I guess I never really realized what life with 3 kids aged 3 and under really means. Jer and I took Victoria to an amusement park last night. He got some free tickets so all we had to do was drive down there and my mom babysat the other two because it was gonna be a late night. So we got there and we were halfway across the parking lot before I realized that already, it was easier. No stroller. No unbuckling 3 seats. No "Wait for me" "I want out first" "It's my turn to lock the car" "This is MY side of the stroller" "I want my cup" "I lost my shoe" "Did you get the bag" "No I don't have the bag I asked you if...go back... I'll wait here." I was holding Jeremy's hand instead of 2 sets of little hands or a stroller. We got to walk through the turnstile instead of the gate because we had no stroller. The stroller was a big one. Didn't have to park the stroller anywhere. Didn't have to make sure not to hit anyone with the stroller. Didn't have to try to figure out how to get the stroller through the mini-golf course. No diaper bag, no formula, no crying. Did I mention I got to hold Jeremy's hand? the. whole. day. NO DIAPERS. We haven't had an outing with no diapers since before Victoria was BORN. THREE years! We all sat having dinner and we all ate, at the same time, at a leisurely pace. I mean we did still have typical outing behavior like a spilt drink and someone little jumped in the little river to get her golf ball, but it wasn't that big of a deal. We bought ONE drink and it was enough to share. We bought ONE trinket and didn't have to worry about a fight. We were able to do the same ride over and over because we didn't have someone getting bored. But at some point my happy-go-lucky-gosh-this-is-so-easy attitude began to shift. I started to feel real uneasy. Anytime we left ANYWHERE I felt like I was missing something. Walking around carrying wet socks was odd... normally those would've been thrown right in the diaperbag. Wait the diaperbag, where's Nate, I'm sure he needs changed... oh wait. Right. He's not here. I was missing someone. And it was quiet. Too quiet. Normally when we go out as a family we get noticed. Naturally we're louder, we take up a bit more space, people notice strollers and then they see the 2 small children hanging onto the stroller and I can literally watch people's eyes go from kid to kid and then to me while thinking "are they all hers" or "I could never do that" etc etc. We didn't get that last night. We were... normal? It was weird. At one point I was strapping Victoria in a ride and she looked sad and I asked her what was wrong and she says to me "I wish Nate was here. He loves the trains."
I was glad to have the time alone with Victoria. A glimpse into a life I'll never have. But I couldn't get home quick enough. This morning was business as usual. Round of diapers, a few breakfasts, a couple sippies and a bottle. Rotation from child to child meeting their needs and forgetting mine. Getting them dressed and redressed. Helping them go potty and change another round of diapers. Naptimes, timeouts, tv, storytime, snacktime, another timeout for something. Three rounds of kisses. twice as many hugs. Sharing and conspiring. Rushing to me for every acheivement and boo-boo... all those important things that make me answer that "How do you do it?" question I get so often with a simple smile and confident "It's really not that hard."
So I've decided. Having 1 kid might be easier. But having 3 is much more my speed. Something I would never change. Not in a million years. Something I know I do well and feels so right. And maybe we'll make a point to have some more one on one time in the future but it's nice to know I'm not living with any regrets.