Parenting for Visual Learners

“What’s it like having four kids? It must be…”

She ended with a long pause and waited for me to fill in the blank. Having been tackled 398 times since we arrived an hour ago at my in-law’s, my middle school niece was no-doubt having a hard time imagining how a person could possibly survive being tackled in perpetuity by four children.

While she waited for my answer, I’m sure she was scanning my body to try to make sense of the baby in my arms and the place from which she knew that baby had emerged.

I get it. I remember the Miracle of Birth video from health class. I’m sure the film has been updated; the footage is likely clearer, and there’s probably less hair. It might be more traumatic today, though I can’t imagine it. Oddly, health class doesn’t seem to dissuade kids from bumping uglies (since we’re talking middle school, here).

Anyway, before I could summarize what my life has been like for the last month with four children, my niece was summoned to play lions with my 8, 6 and 3 year old. Her question, though, is still on my mind and has been for the last several days.

“What’s it like having four kids?”

I’m a visual learner, and kids these days love memes, so here is my answer.

1. I can completely identify with this guy:


There is always someone crawling on me, grabbing me, needing me, wanting me. Always. And probably forever.

2. I am not nor will I ever be a marathon runner mostly because I hate running but also because this is how I feel at the end of every single day:


And if you’ve stood at the finish line of a long-distance race, you’ve seen the men with the pink-stained shirts, who forgot to tape their now-chafed nipples. Well, I breastfeed, so I’ve been there. Really, marathoner and mom are synonyms. Next!

3. Replace the mountain with laundry, and this is parenting.


The enormous land mass above will be whittled away by rain before I will ever get through the mountains of laundry in my home. And if I ask my kids to clean their rooms, multiply that mountain by three.

4. Remember that wacky carnival game with the soft mallet and the obnoxious moles that spring from their holes?



I used to love that game. Now, it hits (no pun intended) a little too close to home. Just when I think I’ve got something, anything under control something else pops up and then something else and another thing followed by a poop explosion.

5. Yesterday while I was making dinner, the big kids swarmed the kitchen because they were hungry and thirsty right that very second, and the baby started crying, and the dishes piled up in the sink, and my milk came in because it was time, and it occurred to me that parenting would be snap if I never ever stopped moving.



This is what it feels like to have four kids. But it also feels pretty freakin’ awesome–spontaneous “I love you”s and slobbery, open-mouth baby kisses and chasing fireflies and running away from crashing waves and tasting snowflakes, but I’ll save the details of that for later in case my niece gets any crazy ideas that the Miracle of Birth didn’t completely knock out of her.

13 comments for “Parenting for Visual Learners

  1. Martha Squaresky
    January 28, 2015 at 7:52 am

    I do believe you’ve made me laugh in the early morning hours, no easy feat! The bee pic is my favorite….keep writing! Yeah, in your free time?..

    • girlalwaysinterrupted
      January 29, 2015 at 2:33 pm

      I will take that laughter as a compliment because I am no morning person. Laughter doesn’t come easy in the a.m.! Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Martha!

  2. January 28, 2015 at 9:00 am

    Well that was hilarious! And very true. I kind of loved “bumping uglies”.

    • girlalwaysinterrupted
      January 29, 2015 at 2:33 pm

      Well, thank you! I’m glad you agree 🙂 Bumping uglies makes me laugh; I can’t lie about it! Thanks for reading!

  3. Kathleen Gallo
    January 28, 2015 at 10:24 am

    Amen! It is always amazing to me to think that we were given the privilege to raise 4 precious people – no matter how high the mountain of work is – no matter if we wonder whether we will have the strength and wisdom to teach them well, or meet their needs – its such a blessing to be part of their lives!

  4. January 28, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    I raised three, not four. I spaced them out which in some ways made it easier, but I also ended up with eighteen years having a pre-schooler in the house and, worse, eighteen years of having an adolescent. I worked full-time through much of this, went to graduate school, got divorced, got re-married, renovated houses, baked brownies for the bake sale, and cared for elderly parents. I’m still doing that. What is surprising is how much I miss it all. Now that my youngest is 21, home sometimes feels like a ghost town. Enjoy it all, as much as you can. Especially the laughter.

    • girlalwaysinterrupted
      January 29, 2015 at 2:36 pm

      You are so right about the laughter. My husband and I watch videos and page through albums when the kids are asleep, and I cry. I try to savor all of it, but there are tough moments for sure. You certainly kept busy! And caring for elderly parents is not easy, either!

      Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting! I appreciate it!

  5. January 28, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    Thanks for this! I have 4 with the same spread a year behind yours. The baby is still sleeping all the time, so that’s nice.

    I would only add the old plate spinner from Ed Sullivan. That’s what it feels like to me

  6. Judy Burcik
    January 28, 2015 at 1:07 pm

    Each of those images raced through my mind as I read it. It always amazed me when people told me they had to go home and finish the laundry, and in my mind I couldn’t imagine that every happening. The problem was that I felt I should be able to finish. MISTAKE. The one thing in my life I will never regret was having the four children even with all the comments we received when telling people our 3rd, then our 4th child was on the way . They weren’t sure if I could have children so being able to was a blessing. With all of them gone (not to far) I miss the confusion, noise, children’s friends, sports, and all the drama. Wouldn’t want to have missed a day. No one can prepare you for the nonstop life, but when you look back all you will see is the joy and you will have the have the ability to laugh at the other stuff. Judy

  7. Kate @ Did That Just Happen?
    January 28, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    And how glad I am that I had 1. Singular. No plurals in this house! 🙂
    So very happy for you, glad it’s working out – and I’m also glad that my son is 16 and is working and I don’t have to feed him every night. The down side to that is my son is 16, working and I don’t get to feed him every night!

  8. January 28, 2015 at 9:56 pm

    This is perfection and just hysterical!!!!! Since I feel like all of these things with three I can’t even imagine what you must be going through!!!

  9. January 29, 2015 at 7:43 am

    I think you nailed it!

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