Make, Jane, make!: First birthday: the fourth coming


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Monday, April 13, 2015

First birthday: the fourth coming

Does that title even make sense? 

We've celebrated yet another birthday in our house and I think I'm getting the hang of this birthday thing. Plastic tablecloths, buntings, streamers, and sad, half-deflated balloons are in competition to replace vases and throw pillows as my new home decor style. It's the whole four kids thing.

I knew when we had our fourth child that everything we did would be multiplied by a factor of four compared to a one-child household, a factor of two compared to a two-child household, or a factor of infinity compared to those good ol' child free days.

What I didn't and couldn't know was how many things were going to be multiplied by that factor. I figured four times the clothes, food, toys, mess... But I didn't foresee so many other things like sports, lessons, homework, laundry, toilet cleaning, season passes, play dates, and of course, birthday parties.

Part of me loves that we have tons of birthday fun and lots of chances to work on the birthday party plan of attack. The other part of of me is just plain exhausted all the time.  But seriously, practice does make perfect; and our most recent superhero party was vastly improved in terms of manageability and organisation compared to our first superhero party. Hopefully by the time I get to my smallest baby, I'll have this party thing at least 50% figured out.

Here's another thing I'm beginning to understand: I need this fourfold repetition of childhood. Because it's not just birthday parties that take me four tries to become halfway proficient - it's everything. Every new stage, milestone or challenge hits me like a spring-loaded can of glitter: I feel dazzled, overwhelmed and ambushed all at once. And maybe I'm just a slow learner, but I feel like I'm still working on my game face so that I don't make a happy-surprised-horrified face every time the kids surprise me with a new glitter-filled development.

Frankly, I feel like I could probably go through a few more practise kids and still have so much to learn. So much so that I feel bad for my first-born because he's basically the test subject of the family. Actually, maybe that's what allowance is for - compensation for participating in my parenting clinical trial. Do I need to get my kids' informed, written consent before I administer my untested therapies? Or do they implicitly consent by continuing to live under my tyranny? Hmmm....

Anyway, I'm glad to be blessed with my four beautiful experiments in humanity children and promise that I really am trying my best and learning as much as I can from every misadventure. Luckily, by the time they get old enough to see how inexperienced mommy is (or access this blog for themselves), they'll have made so many mistakes of their own that we'll be even.

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