard.

I cry often. I lose my patience. I battle mom guilt, wife guilt, friend guilt and all the other guilts.

But I laugh more than I cry. Your daddy helps me relax when I’m on the edge of crazy town. We have help from the sweetest ladies in the history of the universe. And even on the longest day, snuggles and grins from four kiddos is like pouring liquid sunshine in my soul.
I wouldn’t trade my four under three for anything.
Except maybe five under three.


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