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10 Lessons in Preschool Pack Mentality

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This summer, we spent a lot of time at Grammy's house. On one particular occasion, we were joined by my stepbrother, his wife and their two kids -- Hunter, 5 and Maia, 3.

Mazzy was in absolute KIDDIE HEAVEN. She has always been very social, so she became fast friends with her cousins even though this is actually only her second time meeting them. (The first was when she was three months old, so I'm gonna give her a pass for having to ask their names again.)

The weekend was a lot of fun, but also a small taste of what it will be like to have more than one kid.

Short answer: CHAOTIC AND LOUD.

Below are ten lessons I learned this past weekend:

1. It doesn't matter how many toys are in the room, all the kids will fight over the same one.

Over the course of two days, there were fights over a game of Connect Four that none of them knew how to play, a deflated balloon, an action figure of someone named Ben 10 (why Mazzy HAD TO HAVE IT, I have no idea) and a plastic raddish.

2. Kids have a sixth sense as to when the others have woken up, even if they are on the other side of the house.

Mazzy heard Maia make a peep at 5:30am and it was all over. She bolted upright in bed and screamed, "I'm awake! Can I play with Maia now?" before I could even distinguish reality from a nightmare.

3. Don't tell a group of little kids you are going to a Mexican restaurant named Funcho's.

When they get there, and they learn all they will be doing is eating lunch, one might turn to you with extreme disappointment and say, "Where is the FUN SHOW?"

4. Dessert must be doled out equally, and if possible, at the exact same time.

For instance, if you are giving more than one preschooler ice cream, it would be helpful to employ a group of waiters with fine dining experience, so they can all stand around the table, place a covered bowl in front of each child and then lift the silver lids off all at once.

5. If one kid is wearing a piece of tupperware on his head, EVERY KID must wear a piece of tupperware on their heads.

6. Don't tell two little girls they are the "M&M Twins", unless you are prepared to listen to this for the next two days:

7. "I want to take a swimming break" actually means, "I want to get out of the pool, towel off, walk back to the house, see that the other kids are going to the pool and then turn around and go right back in."

8. Influence of older kids who run faster, climb higher and ride bikes means more scrapes, bumps and bruises for the little one trying to keep up. (Mazzy's poor knees.)

9. Naptime becomes much more difficult when the older kids in the house don't take one anymore.

We put Mazzy in the pack-and-play for a nap upstairs by telling her that everybody else was going to take a nap now too. Ten minutes later, I see her little head poking through the banister on the stairs, eyeing everyone (Maia and Hunter inlcuded) playing on their assorted electronic devices. "Everybody is awake?!" she shouted triumphantly. Oops. I forget the kid is too smart for me. Plus, which one of those toddlers taught her how to climb out of the pack-and-play???

10. Getting three preschoolers to all sit still at once, is a minor miracle.

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