Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Life is Loud

I have a new favorite picture. Many thanks, Landria.
Ahhh. If only life were always this cute.
Increasingly, life in our home is LOUD and a bit chaotic and whiny--especially in the early morning and the 'witching hours' from 5pm-7pm. K & P are transitioning out of naps. I am still requiring that they rest quietly in their beds for 45 minutes every afternoon, but they are miserable by 7pm...and still waking around 6am.
When my husband and I were married, I told him my primary goal as the lady of the house was to make sure our home was always a place of peace and rest. His work is hectic, fast-paced and stressful. At the end of a 12-14 hour day, I want our home to be an oasis. He has expressed his appreciation for my prioritizing peace and order in the past. Lately, I am finding it incredibly difficult to create this environment because everyone is so wound up in the late afternoons.
So, I am asking for tips, suggestions..Help! Any great tips on how to restore some peace and order around here in the late afternoons would be greatly appreciated.


Kelly said...

That picture has to just make you smile! What a beautiful and fun family!

Courtney said...

that is great!

Renee said...

Precious Picture!

While I don't have triplets - just 3 lo's, I do understand the need for peace and rest for a DH who works 12-14 hour days! I will be excited to hear and see others suggestions here!


Jessica said...

LOVE the picture! You should use that as your Christmas card this year!

Looking forward to the suggestions! It's gotten really crazy around here lately!

And, lastly, I have sooo much respect for you as a potty training mother of 3 now that I have pt'd my 2 1/2 yo. It is sooo stressful! And to have done it with 3.. I am afraid I would have lost my mind :)

Sniz said...

First of all, the picture is great! Second, my advice is just to wait it out. With three little ones, I don't think it's possible to create a quiet, peaceful oasis, and I know your husband would understand this. My youngest is 8 and that time, (although it seemed like it would last forever) is completely gone...no trace except the mess everywhere. But there is quiet. And it will be possible again someday. Promise. :-)

Big Mama said...

Love the picture. Bedtime at our house is between 7-7:30.

I don't have any real tips, but will encourage you that the initial transition to no nap is tough but it gets better. I do try to make sure that she's in the bath no later than 6:15 because that seems to signal our transition into a bedtime/sleepy frame of mind.

HW said...

When my daughter was going through the "witching hour" I started giving her her bath during that time. She loved her bath and it soothed her and calmed her down.
Don't know how this would work with three, but at our house it also allowed me time to sit and relax a little while she played in the tub.
Other than that, I agree that it will just pass when the children get adjusted to their new schedule.

MaryBeth said...

Beautiful picture of all of you guys!!

A Place For Ministry Wives said...

Love the pics.!

We used to take a walk/bike ride/trip to the park during the witching hours. And honestly, I think the witching hours start at 4PM. :-)

I know it's hard, because that's normally when you're preparing dinner, but if you're able to start dinner earlier in the day, it might help.

Being outside at that time is always a treat and very refreshing.

Just a thought.

Lisa@Take90West said...

We have the 5-7 witching hour too. I have no good advice, but would love to read the tips from others.
I have found that between 3 and 4 I really need to have my day wrapped up, so to speak. My cleaning/laundry/shopping/projects have to be done and the rest of the night needs to be open for dinner and family time. The older kids come off the bus, the little ones are getting crabby and I need to focus on them instead of ignoring them to fold the last load of laundry. It makes it easier for me when I only have to concentrate on that, rather than my chores as well. But I still deal with the evening whining and I have no clue what to do about it! I think it just might go with the territory of a non-napping 3 year old.
Hope you get some great tips!

Alison said...

Again with the bath idea. Sam is often losing it by super time or just before so I will often throw him in the tub while supper cooks, or if I need to stand over the stove, my husband will throw him in. He comes to the dinner table in his clean jammies, he is clean and relaxed and will eat a great supper then it's off to bed after some stories. He is five and we have been doing this for a few years now. It really does make us all feel better and it has eliminated my need to nag him to settle, or stopp crying or what have you. Hope that helps...

stephanie@{Olive Tree} said...

I came here to say that I was hoping you got some good suggestions because I didn't have any ... and you did. :) I'm going to try out that bath-idea myself. Our 4-6 p.m. is a killer every day ... my just-turned-4 year old hasn't napped for a good 8-9 months now (and if she does, she doesn't fall asleep until 10-11 at night) and my 20 month old is in the process of dropping her morning nap. I've been using my crockpot for dinner a LOT more and it's helped some that I haven't had to be exclusively in the kitchen during that hard transition time of the day.

I thoroughly enjoy your blog and the encouragement to give me to really ENJOY my children - struggles and all. Thank you for your honesty! (And that is a GREAT picture!)

wendymom said...

GREAT picture, It captures the real family!!!
UM a suggestion for quiet, VIDEOS!!! Go for it girl. They are the best thing in the evenings, I don't care what the research says about their eyes or ADHD, when you get to 6:30 PM and R has just gotten home, it's okay to just do it!!!

Wendy said...

I LOVE that picture!

This probably sounds crazy, but have them run laps around the house. I've done this w/my kids in the winter time when everyone is stir crazy and they liked it. It wore them out pretty good. My son likes me to time his laps sometimes.

It might be worth a try.

nicole said...

The witching hours are hard. The suggestions already given are good ones, although some sound a little tricky to work in with dinner and all that. Do you eat when R gets home? What time is that? Perhaps a snack at the beginning of the witching hour would help. Some apples with peanut butter, or cheese and a graham cracker, or something like that. My husband does not get home until about 7:00, so I'm usually giving my kids a light snack around 5:00 or so to help tide them over. Also, maybe you could have some kind of simple craft like thing for them to do in the kitchen while you are preparing dinner. They can make placemats for supper that night, or welcome home cards for Daddy, or just put stickers all over paper for no reason at all. If the weather allows and it is not too dark, try to have them play outside and burn off some of that energy.
Have you told the kids what your expectations are for the evenings? I know they are only 3, and they might not truly understand, but I think if you tried telling them how important it is for R to come home and have a peaceful home, they might try a little bit more to cooperate.
You have 3 kids that are 3 years old--you're doing great and sometimes hopes/expectations have to be thrown out the window!

Fran said...

Yes...I'm in complete agreement with everyone here....that picture is GREAT!! I love it....just smiling right now.

We did early baths and had some movie time for our settling down time...that would all get so comfy on the couch and just watch the movie while I did whatever and then they were ready for bed...early.

So...let us know how it goes. And of course, pray alot.

Keri Ann said...

I second the suggestion to get out for a walk, if possible, in the late afternoon when everything's getting crazy. Just sitting on the porch or deck has worked, too. Maybe it's the change of scenery that helps to change moods...?

Also, I've had some success by making that craft time. In the past, I've strapped my 3-year-old into her booster seat at the table, with her craft of choice in front of her (preferably one she doesn't need a lot of help with). And I strap the 1-year-old into her highchair with some toys or books or Cheerios. While they can still get noisy, with both of them immobile, it at least cuts down on the feeling of chaos.

Neither of these ideas are foolproof, of course, and I'd love to hear more tips from others!

Kelly said...

That picture should hang in your entryway. It's absolutely inspired.

Great tips from everyone on the witching hour. I've always found a video or a planned project to help.

Bath time at 5:00 never worked for us since my husband doesn't get home from work until 6:30 or 7:00. If I put the kids to bed at 7:30 every night, he would never see them. And they live for that playtime with Daddy after dinner.

Plus, a bath before dinner when they were younger would have been counter-productive. A bath was always desperately needed after eating.

Courtney said...

J, when I first came to this post, all I saw was the picture and the small sentence underneath about Landria...and so I commented on that...I didn't want you to think I was saying "oh that's great" to your house of peace requests...although with 3 three year olds, I don't know how much advice I could give anyone. Sarah (in the midst of it) seems to have lots of advice on those things and seems to be pretty good at running her house...one suggestion I stole from her was the "room" time and maybe that would calm them down and especially since they aren't napping (sometimes)...maybe you could do room time 2x a day or something (one being when daddy gets home, or maybe right before) so they are calm-er when he gets there! I don't know...sorry though that they get up so early. I wish I could offer some advice there. My kids sleep till 9 almost every day, but I put them down later too!

Tashie said...

Here's what I do to help the 5-7 crazies :)

If you are still having them "rest" 45 min in the afternoon, follow that with either 15-20 minutes of reading them stories, or tv (it's just making the "rest" a little longer). After take them outside where possible or have them engage in real running around play at home or the backyard.
Make you dinnertime meal simple so you are not using too much energy cooking and cleaning. I make eggs and toast, sandwiches, just easy stuff and I make more complicated lunches like stew or spaghetti.
Once dinner is over I leave the mess for cleaning later and get them outside again or playing in the house.
By 6pm, it's either bathtime and/or storytime and jammies and into bed by 7pm.
It's hard because your home cannot be an "oasis" (I always think of the spa when that word is used) while your children are little...even with all the best tips in the world, there will still be fighting, whining..and days where you just can't wait till bedtime, as much as you do truly love them :) I have just learned to accept that and I KNOW someday I am going to miss that "craziness".

girlymama said...

When my kids wake/get up from resting, they get a nice snack.
Then we all do a quick clean-up of the downstairs, so that things look orderly.
Then we either go outside until Daddy gets home, do a art project at the kitchen table or (when Mama is burnt) they watch a video.
That way Daddy usually comes home to a semi-orderly, quiet-ish house in which dinner has been somewhat started.
When I just let them entertain themselves, at ages 4 and 3, things get ugly very, very quickly ;-)
Good Luck!!

Sincerely Anna said...

Love the picture. I read through your archives this week so now I can really appreciate that picture too! :)
And I'll just say here how awesome you are - I know you have difficult days but you are so graceful and full of wisdom. The Lord is using your words BIG time in my life right now as I face a trying time.
The end of day chaos is hard. What's worked for me (and I can't really give advice here since I only have one and he's 5 now) but we only let Max watch TV after dinner. It's a huge "bait" for good behavior. I keep him on a specific schedule after rest time that includes: outside play, veggies/dip snack, clean-up toys, then dinner. My husband sometimes gets home around 6:30 so I know how hard it is to hold off dinner until then. I hope you find the right rhythm soon!

Renee said...

Hilarious! That is a great family picture...looks like a typical picture for our brood. :)

I don't have much new to add to the suggestions you've already gotten, except that is does get easier. The younger 4 nap until 4:00 and then get a snack that hopefully lasts them until supper around 6:30 or 7:00 when M gets home. #1 and #3 spend most of the late afternoon outside (except for snack time and clean-up time). When M calls to say he's on his way, I know it's clean up time for the boys, and they have about an hour to get all the toys picked up and set the table for dinner. When all of that is done, they are usually in the kitchen helping me (all the way down to the 2 yr old), reading books, coloring at the table, or outside if it is nice. We don't watch much tv, so videos are kind of treats for them and do help quiet the house down.

But good grief, as soon as they see M's truck drive up, the world stops, and they run to the door. The older one is getting better about now pounding him down at the door, but they are all daddy's boys. After supper, HE gives all the baths, while I clean up the kitchen. Then it's to the den for family devotion/catechism/prayer time.

I have come to the realization, though, that my home will not be quiet for a very long time, and that's ok with me...for the most part...as long as it's organized chaos. :)

Katy said...

oh, how i LOVE that pic! It is so cute! Honestly...with three year olds..i think the peace you want has to be a "noisy" peace. Sounds like a contradiction...but remind yourself everytime it is wild that they are only this little for a very short time!
Although...keeping the need for sanity in mind...what time do you lay them down for a rest? I found that sometimes keeping my kids up till 2 or 3 in the afternoon...they sleep better then. (my middle child is 4 and still naps...most days) And then do they enjoy any educational movies or songs? Maybe after naptime they can watch or listen to those...and maybe that will make for a more peaceful time when Daddy gets home?

Then after supper...for that crazy time...I have found (for us) that giving the kids our attention and playing with them some keeps them more at bay then when we just want to rest and go tell them to play on their own.

I am not sure if any of these things will work for you or not..each family is different...but i wish you the absolute best of luck...and i bet 3 at 3 is so tough....but God knew you could handle it and entrusted them to you ;) Love in Christ!

laurie said...

Adorable picture--can't wait to see the rest! My typical routine is to start winding down around 5, let them watch a movie while I start dinner, do baths while dinner cooks and then they go to bed between 7-7:30. My goal is for my house to be quiet by 7:45 or 8. This of course varies depending on Kelly's schedule, if he's not here then everyone is in bed and asleep by 7:15 :-) My advice would be to let them drop their naps and put them to bed EARLY!!

Erickson 5 said...

Awesome Picture! We just had our photos done and they turned out great this year too. It looks like you skip the studio and do and outdoor shoot.
Life in the evenings gets crazy for us too. We are debating if we should cut naps and go to bed earlier. Bedtime has been very hard for us for a few months now. They just can't settle down. Let us know what you change.

Mindy said...

What a WONDERFUL picture!!!!
I need someone to do pics like this for me!
In HIM -

Mandy said...

Maybe keeping them up an hour later is your answer. From learning about children and sleeping patterns in University I have a little experience with what the "text books" say. (I understand that this hardly ever works in real life but if your in a bind you'll try anything right?!)If you put them to bed later they may sleep later in the morning and not need the nap in the afternoon because they won't be so sleepy. Also this can work the other way. They can get less sleep at night and want to have a good nap in the afternoon again until they get use to sleeping in, in the morning.

It must be a difficult situation but baths and reading really really help! We even do music in our classroom. It is proven the Mozart helps children relax and they learn better when they are involved in musical training. Maybe even a little music time before dinner will calm them. It will surely tucker out their brains!

joan said...

I love that picture, it made me smile. Thanks for making me LOL!

Barbie@ Mamaology said...

I liked hearing everyone elses comments on this:) One thing I don't think was mentioned was music. My girls LOVE music. So when the older two were younger and now with my two year old, I'll put a CD on with Kids praise music, pull out the dress up bin and some instruments and she dances away. It seems to help you moodiness:)

Hope you find a solution. I know how trying it can be to have hours of stressed out little ones!

Melissa said...

What a precious pictures that captures reality. Those are my favorites! BTW...I have b/g twins that just turned 1 year and was wondering where you find all your coordinating outfits for the kids? It seems like the older they get, the hard it is to get them to coordinate. Any helpful hints would be great! Feel free to leave a comment on my blog or email me at melissa_halford@hotmail.com. Thanks and thanks for sharing your journey with multiples! It helps us newbies out!

Cathy said...

I would continue to enforce the rest time. My girls (1 year apart and now 8 and 9) had rest time until they were 5 and 6. They were required to rest in their rooms for 2 hours. When they got older and were in K and 1st, they were required to take an hour rest after then got home. This lets everyone detox, gives them alone time to play quietly, and teaches them how to self entertain (something that is very lacking in this world of "now" and technology (and I love technology, but there is a time and a place)). I realize this is harder with 3 and we definitely had days when it seemed like rest time was scream time but overall it worked wonderfully. They each have their own room and there was a gate in their doorway until they were 3 so that helped to enforce the rest time rules. (I have vague memories of a doll and balmex party on the day their gates came down but I have tried to block that memory, lol).

Also, it is common misconception that keeping kids up later helps them sleep. In fact, the opposite is true. A decent rest / nap time and an early bedtime are critical to the development, hyperness, etc. Until this year my girls went to bed at 7:30pm, now that they are in 3rd and 4th grade we have moved bedtime back to 8:00pm. My husband was usually home by 6:00pm and on the days he worked late the girls, unfortunately, did not seem him though. My oldest is an early riser (6:30am) so she would see him in the morning. They would also leave notes and draw pictures for each other. To curtail early waking, I put a digital clock in their rooms, covered all but the first number, and told them they could not call me until the number was a 6. I eventually changed that to a 7 (because I am not a morning person).

I am a stickler for routines and schedules and, in my house, that makes a world of difference, especially with my oldest. I also remember that when they were 3 they loved to help. Of course their idea of help is actually far from help, and including 3, 3 year olds I am sure can be tricky.

Another ideas naked time. My girls LOVED being naked when they were little. I did keep their diapers and / or panties on but other than that it was a free for all (and a riot).

I don't remember how I stumbled onto your blog but I enjoying checking in. The photo is great!

Sandi said...

My kids love to sit and play playdoh at that age. I just kinda let them at it. Sure it made a mess but I just cleaned it all up afterwards.

I don't have triplets but I have twins and a baby 18 months younger. The 3 of them can get each other going.

One of the other things I started doing around 3 was alone time. I talked to them about how they need that time to be just with themselves. That may help the crazies.

As far as a calm, quiet home. I personally think it is overrated. This is the only time in your life when your house will be full of such life. Enjoy it.

Lynne said...

Love the photo!

We have similar issues at our house. Our 3 1/2 year old gave up naps before age 3. I'm hoping our triplets go a little longer than that.

Our oldest does pretty well when he's by himself in the afternoon, but as soon as his siblings get up he turns into a different child. He acutally fuels the witching hour(s).

I hope you get even more great suggestions! I'll be back to check them out.