I had four babies in seven and a half years. "How is it?" friends will sometimes ask. "Is four a lot harder than three?" Or, "is it completely chaotic in your house?" Here’s my answer.
We all remember the foggy, joyful terror of adjusting to life with the first child. It was hard, certainly, but every ounce of life in your body focused on meeting the needs of that one little person. You watched him breathe, you watched him sleep, you knew every twitch of his mouth and twinkle of his eye. Life was good.
Then came number two. Your attention is divided for the first time, and you face the panic of wondering what you’ll do if they both need you at the same time. But you realize, with thankfulness, that this is do-able: you have two arms, two parents, two lobes of your brain. You learn the age-old dance of breastfeeding one baby in a frighteningly grungy convenience store bathroom while successfully helping your older child potty without touching a thing. You watch the two little people you love most learn to love each other. Life is exhausting, but good.
Enter baby number three. You haven’t just upset the proverbial apple cart, you have taken a sledgehammer to it. Someone, at all times, is un-manned. You’ve gone from a man-to-man to a zone defense (and that’s my one sports analogy, girls, so enjoy it). You attract looks of pity, and occasionally disdain, from elderly women at the grocery store. But you suddenly are the spectator at a little mini-convention right in your own house. You’ve gone from witnessing only one sibling relationship (1 and 2) to witnessing THREE–1 and 2; 2 and 3; 3 and 1 (go ahead and do the math, I’ll wait…). I’ll tell you, life is pretty tricky, but it is oh-so-good.
So, chaos? Yes, more than I ever dreamed I could handle. But joy? More than I dreamed I would have.