It's easy to talk about the challenges of having a lot of kids all at once. There's the expense, the diapers, the noise, the odd smells in every corner of our house, the crying, the arguing, the terrible twos coming one after another for 4 years, the business of never having personal space, either on a piece of furniture or in the bathroom, the fact that once one kid cries at night, suddenly everyone is crying (Mommy too), and the list goes on. All of this and more is part of the daily struggle of having a family full to the brim with a baby, a few toddlers, and a preschooler. Intense drama, though momentary, is par for the course in our house.
I'm not sure that I would have it any other way. Sure, I'd love to take my bathroom breaks solo. Let me correct that, I'd love time to actually take regular bathroom breaks well before I'm doing the potty dance, running through a crowd of children to the nearest bathroom. All that being said, there are a lot of perks to having four little kids. Here's a list of my 5 favourite perks:
1. I rarely need a blanket as the body heat from four kids keeps me cozy even on the frostiest of winter mornings. These same little hot water bottles I call children are always ready to warm up my heart with genuine outburts of "I love you, Mommy!" and "You're so pretty, Mommy!", a light in the darkest of times.
2. I don't need to wake up to a loud beeping alarm clock. Most mornings I get to wake up to the sound of our boys playing in their bedroom or our girl singing loudly to the music on her radio. Even the soft whimpers of a hungry baby is music to my ears compared to the angry siren of our alarm.
3. I'm never lacking in helpers. If big sister isn't in the mood to help Mommy pick up the diaper wipes when I'm busy with baby girl, I have my two little boys on hand, begging to get involved. I'm also never without a helper in the kitchen, which makes every attempt to cook an adventure.
4. My house can look like a bomb hit it, and no one would dare to question my housekeeping skills. They know as well as I do that I could have scrubbed every inch of it, and within 5 minutes my own squad of aspiring tasmanian devils could have it back in its normal post-apocalyptic splendor. If, by chance or design, my house looks even halfway clean, I suddenly appear to be some kind of Martha Stewart-styled domestic goddess. Equally, if I manage a successful meal for guests, I am a modern day Julia Child, ignoring of course that I just dumped a pile of ingredients in the crockpot. Lastly, along the same train of thought, my personal hygiene and attire are never questioned. As long as I'm not in a robe, people seem to think I've gone out of my way for them. Fair enough. Pajamas and sweatshirts are my usual uniform when we don't have guests around. So long as the kids are dressed and clean, I've won my victory for the day.
5. This one may be my favourite. I love watching my kids becoming best friends. Sure they fight, just like any other kids, but they also take care of each other. There's nothing in the world better than coming into the livingroom to see the three older kids huddled around baby girl's exersaucer, doing everything they can to make her smile and giggle. If our youngest boy trips, the first one by his side is his big brother, giving him a hug and telling him he's okay. Our oldest girl can often be seen teaching her 3 year old brother, his letters. They do everything together by choice. I feel so blessed to witness their evolutions from roommates to friends, and from friends to best friends.
Having what is rapidly approaching a bus full of kids has its downs, but those are nothing compared to the ups. It's hard to ignore how blessed I am each day. As we finished off our long, busy, exhausting day I was so very ready to see their little heads dissappear behind closed doors. At the same time, I couldn't help but be reminded of my four little blessings when I heard them wishing each other goodnight through their joining wall. No matter how rough the day, or how rough the night ahead, that little ritual is a moment of peace and perspective that centers my day. I wouldn't trade that for all the coffee, peace, silence or sleep in the world.