Rainy days can be challenging for children and parents. Rainy days with twins, triplets or beyond, as in all things with multiples, can present another level to some parents challenges.
Friday was such a day for myself. Currently there are cyclones sandwiching Australia. We are mindful and praying for those who are effected by the devastation that cyclones bring, especially those in Yeppoon who bore the brunt of Marcia’s Category 5 force. We are not affected by the cyclones at this stage, but Cyclone Marcia may graze us as a Category One cyclone before it heads out to sea. What we have been experiencing is A LOT of rain.
This has resulted in cyclonic conditions WITHIN our house. Three year old triplets are indeed a destructive force and being cooped up indoors on multiple rainy day has increased the level of mischief they are getting into.
On Friday, after the rush of getting the big boys off to school, our day at home started with the slam of a screen door. The triplets are supposed to ask before going outside, so I instantly went to investigate. We had a sudden downpour of heavy rain, and the triplets were all standing on the edge of the carport watching the rain. Being a fan of rain watching myself, I was happy for them to continue watching the rain, so they stood there chattering excitedly and reaching out their hands to feel the drops plonk onto their little hands. While they were doing this, I took a phone call. As I was talking, I decided to start cleaning the back door with a rag that was in my hand. When I turned around. This is what I saw.
Of course, this meant only one thing. Sure enough, it didn’t take long to locate two small boys in muddy puddle.
During that time, the small girl had returned inside and I could see her nose pushed up against the screen window and she was yelling at the boys to get out of the rain. I told her they were fine and would she like to jump in muddy puddles? She said, “No thank you”, but must have changed her mind because after a little while she appeared in her swimming togs and gumboots. She didn’t really jump in the puddles very much because the boys were making far too many dirty splashes! The boys continued to have a marvellous time, including sitting in the puddles. Ugh.
As I carried the boys into the bath, the mischief reached another level and for the rest of the day I felt like I was chasing my tail. I never caught that darn tail.
While I was carrying boy number 2 in, boy number one went to the toilet and sprayed wee everywhere. As I cleaned the toilet, the splashing in the bath became too enthusiastic and the floor got wet. As I dressed the boys, the girl got into glue and flooded it over the table. As I cleaned up the glue, the boys tipped buckets of toys out in piles. As we cleaned the toys I noticed the small girl had disappeared. I found her in the pantry helping herself to a second breakfast.
This became a theme for the rest of the day for Little Miss. I found her several times hidden behind locked doors eating. Cake. Cucumber (at least that was a healthy choice), her father’s box of chocolates. She also has a fondness for playing with liquid soap at the moment and has been so engrossed with pump packs. We have had many containers completely emptied by her (the boys also have been culprits at various times). The kids now only have a cake of soap to wash their hands with. Obviously this wasn’t enough fun and I discovered that Miss Im had deposited a bottle of baby massage oil down the basin. So naughty.
Throughout the day if I tried to get anything done, I was constantly being interrupted to break up fights and patch up broken hearts and bodies that had suffered the wrath executed by their sibling. (Three year old triplets can be particularly vicious to one another.) One of the triplets had an enormous bruise on his forehead by the end of the day and I had no idea how it happened.
We did have some lovely calm moments when I decided to get them to make puppets and try and calm everything down. They’ve been preoccupied with The Big Bad Wolf at the moment, so I thought we could perform Little Red Riding Hood in their little puppet theatre. The kids didn’t want to use textas but requested paint. I was sitting with them, so thought there would be no harm.
It was a valiant attempt of mine to halt the mischief. Toby, who is not as academic as the other two, (Painting counts as academia when you are three), abandoned the project, but was playing peacefully in the playroom.
It was all so calm. However, then Miss Im. needed help going to the toilet and while we were gone, Master J spilt the paint water everywhere and rolled his picture into a sodden ball.
We had 10 adults and 13 children coming around for dinner that night. It was such a scurry by the end of the day trying to get the house in order. Thankfully dinner had been prepared in the slow cooker the day before so I just needed to heat it up. The end of the day also included the challenge of getting the five children bathed. I don’t know why I turned my back on her, but the desperation to get the stinky toilet clean (Again. Boys are gross.) before guests arrived had me my preoccupied with disinfectant. When I came back into the shower the small girl had emptied two large containers of bubble bath down the drain. I have locked away all liquid soap, but because the triplets normally have baths, I had forgotten I had let the big boys leave their special Christmas soap in the shower. Unluckily the big boys discovered the misdemeanour at the same time as I did. This (and rightly so) because a great source of consternation. Eventually the girl was firmly scolded, the big boys and settled down and I finished cleaning the toilet to the tune of another basket of toys being upturned in the playroom as the first guests arrived. Smile and wave Caitlin. Smile and wave. (I don’t think I masked my exhaustion well.)
Even when I thought I could finally relax after the children were all in bed and the adults sat down together, it was not to be. The triplets are delaying their bedtime every night by turning on their light and playing with one another. It finally seemed like they had settled down when one of the parents told me that my girl was up still and had turned the light on again. When I went down to the bedroom, I was frowning at her as I walked in the room, switching off the light and demanding she get into bed. She seemed to be frozen and refused to move. In the dark, I patted the bed as I told her to get into bed. There was something soft and squishy. I thought it was vomit. I was starting to feel sorry for my little girl thinking I was getting mad at her and she was actually sick. I yelped and switched on the light. (Woke one of the sleeping boys by doing so.) No, it wasn’t vomit thankfully. But it was a large pile of moisturiser deposited on her quilt and over her sheets. My little darling had gone into a room (occupied by another child), had opened a drawer, cleverly bypassing a child lock on the drawer, (ah, that’s how she obtained the baby massage oil earlier…) and had helped herself to a lotion. Of course I was delighted, (insert sarcasm) to miss out on adult conversation and change a set of sheets at the end of a long day.
Did I sleep well that night? Sadly no. How on earth did I have insomnia after a day like that?
It wasn’t even over the next day. I was trying to write this post Saturday morning while Daddy was around. Well Daddy disappear, didn’t her and while writing this, my identical boys filled a bath tub with two litres of moisturiser. (I had hidden all the soap, so they have moved onto the next liquid. Why did I not think of this!!!) I broke up numerous fights. While breaking up one fight, a child squeezed into a small spot behind me and smashed my full cup of tea. While I was sweeping up this mess, one of the triplets did a wee all over the kitchen floor. It just continued…
I’m eight and half years into this parenting gig now. I’ve learned that these busy times that are full of disobedience, mischief and mayhem surface regularly. The thing is to keep your calm, well actually, I fail regularly at keeping my calm, my temper is fast and furious. It is ideal to remain completely calm, but more than that, I mean you need to remain steadfast. Know that these seasons will pass. The weird thing is that once they do, there will be a tiny part of you that misses certain aspects of the hard parts of life. For instance the baby years have passed in our family. The baby years are difficult, but even though I don’t miss interrupted sleep, I do miss late night snuggles with my beautiful little babies. I miss that my breasts no longer nourish a small life. I miss the utter dependance on precious little human relies on you for even though I am grateful for the new levels of independence my children keep demonstrating at each stage of development.
I find that survival during these early years of parenting (and I suspect that this is in fact a life long survival technique) comes from remaining consistent keeping in mind the bigger picture that one day these little children will be adults changing the world and in the meantime finding the silver linings and cherishing your blessings. Yes there was mess and dirty little bodies to clean and pandemonium to recover from. I deal with the troubles one by one and guide the child’s heart to be repentant of their errors and build a desire in them to do the right thing. During my own tiredness, I choose to delight in the innocence of their exploration of life and how despite the work they are creating, how these little people I love so dearly and just so darn cute! If you are a Mum who has been struggling with rainy days, take a deep breath in, look at your little ones dimples and soft skin. Drink in their big eyes and their chubby cheeks and keep on soldiering on.