clown car | going out with 3.5 kids

I leave the house at least two or three times a week with all three kids BY MYSELF. Now some of you (especially you with more kids than me!) are saying, yeah, so what? And I agree, it’s doable and not totally crazy. In fact it’s necessary for all of our sanity. But just for kicks, I’m going to describe in detail what it’s like to get a three year old and thirteen month old twins out the door.

Let’s skip the obvious stuff and assume that I have already packed the diaper bag- wallet, 4 cloth diapers, wipes, a changing pad, a wet bag, snacks for the twins, sippy cup of milk for the twins, (bottles if we will be out through a nap), small toys for the twins, two pacifiers, a pull up and change of pants for Jarvis (he is REALLY good about going potty out, but accidents happen), snacks for Jarvis, water cup for Jarvis, water bottle and snacks for myself, and whatever ‘special’ toy Jarvis has picked out for the trip. If we are heading to the library or lunch, the list gets even longer…

Let’s assume the kids are all dressed- freshly changed diapers, pants, shirts, coats, socks, shoes, a trip to the potty before we leave, and generally a last minute search for a shoe or sock that someone pulled off while I was dressing someone else. (In fact, one of Joelle’s shoes is still missing from a trip last week- it never made it to the car, but after multiple searches of the house we still can’t find it. I have a feeling someone hid it, very well.)

So here I am, all the kids ready, hopefully I have located my sunglasses and gotten my own shoes and coat on. Thus begins the ‘car trips.’ First off is Jarvis and whichever twin is being fussier. The other twin waits behind in the living room and inevitably removes some article of clothing or throws shoes all about. Here’s a picture of the car seat set up in my car, although now we have added back in the other captain seat in anticipation of bunny’s car seat needing to go there.

10 on 10-2

If I’m lucky, Jarvis will follow me and twin #1 to the car without getting distracted by the blooming flowers, any rock or stick he can find, or his bicycle on the front porch. I place twin #1 on the empty captain seat and haul myself up into the car with a hand on their lap. Some of the time Jarvis will follow and crawl up himself, assuming said distractions have eluded him. Bending awkwardly, I slip twin #1 through the small space between the rear facing Britax Marathon’s and set him/her in the seat. I then wrestle twin #1 into the straps while the blood rushes to my head and bunny cuts off circulation to my legs. Once again, if I’m lucky, Jarvis has climbed up into his seat and is waiting patiently (hahahahahaha!) and not hanging off the ceiling handle or playing with the DVD buttons or lights. I strap Jarvis into his Britax Frontier, tighten his straps down, stumble down out of the car and attempt to straighten my pregnant back. I close the door, lock those two in, and return to the house for twin #2.

Luckily, the twins have figured out that I will be coming for them, so twin #2 is usually not a crying mess and instead is happily making a mess of something. I gather twin #2 and any removed articles of clothing, my diaper bag, any lunch, library, or grocery bags, lock the front door and generally remember the dog is still loose about halfway to the can and I have to go back to put him in his crate. Once again I place twin #2 in the captain seat, place my diaper bag within easy reach behind my seat, crawl into the van and then cram twin #2 in between the seats and carseats. Hopefully by now I’m not seeing stars and I can get twin #2 buckled in quickly. Ideally, the double umbrella stroller is still in the trunk, but if we went for a walk anytime lately, I have to make another trip back for that.

And now, 20 minutes later, I sit in the front seat and do a mental evaluation of anything I might have forgotten. At least half the time my phone is sitting on the table back in the house, haha! I generally debate on the intelligence of wanting to go someplace at this point and wish I could just go take a nap- but, finally, we are ON OUR WAY!!

Getting them out is a bit easier once we reach our destination. It usually involves setting up the double stroller next to the van door, closing the van door once I crawl inside, removing both twins from their seats at once and placing them on the floor of the van, crawling out, strapping them into the stroller and then releasing the big boy from his confines. Much simpler and faster!

Now- aren’t you glad you aren’t me??? 🙂

You can imagine that I do not take trips out by myself lightly. It truly MUST be worth it. I do however consider that my workout for the day, haha! But yes, we do that 2-3 times a week, if not more. My children are generally very well behaved when we are out and I credit that to practice, practice, practice (although they are toddlers and melt down’s happen!) and the twins tolerate the stroller very well, which is essential. I even take all three out to lunch at Panera weekly by myself, much to the amused and shocked stares of everyone there!

Ironically enough, I NEVER went out this much when it was just me and Jarvis. For one thing, he didn’t need it as much then, but I also was much more intimidated by it. It simply is mind over matter! The more I do it, the easier it gets! After bunny comes, the number of trips out will slow down some as I believe strongly in the importance of good naps, particularly in the first year of life, and naps for bunny will be a high priority.  However, we will still go out. I will still grocery shop with all four by myself. My crazy, beautiful, insane life will go on!

I will say, I am so thankful when the hubby is home and can go someplace with us! He does all the bending and strapping the twins into the backseat, and we can usually make it out the door in one trip! Although we still look like we are moving in anytime we go someplace 😉

What are your clown car antics like?

2 thoughts on “clown car | going out with 3.5 kids

  1. I just keep picturing your diaper bag–must be HUGE! Kids need SO. MUCH. STUFF!! My clown car antics are a thousand times simpler…people keep telling me how I won’t be going anywhere by myself when my second baby arrives in April (I have a toddler under 2 right now). I know I’ll slow down a lot at first~but I’m going to point any future naysayers to your post 😀

  2. Goodness! That reminds me of the time I had my 3rd. I had a station wagon, and 3 carseats do not fit well! I would place my daughter’s infant seat in the front seat, buckle my 2 1/2 year old in. Then I would grab my infant seat, go around to the other side, reach the seat over my other son’s carseat and lock it into the middle. The only way that was possible was by leaving the other door open and pushing my son’s carseat over a little. Lock her in, get my 5 year old in, close his door, go back around to the 2 1/2 year, push his seat back in and close the door. Whew. Needless to say my daughter was only a couple of months old before I got a minivan! Baby #4 will be here in November but fortunately the kids are all bigger. My oldest is almost 11 and no longer in the carseat and the other two can buckle themselves in with minor adjustments done by me or my husband.

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