This weekend I offered to take a friend's two girls so they could get away! So this weekend I had four kids ages 8, 5, 5, and 2. The first 20 minutes were quiet but then the squealing, yelling, and excitement began.
I got four to bed by 9:20pm. The energy was high each night, with it being Charley's first sleepover (maybe Elly's too). But everyone slept through the nights without any issues.....including me.
EVERYONE (under the age of 30) was up and ready to play at 6:13am.
Things I have learned:
Take it ONE. AT. A. TIME.
While I got the beds situated upstairs I called them up one at a time. They each got their pj's on individually. I know what happens when I have two dropping their drawers - they bolt, spin, and get this burst of energy that no parent can fight. So by breaking it down there was no burst of energy! WOO HOO! This worked for getting dressed in the morning too. Since we all had to be out of the house by 8:40!
PIZZA CUTTERS BRING SANITY!
Pancakes all around with various toppings for breakfast on Saturday morning...syrup and powdered sugar, butter and jam, syrup, butter. And the pizza cutter is key! You want to cut up pancakes FAST? So that you can serve all four at relatively the same time...PIZZA CUTTER it is!
YOU ONLY HAVE YOURSELF TO COUNT ON!
Ed got a surprise opportunity to go see the Twin vs. Brewers game. With the new stadium and the good old Brewers as the team to watch....I couldn't let him miss out on the opportunity. So he ditched me around lunch and left me for the rest of the day to fend for myself. We managed quite well but having another adult around does lower ones anxiety.
QUIET TIME IS KEY!
Both nights I had the kids come in from running around outside like looney birds. I offered many quiet activity options - and sadly said no to things like hide and seek and "spies". The quiet activity brought everyone's bodies to a slower pace, everyone's voices seemed to soften, and bedtime was anticipated instead of dreaded.
Washing off one's body from the days sweat, sand, and fun is really helpful in settling in for a goodnight of sleep. I could tell my boys were sticky and icky on Saturday night and they love to take showers. So I threw them in the shower while the girls colored. They came out refreshed. Then Elly opted to take one...and 45 minutes after I put them to bed Emma wandered down ready to cool herself down. I know that it sometimes adds a good 15 minutes to the bedtime routine, but I think it settles them that much faster.
No need to plan activities!When you have four kids you notice how they will bounce from one thing to the next. Four little imaginations ROCK! It is hilarious to see what they come up with, who takes the lead, and how they can include everyone, even the little 2 year old who marches around in so much proud glory. I can see the benefit to having more than 2 kids...when they tire of the one playmate they can find play with the third or fourth.
The man with the Red hair and Red shoes saved my sanity...and it is okay.
I had planned to have the kids make their own pizzas on Saturday night for dinner dough was ready to go...but with Ed gone, a successful and long park excursion, and the idea of messing up the kitchen AGAIN - convinced me that running through McDonalds would be fun and super easy. I try to avoid that place, and still my boys chant it when they see it, but from time to time, a busy mom can't not admit to the convenience of Ronald's cooking! Best 11 dollars I have spent in a long time!
Having Girls stay for the weekend means I get to do a few girl things...Like comb hair. After their showers they let me spray with detangler and comb their hair. Something I don't get to do to my boys. They are more "shuffle it with a towel and hope for the best" kind of hair do guys. I know that many little girls fuss about getting their hair combed and styled...but for a mama of two boys - it sure was a treat!
I was honored to be trusted with these two little girls for the weekend. It was a fun weekend! And 4, I did okay with....which makes 3 ....something to ponder.