Monday, January 23, 2012

4 Weeks of Having 4 Kids

This past Saturday marked 4 weeks since we got home with our new daughter from Ethiopia.

We survived 4 weeks of having 4 kids!!!!

A couple things became very quickly apparent to us in life with 4 kids.

First thought, just a few days in:  we need color coded cups!

You know, each kid is assigned a color and that's their cup for the day.

Okay, our kids actually get 2 cups each per day, 1 for milk (that they drink at all 3 meals) and 1 for water (which also doubles as the very occasional cup of diluted juice, gets rinsed and used again as the water cup).


Because the dishes!  Oh my!  When each kid was using 4 or 5 cups per day times 4 kids -- well, you really don't have to do the math to know that = too much to deal with!

So, I bought a little set of plastic cups (Nuby BPA Free 4 Pack Fun Drinking Cups, 9 Ounce ) and now child #1 = green, child #2 = purple, child #3 = blue, and child #4 = pink.

Feel free to wager on which child looses their cup 1st.  My money's on green.

Second thought was:  we have too many toys!

Turns out, the more kids I have the less STUFF I want in my house!

The toys were overtaking the place.

And it's not that child #4 brought with her suitcases full of toys, she actually came with nothing, it's just that life with 4 kids made the excess of toys we already had too much.

The downstairs we could keep fairly presentable, but the upstairs with the kid rooms and playroom just couldn't stay clean with 4 kids getting out our multitude of toys and scattering them around.  We would work hard to clean up and then in just minutes it would be disaster again.  

During a moment last week where I was trying to open a closet to get out clothes for a kid, while 4 kids were all simultaneously calling "Mom!" for various reasons, and there was a pile of random toys in front of the closet door keeping it from opening, I decided something had to be done.  I told my husband Friday night, we had to tackle the toy situation before the weekend was over or I was going to go crazy.

I launched a quick PR campaign with the kids to get them on board, started referring to it as "The BIG clean-out," you know to generate some buzz and excitement.  It kinda worked.

Then we got distracted Sat. morning when we decided it would be more fun to go the zoo, but we rallied Sat. afternoon after the 8 year old's basketball game and made some real progress!

We cleaned out a ton, moved some toys with a lot of little pieces up high where they can only be played with under supervised conditions rather than scattered at will, took down a train table the kids don't use much any more except to junk up, saved all the trains, track pieces, and train buildings in a 3 drawer unit, and you know what?  My 4 year old has had the best time building train tracks on the open floor the past couple of days -- no edges of the table to encumber him any longer!

And I'm loving the open, empty space!  

It allows me to breathe again.  

To be able to sit down and play with my kids without being stressed over the mess I see around me!

To have conquered some of the chaos, instead of letting it overtake us, makes me think maybe we can do this 4 kid thing.  Maybe.

We'll see what the next 4 weeks brings!

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