The other night, after all three kids were asleep, I got a chance to sit down and enjoy a few minutes of peace and quite. I reflected on the chaos of life just a couple hours earlier…how all three kids were crying at the same time during our bathtime routine, how there was nothing I could do about it and how I felt rather unphased by the entire situation. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t enjoy it when my kids cry. But basic hygiene is something that has to be done, whether James Michael wants to or not, whether Beau bumps his head on the faucet or not and whether Scarlett wants to be held instead of sitting in the bouncy seat or not. Unfortunately for my kids (and me!), Daddy works every weeknight, which means there’s only one Mama to handle the nighttime routine. As JM likes to say, “Mama needs as many hands as an octopus.” Very wise, my son.
When JM (my oldest) was a baby, I remember how each cry pierced my ears and I ran to him to remedy the audible torture as fast as possible. But I realize that a lot changes after that first baby, and for better or worse, you become unphased by things that were at one time unsettling.
So this third time around, I’ll admit I’m no longer phased by:
Blowouts…as in multiple-times-a-day blowouts and blowouts in the midst of diaper changes.
Sleep deprivation…Lack of sleep was probably the hardest obstacle after my first baby, but now, I’m not even sure if I’ve had an entire uninterrupted night of sleep in three years (a perk of having three so close together!). You just get used to functioning on less.
Crying babies (and kids for that matter)…Being quite outnumbered, I respond to these 911 cries as any good dispatcher would: I give my attention to the most serious need first, which is not always the newborn. Half the time Beau has bitten JM or JM alerts me that Beau is tottering on a bar stool. Safety comes first; newborn feeding and cuddles come second. This ensures I’m not dragging all three kids to the ER by myself.
Nasal aspirator…Oh the fun memories of trying to fit the bulb syringe up JM’s nose as a newborn. I was terrified I was hurting him or permanently stretching out his nostrils to the point of no return. Nowadays, Mama ain’t got time for that. I’ve got 10 seconds to help baby breathe better and the knowledge of three years to know that baby will be just fine after it’s all over.
Nursing in public…With JM, I tried to time our outings around his feedings for the first two months. That third month, I realized that confining myself to this schedule basically ensures I skip out on life, so I nursed for the first time in public at an outdoor music festival. I was paranoid to the extreme, but with a trusty Aden + Anais blanket as a cover up, I realized it really wasn’t a big deal. Nowadays, when baby needs to eat, baby eats. It’s much better than a crying hungry baby.
Trimming newborn fingernails…I’m pretty sure JM wore mittens the first three months of his life because I could not risk cutting him when trimming his fingernails. And I tried the whole filing thing, which was ridiculously time-consuming and basically ineffective on paper-thin nails. I’ve already trimmed Scarlett’s three times, and you know what? No knicks, no blood, no cries…no problem.
Developmental milestones…With my first baby, I was more aware of the normal developmental milestones (growth, rolling over, sitting up, crawling, talking, walking, etc.) largely due to the emails I received every week reminding me of when certain things typically happened. I worried about JM’s toothless mouth until his first tooth finally popped up at 11 months. I worried that he wasn’t walking by a year old, then he took his first steps at 12.5 months and was walking like a pro within days. Every child is different. Beau didn’t start crawling until a week before he hit 9 months, and I thanked the Lord for that blessing. Two mobile kids definitely changes things!
Despite this being my third go round, there are still a couple things I’m quite overwhelmed by:
Finding countless ways to entertain the Rowdy boys, especially in the winter
The sheer amount of pink that now dapples our house
The logistics of getting anywhere by myself with three (though we’ve lucked out the past week!)