So moving through the Madhouse Factors, these are the next two that need to be considered and managed.
Now this is a biggie. The siblings. Our family planning basically was me deciding that I would like siblings with a two year age gap, because quite simply that is what I had with my sister, and quite liked it. So after the first birthday of my first child, the ticking of my body clock was getting louder.
The existing child is already there in their own little routine, with lots of attention and lots of demands before the new arrivals. This can work both ways. Yes, obviously this will make things harder as they will continue to have their demands and may not appreciate the changes, but I do believe that there are golden advantages that far outweigh the grey disadvantages:
- I had been through all this before. I knew how to change a nappy, what to do if the baby cries, so I had more confidence in dealing generally with all baby matters.
- I had an existing network – ante-natal class mums, walk to the park mums, playgroup mums, music class mums.
- I knew what baby clubs I enjoyed so could focus on these ones straight away and not have to go through the process of finding out which ones suited me. In turn, I could consider which would be multiple friendly, and at which ones the leaders would help me out practically and financially. I knew which parks/soft plays would suit me with a larger family, where to park, which table to get, what time to turn up.
- I had a reason to get everyone dressed and out of the house because the sibling will have activities and needs to be out and about. And so will you because believe me staying in all day with a two year old and three babies will not lead to a good day. And it will be even worse if you are in your old tracksuit bottoms without having had a shower.
- I felt that I wanted to give each of my children an equal opportunity, so if the first went to music classes, art classes, play groups, I would want my other babies to have the same opportunities. Why should they miss out just because they happened to be born with two siblings in tow.
- I had a little friend with me who I could talk to and eat my lunch with.
So consider your existing children and how you are going to manage them through this process, not just in terms of their feelings with regards to the new arrivals, but practically. How can you ensure they still attend their art class. How can you ensure they will still get enough time with their mummy and daddy. They will be a part of the madhouse, so they need to be successfully managed too.
Boy or Girl
As a small baby, it generally doesn’t matter whether you have a baby boy or a baby girl. A baby boy or baby girl do the same thing really. Even as they move into the toddler years, again, it doesn’t matter as boys are all different and girls are all different so yours will just be as they are. But as they move through the years, whether they are boys or girls will start making a difference to your life style. I noticed the gender of my children started to impact my lifestyle when my children started playgroup. I was more likely to chat to the mums of the children my child was friends with. Birthday parties will be attended most likely by more children of the same gender as your child, so you will become more familiar with those families, and the types of parties your children will have will depend on their gender. Having four boys, I have been to football parties, soft play parties, bowling parties, nerf gun parties, outdoor survival parties, but I have never been to a Build-a-Bear party (will someone please invite me), Frozen parties, Beauty/pamper parties or ice-skating parties.
In turn, your weekend activities may be different. Now my boys are older, our weekends often involve us standing at the football side-lines, playing cricket, watching football matches on the television, discussing Fantasy Premier League team transfers, the latest FIFA game and Minecraft. I don’t make jewellery, paint little girls toe nails, watch ballet lessons or know the latest gossip on OneDirection (well, ok, maybe a bit). My shopping trips almost always unfortunately involve a trip to Sports Direct, whereas I would much prefer to go into Smiggle. So there isn’t really much you can do about this one I am afraid. And as I don’t have a little girl, I am not really in a position to compare and contrast. I can just tell you what I know from my experience of running a madhouse consisting of four boys. When I told my mid-wife I was expecting three boys (in addition to my boy toddler), she gave me some wise advice. Treat them like dogs. Give them exercise twice a day and feed them at set intervals. Very wise advice indeed.