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Advice on looking after my 4 under 3 pleeeeese

(13 Posts)
ladyandthechocolate Fri 24-Jun-11 20:38:13

The title says it all. I have dd who is 2.10 and 14 month old triplet boys and i'm now a sahm with no arranged childcare. We do have DH's family around but they don't help out regularly. I should say they don't offer much but do help when asked so I therefore don't ask that much. We have a good relationship though.
I adore the kids and love being at home with them but it's just so bloody hard at the moment. I can't go out and do much with them as it's such a hassle and I can't keep an eye on them adequately. Most activities require direct parent child involvement and so that doesn't work. We go to a small toddler group which is ok but I never get to speak to anyone because dd clings to my leg (she hasn't socialized much since the boys were born) and i'm running round after the boys.
At home dd screams like a banshee when the boys try to muscle in on what she's doing (they are human wrecking balls) so I really struggle to engage and entertain them all at the same time as they don't enjoy the same activities. The boys compete for my attention and alternate their time between bashing each other over the head with toys and climbing all over me. I feel like I just have to get through each day rather than enjoying my time with them. I'm not depressed though, I feel happy but fed up and worn out iykwim. It's such an effort to just clear up after mealtimes without negotiating three clingy toddlers on my leg.
I'd love to build a bit more structure into our week but I'm at a loss as to what to do. I do have good friends with kids but they all have their own lives and activities to do. I see friends merrily heading out for a day at the zoo with their kids and I feel envious because I could never do that! It doesn't help that DH works long hours. We have a good routine though and the boys nap at the same time.
I don't know what I'm expecting people to say but I just needed to vent!

cadifflur Fri 24-Jun-11 21:14:27

Just wanted to say wow, well done for surviving! DS is 4.4yo and DD 2.2yo and that's hard enough for me! When DD was a newborn, I used to find it really difficult to entertain DS, so would spend a bit of time in the evening preparing stuff for the next day, I even did a list of all the toys/activities and left it on mantlepiece, so that if I had a spare 5 mins for him, I could choose something different each time, rather than going for the same boring thing for him. Just wondering if you could prepare things that way for DD - I often find that if I spend 15 mins helping them both set up toys now, then when I slope off to catch up on a job, they don't really notice as they're playing happily. (Not suggesting for a minute it will be this easy for you with 4 though!)

can you set somethign up for the boys one side of the room, and somethign else for DD?

I know I don't have any useful advice, but hopefully bumping for somebody else to come along, and also, isn't there a thread for mums of multiples? that might be more helpful too?
hope you get some good advice soon. (and can DD start play group in sept? - couple of hours for her every day might help you all?)

And I know you say you don't like to ask, but ask ask ask for help off the in-laws if they're prepared to do it. - even if it's short term to help you manage it all, or give you a break to have one on one time with DD, whilst they watch the boys, or even... time for yourself!!!

defineme Fri 24-Jun-11 21:28:05

I had 3 under 3, but hats off to you.
I went out to multiples club, playgroups that were relaxed and in a secure room and really good friends!
I had a homestart volunteer who came to music group with us. My triplets friend had nursery nurses doing training that hellped her from the local college.
A typical day would be either take ds1 to preschool (started at 2.5) and then take twins to playground/soft play/shops/home to do jobs. Non preschool day-all go to playgroup or park.
I did take twins to a childminder 1 morning a week for 3 hours and had some 1on1 with ds1, but she moved.
Head down and get on with it was my motto!It's so relaxing now they're at school...

cece Fri 24-Jun-11 21:29:11

As your DD is now 2 I would look into maybe a couple of mornings at Nursery for her. Might help her to socialise and give you a bot of space.

defineme Fri 24-Jun-11 21:50:32

Sorry you asked how to entertain them at home....
I got out as much as possible tbh!
I gave ds1 space/atrtention during afternoon nap time-housework minimal. They had their morning nap in the pusschair so me and ds1 talked on way to preschool/feeding ducks.
ds1 kept separate in terms of play a lot tbh-I employed stair/doorr gates to protect his train track!

BoysRusxxx Fri 24-Jun-11 23:03:04

Fair play to you lady!! I have two toddler boys and i find it hard to manage so dont know how you are. your wash basket must be sky-high!

I would try get dd into nursery a few mornings a week. A) to help her socialise and B) to let you have time alone with boys

Cat98 Sat 25-Jun-11 09:40:39

Wow, can I just say I feel like you describe (just getting through the day) quite often with one toddler! Never mind 4 - i'd be tearing my hair out and running away I think! You are doing really well 'just getting through' every day I think at this stage! I second the nursery suggestions for dd, or just a playgroup where you can leave her occasionally. I understand if you are not keen though. Can you meet up with friends for dd, or invite people round - ok it will be chaos, but dd would be occupied playing with her friend for a bit? I would definitely ask the in laws more in your position too, or get your dh to do it.

purepurple Sat 25-Jun-11 10:01:35

If your DD is 3 before September then she will be entitled to 15 hours at nursery/pre-school (assuming you are in England).

Ring local colleges and ask them if you they have any students doing childcare needing placements with a family with triplets.

Have you spoken to the Health Visitor about what's available in your area?

Ask family and friends for help. They may just assume that you are coping and don't need any help because you haven't asked for any.

ladyandthechocolate Sun 26-Jun-11 20:28:06

Thanks for your replies and suggestions. We do have nanny students that come to us on placement and it's fab when they are with us but they aren't here much. DD starts preschool in september and i'm hoping that will give our week a bit of structure. I had a chat with my in laws last night and they have agreed to take two of the children for a bit of time every week so I can have some better quality time with the other two.
So all that should help but when is it going to get easier?? It will get easier won't it? <desperation in voice>

jassinkernow Mon 27-Jun-11 10:19:35

Hi lady
Well done you - you sound very practical and together. And I think it will get easier!
I have a 19 mth gap between DD1 and DTs - so can understand something of what you're dealing with (though I bet you think I've got it easy!). They are now 4.4 and 2.9 and a lot of the time it's really good fun and the practical difficulties of going out with them all etc are shrinking all the time.
I think the arrangement you've come to with your inlaws sounds like a very good idea - I have a similar one where they take one child at a time - and just having 2 of your children really does free you up to do things with them that are normally impossible. If your boys are still napping at the same time, I used to use that time for a combination of playing games etc with DD1 which the little ones would have wrecked, and letting her watch telly/play on her own while I did a few jobs (I think she liked the playing on her own almost as much as the telly/games/baking etc as it was such a novelty). They don't nap any more and I'm struggling again with when to play snakes and ladders etc, but honestly, it's so much easier now they are a bit bigger.
I found at the age your children are that it was virtually impossible to engage them all in productive, happy sitting down activity. We did A LOT of dancing/musical bumps/bouncing on beds/ roaming around the house. I did worry about the fact that they weren't doing puzzles/drawing etc but it does get easier.
You've probably thought of this, but I found thinking about when I gave them their main meal helped - when the twins were little DD1 had her main meal at lunchtime so I could carry whiny babies around in the evening. Then when they started napping after lunch I used some of that time to get their tea ready.
Hope some of that helps a bit - sounds like you're doing an amazing job in very difficult circumstances - it will get easier!!

Octaviapink Mon 27-Jun-11 13:39:46

How much space is there in your house? Would you have room for an au pair? Cost is about £50 a week and it helps a lot having an extra pair of hands!

Murtette Tue 28-Jun-11 11:03:05

Wow! I'm not surprised that you just feel as though you're getting through each day. Just doing that is a pretty impressive effort.
I only have one DC so my only tip is from when I was a child and had one (rather than three) "wrecking ball" (love that phrase!) of a brother - Mum used to set me up in the playpen with play doh/colouring/my dolls etc and have my brother on the outside so I could get on with my games without him interfering. Of course, he quickly learned to put his arm through the slats in the sides so then Mum would put the sofa at an angle across a corner of the sitting room with me in the playpen behind the sofa. Apart from a memorable occasion when DB climbed onto the sofa and landed on my paints in the playpen, it tended to work and I loved the peace and knowing I could get on with my own ploys. My Mum's friends would apparently be a bit surprised if they called in and found me there until my Mum explained.

nimbs Tue 28-Jun-11 19:56:36

We had 4 under 4 and thought that was bad! I did what the above posters did but we had a playpen for the DT's - set up with different toys etc - played with the older two (or one - in your case) whilst the little ones napped.

Also found our local surestart centre a godsend as the playworkers would occupy the older 2 whilst I could feed/play with the younger and vice versa, so I wasn't always relying on other mum friends who had their own children to cope with.

Some things that worked for a 'team effort' but without the trauma of having to share/take turns - basically lots of outside play - in the garden - big tubs filled with bubbles/big paint brushes so they could paint the patio/walls - likewise with chalks - washable! Musical instruments - nothing wooden (learnt the hard way literally) - so they formed their own band, we have a huge box of duplo and 4 green base plates so they could build what they want. Aquadraw/doodle mats with plenty of pens - playdough if I could face the clearing up. Dens inside - with big blankets/pillows etc - get them to help make it too - picnic lunches outside - less mess to clear up - lots of walks to wear them out.

They are now 7, 5 and 2 1/2 and it's chaotic but lovely - it got an awful lot easier when DS started school - though know that this is a longway off yet but your DD will be able to go to pre-school shortly and that'll be a break for you - especially if you can get the boys to nap some of the time when she is there!

When DD1 started last sept we don't have the pre-school run breaking up the day so am able to go out for the whole day which is lovely - and it's a whole lot easier as there is less baggage iykwim?When out and about I do use reins on the dt's, might not be your cup of tea but found them a godsend - I don't have them looped but with one side undone so it's like a long lead! They then run on without them once we are walking somewhere safe - ie playgroup/park/forest etc

It is really hard work but keep 'it's a phase' in mind! Big glass of wine also helps - smile

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