Thursday, January 14, 2010

My Latest Complaint

My latest complaint...inspired by Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop.

Last weekend Jeff and I went to the holiday party for the local parents of triplets and more group. We had a blast. Of course we did. There were 30 couples there free from the daily rigors of caring for many small children, the alcohol table was well stocked and the food was fantastic! It was great to reconnect with old friends and make new friends and just not be responsible for anyone but ourselves for a few hours.
While we were talking one of the dads mentioned that one of the comments he gets about his triplets that annoys him the most is: "I know exactly what you are dealing with. My sister-in-law (cousin, friend's brother, etc...) has twins."

I have to agree. That's pretty annoying.

Because really. Knowing someone who has twins qualifies you as an expert on the day-to-day caring for higher order multiples?
Oh no, my friend. It's not that easy.
First of all, the multiples you are discussing so expertly are not even yours. Truth be told, if they were you would probably be the first one saying, "I have no idea how you manage three (or four or one more than the number of multiples you have)." We are forever wondering how in the world we would manage four instead of three.
Secondly, until you have kicked a small child away from danger because your arms were already full of kids, you have no idea what it's like dealing with higher order multiples. And until the logistics of safely bathing your children or getting them out of the van and across the parking lot sans stroller begin to resemble a complex math problem, you might want to hold off on sharing your expertise.
I often find myself in situations where I can honestly say that having triplets plus one probably isn't very different than having four kids all different ages.
And then there's the other 95 percent of the time.
For example, getting ready to go outside in the winter. Amelia, who is 3 1/2, can use the potty and put on her snow pants, coat, and boots with minimal help and a little verbal encouragement. The triplets on the other hand, must be fully dressed by mom or dad. It's a major workout. Three sets of snow pants, three sets of boots and three coats. I sweated off three pounds the other day.
(And who on earth bought coats with two layers to zip up? Oh, wait, that was me. Well, I won't make that mistake again, trust me!)

Or how about the bathing? We used to whip all three babies through kitchen sink baths in less than 15 minutes total. Until they started to protest because they wanted to play in the water. So we moved to bathing all three in the tub together. Easy with two parents: one to tend the tub and one to bring babies in and take them out. But just one parent? That's a little trickier.

Amelia's old enough to be in the tub by herself for a minute or two as long as I am within earshot, but not the three little ones. You can't carry all three, and you can't put one or two in the tub or even in the bathroom and then go get the third. Once you get them all in there, you have the same problem getting them out. Now that the boys can walk, one parent can sort of herd them to and from the bathroom, though we almost always have an escapee. And we are virtually guaranteed someone will pee on the carpet before everyone gets diapered.

Sometimes my head hurts from trying to figure out how we're going to deal with the logistics of three babies, let alone three plus a preschooler.

Until your babies outnumber your arms, you will never know "exactly what we are dealing with," so please, keep your opinions to yourself.

Or, if you'd rather, come on over. I'll be happy to treat you to the full experience.


June Freaking Cleaver said...

Great post. First, let me say that I have NO IDEA how you do it...and every day, to boot!

I get those "helpful" comments when my son is having a major meltdown - and most of them include the word "spanking" - helpful? Not so much.

I figure until they walk a mile in our mocassins, they have no business being verbally "helpful".

The Gausman Six said...

Amen, sister!

Ms. Wanda said...

You have definitely made your point for all those that have no clue:) Hi, there stopping over from Mama Kat's:) When my twins were born my oldest was 2, felt like triplets, I can sort of relate but, what you posted sounds way more complicated. I managed a lot on my own because hubby traveled. You clearly need a second pair of hands:)
I love your photo's I have a few of these myself!

Pamela said...

I have three boys, not multiples. My ONE ten month old is enough thank you very much. Good luck... and my middle son's name is "Isaac", good choice!

Beth said...

Well said! I have one 4yo boy and 16mo GGBG quads. When people tell me they know what it's like it makes me crazy. I actually told a Dr recently that I had quads and he said, 'oh, I have the same thing.' I said, 'really?' he said, 'yes I have twins.' Uh... If you don't know the difference between 2 and 4, how did you graduate med school?
I think the main difference is like you said-- more babies than hands. The safety concerns of taking the kids anywhere are so mind boggling that we stay home way more than I would if my 2nd pregnancy had produced a singleton or even twins.
Great post! Just came across your blog on Multiples and More.

Kathryn said...

I don't know how it makes you feel, but I LOVE being at your house! It reminds me so much of my childhood and the wonderful chaos that is a large family. Can't wait to have one myself, even if I do have to do it one kid at a time.


oy. i have three siblings, (so for those bad at math, that makes for of us lol) but we ARE all different ages. i don't know any multiples, or moms of multiples really, but i can't imagine how hard it is. and i really must say that people who think they understand simply because they know someone who knows someone who knows someone with multiples must be completely off their rocker. :)

Christy AKA Trippin' Mama said...

Kathryn, that's so sweet of you to say. I love the happy chaos, too, and in part for the same reason. I grew up one of eight, and our house was chaotic, but in a good way.

Barbara said...

Loved this post! My GGG's are almost a year old and bath time tonight (by myself) was so stressful. I was rotating babies from the exersaucers I lugged upstairs to the bath and back taking the end of it, I was soaked, the floor was soaked with water and of course a little pee. It was exhausting. I've been reading your blog for a while, and just had to comment tonight. I don't even know what I'm going to do when mine start walking!

Elizabeth a.k.a. Type A Mommy said...

Yikes. Great post. Let me say first of all that I just have one munchkin, and I find that a challenge, I can't even imagine how difficult it is to have three of them, plus an older child. You amaze me.

I don't really love parenting advice in general, so I can understand where you're coming from on that front. It's never really helpful, is it?

Stopping by from Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop!

Suz said...

Ugh - I still remember the day Abby tried to get out of the tub by herself while I was wrestling her twin. I can still picture the slow motion tumble.

Ugh. Congrats on the zone defense the other night!

wv: hypernou (no, I'm not!)

Baby Mama said...

love this post, so descriptive! you are absolutely right; i cant even imagine!!! kudos to you mama!

Esther and Brian said...

Hi..I'm a Mom of twin boys although for three months of the pregnancy, they were triplets. So I often think about how it would be if I had my triplets instead of two wild 16 months old boys. I have no idea! It is definately hard with twins, too, but it cannot compare to triplets (and more). Yes, I can carry two of them down the stairs since I have two hands/arms. Triplets? Nope. Strollers- twin strollers are wide/long enough- nothing compared to a triplet stroller.
So yes, I hate stupid comments that I get about my boys, too. Completely agree. Singleton Moms do not know what it's like to have twins and twin MOMs do not know what it's like to have higher-order multiples. Period. Starting with the pregnancy...