How Do You Do It? (Part 2)
Our daughter Libby (who is a twin) gave birth to quadruplets last fall. When they (one girl and three boys, all fraternal) were born, her oldest daughter, Grey, was not quite two. Suddenly, this 31-year-old was the mother of five children under the age of two! Yes, life has changed forever!
Now that the quads have turned six-months old, we asked Libby to share what life with quads is like with all of us by asking her to answer six questions others often ask. You can read Part 1 Here.
What’s the hardest time of the day right now?
Definitely 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Everyone is awake, hungry, and crying and also grumpy — including me!
What have been the biggest challenges so far? What little things have helped these challenges?
It’s been hard to have people in my house all the time and not feel like I have space or alone time. What helps is remembering that this is how I bless them: by letting them be a part of our lives.
It’s hard not to lose my temper with the babies. I have to remind myself that they are babies. They are crying because they need something — they aren’t trying to irritate me! Crying is part of the normal sound of our house in this season.
I can’t multitask in the same way I once did. Sometimes I just have to stop what I am doing and take care of a baby. And I have to be flexible. This morning I went for a walk with the babies at 6:20 a.m. My husband wasn’t feeling well and needed to sleep, so I had to get fussy kids outside. It also helps to simplify. I don’t put babies in pj’s. They just sleep in what they already have on. They don’t get a bath every day.
It’s hard not to lose patience with my husband, McLean, especially when it’s just the two of us during the dinner hours and early morning hours (as well as throughout the night!). We have made a deal not to take anything personally at these times — to ignore what each other says or does as much as possible. Our rawness doesn’t have anything to do with us; it’s more about the exhaustion and the time of day with its unique demands.
I can’t get things done the way I once did. I have to lower my expectations, as well as be creative. When I go up or down the stairs, I always carry something like laundry. The babies are all in the same room, which helps. I shop online. Many places have free delivery. I let Grey help with feeding and changing babies.
How do you protect your relationship with Grey in the midst of all the demands of her siblings?
Every day, I try to take her outside for time alone with her. I’ve also realized I can let a baby cry and spend five minutes reading to her. It will not hurt the baby. I’m trying to let her make more decisions — like what she wants to wear, or what baby she wants to change. She loves the babies and likes to help change them. The other day, one of the boys squirted her right as she was changing him. It was hysterical. Often if she hears one cry, she’ll respond, “Oh, Mimi, you are fine. I am right here.” She recognizes each cry and can tell you exactly who it is and what they need. (Typical bossy older sister!) I’ve learned to relax and not worry if things aren’t done right. It’s okay. On weekends, McLean and I tag-team with Grey for special outings with just her.