Ever since Amelia joined the family, "outnumbered" has been a constant state-of-being around here.
Somehow, however, it's easy for me to maintain a pretty steady state of denial about it all when I can hear the clacking of Tom's laptop keyboard from the top of the stairs, or perceive his footfalls on the floor above me throughout the day.
While his very presence is quite comforting, he's most useful in the aid that he can provide when things get sticky. Mia needs to go down for a nap but I don't want to leave my other two wild things alone? Tom can step in. One, two, or three of the babies are getting fussy during lunch? Tom can run interference. I'm starting to lose it on one or more of my precious darlings? Tom can back me up, calm me down or give me a moment to step away.
When Tom is not in the house with me, I can count on none of those things. So, I count my blessings every single moment that he is, and wait with baited breath upon his return when he is not. So far, I've only had to suffer through without him for an hour or two at a time (generally, when he goes off to run various errands; or when I take the kids to play dates, where help with monitoring is built in but coming and going is tough; though there was that one time three weeks ago that I actually managed to drag all three munchkins to church by myself and the monitoring was all on me).
This is because, up to this point, I've had incredibly generous family members donate their time to spend Tuesdays with me (the one day that Tom has to go into the office for work). Today, however, Tom had an extra work thing to do, on a non-Tuesday day, that sort of snuck up on us all. And so, I was sort of forced to do the thing I've been meaning to try to do soon anyway (I've got to spread my wings eventually, right?): I took on all three babies, alone, for the day.
Although Tom stayed long enough to help with breakfast, I was not feeling particularly confident upon dragging my all-too-sleep-deprived self out of bed this morning. However, once he was gone, some level of adrenaline seemed to kick in, and I found myself (as so often happened when I was alone with Abby and Michael) feeling rather more motivated and organized than usual.
It also helped that the kids were relatively cooperative. Michael was a bit restless and whiny at times, but Abby was cheerful and helpful for the most part. Most impressively, she did not monopolize the keyboard that I resourcefully pulled out of storage and put fresh batteries in, but rather played on it with him, side-by-side. This bought me thirty minutes, at least.
Mia, too, seemed to be under some kind of cooperation spell. She required very little assistance in going down for her first nap, which was a godsend given that both of her siblings followed me into the bedroom when I got up to take her there, and were wandering around my messy bedroom in the dark, just itching to find some kind of trouble to get into. She only slept for an hour in the morning, but she took a 2.5 hour nap after lunch, which allowed me to not only eat, but also to clean up the lunch and breakfast dishes and even shower before Michael (who was the first to rise) began to stir.
Though the shower (and some quickly inhaled chocolate morsels) were somewhat rejuvenating, I really started dragging by around 4:00 in the afternoon. We all made it through with the help of the jumperoo (to keep Mia occupied), fun books to read, smart phones to steal, and a kids station on Pandora radio, but every one of us was all too happy to see Daddy descend the stairs to the basement when 5:30 rolled around, at last.
Here are some pictures taken courtesy of Michael as he sat around for awhile, unchallenged, with my phone (can you guess where he was?):
Though the night was far from over when Tom came home, the gain in reinforcements was a welcome sight to behold. I didn't even let it bother me too much when I had to almost immediately relinquish his company to get some dinner on the table at a decent hour. We may be perpetually outnumbered around here, but I'll take an occasional 3:2 ratio over a continual 3:1, any day.