Lessons Learned by a Dad of Four

I know, I know … it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything to this blog, and many of you have been wondering, ” So Steve, why aren’t we hearing more from you about your newly expanded family and those sweet, cherubic children of yours?  When are we going to see more pictures and hear more about their humorous escapades?”  My typical response to this is, “I’m getting around to it, mom – be patient.”

All Four Kids
The Rempe crew, welcoming baby Matthew from the hospital.  (Note the princess dress.)

The truth is, the reason I haven’t written more about the madhouse I share with four children four and under is … well, I live in a madhouse that I share with four children four and under.  That is to say, waking moments at home tend to be spent (a) getting the kids to do something they don’t want to do; (b) getting the kids to stop doing something I don’t want them to do; (c) cleaning up after the kids following my failure to accomplish (b); or (d) recovering from my efforts on points (a), (b), and (c).

Yes, this is an exhausting stage in life, and one that doesn’t lend itself to evenings of quiet reflection in the parlor while sipping on a spot of Earl Grey and typing out thoughts on the ol’ Smith Corona.  At this point, the closest thing to a private study is my little cubicle at the office, where – if I’m lucky – I’m able to squeeze out a few moments a week to write once the day’s work is done, fueled by sugary beverages that allow me to ignore the lack of sleep I had the previous night.

This is not to complain, though.  Sleep deprivation aside, I love the life and challenges that come with being a dad of four.  And I readily acknowledge that when it comes to the challenges of parenting, my wife deals with much, much more than I do, and for longer periods of time.  (Although, in my defense, most of my friends of similar age have long since seen this effort-intensive period of child rearing fade from the rear-view mirror.  To which Beth would probably respond, “Well, stop giving me children.”  Fair point.)

Indeed, flying in the face of that old axiom, this old dog has actually learned some new tricks when it comes to parenting small children.  So, should any of you find yourselves raising a pack of little ones, here are few life lessons learned from this daddy of four.

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