Truths about parenting five

We’re new to five kids, although it’s not terribly different than four, especially with Sylvie this young! Still, we’ve noticed a tipping point.

  • I see the pediatrician more than my best friend. Everyone at the office knows all of us. For real – reception to the lab, where they inevitably remember that Griffin will require an army of restrainers.
  • We have everything “baby” we need, and then some. Thank god for labeled Tupperware bins and sturdy strollers.
  • We’re adapting surprisingly quickly to getting up at 3 and 5 am again. Apparently, the body does remember. Our policy? Whoever can move feeds the baby.
  • Bribery works.
  • Aside from activities where only a few of the kids are interested (ballet), we put them all in the same stuff. I’m sure it will get more complex later, but for now? Basketball, swimming, yoga and art delight everyone.
  • What one gets, they all want. So for holidays we buy four of something in four different colors. Everyone’s delighted! The window of effectiveness will be short, so we’re enjoying it while we can. Last holiday? Roller skates.
  • Cup color matters. So if you want the blue cup, you better ask nicely or your sibling who remembers to say “please” is gonna get it. Competition drives manners.
  • The empathy our kids show for each other is astounding. I don’t know if it will last, but they can tell a real cry from pretend as fast as I can. Sylvie doesn’t even get all the way to a cry before her tiny army descends upon her with blankets, peek a boo and nuks. If that didn’t work, they demand we feed her immediately. It’s not only the parents who spoil the youngest, apparently.
  • The first four kids were so close in age that they couldn’t really help with the baby. But now? They take turns feeding Sylvie and love to run and get stuff for her. Cute and helpful! I ask for wipes, and they’re old enough to actually bring wipes! I’d try that earlier and get a spoon for my trouble.
  • We make teamwork part of chores. So not only do the bigs empty the dishwasher, they have to cooperate and do it nicely. Efficient and effective with good teamwork = jellybean. See bribery above. Otherwise they have to do it anyway but no reward.
  • People word invites very carefully. We are an entire party as a household. Trust me – we understand and are not offended!
  • We and all who know us get that hosting with 5 tiny people is SO MUCH EASIER. We can absorb you; people can’t always absorb us.
  • When you cook for 16 at every meal (one dinner and food for lunches the next day), adding another 5-20 isn’t that big of a deal. We own two giant crock pots for a reason.
  • We can field a complete team for some sports. We can also max out a kid activity before our friends get in. Oops.
  • We JUST fit in a suburban. It’s not for show. And there’s 5 car seats in there.