Now that the kids are 3, 3, 5, and 7, it has suddenly hit me that we have entered a new phase in our parenting journey. And I am loving it!
I knew this time would come, that all the hard work would pay off. But I have been so bogged down with the intensity of caring for 4 young children who entered my life within 48 months of each other that I almost didn’t realize I was in this new phase. It took the following recent happenings to bring this wonderful realization to my attention:
1) EATING TOGETHER
The other night we were all eating dinner at the table. That's right. All 6 of us at the table at the same time. And at the reasonable time-slot of 6.30pm. It was always out intention to eat dinner as a family but this has rarely happened because the babies in the house were either breastfeeding or the younger ones needed to eat earlier than the rest of us, like around 5pm. So we have had all sorts of dinner combinations over the years. Babies earlier, then the older two with us. Or all the kids together and then us adults later. Sometimes I’d eat with the kids and then the Pianoman would eat separately when he got home from work. But now we can finally all eat together. Every night. At 6.30. I love it. And there are no activities that get in the way of that yet, which I have heard tends to happen as the kids get older. So I will enjoy this phase while it lasts.
DOING IT SOLO & ENJOYONG IT
The Pianoman has just spent a week in London for “work”. I say “work” because although he was there for a meeting or two, due to the way the flights worked he had a few days either side to play tourist, relax and enjoy himself. Which I totally support because when he isn’t at work he is here with us cooking, cleaning, changing nappies etc. And while I would loved to have been with him we have this policy that if we all can’t have fun together, there is nothing wrong with having fun separately. And over the last few years, we have had the odd weekend away separately, I went to Fiji for my cousins Wedding, he went to Tassie for his mates 40th etc. As long as one of us is with the kids it’s fine.
B But it wasn’t until a friend said “you’re at home with four kids on your own and its school holidays, goodness what are you going to do?!?” and then a text from another friend with “are you surviving the holidays? My kids are driving me crazy!” that it got me thinking how far I’d come. You see, I actually love the school holidays and having all the kids home with me. No more rushing around in the morning and keeping to timetables. For me, school holidays are more relaxing. We had our moments but no, they didn’t drive me nuts. They played well together. I even took them away for a few days on my own and we all had a lovely time. Although we missed the Pianoman, it is a sign of this new phase that the wheels didn’t fall off with his absence. Someone asked where he was staying in London. Goodness, I had no idea! Forgot to ask. Not that I don’t care, but with e-mails, facebook and free Skype I Knew I’d be speaking to him a few times a day. But it wasn’t always the case that I was so blasé about his whereabouts. And just so I can remind myself again if I ever do forget how crazy things were in those early days with baby twins and a 2 and a 4 year old running around, let me share with you a specific telephone conversation between the Pianoman and I that we now laugh about (but shows the kind of desperation experienced at the end of a day of looking after 4 smalls).
Him: Hi love, I’m on my way home.
Me: Are you still in the office or in the car.
Him: In the car.
Me: Are you in the carpark or on the road.
Him: On the road.
Him: Just leaving the city, I’ll be home in 10 minutes
Me. But where exactly are you?
Him: I’m just heading across the Bridge now.
Me: Exactly which part of the Bridge are you on, the City side or our side?
Fast forward a couple of years and I can see how much we have settled into our family journey.
On a different note, would you like to see what the Pianoman brought back from London? He did well :-) There was the usual touristy stuff (which of course the kids loved), but he managed to find some gorgeous puppets for the kids, some scarves and jewellery for me from the markets, some lovely toys from Hambleys (the oldest toy store) and some items from the *cough* M&M Store (big eye roll from me but the socks were a huge hit with the kids so who am I to argue.)
|The double decker - die cast toys|
|The most gorgeous puppets I've ever seen|
|M&M socks for all|
3) SPARE TIME
Finally, I noticed the other day that I seemed to be wandering around the house aimlessly. I kept coming back to where the kids were playing almost out of habit, waiting to be needed or to do something for one of them. But the call never came. Is there a smattering of spare time coming back in my life? I sat down and thought I’d try and read a page or 2 of my book. I don’t usually attempt to read during the day with the kids around as the frustration of being interrupted every 5 seconds negates any enjoyment. But I tell you, I read over 100 pages without a single interruption!!! Amazing. So I swiftly logged onto Fishpond and bought myself some secondhand novels, which arrived today. Next on my reading list is this book, which I plan to ready during the day. Will let you know how I go.
So Good-bye micro-management. Hello light at the end of the tunnel. No more naps, no more cots, everyone can put their own shoes on, the big kids can do their own seatbelts and get dressed, they can all entertain themselves pretty well. And they adore their mum and dad and would rather be hanging out with us than anyone else.
Tell me, is anyone else in this phase and noticing similar changes to their day to day life??
(Please let me have my fun however long it lasts and don’t burst my bubble telling me this phase won’t last very long :-) )