3 under 5

Posted by  | Thursday, May 22, 2008  at 10:09 AM  
I thought you might be encouraged at seeing a “typical” day of a family with three kids under 5. It is not as crazy as it sounds. Yes, each child brings changes and adjustments to the family, but I’d say going from no kids to one is the biggest adjustment. Going from one to two kids can have it's interesting moments, but so far, adding a third (even with disabilities) hasn’t been overwhelming. We are even adding a fourth in December. Our oldest will turn 5 in February. Crazy?… maybe, but I wouldn't trade it for the world.

So what does a typical day look like for us?

6:30 am – Eric gets up, has his devotions, pays the bills, catches up on news, etc

7:00 am – Liam (4) and Kate (2 1/2) wake up and go down stairs.
Eric feeds them breakfast and reads a Bible story with them.
They have to pick up any cereal they drop on the floor in an effort to get them to eat more neatly.
After breakfast the kids play toys or books.

7:30 am – Owen (15 mo) wakes up.
I get up. Get Owen up. Cath him (to empty his bladder) and dress him.
Put Kate on the potty chair.
Eric gets ready for work.
Eat my breakfast, do my devotions, check email, clean up kitchen.

8:00 am – get Owen’s breakfast, feeding tube and medicines ready. Feed Owen.

8:15 am – Eric leaves for work. (except Thursday mornings- Eric meets his accountability group at 7:00 so I do all of the above.)

8:30 am – All three kids are playing. I go change and/or shower (you know how that goes). Get the older two dressed for the day. Tidy up the main area of the living room.

9:00 am – Three days a week (M, W, Th) different therapists come to our house to work with Owen for an hour (hence the tidying). The other kids enjoy playing with the toys the therapists bring, or they get to watch their favorite show, “Super Why,” depending on what Owen is working on. I usually watch or participate in therapy and talk with the therapist.

10:00 am – We usually play a game or trains or Dora or read books or do puzzles together. The older two usually want some focused attention after Owen has therapy.
• Sometimes I let them watch “Sesame Street,” at which time I would take advantage and do laundry or some cleaning or do some graphic design work or project.
•Put Kate on the potty. (Right now we’re at the “she’ll go if she sits on it” stage. Working towards the “tell me when you need to go” stage.)
• I also use this time for running errands and grocery shopping.

11:00 am – some days at this time we would be arriving at the zoo to meet friends (Tuesdays) or going to a playground somewhere for a playgroup of moms and kids from church (every other Thursday).
• We also have friends over a lot for lunch, which is really fun. The kids can play while moms chat.
• Most days the kids are happy to play trains and make-believe and I can get things done or do an exercise video (which I haven’t done so much since I got pregnant). Even Owen plays and explores pretty contentedly. They all play together pretty well. Occasionally hear, “Mom, Owen is getting in my stuff.” And Kate is always sure to have some sort of drama that needs attention—whether it’s an owie that needs kissed, a toy dispute, or a something she can’t get to work crisis—there is always something.

Noon – Lunchtime. Usually something simple. Sometimes Liam helps prepare sandwiches or cut or peel fruit. Sometimes I have one or both set the table.
• Discuss what they learned with Daddy in their Bible story that morning to reinforce.
• Work hard with Owen on drinking by mouth.
• Liam and Kate put their plates and cups in the sink.
• After lunch, stretch Owen’s feet and legs, put on braces, do exercises, practice climbing stairs or using kay-walker. (except on Wednesday when he has physical therapy at 12:45, also at home).
• Go upstairs to cath Owen.
• Put Kate on the potty.

1:00-2:00pm -ish – Owen takes a nap. Usually 2 hours.
• Play in backyard with older two (I have a baby monitor outside). It’s easier to do big kid activities, like ride bikes, without a crawler to watch.

2:00-3:00 pm -ish –Kate takes a nap. Usually 1-2 hours. Put Kate on potty before and after.
• Sometimes I have Liam lay down too for at least a quiet time on his bed. Sometimes it’s because I need it, sometimes it’s because he is obviously tired and he usually falls asleep.
• I often have them clean up some toys before naps. I sometimes sneak in a nap too while Liam plays trains. Having all three asleep at once is not uncommon though!
• This is also time I use to check email, update Owen's caringbridge site, call doctors offices, insurance, friends, etc.

4:30-5:00 pm -ish – Pick up rest of toys (or at least enough to keep my sanity). Clean up the kitchen if it needs it. Start supper.

5:30 pm – Eric comes home. One of us caths Owen. We have Mommy/Daddy time “couch time” while I work on dinner.
• I have kids set the table. They carry the breakable plates and glasses. They know where everybody sits and who gets the small fork, etc. They think it is fun to help (most of the time).

6:00ish – Eat supper. Talk about our days and what we're learning etc. Review again with the kids what we learned in our Bible story.
• Work on drinking by mouth with Owen. Give feeding tube and meds.
• Eric clears table. (our deal is whoever cooks, the other one cleans up. So it switches now and then. And most of the time we clean up together.)
• Put Kate on potty.

6:30 pm – Have Owen show Daddy what he worked on that day like climbing stairs to sneak more exercise in.
• Then Eric sometimes takes all the kids outside for a bike ride or a walk to the park or he plays with them inside. He makes a real point to spend one-on-one time with each of them.
• we play together as a family
• Sometimes I run to the grocery store in the evenings. Then Eric can help unload and put groceries away!

Around 8:00-8:30 pm – put all three to bed at the same time. Pajamas, potty, brush teeth, pray, kisses and good night. We have worked hard to get them to go to bed without a fuss and boy does it pay off! Bedtime is a pleasant experience.
• Then we have the evening to talk and watch TV (especially if it’s Thursday night. We are big Lost fans.)
• We both usually also check email or catch up on reading.
• We usually clean up the living room and playroom together before bed.

10:30 pm – get Owen’s medicine. Wake him up and cath him. Put him right back to bed.

Now this is obviously not how everyday goes. Sometimes it's not even close! There are definitely days I let them watch more TV than I would ideally like, Kate doesn't get to the potty enough, I don't get my devos in, or we don’t clean up toys at all. We all have those days.

Things that have been indispensable to me in surviving a typical day during these early years:
(in no particular order)

• routine naps

• training them to sleep through the night early on

• teaching them to clean up toys early on

• teaching them to entertain themselves (play without mommy sometimes)

• getting them involved with chores early on

• getting them interested in Bible time early on

• being tough about bedtime nonsense, staying in bed, etc.

• napping when they nap

• not sweating the small stuff

• giving myself a break when the cleaning and laundry don’t get done like they used to pre-kids... pre-1, 2, or 3
kids. :)

• staying on top of the dishes after each meal. huge sanity saver in my small kitchen.

• remembering to enjoy my kids

• trying to be consistent in discipline.

• getting out of the house / doing things with friends regularly

• teaching them to hold onto the sides of the stroller or cart! huge!

• keeping regular date nights with my husband to nurture our marriage.

• keeping church and ministry a priority. Not letting the kids become an excuse for us to miss opportunities to worship, fellowship, minister to others, or show hospitality.

• not being afraid to do errands with the kids. Putting special effort into teaching them how to behave in store situations and making it fun has really paid off. As long as it’s not nap time I can take all three to the grocery with no problem. It is possible!

• preparing early to leave on time, be ready on time, etc. packing diaper bags, laying out clothes, planning ahead to leave ample time for the inevitable delay.

• and finally… Accountability. Having friends to keep encouraging me to be a better mom and wife and stay in the Word has been my lifeline. Reaching out and sharing my feelings, frustrations and challenges, and hearing I am not alone has always been a huge help. I meet a friend weekly for this, no kids!


Shannon said...

Really great post! Thank you for sharing; it was really encouraging.

The Simple Shepherdess said...

We have 5 kids. Four of them are 4 years and under:) You do things alot like we do! It's always nice to connect with people in similar situations. Thanks for a great post:)

Hollie said...

Wow, I really loved reading this post. I read it last week, but wasn't at a place where I could comment on it. You are one busy Mama, but I think it's so much fun!!! I know you're eating up this precious time with all of your kids and the busyness that comes with it. I love a buzzing home!

tenjuices said...

When does Eric do his exercises and stretches such as... lunges and the sort? Any pics of Eric stretching out?

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