Tag Archives: three under five


We promised the kidberts a walk to the park. Despite the photo below, M and D don’t always want to be doing the same thing, so Mr. AFT and I packed ’em all up and went to play.

While we were out, we figured that we’d get D’s haircut.  It was his first haircut with us (and we think, perhaps, his first time in a barber shop– his foster dad had always cut his hair.)  We weren’t sure how he would do, so we decided both parents being there was the best bet.  That meant all of us in the barber shop.

D did great!  I saved a bit of hair.  Barber shop had frosty AC. Here’s my question: what is barber shop etiquette?  Because after Daniel’s haircut, he watched Mr. AFT get shorn for a while, but he got bored (as, I guess, most 4 year olds would) and decamped to the mirrored wall with Mads.  You know what the major entertainment for 3 and 4 year olds at a mirrored wall is?  Babbling at their reflections in an attempt to make each other laugh.  They were also eating the ubiquitous goldfish.  Everyone there was tolerant. But I wonder– should I have been more insistent in my shushing? I tried to get them to sit down and eat the crackers, but no dice.  On the one hand, it’s not church (and it’s not like we do that well at staying quiet in church.)  On the other hand, barber shops seem like pretty staid and grown up places, certainly not pre-schooler friendly.  But not pre-schooler unfriendly either.  What say you?

I’m giving myself a bye on ending with a question in this case.  Comment away and let me know your stance — muzzle ’em in the barber shop and let their cuteness fly?


5/3 at the grocery store

As a family of five (five!  yikes!), we eat a lot and therefore, out of necessity, are frequent grocery shoppers.  Even though Charlotte is new to the world of people food, she still eats her fair share in egg yolks and frozen peas.  She had baked beans last night.  Logic would dictate that I should arrange to shop alone while Mr. AFT stays home with the kidberts.  But we’d rather spend his time off from work as a whole family, so I brave the store with the three goob-keteers.

Dear World, Please help me with this.  Dear Other Supermarket Patrons, Unless you have small children (i.e. under 7 years old), don’t use the multiseat carts (the ones with the play car that seats two in the front and a regular cart attached with a seat for one or even two more kidberts).  I need those carts desperately.  Dear Supermarket Management, Get more multiseat carts!

So we forged ahead, me and M and D and C.  The particular supermarket we patronized yesterday doesn’t have in-lot cart corrals, so I had to brave the parking lot with three wee ones– C in my arms, M holding my hand and D holding her other hand.  I had spied the necessary 4-seater cart at the store’s entrance as we arrived, so I knew I had only a short journey before the saving grace of containment for all.

But no!  Denied!  The cart had been absconded by another shopper.  I was left with only a shallow cart with a single seat that I couldn’t even use until another shopper pulled the cart out for me.  In the meantime, D set out to investigate the basil plants.  I vainly called his name while I tried to corral M and strap in C at the same time.  Some patrons tsk-ed and thankfully one woman guided D back to me.

Dear Supposed Village It Takes to Raise a Child, Sometimes I need your help.  Please feel free to gently spare my child from dashing out into traffic.  Thank you.

Let’s not even discuss the broken restraint strap on the cart.  Char kind of listed to the right the whole trip.

The first section when we enter the store is produce.  M and D see this as  smorgasbord.   They both sink their teeth into unripe peaches before I can stop them.  We ended up eating peaches at dinner– had to use ’em up.

It entertains me, how the simplest of tasks can become an epic in my world.  A serialized epic, because the 5/3 Mama can only write briefly each day!  Stay tuned for the adventures of free range preschoolers in the meat and dairy departments, the patrons using the multi-seat carts and the joys of fastidious cashiers.

Over and out.


K and the gang at AFTHOTW HQ

Resolution Update, a little late

Here’s the June-ish update.

  1. Reduce overall monthly expenses by 10%.  We don’t qualify for Making Home Affordable, so now we’re looking at a standard refi.  I should know more this week.    We’re generally doing okay on this, but I’m still trying to tighten up a little more.
  2. Move forward with our adoption. As you know, Daniel is here!  For the next six months, we will have monthly visits with his social worker and our social worker and will likely legalize the adoption next spring.  We are settling in pretty well.  Daniel seems to be getting attached to us, we’re improving at managing three kids at once (luckily, they rarely all need me simultaneously) and Madeline and Daniel behave just as you would expect siblings to– that is, they are best friends one moment, wrestling like baby bears the next and tattling on each other the next (“Daniel took my bucket!  Madeline touched me!”)
  3. Make more things from scratch. I am slacking here.  I bought bread.  Purchased bread does, however, make a much better peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  It has been sooooo hot in our area that I haven’t had the motivation to turn on the oven.
  4. Landscape. Need more woodchips.  Front yard looks better since the removal of overgrown bushes.  Picture soon.
  5. Reduce our paper towel habit. The greatest evidence of our success is John’s recent statement, “You know, I don’t even miss paper towels.” 

And, dear readers (all 11 of you), we still want to go viral.  Admittedly, this particular post is more for Mr. AFT’s and my benefit, but if you know someone who might appreciate my pith (perhaps another exhausted parent of 3 under 5?), please forward!  Since we’ve pretty well succeeded on #5,  I may have to add a new goal– PUBLISH.



k and the AFTHOTW crew

The Three Under Five Road Trip

We took Daniel (and the rest of the fam) down to “Gram and Papa’s Preschool Paradise Camp” to meets his grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.  Following our the highlights of our return trip.

Loading the 8-passenger vehicle (that only holds 2 adults, three car seats with accompanying children and the dog) and the cargo box takes about 45 minutes.  Golf clubs and overnight bags go into the cargo box.  Children go in car seats (Daniel and Charlotte in the second row, Madeline in the third row.)  Dog goes into the back, next to Madeline.  Dog goes in early because she gets anxious that we might leave her behind.  Bag with diapers, wipes and car snacks (copious) goes in the second row as well, but out of reach of Action Man lest he eat all the snacks or do something like find the bottle of sunscreen and squirt it all over the window.

Charlotte now hates her car seat.  She schreeches when we load her in, settles in after a few minutes but that only lasts for 45 minutes, maximum.  When faced with a three hour return trip, that 45 minutes of calm is just a tease.

When her crying starts, it seems to coincide with Action Man’s limit of being in his seat.  So I vault over the seat to wedge myself between them to better distract them.  Unfortunately, the only distraction that C is remotely interested in is nursing, a big no-no in a moving vehicle.  So I try shaking toys, feeding her cheerios, giving her water. . .then Action Man wants the toys, the cheerios and the water.  His greatest comfort is to cling to my arm, which I need to distract Cha Cha.

D does have another favorite distractor– an endless stream of questions.  “Mom, we go in tunnel now?  We go up a hill?  We go down a hill?  Go later?  Go home?  Go to the park?  Where’s Uncle Mike?  Where’s Gram?  Where’s Madeline?”  I try to answer, but the questions keep coming. . . . tunnel? hill? Gram?  I try to ignore him and then my life seems like that oft-quoted (at least on FB) episode of “Family Guy”:  “mom, mom, mom, mom, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy. . . . ”  I want D to know how language works and that he can use language to acquire information, so I’m reluctant to shut him down but sometimes, wow, I can only answer the same freakin’ questions so many times!  But when I ask/tell him to stop, he cries.  Good times.

So now Cha is crying, Daniel is crying (and he’s exhausted too, having slept poorly the night before because of fireworks and the overstimulation of Preschool Paradise Camp) and traffic is building.

At the end of my rope, with another 90 minutes to go, I hang my head, prompting Mads to say, “It’s okay,  Mama!”  I find something for Daniel to color, which is a bad idea for two reasons– first, I didn’t bring crayons so all I can offer him is a spotty ballpoint pen and I don’t have another coloring page for Madeline. 

89 minutes to go.

All are placated, some sleep, we stop for a snack at Dunkin Donuts, because Mama needs coffee just to keep on going.

Did I mention that C had been up since 5:30 and therefore I had been up since 5:30?

“Daniel, would a snack make you feel more happy?”  The kid recognizes the DD logo at 100 paces, so I was pretty sure that I could satisfy his anticipated request for a chocolate doughnut.

“I want french fries!”


“Madeline, do you want a snack?”


I know this is a lie, so we order a chocolate doughnut and hash browns (the closest facsimile to fries.)

I divide out the snacks and amazingly, everyone is happy.  Happy-ish.

20 minutes to go.

The project manager in me insists on a post-mortem.  What did we learn?

Plan a route with multiple tunnels.  Bring crayons.  And sedatives.

5/3 (that’s “3 under 5”)

As in three kids, under the age of 5.

In the abstract, it seemed hunky-dory.  And in reality, it actually is.  M’s first words in the morning are generally, “Where’s my brother?” and D’s are, “Where’s Madeline?”  The greatest sound in the world is when the two of them are laughing and chasing each other or singing “Twinkle, Twinkle” to Baby Charlotte.  My greatest daily accomplishment is getting three small children dressed, fed, out the door and buckled into their car seats.

The most common reaction to when we say that we have three kids– and then tell their ages– is wide-eyed amazement and head-shaking.  People clearly think that we are crazy and I can’t say that we aren’t.    The amount of work I have to do at home has increased, but so has the amount of laughter. 

Here’s what I’ve learned so far.

  1. It takes a minimum of two hours to get ready to go anywhere. 
  2. D can sense if there is cake anywhere in the house and wants to eat it immediately.
  3. Somehow, M and D can use every single sippy cup in the house every single day.  I run my dishwasher every night.
  4. I should buy stock in Pepperidge Farm for the quantity of goldfish crackers consumed by my children. (C eats them  now.  Naturally, she digs ’em.)
  5. My double stroller can, in fact, accommodate three kidberts.  This delights every little old lady at the grocery store.
  6. Preschoolers are impervious to rain.  As long as it’s not a biblical flood, we’re out there.
  7. My personal savior is still Curious George, but a close runner-up is the genius that fenced in the playground, thereby preventing escape.  I also worship George Carlin for his narration on “Thomas the Tank Engine.”
  8. Baths are a greater entertainment than any movie ever made.
  9. I eschewed toilet locks before but thanks to Action Man’s delight with flushing and two missing toothbrushes, I have them now.

                 Me:  What happened to your toothbrush, Daniel?

                 Daniel:  It’s gone.

                 Me:  Gone where?

                 Daniel:  (with disdain for having to explain something so fundamental)  Gone in the toilet!

                  Me:  Do I even need to ask what happened to your sister’s toothbrush?

                 Daniel:  NO! (maniacal laughter)