When we found out we were having a third Child (making three in five years) Kirk and I knew at once we were going to have to go from a man-on-man to a zone defense. As long as the Children stayed reasonably well clustered we could, using extra hands or an ankle in a pinch, maintain physical contact if not control over them most of the time. Of course, it's asking far too much to have three small ones maintain a tight formation at all times. Herding cats doesn't begin to cover it. I still have a compulsive need to count heads before going through a door - almost any door - and the Children by now ignore my fevered mumbles of "one... two... how many did we start with today?"
As they got older, more independent and easier to threaten (never underestimate the power of a Child's imagination on potential punishment - ours included the concept of white socks with sandals, shorts and a hawaiian shirt... at the next school dance) the immediate need to physically wrangle them all diminished, but the logistical issues increased. We began by limiting each Child to one need-transport activity. Anything that was bussed or chauffeured in some way was fine, but we would only drive each Child to one thing. They all picked soccer which was fine until we realized this meant three teams, each meeting twice or three times a week for practices (almost all of them on different days) plus games. Add in Kirk's insane willingness to coach AND ref and the Children (drawn by the allure of striped polyester and the right to wear a whistle) volunteering for field duty as well and we just spent the year in an endless frenzy of soccer events.
Now of course it's just me doing the driving and the attending and the cheering on. So far it's going fairly well, with everyone's schedule meshing reasonably with the available transport. Children 1 and 3 are doing JROTC which means 4x weekly extra class plus (as of yesterday) civil air patrol which might take some doing. It also means going to "armed" and "unarmed" drill meets which makes for two problems. Unarmed has the kids marching around in little squares and being asked Gotcha! questions by various people - how do you cheer for that? I've only been to a couple and I have no idea if you're supposed to pump your arms in the air and shout, "Yeeeeawww! Way to about face baby!!" or if that's considered de trop. For armed it's more simple - that's the one where they take 13lb. "rifles" and hurl them at each other with enormous vigor and enthusiasm. It's going to be worse than watching Olympic ice-skating (I shut my eyes every time someone's going to jump or throw someone or something - the possibility for humiliating mistakes is far too great) because not only might Child drop something with an huge clatter, it might miss a catch and knock out its teeth or break a nose. I just know I'm going to be the one mom on the sidelines saying "hey! Don't play with those! You'll shoot your eye out!" and Child will disown me.
I need a manual for this stuff.