Three toddlers=totally do-able. One infant=no problem! Three toddlers + one infant = Pass the valium, please.
Today is day one in the great childcare experiment, in which I am not just babysitting a neighbor's kid, but caring for a whole houseful of children five days a week. Lunchtime was a screamfest for the baby, while the toddlers demanded this and that in turn. Naptime was precarious and I was seriously doubting whether it could be accomplished at all.
But it was, and all three toddlers are now sound asleep while the baby kicks happily from his bouncer on the floor next to the computer.
I think I forgot how much work babies are. I mean, they sleep a lot and lay around a lot, but they need something every 20 minutes (or so it seems). It's easy when that's all you have to do. But when you have to balance a baby's needs with a toddler's needs (or three toddlers, in this case), you are CONSTANTLY on the go. And what, I ask, do you do with the baby when you need both hands to tend to a toddler? Put him in his bouncer? Not unless you want him to be smothered by another toddler. It is like placing the poor kid in a war zone.
So, I got reacquainted with the sling today. I never used it much with Olivia because she wouldn't tolerate it awake and always slept on the floor/in her crib/in the bouncer...rarely while held. Now I see the need for it...it helps you hold sleeping babies while there are other kids in the house. I have a feeling that Luke will sleep in it almost exclusively for awhile.
The other kids...Jake (the other toddler) is adjusting well, and is such a delight. Sweet kid. Addie is being downright mean. She has been pushing and tackling all morning, bringing Jake to tears at least once. She's extra defiant too. Olivia is overly curious about the baby and doesn't understand the meaning of "gentle". She's a little more needy than usual, but she's responding to discipline a lot better than Addie. All this activity made it hard for her to fall asleep at naptime. I'm hoping it will get progressively better on all fronts.
Luke is babbling adorably and filling his pants, so my "break" is over. After I say a quick prayer that the kids sleep for AT LEAST two hours. Please, God!