Four Kids

Sometimes people ask me what it’s like to have four kids, and all I can say is that it is completely insane. The kind of person who should have four kids should thrive on chaos and also be completely organized. I am not sure I am that person.

P does not know any other children who have three siblings. He actually could not think of a friend at his school who had more than one sibling. I am sure there are swaths of the country where four or more kids is no big deal, but in my urban neighbourhood the cheese stands alone.

My oldest two are very self-sufficient, which makes things easier. I remember thinking my oldest child was a tough toddler. He was a colicky baby, but now that I’ve had the experience of three more, I realise he was a breeze. My second child is a fairly intense child and has multiple tantrums a day, sometimes over very innocuous things like “you smiled” or “you didn’t remember where that photograph was taken” or “you can’t tell me the plot of a film that I saw with someone else and that you’ve never seen.” She is also very sweet and loving and creative. She thrives one-on-one, so we try to carve those opportunities for her – but they are mostly snatched – a grocery trip here or a coffee date there.

B is a more intense version of her older sister. She is the kind of toddler who needs to keep busy and who is always asking for her coat and shoes to be put on in the hopes you will get her outside. She is also much more physical and adventurous than either of her older siblings were, which is very cute but also frightening. She is very demanding. Perhaps that’s not a personality trait, but just a survival instinct when you have three siblings.

C and B could not be more different, as C is super easy-going. She has a huge smile for everyone she knows, unlike her twin who is invariably suspicious. But C is also very physically dependent and has a limited tolerance for her various seating/walking/standing contraptions and an even more limited tolerance for hanging on the floor, so she spends a lot of time in our arms. Which then, understandably, makes B annoyed and more demanding.

I have no idea what the point of this post is, except that I feel like a lot of people, when they ask if you have four children, expect you to say that it’s fantastic in every way. It is fantastic in many ways. It is also very hard at times. There are many, many things I enjoyed doing before I had children which I have no time to do. I started exercising again recently and I realized the only way to do it is to set my alarm before my kids get up, and they get up early! It won’t always be this hard. I’m sure once we get a few years further along it will be much easier. But there are a crazy few years before you get there, and we are right in the thick of them. I guess it’s all relative though – I thought have two kids was hard. And it was at the time.