34 answers

Three Kids Under 4...

We are having a third baby boy in December, and of course that will change everything!! Right now I am looking for advice, knowledge, and experience help from other mommas with three or more children and how they've made it work... I have gotten lots of scary tidbits mostly from women who have only 2 kids, or had their kids years apart (like my mom). "Now you're outnumbered!" "More kids than arms, guess you'll have to leash one of them."
It hasn't helped eased my worries of how to go to the grocery store carrying an infant and holding hands with two toddlers. I guess I just need some wisdom from those of you that are there or have been there. Our third boy will be born when the other two are 3 turning four two months later and 2.5. Luckily the 3 yo is in preschool three mornings a week, and is well-behaved for the most part. The 2 yo was the poster child for terrible twos but has made some great improvements over the past months with sharing and being nice. I know it takes time for all of us to adjust to a new life... But are there any products, advice, books you swear by?! Maybe something that made your life sooo much easier with three!? Please pass the knowledge on!!

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Thanks mamas for the replies, it really is comforting to know that I am not the only one out there with three young kids. I will definitely be looking into a baby carrier, and we are getting the boys into a sibling class before the new baby is born. I really do appreciate all the great replies!! Thanks, again!

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Sorry this is kind of long . . . I have a three year old (1/2005), a two year old (12/2005) and an 11 month old (10/2007). Going out I get comments on a regular basis about me having my hands so full. One lady the other day just kept telling me she was so sorry for me. Another lady tried to tell me to stop having kids. Kind of ridiculeous but you learn to laugh. I am one where I have to get out of the house almost every day so I do everything with kids in tow. When we grocery shop I put on in the top seat and one in the basket. (When she was tiny we used a bumbo seat in the basket). Then the third had to stay right by me. If he didn't then he had to hold onto the cart the whole time. This arrangment is diffucult on big grocery trips but we got often enought that it works. If we have too much then the two year old gets the job of pushing the cart with me. They really like the responsibility. Costco is great having the double seats and the car shopping carts and safeway are nice.

At home you my be outnumbered but *most* of the time it doesn't make too much of a difference. There are those times when all three will be upset and there is just not enough of you to go around. That is really frustrating but isn't just being a parent that way sometimes? Though I have to agree three is much harder than two, at first anyway. My daughter is almost one and those first months were pretty tough but now that she plays with the other, they are so much fun to watch. Being so close in age they love to play together.

Good luck!

P.S. Get the taking thier long afternoon nap at the same time early on. You will appreciate the "you" time and the rest

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To save my sanity, and to be able to go grocery shopping (any shopping) without my small children, I started a babysitting co-op with other moms of young children. I had left one upon moving across the country, and missed it so much. It is so worth it to me to be available half a day a week in order to be able to leave my kids with an adult I trust who has small children (a built in play date). Otherwise I try to wait until the hubby is home (late in the evening).

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I had 7 under 7 and didn't use leashes or have any special products. We went shopping and everything! I had each walking child hold a pocket so I would know where they were. We used to make jokes about being outnumbered and such but you will do well. An infant wrap prob. would have been nice in hindsight!

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I'm there! My first son is 3 1/2 (4 at the end of Feb), my daughter turned 2 in July, and I have a 6 week old newborn boy. I get all those comments too, and now lovely things like "don't you know what causes that?" and "some people don't learn their lesson".

Honestly it hasn't been as bad as I expected. It helps that my third is the best sleeper I've had - he's giving me a 4-6 hour stretch at night, which is supposedly normal but wasn't for my first two. ;-) So at least I'm not dropping off my feet exhausted, and that makes everything more manageable. My oldest is also in preschool and that is helping, I am doing my grocery shopping after I drop him off, and it's a lot easier than it used to be with the older two, since my newborn and 2 year old don't fight like the older two would!

We also got my 3 year old a bike with training wheels recently, so when we go on family walks he rides that while we push the younger ones in the double stroller, or he will even just walk next to us since he is getting bigger and is able to keep up. He has embraced no longer riding in the stroller which makes things a lot easier.

The baby sleeps a lot in the swing, which is nice. I take those opportunities to spend time playing with my older two. I also sometimes just hold him in my lap while I read to the other two, or will read to them while I'm nursing the baby. I also use my front pack or the Moby carrier when the baby just doesn't want to be put down and I need to fix a meal or do other things besides sitting and holding him. He also sometimes just has to cry a bit because he can't be held constantly as he would like, although I do try to hold him as much as I can because he's my last and he's sooooo sweet.

For showers I either take them at night when my husband is here, or if I do it in the morning I get the baby to sleep in the swing, then take my 2 year old in the bathroom with me and the 3 year old can watch a tv show - he's very well behaved for the most part and is not a concern to me around the baby as the 2 year old is. She is obsessed with him and will put fingers and other things in his eyes, mouth, ears, etc, not to mention just bugging him incessantly, pulling his socks off, you name it. Keeping her off him is probably my ongoing challenge - I just can't leave him in her reach and be out of sight. We're in the midst of terrible twos with her too and that makes me feel like I'm in a three ring circus at times. I've been using time outs for her with good success, she will go into the time out corner on her own, even if I'm sitting and nursing the baby. But it's a challenge working with her to share, not grab her brother's things, to listen and obey, and just general behavior over all. It's busy, busy busy, for sure!

Thats about all I can think of... Feel free to email me anytime if you want to comiserate!

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I felt the exact same way when I found out I was pregnant with #3. My oldest wasn't 4 when the third one was born. The baby has just turned 1 about a week ago. We managed to survive the first year with 3 kids. It wasn't easy at times but has definitely gotten easier as time has gone by. For shopping, I know I spend a little more, but I go to Fred Meyer and put the oldest two in the play area (kids have to be at least 2...my 2nd wasn't even 2 when I first had #3 though). I used the Baby Bjorn ALL the time when she was small enough to fit in it, everywhere, even at home. Now that she sleeps through the night that also helps a lot. I still get comments (got one yesterday, well, most days I'm out with all 3, I suppose!) "Looks like you've got your hands full!" (hahahahaha). I just take each day as it comes. If it's too crazy to go out, we stay home (unless we HAVE to have milk!) We don't have family around to help out but if you do, see if you can get a little help, especially the first few months. I stressed during my whole 3rd pregnancy about it, so I understand how you are feeling. But it really does get easier, just take it one day at a time. There are more of us out there than you think (I think we must all just stay home! :-)

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Some parents have reactions to the "leash" But I can tell you that it saved my childs life!
My kids are now much older, they are 23, 19, 17, 15, and 11. I found that a few things worked.
1. Wear your baby. There are slings and front packs. These where a life saver for me. That way I could have baby on, and hold to 2 hands.
2. I trained my kids to respond to "Shirt". When I would say "Shirt" they where to reach up and grab my shirt, dress, or pants. I used this in parking lots, or stores.
3. I used the "leash" back in the day when the only choice was one that attached to the wrist of both parents. First let me say that this is NOT to pull your child by. But it is to give them a little freedom, with a peace of mind for you. I would use this when traveling, or at fairs, or places where there is a lot of people. The leashes now have different styles, one of which is a stuffed monkey that is a harness. So it looks like a backpack. I have watched my 2 year old nephew, and I use this when taking him out. It is fun for both of us. In fact he will walk around the house with it on, because he loves it.
4. Have your other children help when they can. I would have my other kids help by getting things, or taking diapers to the garbage. You can start working now with your older ones to teach them how to do things you would like to have them do.
I would get little juice containers and put cups down where they could get them. I would allow them to get their own juice. The snacks would be pre made all at once for a day or two. I would put them in baggies in the fridge that way they could get their own snacks.
5. Get ready for the rude people. I don't know how many times I get "do you know what causes that?" or "Are they ALL yours." I have come up with some real smart A$$ comments for these coments. such as "no, could you tell me?" or "Yes I only brought some of them, the other 8 are in the van out side.. they did not behave enough to come in."
6. Remember to take time for yourself. I would take bath time. Music, candles, and a nice bath.

I hope that this helps.

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I've got three kids. Baby front and back-packs are the GREATEST invention. I always kept one in the van. Most grocery stories have the kid carts - so two can ride in the "car" part. If not, I put the middle child in the regular shopping cart seat, put the smallest in the back pack and gave the oldest the opportunity to walk as long as he was listening. If he didn't listen to me, I put him in the main part of the cart. It cuts down on the amount of groceries you can get, but the rack on the bottom of the cart holds quite a bit.

Our kids outnumber us, too. But I figure I'm bigger, I'm older, and I can outstubborn the most stubborn toddler! I pick my battles, but I do not bend on anything regarding health and safety.

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Sorry this is kind of long . . . I have a three year old (1/2005), a two year old (12/2005) and an 11 month old (10/2007). Going out I get comments on a regular basis about me having my hands so full. One lady the other day just kept telling me she was so sorry for me. Another lady tried to tell me to stop having kids. Kind of ridiculeous but you learn to laugh. I am one where I have to get out of the house almost every day so I do everything with kids in tow. When we grocery shop I put on in the top seat and one in the basket. (When she was tiny we used a bumbo seat in the basket). Then the third had to stay right by me. If he didn't then he had to hold onto the cart the whole time. This arrangment is diffucult on big grocery trips but we got often enought that it works. If we have too much then the two year old gets the job of pushing the cart with me. They really like the responsibility. Costco is great having the double seats and the car shopping carts and safeway are nice.

At home you my be outnumbered but *most* of the time it doesn't make too much of a difference. There are those times when all three will be upset and there is just not enough of you to go around. That is really frustrating but isn't just being a parent that way sometimes? Though I have to agree three is much harder than two, at first anyway. My daughter is almost one and those first months were pretty tough but now that she plays with the other, they are so much fun to watch. Being so close in age they love to play together.

Good luck!

P.S. Get the taking thier long afternoon nap at the same time early on. You will appreciate the "you" time and the rest

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First, for the grocery store concern, most stores have carts with little cars in front so the little ones can ride and the baby can sit in front with you.

It is true that you are outnumbered, but that doesn't mean your kids will take advantage of it at every chance they get. You will adjust to having 3 and your children will adjust.

I have 4- 9, 7, 4, and 2. Any time people see them or hear the ages of my kids, they say something like, "Oh you've got your hands full." It's just what people say. They are making jokes, or trying to make small talk.

I wouldn't put too much stock in what people with 2 kids, or kids spaced years apart say. You made the decision that is right for you and your husband, and they made the decisions that were right for them. I'm sure you will find a way to make things work. Pretty soon you will be able to look those people in the eye who say things about how many kids you have, say, "Yea I do have my hands full," smile at them and go home, or go out places and enjoy your children.

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Hi K.,
I was in your spot. I guess that I still am. I'm just two years into it! My oldest is 5, second is 3 and youngest is two. I have to tell you that at first (for me) it was really tough. I was tired alot and I felt overwhelmed. I was soooooooo nervous to take them anywhere! I'm still not "recovered" from three births so close together. I'm working on that and adjusting to my new body and new life. However, you learn to adjust. You just do. You have to make yourself get out there and try things. I still have to do that. It's so much easier to just stay at home in your comfort zone, but you go stir crazy too. As for the store, I prefer to go by myself in the evenings when my hubby gets home. Sometimes, that's my only free time. Sometimes I feel a bit pathetic that I have to go grocery shopping for my free time, but I take what I can get. I make sure and get a coffee and just stroll. It works. If I can't go by myself, my next choice is to check my older two (now my younger two) into the playland. I shop at Fred Meyer. My kids LOVE going there! I love them going there too! You get an hour of free childcare. LOVE it! When I'm done, they just cling to the cart and off we go to the car with a ton of "wow, she is busy" looks. I just look back like "yes, I'm busy. But I'm also lucky". :) Make sure that you have a front pack or back pack handy all the time. You will use it. So, you just do what you have to do. You adjust and pretty soon, it's not that big of a deal. Now I watch other people's kids and I seem to always have about 4-5 kids at my house. It seems no different than three. You adjust. One last thing, I have made my home VERY comfortable for myself. It's a place that I want to be and a place that my kids enjoy. That helps a lot, since we spend a lot of time here. Check out flylady.com if you haven't already. Love Her!
Talk with you soon,
Good luck with your birth. It's still soooo exciting. Even if it's the third. :)
Take Care,
A.

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K.,

The first response of both my husband and I when we see kids on leashes is to want to rip them off the kids and jerk the parents around on them.

I only have two kids, but the theory should work the same. My son is 5 years old and as soon as he started walking we imposed the rule that if he wanted to stay out of the shopping cart or out of our arms he had to stay with us. As soon as he took off, or stopped listening to us his mobility was restricted. We do the same thing for my 18 month old daughter. They do pretty good about staying with us.

DO not be afraid to leave the store if the kids are misbehaving. I remember one day my son was around 2 and was at the grab everything stage. I took him into a Half Price Book Store. He couldn't keep his hands off, kept trying to pull all the books off the shelves. We were in the store less than 5 minutes and we walked back out. My son was pissed, but he wasn't following the rules, so we had to leave.

Sometimes going to the grocery store alone is a good thing. Leave the kids with Daddy, and take some time to yourself. Or, make it a family thing where you stick the kids in one cart, and the groceries in the other. That's what we do. That way too, if the kids are just in total meltdown and need to leave Dad takes them to the car and I finish the shopping.

Hope this helps,
M.

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I had 7 under 7 and didn't use leashes or have any special products. We went shopping and everything! I had each walking child hold a pocket so I would know where they were. We used to make jokes about being outnumbered and such but you will do well. An infant wrap prob. would have been nice in hindsight!

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To save my sanity, and to be able to go grocery shopping (any shopping) without my small children, I started a babysitting co-op with other moms of young children. I had left one upon moving across the country, and missed it so much. It is so worth it to me to be available half a day a week in order to be able to leave my kids with an adult I trust who has small children (a built in play date). Otherwise I try to wait until the hubby is home (late in the evening).

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Hi K. - Don't listen to the negative words - especially from people who haven't even been there!! Yes, life gets rough some days, but it's SO worth it! My big girls LOVE their little sister, and it's so fun to see how much she loves the attention from them.

As far as practical advice, I'd say that a wrap will be your best friend for quite some time. I made my own Moby wrap (didn't even make it - it's just a strip of cloth that I wear according to the instructions on the Moby Wrap website!) and love it - it's easier on newborns spines than a Bjorn-style carrier. Also, those dreadful, monstrous carts at the grocery store come in very handy, as do the 24-hour grocery stores!!

Getting on a schedule as soon as baby can is another lifesaver. This should be around 4-6 months old. Until then, take any help offered, and if you have people around who love you go ahead and ask them to come make a meal for you or vacuum your floor! You'd do it for a friend, right?!? I'm sure you have some who would do it for you.

Is your husband involved with the boys' care yet? Because if he isn't he needs to know that he's about to be!! You just can't physically take care of everything yourself - especially if you're nursing. So before baby even comes, ask your husband what he thinks he would enjoy doing with your boys (wake up, dressed, breakfast or teeth, jammies, bedtime). You will need the help or there will be crying from one side or the other.

Try not to over extend yourself. You have made the decision to expand your family, and for now this is your 1st priority. Take a break from volunteering, planning, helping out, etc. For 2009, you are on hiatus from anything that is not fun and easy for you! (I quit teaching Sunday School, helping out with watching others' kids, going to weekly play times, and the world didn't end believe it or not!!) If the house is a mess, take a deep breath and tell yourself it's okay. If someone hasn't been in the bathtub for 5 days - it's okay!!!

This is your time to enjoy your baby and to soak in all the moments between your boys that will never come again. Have your camera and tape recorder handy at all times!!!

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I feel your anxiety...My older 2 were not quite 4 and not quite 3 when my youngest was born. I remember feeling the same way with the added fear of having 3 in diapers...yep my son was turkey when it came to potty training. My son went to preschool 3 mornings a week shortly after my youngest was born. Grocery shopping I would put my middle child in the back of the cart the baby in her seat in the front and my oldest helped my by getting the things in his reach for me. I let my older 2 help with the baby as much as possible to give me the extra hands that mother nature didnt. Its really not much harder going from 2 to 3, it just seems daunting at first. Please feel free to message me if you need advice or words of encouragement.

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I have three children (my youngest is 11 weeks) and it can be interesting, but I put a lot of time into teaching my kids appropriate ways of behaving. They know good behavior is rewarded and bad is punished. I get stopped in the grocery store and restaurants all the time by people complimenting me on how well-behaved my children are. I think I'm mostly lucky, because I can't think of any single thing I've done to make them that way. Lots and lots of consistency, I guess. You are a good mom. I can just tell that. You'll have them falling in line in no time, I'm sure. It's hard at first, but work with them and enlist their help.

When I go to the grocery store, I put my baby in his sling (which is comfortable and works well into toddlerhood) where he takes a nap, my middle child in the cart basket. She gets to hold the coupons and my oldest daughter walks and helps me retrieve items that go into the cart. She's got ADHD, but aside from adding a few extras to the cart, she usually sticks close and likes being helpful. We manage to get it done with very few outbursts or disturbances. We work together, instead of me trying to control them so much.

You'll be fine. Don't let those other mother's scare you with their scare stories. Just tell yourself that if that's how they feel about their children, then you must be Supermom for being able to handle it! I think of myself as Supermom :) My husbands in the military, so I'm alone about 80% of the time. That alone is tough. Good luck to you, congratulations on the impending birth and you'll do just fine!

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Okay, I'm not reading what everyone else wrote, just going with what I know/experienced. I had a really hard time when #3 arrived. Our kids are 5 (4/03), 3 (3/05) and 10 Mos. (11/07).

No sugar coating it - I dealt with PPD and my thyroid was pretty messed up after the birth - medication changes were not matched with blood level changes. Once we dealt with that it got better. However, as far as I'm concerned, 3 is hard - more so than I expected.

Accept help when it is offered. Don't get down on yourself when it feels like the whole world is passing you by or your house isn't perfect. Now is NOT the time to worry about dusting and laundry not getting folded promptly. You have three glorious kids that you are taking care of and all other things are secondary.

Try to ignore criticism because what works for one doesn't always work for someone else. The most important thing is that you give yourself time to figure out a routine that works best for your family and be ready for that routine to NOT work every time.

Your two older kids' behavior (and dad's, too) may vary from time to time. We had potty accidents, major fits and lots of power struggles because everyone is competing for mom's attention (including mom) and because we are mom's we try hard to be everything to everyone and tend to leave ourselves out.

Do the best you know how and be flexible in what that is. Dad will be a major source of strength for you.

My favorite piece of equipment when I first starting taking all three on errands is the racecar cart or the big clunky cart with the extra seats for your kids. Bring snacks and hope for the best. When you get the nasty looks from other adults (who are there with no kids), just smile as ask them to help! Turns the attitude around right away! Sort of "put your money where your mouth is"! Don't be afraid to stand up for yourself and though it may not be gracious at the time, you won't feel like you slid yourself under the bus for someone who has no idea what you do on a daily basis!

You can do it, but there's no doubt that it will be work!

I still have days where I find myself wanting to just be by myself for a few minutes - Nap/quiet time is my favorite part of the day!

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Hi K. my name is S. and our husbands work together at environmental control. you will survive. get a front and back double stroller for the times that you need the younger ones strapped in and a single stroller that you can turn with one hand without difficuty. I also have the ergo baby carrier for the times that you need both hands. in the begining you have the carseat so your older one just has to hold on to the middle boys hand or the carseat. I found when he grew out of the carseat at 2months if i put him in the pack it made life easier. Our first daughter Keegan is 4 (2/2004),2nd daughter Paiton 2 (4/2006) and our son Caleb is 9 months (11/2007). Keegan was in preschool last year 2 days a week and this year 3 days a week. like you our middle child our daughter paiton is a full on little italian woman, but she did very good with our son to all of our shock. one life saver is at any store park by the cart return and you can usually get a cart before you unload the car and same when you get back you can load them all in and all your stuff and return the cart without walking away. Good Luck

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You can do it! I have 3, although when my youngest was born in Feb, it was 3 under 5. I was espcially worried because my husband works a job where he is away from home for weeks at a time. I was so nervous for that first time that he was gone! But it worked out okay. We talked up the kids helping lots before the baby was born. Also it helps to make sure the older ones feel a part of the baby's family. That they are allowed to hold and held get things for him. Of course you help them hold and such- but usually at first they only want to hold him for a minute or less.
Also, I have really found that a baby carrier of some sort has helped- even just around the house. A front pack when they are the youngest, and then one that can go on the back later. I keep one in the car and one at home, so I always have one when I need it. I have found a baby wrap that is called a Mai Tai I think. But it is really nice because it folds so compactly, and can be worn on the front or back. I only got one about a month ago, but I really like it. Also, make suer that your hubby takes some one on one time with each of the kids, to make them feel special, and give you a break. And when the baby is napping, it is great if you can coordinate, so he can take one and you can take one and just have some Parent/child date time. It helps them know they are still important and that you still want to spend time with them, even though you still need to spend lots of time with the baby.
Also, the nurse in the hospital recommended turning nursing time into reading time for the older kids. That way you know where they are, and it is special fun time with mommy, and not don't talk to mommy time. I didn't do that, it just didn't work out for me, I used that time for me time- and read my own books! But it could work for you if you wanted it too.
And remember, that you need some time for you too. Because if you don't take care of yourself, it is that much harder to take care of everyone else.
But you can do it!
Good luck!

J.

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Hi K.,

I am a SAHM also, with 4 kids. When we had our 4th, our oldest 3 were 4 (almost 5), 3, and 1.5. The biggest thing to have is PATIENCE!! : ) Also, I tried to go to the grocery store when my hubby could stay home with the kids. If I ever had to take them, I would go when I was in no hurry. I would put the baby in an infant carrier in the cart, and the next youngest was in the "cart" part of the cart. (I would only try and take them when I didn't need to do huge grocery shopping errands). If your two little guys are well behaved, then you could probably get away with having them each put a hand on the cart as you shopped. (Make sure they are on either side of you, otherwise, fighting could ensue!! : ) ) Also, involve them in the shopping, like when you go through produce, have one pick a bunch of bananas, next item, have the next one pick out whatever item you need, etc. This way, they are occupied, and feel important. YOU CAN DO THIS!! : ) My MIL (mother-in-law), acted that way, too--like I'm just going to drown in kids. She only had two, and it really *is* different once you hit 3, but once you get three down, "what's one more?" 3 is kinda the "magic number", but you adapt and find things that work for you. Seriously, though, JUST RELAX. If you try and do anything with kids this young on a time schedule (like shopping, errands, etc., you will end up really frazzled) So, take your time and "go with the flow." Remember, this stage won't last forever--so enjoy it!! : ) As you probably already know--time flies when you have a baby and before you know it, they are toddlers. : )

Hope this helps and was encouraging.

Good Luck & Congratulations,

C. Dominy

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Been there! Some practical hints for the grocery store. First, it is much easier to shop alone than with 3 children- but I'm sure you know that. I always try to go when my husband is home- or if it is a short trip I ask him to stop on the way home from work. Also, check to see if you can get your groceries delivered. Safeway does it for a very minimal fee (sometimes free) if you live close enough. Third, look for those carts that have a space for tso kids to sit buckled in then you can secure your infant seat to the cart. Also, don't feel bad about running to get the cart and bringing it to the car before you unload your kids. Also, whenever help is offered always say yes, and if it isn't offered, ask for help help out.

The hardest thing about having a preschooler when you have younger kids at home is the driving and pickup. Getting kids in and out of the car is hard. Make friends with the other moms in the class. See if you can have a friend walk your child to or from your car so you don't have to unload the littler ones.

When you have to walk across parking lots with all three- take a stroller. Teach and insist that the walking children learn to hold onto the stroller, or onto your coat.

Good luck to you

M.

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I am a mom of 3 who were born a total of 3 years apart. They are teens now, a 16 year old boy, a 14 year old girl, and a 13 year old girl. The best way to manage it is to be as organized as you possibly can. Also, to keep from having sibling rivalry, try to involve the older 2 children as much as possible. That was the thing that worked the best for me. This way, the older 2 don't feel left out, and they feel proud that they can help take care of the baby brother/sister.

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Hi K.,
I would suggest Amazon Fresh for groceries. So easy and fast to use online, they delivery to your doorstep at any hour you choose for free, and not much more expensive if not cheaper than some of the grocery stores. Good luck! :)

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I have five girls, and two of them are 13 months apart, and two of them are 18 months apart. I can tell you that it isn't as scary as it seems. You adapt and usually the children will too, (one usually ends up being a little more demanding and the other more easy going) my youngest would not sleep or sit in the infant carrier when we went shopping, the only way I was able to free up my my arms to handle my other children was by putting her in a baby bjorn everywhere we went, she would sleep peacefully against my chest and I was free to grab little arms or anything else that went flying while she was nice and cozy. You will often appear as a mad crazy woman to any outsiders, but you laugh about it, and it is part of the joys of motherhood, and they will all grow up to be very close...... and yes fight like crazy, and then a whole other group of worries and concerns come about, but it all gets better, and you will be surprised how easily we adapt. Good luck and just breathe, and don't forget to try to take a little time for yourself!!!

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We had our three kids before our oldest was 3½. When you're put into this kind of senario you just don't know any different. It's your life and you just have to take a lot of deep breaths and keep telling yourselves that it won't always be like this. Our kids are now 8,6,5 and they are all very close to one another and love each other a ton. For as hard as it will be at times for you, you will reap the benefits of it all in a few years and as we all know, the years fly by and when you look back you'll realize it really wasn't all that bad. No matter what we are dealing with there is always someone worse off thAn us. I have a friend who is going to have #7 in Dec. NOW THAT'S NUTS! God knows what we can handle and He won't give us more.....try to find rest in that. YOU'RE GOING TO DO GREAT!!!!!!!!!

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I have three and honestly for me its not any harder then two. The only hard thing for me is my two yearold son. He is the terrible two for sure and a complete monster at times. My 4 year old daughter is great and helps alot. My two month old little girl is a great baby. They all have their moments but every child is different so dont worry to much. You might need help the first couple days that way you wont hurt your self trying to do everything. Just dont worry its not all that bad unless your other two are harder.

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I have 3 kids, although my kids are all 4 yrs apart, planned that way. It maybe difficult for you but your going to do fine. :-) I would say to really get organized with the house, meals and activites for the two older kids. Plan your day, lunch time, nap time, play time, creative time etc. If you have plan, it will be easier for you. I know it's hard to stay on a strict plan with a new baby, don't worry. At least you'll have an idea of your day. I used to take my two older ones to the Indoor park in Portland, (near mall 205) in the winter. I just put baby in the stroller and watched the other kids play. Do you belong to a church? Many churches have great kids programs. That way you can get a little break and take care of the little one.
Congratulations and don't worry.
D.

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okay, so i am only dealing with two under the age of three, but mt saving grace for shopping, walks, hiking, camping and house cleaning has been the Ergo-Baby carrier. it can be worn on the front, but is best on the back for ergonomic comfort. a god send i swear! check it out on line. it runs just under $100 plus there is an additional insert for newborns. it may seem daunting at first but a great instructional cd is included and you'll get the hang of it in no time! i promise! good luck!

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Hello!

I only have two so far (~20 months apart), but I have a good friend who had 6 children who were all 17 months apart and she survived! Her oldest is now a year younger than I am and has had one baby of her own so far. I'm not sure how she did it, but all of her children are some of the nicest people you'd ever want to meet. So it can be done :)

Best wishes!
~B.

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I am only the mother of two...not as close as your two, but my mom was the mother of 3 under 3 for about 6 months and she survived!! Even had two more, one with downsyndrome! But I do have some advise. You voiced concerns about shopping; use the cars that have the little plastic seats or cars in the front or back. They are a wee bit more difficult to navigate, but worth their weight in gold to keep the two older kids happy. (I have a niece 8 days younger then my oldest that I watch a lot and take with us shopping) and as for the infant, most car seats are easily removable from the car base and straddle the far end of the carts perfectly, so you can still stick groceries under him. I'm not going to try to sugar coat it for you, things are going to be hard and stressful, but I think If you prepare yourself going in, you'll be suprised what you can handle. Just remember that you set the mood in the home (most of the time). Learn to let things go. You're the mother of three, you are allowed to have a messy house, to have dishes in the sink and to get behind on the laundry. Babies don't keep ~ they'll be grown before you know, so enjoy them! And when you feel you're reaching your breaking point, don't be afraid to tell your hubby they boys are his, you're taking a night off, or call a sitter. And the most important part is not to feel guilty about it!! You deserve you time!!! I do have a good book that talks a lot about that, but it's written by a lady from my church, so there may be some things she mentions that you won't understand, but I think you will still enjoy it. it's called "Toss the Guilt and Catch the Joy" you can find it here: http://deseretbook.com/store/product/5005466 it also has a brief sonopsis on the book. If you have any questions at all, please feel free to ask!! ____@____.com
~E.

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My 2 cents worth in regards to the horror stories and comments. People who say that are jealous that they are brave enough to try for more. Here's the comment I usually fire back. "Yah, but I'll have more places to choose from when I'm old and need a place to live." It takes more time with more, but if you are consistent in your discipline and don't let them get away with back talking you they will grow to be the biggest help and encouragement to you through the years. And here's the big bonus. It's going to be a little tiring for you in the beginning, but in a mere 3 years or so, you'll be done with sleepless nights and huge diaper bags. The people with kids far apart (like me) end up in diapers and sleep deprivation for 10 years! :) Hang in there! Mine are 8, 6, 3 and almost 1. You're gonna do awesome with them! God bless you.

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Hi K.,
I am going to be right there with you in Feb. I have a 2 and 1/2 year old and a 16 month old with another on the way. I have also been bombarded with "advice" well meaning or no, at times it has scared me to death. However, I have also spoke to several other moms who have had three under 4 and said that it was wonderful. Hard at first when the are little, but later they will entertain each other. I think it is what you make it, yes it is going to be hard, but we know this by now. You ( and I ) will get through it. We may have to adjust some of the ways we do things, like having Dad watch the kids while we go to the grocery store, but it is very doable. Congratulations on your third child.

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Hello K.. My 3rd child was the easiest, going from 1 baby to 2 was the biggest adjustment for me, so in my book, you are already over the hump.

When my kids were little, I sometimes took all 4 shopping but later developed a strategy to plan my shopping trips at home and dash out alone when my DH could watch them. Either way, I made shopping lists for the stores I frequented, even going into the stores to note the layout so my list would be organized in sections in the order I'd shop. That way, I could power shop once thru the store without doubling back or forgetting anything.

By the way, with three kids at the grocery store I would have one in a sling, one in the front seat of the cart and one walking alongside holding the cart to "help me steer". If I was in a hurry, the oldest child would ride in the basket where she would "help me hold the bread, watch over my purse" or whatever would keep her occupied. Big groceries went on the bottom rack.

For several years, I hired a woman to come and watch my kids every other week while I went out and ran all my errands. She did some housekeeping, too. This was a huge splurge since I wasn't working but my DH was rarely home during this period and it saved my sanity. An alternative would be to hire a teen after school or find a home-schooled teen who is free during the day.

Blessings on having your third in December!

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Get a sit and stand stoller. They are easy to manuevor...easier then a big double stroller. And funny enough. Even though they are for two, you can have one sit up front and one sit and one stand on the back if everyone is tired.

You are going to be fine. More kids to love. You will be amazed how much the older children will help out. I have three, probably would have had 4 if my body could have handled it. Don't get me wrong, there are those days, but I would not change a thing. By the time your youngest is running around your oldest will be five. My only advice there is to remember not to put too many expectations on the oldest to help you out with the baby or middle child. My husband and I do that. I feel bad for our oldest sometimes. I too was the oldest of three so I feel her pain. Just remember your oldest is just a kid too.

I wish you the best, if you want to talk more just let me know. I am always around.

oh...and there is nothing wrong with the leash...lol

D.

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I have 3 kids myself (they are now 13, almost 11, and the youngest will be 8 on 9/13), and the age difference was close, although not quite as close as yours will be! :) (There is 2.5 years diff between the older 2, and almost 3 years diff between the middle and youngest). When my youngest was born, my oldest was about 5 1/2 years old, and had started full-time kindergarten about a week or so before his little sister was born. What I found helpful was in the morning, I got my oldest ready and off to school, and then while he was at school I stayed home with my younger boy and my daughter. Whenever I needed to change my daughter's diaper, or make a bottle, or whatever needed to be done with my daughter, I engaged my younger son, who was more than happy to help out wherever he could. When my older boy got home from school, my daughter was usually asleep, and that gave me time to spend with my older son and ask him how his day was.

When it came to going to the store, that was a different story! :) It usually took both me and my husband to make sure that the two boys didn't go running off in the store, but for the most part, they were pretty good.

All in all, I don't think I would trade my life for anyone with one or two children. My life is crazy, chaotic, and busy, but I love it!

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I have 8 kids my oldest is 15 and youngest is 2. Mine are all about 2 years apart. Number 3 was the hardest I have to admit but you can overcome. After 3 it all is down hill from there. The older ones can really help you out even a almost 4 year old can be a lot of help to the 2 year old keeping them out of trouble and holding their hand in the grocery store. I too am a stay at home mom for the most part. I do work 6 hours a week in 3 assited living home doing activities with the residents but am able to take my younger ones with me. It really is not going to be as hard and you think it will be. I love being a mom and having my children around me. I have NEVER been a mom that gets a babysitter so I can go grocery shopping they have always just gone with me. Even when my hubby has been deployed with the army for 15 + months. I have gone through Iraq 2 times, Kuwait once and Kosovo once and have Afghanistan looking me in the forhead. I hope that helps give you some encouraging words.

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I have three boys ages 7, 4, 20 months. The hardest thing was getting some rest during the day. My second son had a hard time when I would nurse the baby or holding the baby. I heard that they get over the baby issue in weeks ie if they are 2 then it will take 24 weeks to get use to the new baby. You just have to make a point of spending time with each of the older two. Also, a friend told me she would put the baby down and then tell baby that now she had to be with the older child.She would say it loud enough for the older child to hear. It actually ended up being easier than I thought. If you husband or friend can help with things that would help you out a lot.

Boys are great and there are not that many moms who have three boys.

S.

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