For the first time since Hannah has been born, I'm doing this "mom thang" by myself.
At least from 7-5.
Since we returned from America in late September, I have done a lot by myself. I have taken all the kids somewhere by myself or was with them by myself at the house. But Dad and Mom Kitsteiner were always nearby. This meant that I didn't have to close up the whole house every time I went out. (We have shutters that have to be dropped on all windows before we leave.) I didn't have to make sure all the furniture was blocked and kitchen was closed off to keep out our curious dog. With Dad and Mom here, it meant that someone was there to help me load the kids into the car or help get the groceries out of the car when I got home.
But not anymore.
Yesterday was my first real day with four kids and a dog and just me.
In the morning, I had a few lady friends over for some playtime. After some naptime for everyone, the boys had tennis practice. Immediately after tennis they had Awanas. Tennis started at 4:20 which meant JB couldn't possibly get home to watch the girls before I had to leave.
So it was just me!
So at 4:00pm I packed all four kids into the car. We went to tennis. I sat in the stands with Hannah and Abigail while Sidge and Isaac practiced. When Abigail had to go potty midway through the lesson, I placed Hannah in her carrier and left her sitting there while I took Abigail to the bathroom. Lucky me found the girls' bathroom closed. No problem. We can do the boys' bathroom. Hmmm ... only urinals.
Yes, this was a first for me. I figured out a way to hold my daughter so she could pee in a urinal.
It wasn't pretty, but I got the job done. Errr .... she got the job done.
You get the idea.
Then after practice, I drove all four kids up to Base. We made two stops to drop off Facebook yardsale items I was selling. Then I went to the Chapel. JB was there to meet me. He put the girls into his car and headed home. I stayed at Awanas and volunteered with both boys.
Today was solo day #2.
I got all four kiddos out of the house at 10am. We stopped and got gas, went to the grocery store, brought paperwork to the public school, and visited Daddy at his office. Then we went to my friend Katherine's house on Base for a birthday party for her daughter before returning home for nap time.
On the way I found tricks for managing four children under five out in public.
In the grocery store, Sidge pushed Hannah in her stroller while I pushed one of those car carts with Isaac and Abigail in it. Other than Sidge popping a few needless wheelies, it went really well.
I am now requiring Abigail to get in and out of her car seat by herself. While she can't buckle herself in, she has to get her own shoulder straps on. The boys are now completely buckling themselves into their booster seats in the back row of the van. This means that while I put Hannah into her seat, the boys are into theirs and Abigail just needs two quick clicks to complete the job.
I played Adventures in Odysseywhile we were in the car. This keeps the boys very entertained and allows me to not be refereeing during the entire drive. Great radio show! Strongly recommend it! JB and I have loved this since we were young marrieds on road trips. So excited that my kids are finally able to enjoy it.
When walking into places that have too many steps and not enough ramps, I opted to just carry Hannah in my arms instead of trying to use a stroller or lug a car seat. The three olders did a great job holding hands when we crossed the street while I held Abigail's hand in one of mine and baby in the other.
I have also found some tricks for getting four kids ready to leave the house at the same time
The boys are required to get themselves completely dressed. I help Abigail. I make sure all three of them are completely ready to go a good thirty minutes before we leave. At the last minute, they put on their shoes and they are out the door.
Teeth are brushed but sometimes not.
Kids have to carry their own jackets.
I use a laundry basket to put in all the things we will need while out. This allows me to just make one trip to the car with "stuff".
I put Hannah in her car seat in the house so that she is completely ready to go.
I take laundry basket out to the van and open van doors. I put laundry basket next to me in the front seat. Then I call for the three olders to get into the van themselves. While they are climbing in, I go and get Hannah and put her into the van. I return to the house, lock it up, and then return to the van to check seatbelts before heading out.
I try to have everything ready to go fifteen minutes before we need to leave. This gives me plenty of time for all the last minute things that come up before we need to be out the door.
I try to be in the car ten minutes before we are scheduled to depart. This allows me to not freak out when Hannah has a poop blow out just as I am walking out the door. (Yes. That happened.)
So there you have it. Motherhood with four non-school-aged kids at home!