Two of A Kind – Workin’ on a Full House

23 Apr

I only started really listening to country music during the summer between high school and college, mostly because a country station was easiest to find while driving all across the state of Wyoming for my summer job – but it also started because I had recently broke up with a girl who liked punk rock and so I decided to get as far away from that genre as possible. One day driving on a particularly lonely stretch of highway (there are plenty of them in WYO) the sultry smooth voice of Mr Garth Brooks came on and I had to turn it up.

She’s my lady luck – Hey, I’m her wild-card man wafted thru the pickup cab… I didn’t pay close attention to the song at first and I couldn’t resist trying to imitate that croon as loudly as possible. After a while I paid more attention to the words and started to wonder what that life would look like. I had no desire to have a full house, a “big” family, and certainly a full house would qualify as big. I grew up with one sibling, most of my friends were part of a 4-person family, so it seemed natural to lean that way. And even though I was surprisingly content with one kid after we had Nolan, The Mrs and I also agreed that a family of four had a nice fit to it. You guys know the rest of that story.

Fast forward over a decade and here I sit on a couch that has juice or maybe even a couple of snot stains on it, among a living room littered with toddler toys and baby bouncers, three kids quasi-peacefully sleeping upstairs. That song’s title has become my reality. I have the perfect full house, Kings over Queens, with a couple jokers (dogs) as a kicker; it’s a hand that is tough to beat. In fact I’d imagine most people wouldn’t bet against it. And that is fine with me.

The most asked question we have heard over the past few months is simple: “Soooo… what’s it like having 3 kids? How is that going?”. The answer is actually also very simple, if surprising – it is awesome. I am serious.  In some ways having 3 kids has even been easy. Yep, I said it. Easy. But it is true. In so many ways having 3 is actually easier than having 2. The Mrs often said after Tad was born that going from 1 kid to 2 was like “getting kicked in the face”. How very apropos. What we realized after having a third kid is that the increase in difficulty starts to reach an asymptotic level – the work increased but not as much as it did from 1 to 2. And there are many days when it really does seem easy to have 3 kids demanding our attention. You can go ahead and call me crazy. In all honesty I can not imagine my life without our crazy ragamuffin crew, and for a variety of reasons.

Don’t let me fool you, it is not all sherbet and unicorns. There are plenty of days, and nights, when the work gets to an overwhelming level and there are times when the screaming can suck the energy right out of you. We have plenty of evenings when we are simply thankful to make it to bedtime but more often than not we’ve learned to sit back and enjoy the moments we get with all 3 kids.

As much as you hear how unique you are as you grow up, there is something that is really stupefying when you realize how different your kids are. I mean, I can’t be the only one that was surprised when my second son acted nearly opposite as my first son, can I? No? Bueller….Bueller? Ok so maybe that is all on me – but wow, how crazy is it to see how different your children are? We have one with an incredible imagination, another with the wanderlust of a nomad, and a third that has a heart-melting smile. I’ll let you decide who is who. To observe how each of them is constantly growing, evolving, and learning is rewarding, satisfying. It is often the fuel that keeps waking you up and pushing you forward.

But it doesn’t stop there. Watching the way they interact with each other is an absolute blast in itself. Not even kidding, there are times it is even humorous to watch the boys fight it out over a toy. That sounds bad but I think it is part of being a parent. I don’t want them to fight – and I stress to the boys in particular how they will be the only two who truly give a crap about each other in years to come – but there are times when it is just funny to see how they try and enforce their will on each other. Nolan approaches it softly. His heart is such that he doesn’t really want to hit his brother, so he just gets very tense and shakes his clinched fist very close to his brother’s back. Every once in a while he’ll make a connection and immediately look at his mother or I to see if A) we saw it or B) what the consequence will be. Tad on the other hand has no issues with physical confrontation. He’ll smoke his brother with a bat, stick, rock, fist, truck, or whatever else he can reach in the moment. Go figure, right?
However the best interaction to see as a parent is how both boys treat their baby sister. It is heart melting. Each of the boys like to get right in that poor girl’s bubble and love on her with hugs, kisses, pats, or other forms of “love”. Sometimes that love manifests as head butts, bear hugs, or dog piles. Poor Elise. But it’s all in love. It’ll be up to Josie and I to make sure that love continues, but it is good for the heart to see it start so early.

Having 3 kids has been fun. I wouldn’t trade it for anything, now that it has been given to me. It hasn’t been easy, but it hasn’t been as much of a challenge as we expected either. We aren’t being kicked in the face. Some days we are actually thriving. This full house… I’ll keep it around.

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