Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Reality of Four

Last Thursday, with the older 2 still at camp, I decided to take the younger 2 to the Children's Discovery Museum.

The 3 of us had a great time, exploring all the exhibits. I had forgotten how much fun this museum was! Then I started to feel bad.

Before Christopher was born we had a membership to this museum. We came frequently, and the kids loved it. We haven't been in a very long time though. I doubt Vinnie even remembers it, Christopher certainly doesn't.

Why don't we come any more? Because Zachary and Joey have outgrown it. They would spend the time moaning that they were bored, blah, blah, blah. It can be challenging to find activities that entertain a 3, 6, 8 and 11 year old, all at the same time. It really got me thinking about how different things are for Christopher than they were for Zachary.

With Zachary, and even Joey, bedtime was a serene affair, which ended with Pete or I reading them a few books in bed. Now? Chaos. Christopher is usually running around and it is all we can do to get him in bed. Forget a story, I am just too tired.

And remember the almost forgotten birthday party of Christopher? I do.

The younger boys are usually stuck watching what the big guys watch. I have no doubt that Christopher can name the cast of "Suite Life on Deck" or "iCarly" , but probably couldn't name half the Sesame Street characters (or maybe any of them except Elmo!)

With the older two we did all the typical things families do with young kids--days at the park, seeing the Wiggles, Blues Clues, and Sesame Street, when they came to town, children's museums, Happy Hollow. Now? Big kid activities, mostly sport related.

What can Christopher do? He knows the Little League fields like our own backyard and has no problem marching up to the snack shack with a dollar bill in hand as he asks for a ring-pop. He can walk through the campus at the elementary school and high five the big kids, half of whom know him. He can also call his brothers names that a 3 year old wouldn't typically know if he didn't have older brothers using those names (I am already anticipating a few notes from preschool when he starts this Fall. I am sure he will be known as "that Contini boy"). Forget knowing any of the Wiggles songs (or any other kid group). Christopher and Vinnie can sing along to Lady Gaga and Ke$ha though. Great.

So are Vinnie and Christopher worse off? I don't know. I know they get to have lots of fun experiences , I just wish I had more time to give them all the things Zach and Joey got to do, not to mention more of me. I did promise Vinnie we would be back to the children's museum before too long and I meant it.


Andrea said...

Such a great post! Got me thinking as I am due with baby #3 in February and will have a 7 and 4 yr old by then. I notice it is even different with my secnd son, some of the things I did with J I don't with B. Oh well, I'm sure they all will turn out just fine:) At least you are making an effort!

Suzanne said...

You are a genuine mom. I love that about you. I sure can relate and I only have two with a smaller age span. Your post reminds me of the value and importance of divide and conquer aka one-on-one time as well as using teachable moments to remind my boys that sometimes we have to make sacrifices for the good of our family. I'm glad you got back to the museum and I hope you are able to make many more visits.

Cynthia said...

Such a good post! Kelly is 11 years younger than me and she definitely is more in tune with pop culture and teenage things than the rest of her friends. Erin would watch MTV's True Life around her and she went up to my Mom once and said,"My name is Kelly and I'm addicted to crack." So yes, it's hard to balance interests when all the kids' ages are so different. On the otherhand, I think Kelly is mature for her age. She has such a good concept of perspective and knows how to take things in stride which I think comes from having older siblings. She realizes not everything is the end of the world.

There are definitely pros and cons for both situations but everyone knows you're like, World's Best Mom so don't even worry about it! :)

MotheringBoys said...

That was great. Also my reality with three at ages 3, 8, 10. Life is different through the ages and stages of our journey of Motherhood. But then I am reminded that we have given these boys something that can't be found in museum memberships or quiet nights with mom and dad.....we have given them each other. Carry on, Mom! You rock!

Anonymous said...

Readiness is all.............................................................

Katie said...

Being almost 36 weeks pregnant with number 2, I've been thinking about this too. How a baby will impact Kaylee, and how Kaylee being around will mean the baby doesn't get the same one-on-one attention as Kaylee did. The conclusion I came to is every child is going to have a slightly different experience growing up, but it's not necessarily bad. Maybe the younger ones don't get to do the same exact activities as the older ones, but they have the bonus of having older siblings for guidance, company, and play. I think it's just different. And in the long run having each other will mean so much more than anything they might have missed out on.