Viewing posts tagged parenting

Surviving 3 kids 3 and under

I am that crazy mom who apparently keeps having babies. Yes I try contraception but no joke guys NOTHING WORKS! Out of the 5 years I've been married I've been pregnant 4 times, and three of the pregnancies resulted in little monsters, who are now three, two, and an infant.  

I also wouldn't mind having more. Call me crazy, but I just LOVE being a mom. Don't get me wrong it's hard work, but totally worth it if you ask me. 

Here are 5 survival tips, because when you have three kids three and under, every day is about SURVIVAL. These have worked out pretty well for me and sometimes I even fool myself in thinking that I have it all together. 

  • STRUCTURE AND ROUTINE: We all do the same thing pretty much every day, except for the weekends of course. The kids know when it's breakfast time, school time, "homework time", nap time, quiet time, dinner time, bath time and bedtime. My three year old reminds me when it's time to put the two year old for a nap and when it's time to feed the baby. My two year old knows that during nap time he has to stay in his room and on his bed until he falls asleep, and both kids know that every day after dinner they need to make sure that the living room area (which has been converted to their playroom) is completely spotless. On weekends their routine is to go to the pool in the late afternoon and then have their dinner poolside. Toddlers thrive when there is structure and routine, and infants too! Baby Persephone has her own routine that works great for her as well! So we are really strict when it comes to their routines and they have to be in bed no later than 7:30pm. This means that sometimes we have to miss fun events and can't socialize as much as we would like to, but at least my children won't be grumpy due to lack of sleep, and that makes every day SO much easier for me. 

  • CHORES CHORES AND MORE CHORES: Ok so my infant doesn't have any chores (yet) but the older two know their chores and responsibilities. They both know to clean their rooms and living room before bed time, put their dirty clothes in the laundry hamper outside of their rooms, and where to put their shoes and backpacks when they come home from school. They both wipe the table after dinner (even though I wipe the crumbs off of it before they wipe) it's all about making them feel proud, useful and accomplished. And the more they get used to doing, the less I have to do! Win-win situation. 

toddler chores

My three year old is totally OCD and needs his things in a certain order. God forbid someone ruin the order - all hell will break loose!

  • TOY ROTATION SYSTEM / NO TV: Instead of turning on the TV for them when I want them to be quiet and out of my way, I will bring a bucket of "new" toys for them to play with. The "new" toys are just their old toys that were stored away that they forgot they have. I have lots of buckets filled with toys, and I let them play with one bucket at a time. Then when they get bored of those toys I will switch out the bucket. This system works miracles for me! Another win!!

bin rotation toys

  • MAKING SURE THE KITCHEN IS CLEAN BEFORE BED: I don't know why, but having a clean and spotless kitchen just makes me feel like I'm ready to conquer the world. The rest of my house can be an absolute mess, but for some reason, waking up to a clean kitchen just makes everything better. Every night no matter how tired I am, the counters need to be cleaned and cloroxed and all the dirty dishes need to be in the dishwasher. If I wake up to a dirty kitchen I will feel paralyzed for the rest of the day, and it will completely trash my productivity. 

  • PLANNING: This is something I picked up more from hubby, who is literally a master planner. Being a great planner helps with all aspects of life, and can make taking care of multiples feel like a breeze! A little planning goes a long way, and is so necessary when trying to successfully run your household. Me and hubby hold monthly meetings to plan for the following month. We plan for things such as fun events for the kids, when and what to order online (we are ALL about Amazon Fresh and Prime), and when to do finances and hold budgeting meetings. I also make a meal plan every month for the following month and it helps tremendously.

So there are times in our life where for some reason or another we may not do the things above. The world doesn't fall apart BUT there tends to be more conflict, less fun and more stress. We find that doing these things makes life so much easier for all of us (but especially for mom and dad:) Many people think having three kids this small is really difficult, but it's really not too bad. I'm not saying it's a piece of cake, but it's no way as hard as I initially imagined. You just need to have a system that works for you. These tips might work great for some yet no so much for others. Always just do what works for you and your family. 

Happy Fourth America!

Happy fourth of July! I am so lucky to live in such an amazing country with so many freedoms and opportunities. 

We had a fun filled weekend with the toddlers, and attended a neighborhood pool party where the DJ was uncle Sam. The last time I attended a pool party was years ago to see Afrojack in Vegas with hubby when he was just my boyfriend. We thought we were so cool. My life has definitely taken a 180 since then!  

So my two year old, Caspian, had a mini temper tantrum at the pool party. I think the loud music and crowd didn't help, and so he had a little time out in the corner. We are big on discipline and consequences for bad behavior. We both ignored him while he was just sitting there angry in time out, and I had to bite my tongue not to laugh at his adorable angry little face. He later realized the error in his ways and politely came and joined the rest of the family. 

Later that night during baby's last feeding for the night, we noticed fireworks at the front of our house, with a perfect view from baby's window. This was super exciting for us because we didn't live in our current home last fourth of July, and I thought we would have to miss watching them this year because the kids's bedtime is 7:30. How pleasantly surprised was I to get a perfect view! Hubby then joined and all three of us cuddled with baby by her window and watched the fireworks together. She wasn't impressed, but me and hubby just loved it and it was so magical and it was the perfect ending to the day. 

Utilizing Safe Spaces in your home for small children

My #1 necessity / mommy saver / mom hack are the use of:

SAFE SPACES!

What is better than a safe space?!! NOTHING is better than a safe space!!!! A safe space is an enclosed area where kids are free to roam and do whatever they like with no safety hazards and plenty of room to do what kids do best - play. Our best safe space in our home is our living room, which we have donated to the kids. The kids can be kids and play and run around and touch anything they want without hearing a "NO" or tripping and hurting themselves on a coffee table. It's a contained area with a wide gate that kind of makes it seem like they are in jail....but they are not in jail. They are in a fun and safe environment that they both enjoy and that promotes independence. AND it lets mommy enjoy some space and time to do mommy things without the interruption of one toddler holding onto each of my legs as I try to walk. 

safe spaces for toddlers

safe space in home toddlers

Here's a fun idea- a safe space for toddler eating time! We donated a corner of our dining room for their eating space, with toddler tables and chairs, and a matt underneath to catch all those crumbs. You won't find anything with sharp corners here! And our adult dining table is round so that makes for no worrying about eyes bumping into table corners. 

I've made it easy for them to help themselves to however much food they want. I find that they eat more this way and it gives them a sense of independence which is EVERYTHING to a 2 and 3 year old. Oh and afterwards they put their dirty dishes in the dishwasher too, and Valentino has even begun to vacuum the crumbs with a little hand held vacuum cleaner. I can't handle the cuteness. 

toddler eating space table and chairs

eating area for toddlers

Another safe space area: THE BEDROOM. All our kids rooms are gated and fully toddler safety proof. I've lately been really into the KonMari method and have been on a major purging and organizing kick. I've gotten rid of most all clutter and find it so satisfying to be able to walk into my toddler's rooms without constantly tripping on toys. I put minimal furniture in each of their rooms too- only the absolute necessaties, and also replaced curtains with valances so they won't be able to pull them down. I find that the more "stuff" is in their rooms, the more prone to injury they are and the less safe it is. They do still have a lot of toys but I put them in bins and we have a rotating bin system that keeps them loving their "new" old toys that I rotate out. 

making bedroom toddler friendly safe space

The more kids I have, the more I realize how necessary these spaces are for my kids. Like how else would I be able to feed a baby away from the loud screaming toddlers? I cannot leave any kid fully unattended, however safe the "safe space" may be, so we made sure to install cameras in all our kid safe space areas. This way I can keep an eye on them playing in the living room while I'm upstairs feeding the baby. Or I can peek and make sure they are actually sleeping when it's nap time or bed time. 

So my house isn't fancy and we don't have many expensive and nice things, but when having kids this small I feel this system we have is just perfect and functional for everyone. 

Mother's Day 2017

Happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there! This year was just so special to me because as my boys are getting older they are making me presents. How cute is that? Valentino made me a necklace with his thumbprints on it in the shape of a heart and both boys handed me roses and other presents. It was SO cute I died! 

We couldn't go anywhere this year as the baby is still too little. Going anywhere with all three kids (who are three and under) is literally impossible. The boys have a tendency of running away at opposite directions leaving me in the middle torn between which kid to chase first. It's all chaos! 

Instead we stayed at home and decorated cookies together and cuddled and read books. 

Hubby said I was in charge of planning the weekend and we could do whatever I wanted and he would buy me whatever I wanted too. I told him that I wanted a nice big house with a white kitchen smothered in calacatta marble with dark hardwood floors and a farmhouse dining table from Restoration Hardware. He said ABSOLUTELY! Just maybe not this year...... :) 

So what I planned for the weekend was for us to organize our lives and get on top of finances so we can figure out how to make the future financially work while having three kids. There is so much that I want for my kids that are oh SO expensive (mandarin classes, kung fu classes, music lessons, computer science classes, swimming lessons) I need them to be well cultured, speak no less than three languages, become black belts and first chair musicians, excellent swimmers AND they all need to be able to build a computer by the age of 7. All that for 3 kids will cost a fortune each month. Forget about saving up for college, just the boys monthly school tuition costs MORE than my college tuition was!

So for all of mother's day weekend we had budgeting realted meetings and got on top of our $h!t. We purchased filing cabinets and organized our life. This was honestly the BEST mother's day for me because it gave me what I wanted most, a way to plan for eventually getting everything I want (which is really for the kids, but it's what I WANT for them, so in that way it's for me too :) 

Postpartum life with a family of 5

These past two months have been challenging but not as bad as expected. They flew by so fast, and now that Persephone is close to two months old she's starting to sleep for longer spells during the night time, and that makes mommy VERY happy. During these past two months:

Persephone 

has been as sweet and lovable as can be! Compared to the boys she has by far been the easiest. During the first two weeks of her life she was constantly sleeping, so much so that I had to set an alarm for every two hours through the night to wake her up and feed her. She cries so rarely that I am constantly checking on her breathing to make sure she's ok, and her lucky brothers are getting a full nights sleep every night since she was born, uninterrupted! 

Persephone's eating schedule for the first two weeks of her life were 2 ounces of formula every two hours, right on the dot. Then for the remainder of the first month we increased it to 3 ounces of formula every 2 1/2 to 3 hours, and throughout her second month we increased it to 4 ounces every 3 hours and we let her sleep as much as she wants to overnight. 

Persephone has also recently started turning over onto her tummy by herself, and is attempting to crawl. I put her on one side of the crib and I'll come back an hour later to find her on the far end of the other side of the crib. She does not co-sleep with us, from day 1 she has slept in her own crib. I want her to get used to it so that she will grow up to find sleeping in her own space as the norm. I've done this with all my children and it has worked out very well for us, could you imagine if all 3 kids wanted to sleep in our bed every night? That would be a disaster!! 

Because Persephone is still so tiny and vulnerable, we keep her away from people, especially her brothers. She is so little and still needs more vaccines, so we are VERY careful to keep germs away from her. The boys are constantly coming home with all sorts of illnesses caught from school, and we are constantly wiping their noses, cleaning throw up and dealing with all sorts of colds and viruses. We prevent little Persephone from catching anything by keeping her away from the boys and literally washing our hands every 2 minutes. I remember Valentino's old pediatrician would firmly tell us NOT to take a newborn out anywhere, especially to restaurants- where the guy in the back making your salad could be from a south american country where they don't vaccinate and next thing you know your newborn could catch TB. How funny is he? Like, who says that? THANKS for making us paranoid doc :)

Valentino

does understand that he has a "baby sister." Whenever she cries he looks concerned and tells me that she is hungry and that I should give her some pizza :) He has been adjusting to having a baby sister incredibly well. He sleeps, eats and goes about his normal daily routine really well. Because I have been recovering and preoccupied with everything baby related, hubby has really stepped up to the plate and has handled all things toddler related, therefore Valentino has really developed a special bond with daddy during these past few months. He has also matured a lot during these past few months and takes his daddy very seriously. If daddy asks Valentino to clean his room, he will instantly clean it with no questions asked. With me, on the other hand, he will play and ignore me and not take me seriously. How unfair! 

Caspian

also understands that he has a baby sister, but that's about all he understands. The first day Caspian met Persephone he patted her head and then just went about his business. He's not bothered by having a baby sister, and carries about his day normally. He ocassionally will say "bye bye baby!" His room is adjacent to Persephone's, and initially I thought that would be a problem and interrupt his sleep, but so far so good! Caspian is known as the family parrot because he will repeat everything he hears, and sometimes I even catch him imitating the baby crying! 

Sir Edward

Does realize that another human has joined the house, and seems to be curious and concerned about it. So the rule of the house is that he cannot come upstairs to the bedrooms. Sir Edward knows this and has never set foot upstairs. However after Persephone joined us, sometimes when she cries and isn't immediately soothed, Sir Edward will become very concerned and will run up the stairs and sit behind her gate, as if he is protecting her from some unknown predator who could be the cause of her distress :) 

french bulldog top of stairs

We haven't introduced him properly to Persephone yet, because she's still too little, but he has seen us walking around the house holding her. The nurses at the hospital gave us a worn hat of Persephone's and put it in a ziplock for us to take home so that he can sniff it. I thought that was really sweet of them to think of the family dog :) 

Salar

has just been ecstatic and at the same time exhausted! He continues to work hard at his job and for the family, being responsible for most things toddler related and helping me also with the baby. Literally everything has fallen on his shoulders while I'm on this what we call "medical leave" that will last until May 1st, and then I'll take over all household and children responsibilities so that he can focus on his work more. He has been really enjoying spending more time with the toddlers though, and has developed new and fun routines with them that they all seem to enjoy. Amongst all this craziness he has even managed to get a promotion at work. He very nonchalantly told me this, like it was no big deal......I then started screaming hysterically whilst jumping up and down and just making a ruckus!  He is just awesome! 

Me

I feel a million times better than I felt throughout my entire pregnancy! There is nothing more I hate than being pregnant, and there's nothing more I love than having a newborn. Every time I get pregnant I tell my husband, THIS IS IT! I AM NEVER DOING THIS AGAIN!!!!!! Then after the baby is born I completely forget those nine months of absolute torture and I'm like "hmmmm, well maybeee." 

I have gained a ton of weight as expected. On June 1st me and hubby will start the Ketogenic way of life again to lose all this pregnancy weight. By this time next year I WILL have lost about 50 pounds and I will look amazing. Right now I just look like a fat mom. It is what it is! 

On the mental health front I also feel a million times better than I did throghout the entire pregnancy. This happens to me every time, and every time while I'm pregnant I get paranoid that I'll get postpartum depression....and then it never happens. The only thing that gets me hysterical is the day after the c section where they draw my blood and can't find the vein on the first try. With all three pregnancies I sobbed like a lunatic the day after the surgery while they were trying to draw my blood. The nurses looked at my husband completely shocked and tried to reason with me. All I wanted to do was to scream "B!tCH STOP POKING ME!!" I attribute that craziness to postpartum hormone fluctuations. 

Regarding breastfeeding, that pretty much hasn't been an option for me. I produce 50% less milk than the average person, and my breasts never feel full or hurt. It's like they are the same as before pregnancy. WEIRD huh? The lactation consultants just tell me to pump whatever I can get and to just formula feed. During the first few weeks of pumping this was how much milk I pumped after an entire day of non-stop pumping:

1 oz breast milk breastfeeding problems not producing milk

I really wish I could just breastfeed as constantly pumping and sanitizing bottles is just irritating. Don't even get me started on the cost of formula! And the kids bathroom is overflowing with bottles and baby related stuff. I need a bigger house! 

newborn necessities bathroom

I am very excited to wrap up the 4th trimester and resume my normal daily routines and life. We are still figuring out how to make this work (with three kids and all) but if there's one thing I've learned it's that the seasons will continue to change and everything will eventually fall into place. 

My main goal over the next few months is to figure out how to take care of three kids and a dog at the same time, kick the carbs and enter ketosis to get my body back.

Hold me accountable, ok? Thanks!