Some days I lay in bed after getting everybody fed, bathed, and put to bed, and I wonder out loud why God would entrust me with the lives of three beautiful children.
Most days I think I'm getting it all wrong.
I lose my temper too quickly. I often let them sit in front of the television or video games too long. I raise my voice. I stomp my feet. I slam the door. I give up and let them eat salami and crackers instead of what I cooked for supper.
I do remember having it sort of together for a short period in my parenting career. I felt like I knew what I was doing when I had just one child. And even when the second child came along it was a little harder but I kept my cool most of the time.
And then there was number three.
Some people will tell you that having three children is absolutely no different than having two. These people are lying.
Four is a nice, even number. Five is an odd number, and your parent child ratio is no longer 1:1. We are outnumbered.
This country is built for a perfect family of four.
When we go to rent a hotel room online, many places will not allow us to book one room, since the maximum occupancy is often for 4 people. So we are forced to either be dishonest and count the two younger ones as one person (their combined weight is less than 100 pounds, anyway) find a different hotel that will take the extra kid in one room, or get two rooms at double the price. Come to think of it, that last option might actually not be a bad idea, one room for me, the other room for my husband and the three kids.
Having to figure out how to get three different types of child safety seats in a regular car is pretty much a nightmare. Two is pretty easy, but that third seat causes all kinds of trouble. There are family four packs of all kinds of things - meal deals, tickets to shows and parks. Most restaurants fit a family of four comfortably in a booth, but if you have five you need to pull up an awkward chair or squash an extra person in.
My mother always warned me that each child is a different soul and will be completely different than the other children you raise. This has certainly been the case with my three.
Number three has been exceptionally challenging for us, because she is smart, crafty, mischievous, and constantly into everything.
She is almost four, quickly approaching an age that I remember as becoming a little more manageable.
But as she gets older, she just becomes more able to climb, move chairs to reach things she isn't supposed to reach, unlock cabinets and doors, break valuables, and generally make incredible messes.
Part of her behavior is likely due to our half-hearted attempt at parenting and discipline in our exhausted, overtaxed state, but I think some of that is just inherently in her personality. She is a little hurricane of energy, excitement, and curiosity.
I know that I am so blessed to have such a healthy and usually - a happy family - I just pray every day that I am a blessing to them.