1. When I had two kids or three kids, I intuitively knew where they were at all times. With four kids, I periodically stop and think “Do I know where everyone is? Is everyone accounted for?”. And I have to do a mental roll call and make sure.
I haven’t lost one yet. Winning!
2. I realized several weeks ago that I had been parenting number three via a “trickle down parenting” methodology. I was assuming that he would fall in line because we had worked so diligently on expectations and obedience with his two older siblings. He’ll catch on by watching and we won’t really need to do all the reinforcements and consequences, all over again. Or he’ll get older and just “get it”.
When he was routinely leaving the house to linger on the front porch, visit our neighbors’ front porch/yard, or (once) walk down the sidewalk in his t-shirt and underwear while I nursed the baby, I realized that this method was failing. Apparently he needs- you know- direct, person-to-person parenting.
We have tightened up since then. Now he asks permission before he goes outside, and I consider that a major victory.
3. There is just a lot of noise, a lot of the time. The only time this is not true is when the baby is napping and the three older kids are in front of a screen. I am making more and more peace with utilizing a dvd as a necessary part of my sanity at this stage. Ideally we would all make daisy chains and finger paint all afternoon, but…no. My three older kids watch some sort of dvd or something on the ipad pretty much every afternoon.
I offset the bad feelings about this decision by requiring more chores out of them. (The “bad feelings” include guilt that their brains are atrophying for that time every day, and anger that they require this of me because they won’t play calmly for any reliable amount of time. I want to have kids that are capable of being quiet’ish for an hour a day. But ever since old “hell no I don’t respond to trickle down parenting/number three” stopped napping that is not a thing. I mean- he was napping, but then he would be up and wide awake until 10:00 pm and that was not working for us. So we cut the nap out for the most part.)
Where was I? Chores. They do chores every morning during the week. If they don’t get it done then they do it while the others are watching a show. And noise. Four kids are noisier than three.
Pictures, in no particular order. The One Who Will Not be Shortchanged of His Legit Parenting Experience… Bike riding master… Cute baby at six months… Tractor Supply at 8:00 am… Last day of school… and me with Bill Clinton.