Having three kids is a lot of work. It’s a lot of laundry, a lot of school paperwork, a lot of toys to clean up, but it is also three times the fun …. or so I always try to remind myself 😉
Three kids within four years was a big commitment, and it has taken a lot of patience! But, I learned early on that if I can encourage these little people to get along, than my life will be much much easier!
While I know these three love each other very much, sometimes it takes a little extra encouragement and guidance to make it all run smoothly.
We still on a daily basis need to be reminded of why we love our brother or sister, but I just hope in the end it will stick!
Mady, Carter and Cohen are each very different. But, what they do have in common, is stubbornness (which they get from their father), high emotion (from their mother), and a lot of strong-will (again father). Someday I hope they will run the world, or at least be very successful in whatever they set their minds to do. But, for now, these traits can sometimes make parenting, and getting along with their siblings, a bit of a challenge.
So, I try to do my best to remind them often that they will always have each other. No matter what, they will always be siblings, and they should always be there for one another. Friends are fun and important to have, but family should be made a priority.
I also try to put an emphasis on the older ones looking out for, and helping, the younger ones. I believe that the older child loves the added responsibility, and the younger one loves to be doted on and given that extra attention.
I honestly don’t know how I instilled this so well, but I am amazed how often these children do really value this advice. They might not always follow it to a “T”, but more times than not, they stick together whether at home or in public. Even at another family member’s, or at a friend’s, house you can often find them playing together. We have even been at festivals where Mady or Carter chose sitting with Cohen on a ride instead of sitting with one of their friends. And for me, it’s worth those daily reminders and lectures that make these moments so worth while!
My children’s relationship with their siblings is so incredibly special. I have these early years to try to cement that bond before it will be much harder to form. I take this task very seriously, and am making it my mission to see that they learn how to be playmates and best friends, but also to fight fair and respect each other’s differences.
Maybe because I have seen sibling fall-outs close to me, this has become so incredibly personal. But whatever the reason(s), I want my children to be close.
Earlier today I asked Mady (age 8) what her favorite things were about her brothers, she said: “I love playing with them! Carter is nice, and Cohen is funny” (yes, he is the clown of the family).
When I asked Carter (age 5) his favorite thing about his siblings, he said: “Playing with them because they are kind. Mady helps me build things, and Cohen makes me laugh.”
When I asked Cohen (age 3) his favorite thing about his siblings, he said: “Playing! Mady helps me, and Carter plays navy guys and super heroes with me.”
While maybe navy guys and superheroes won’t always play apart in the boy’s relationship, I hope they can always find common interests. And while Mady maybe isn’t always in to the same things as the boys, she has truly found a common ground. When the boys play super heroes, she joins in play with her barbies. When the boys want to do legos, she loves helping them build and design (even though she has a few lego sets of her own). When they dump out blocks, she builds a zoo for their animals.
These three melt my heart every single day! Their bond, their love, and their genuine care for one another is truly incredible!
Not every moment is pure bliss in our house, but we have all worked, and will continue to work, to make it all as perfect as possible for these special three!
Mady, Cohen and Carter, end of summer 2016