I feel like that is a question that embeds itself into your life from day one of becoming a parent and persists with a quickening pace with each child you have and the older they get.
It's been a fun 3 weeks...
It's been a crazy 3 weeks...
We've made it through bouts of stomach flu with both girls and stitches in the ER for Scott all while trying to find a new rhythm with 3 little girls...
I suppose the added chaos of the illness and the trip to the ER was very fitting...very telling...of how life goes when you have 5 people living under one roof. You never know what kind of silliness, or craziness, or illness, or woundedness (literally!) is going to crop up. The larger the family, the larger the chance for unexpected details and events.
I think one of the funniest moments was the Monday that Ava went back to school...the first full day that Aubrey was home. I was nursing the baby when the phone rang. Ella was on the couch after having thrown up all over the bathroom. It was the school nurse...
"Hi Mrs. Littlewood. Ava just came down and has a slight rash on her leg...I wanted to let you know."
They had had me come pick Ava up from school a month earlier because she had broken out in hives after her bout with pink eye.
"Um, well..." I said, baby in arms, sick kid on couch.
"I just got home from the hospital yesterday with our third child, my four year old is on the couch with the stomach flu and my husband ran out for a bit...is there anything you can give her?"
Basically I was saying I wasn't very concerned about some itchy bumps at the moment and Ava was going to just have to make it through the day.
"We can put some vaseline on it."
I half laughed to myself...Vaseline?! What's that going to do?!
But then I realized it would probably have a placebo effect for Ava and she would hopefully feel better for the rest of the day, buying me a few more hours to focus on taking care of the two little girls who needed me at home.
"Sure! Go for it...Call me if things get worse."
It was in that moment, and many more like it since, that I realized a very stark truth...the more kids you have the less ability you have to meet all of their needs in the ways that you used to.
Someone has to wait for crackers and may need to ask for them again 25 minutes later because I've completely forgotten about them. A stubbed toe doesn't get the same compassion it once did, especially not if Im nursing or trying to get a fussy baby to fall asleep upstairs...if it doesn't require stitches or immediate attention you just might have to deal with it on your own!
The books I want to sit and read to the girls don't always get read, the games I want to play with them aren't always getting played, and the clothes aren't getting washed, folded and put back into drawers as quickly as they used to (which, if I must confess, was not very quick to begin with!).
Basically, the things that were just getting done before are not getting done right now, which in some ways is almost freeing because you just have to throw your hands up in the air and say, "Oh well."
Though I do get a little sad sometimes that I can't spend as much time with the girls...or that Ella is left to entertain herself much more often around the house during the day (which, fortunately, she is VERY good at). As my mother-in-law very wisely said while she was here last week..."They do have each other."
Which is very, very true. Ava and Ella are becoming great little friends (great friends who fight a lot sometimes...but that, I suppose, is the definition of a sister!). Ella has actually been sleeping on an air mattress in Ava's room because they've decided they like sleeping together better than apart (when Scott's mom was here they all slept in a room together and have continued doing so ever since!).
And so we adjust to the change of bringing home baby #3. Everyone must have more patience, the girls are sleeping together, and I only have an hour and a half or so to run an errand at any given time.
It's been a wonderful adjustment. Ava ADORES her baby sister. Ella, well, Ella is amused by her and the fact that she drinks milk from my...um...boobs ( a word that gets flung around with amusing frequency these days!).
As for Aubrey...she's been a great baby (though squawking at me as I try to write this!). She still sleeps a TON! So much so that Scott and I went out to run errands with her last night while my mom watched the girls and she slept the ENTIRE time. It was almost like a real date!
I feel completely blessed and Scott and I feel...well...complete as a family in a way that perhaps we hadn't before she arrived. The blessing to me of having a baby now is that I feel like I'm getting the opportunity to enjoy the baby stage in a way that I was emotionally unable to the first two times around. With Ava I found myself anxious about so many new parts of life...the adjustment felt massive and completely life altering. When Ella came 20 months later life was a whirlwind of potty training, diapers, meeting the constant demands of a toddler and an infant and then moving back to Buffalo four months later.
This time...round 3...well, there are no big surprises. We're pretty settled into our life and home here (thankfully!). The fact that I'm not sleeping consistently at night doesn't phase me as much because I know it is short lived. Her crying doesn't jostle me as much because I know it's just part of having a baby around. I also know how FAST it all goes because I stare at Ava and Ella and cannot believe how big they are and how quickly we got from here (baby) to there (a child almost out of kindergarten).
Because I know how fast it goes, I'm SO much more deliberate about just being in the moment...
The messy, sink filled, big laundry pile, constant diaper changing, tired moments.
And so diapered toy dolls sit in infant swings...
Dresser tops are full of clothes...
Boppys and blankets are strewn about...
I haven't showered and my closet is full of ill fitting winter maternity clothes...and there is little time to go shopping for anything that fits....
But we're content...and those other things don't seem to matter as much...
Scott sighs at least once a day and says, "Wow...three girls."
I laugh at him...He has a home full of hormones and compensates by wrestling with the girls and buying them Nerf dart guns to shoot at each other.
It's all good and we wouldn't have it any other way.
|Our new sleeping beauty...|
|Proud and loving big sister!|
|My first Mother's Day as a mom of 3!|
|Ella in Aubrey's bathtub, which she hooked to Aubrey's carseat!|