So I read this awesome post on scarymommy.com and thought to myself… ha, wait till your three kids under five are three kids between 10 and 15. You’ll be singing a different tune then. (Seriously, it’s a fab list for the birth to age five set. Sarcastic and amazing and spot on!)
So, then I racked my brain to think about the best thing about having three kids between 10 and 15, because I love my kids even when I am busy not liking them very much. (Disclaimer, my kids are actually 9 – 14 right now, today, but the little one is closing in on ten in just a few weeks and the biggest one will be 15 in September. I’m rounding for the sake of 5’s.)
1. … o_O I can’t. I just can’t. I can list ten things I love about my kids individually. I could even list ten things about the amazing antics they get up to when they aren’t busy being complete assholes to each other and screeching each others names as a result of said assholery. They can play Cards Against Humanity together for hours, but In A Pickle lasts twenty minutes, tops (and lets face it, CAH is IAP for grownups) before the shouting starts or someone wanders off.
My kids are at just the wrong age to “play well together”. Come on! What teenage boy wants to deal with a super girly almost ten-year-old girl? They have absolute zero in common except some DNA. Maybe. They don’t even have the same eye or hair color come to think of it.
Teenage boys do not, I repeat, Do Not, want to play dolls with little girls, even if the dolls are Monster High and Ever After High (both cool new dolls in their own right) and Decapitated Barbie and Amputee Barbie. You just can’t sell Amputee Barbie as a bad ass, even if the tooth marks from the dog are still on her arm and there is a whole amazing back story you made to go with her.
The twelve-year-old sandwiched in the middle? Well, he could go in either direction and get along, but he is far from being the bridge between them. He is pretty fabulous in a metro sort of way and is down with dress up and make up (both beauty and special effect) and he is down with computer gaming too – just not necessarily the games the oldest wants to play right now. They can’t even agree on the same lunch to have or the same attraction to visit first at Disney.
Hand Me Downs are a thing of the past. The twelve (will be thirteen) year old wears the same size as his big brother. Bigger in some cases because middle child got daddy’s build while eldest child got mine. Nope, the days of making the clothes do double duty is long gone. I can’t even pass their things down to the princess because against all my urging in the other direction, she is a princess. Maybe in spite of my urging? Boys clothes? Pfft. No thanks. Give me pink organza and purple tulle and while you’re at it I’d like a new shoe wardrobe please. Our boys clothes get hand down to friends, and barring friends who need their sizes, they get handed over to Women in Distress.
House filthy? There is no more excuse. Those children are big enough to help clean. They just don’t. I have noticed lately it is mostly the girl child’s toys (dance shoes, dance clothes, school work) strewn all over the house and mostly her clothes too. We get a lot of awesome hand me downs for her. She is in heaven. I am in a pink fabric nightmare coated in glitter. Glitter never, ever, ever leaves your washing machine once it’s been introduced. That shirt with pink tiny sequins that you threw out three months ago? There are still pink tiny sequins being found on other items of clothing. And in your bed. And in some interesting places on your body because you didn’t see the three that made it out of the dryer attached to the seam of your fitted sheet and somehow worked their way through your bed and on your…yes, well, there, exactly.
I do get to beg out of some activities. See, if they don’t all want to do it, I can’t very well leave some of them home. This also backfires when I really want to do said activity and the fourteen year old is being, well, fourteen. Fourteen sucks.I just want to shake him (shaken baby syndrome can’t happen to a fourteen year old!) and tell him it sucked for Neanderthal man, it sucked in the renaissance, it sucked when you were fourteen and it sucks now. Just deal with it and get over yourself.
I was raised sort of as an ignored only child in a family of four children. I can’t really relate to my kids as far as having to share a parent, needing to be entertained, needing to share “my stuff”, etc. My next youngest sister was pretty severely disabled and took a lot of time away from my parents. It’s a standard joke that I’m such a good cook because I had to be or I wouldn’t have been fed. Then there is a HUGE gap and the twins were born. What on earth were my parents thinking? I was chewing at the bit to get out and they are having babies? So I never really learned how to share but I did learn to be self-sufficient. It’s a trade-off, I think. I saw my cousins though, and to this day I’m sort of jealous of the amazing relationships they have with their siblings. They got to play together, as they got older they hung out together. They had a built-in friend. Even if they hated that friend for a little bit, that friend was always there. Now my cousins are all anywhere from say 25 – 35 and have the same amazing relationship with their siblings, if not better, as they had when they were smaller. They do stuff together! I hope my kids have that relationship as they get older with each other. To this day I see my siblings more as my own children than I think I ever will as full-fledged adults. It’s a thing. It’s what happened. I’m not saying it didn’t work out, but I took care of them for years, so there you go. Two extra kids I get to lay claim to.
So the ten best things about having three kids? Well, I love my kids. I think the absolute best thing isn’t going to show itself for a few more years. Birth to maybe seven works well, then there is a break where the ages just don’t mesh well together. The big one is too big for baby toys, the baby is too small for big kid toys, there is no middle ground. Then there is a huge break that I am hoping clears itself up by the time the baby is twelve (and the boys are then fifteen and seventeen). Not that I expect them to get along any better, but I think with age comes a little understanding about puberty, and privacy, and the need to be with your outside friends who are closer to your own age instead of your built-in friends who are just discovering things you did five years ago. I mean, we can’t even agree on a movie right now. From Frozen to Freddy, you can’t entertain everybody.