“Wow, you really have your hands full!” is a comment with which I’m all too familiar.
Chances are, even if you have one young child, you’ve heard this a time or two. With each child, multiply that number by 5-10.
The addition of our first child gave us immediate residency in Crazy Town. We thought we were so prepared. We were as prepared as possible, which is to say, we had no idea what we were doing.
I say that not with an air of superiority, because we still have no idea what we’re doing. We’re winging it like everyone else.
The thing is, that comment about having my hands full, seems less true now than it did when we had our first. Our house does actually feel a little less crazy town-ish since having our third baby. As I sat and rocked with Naomi before her nap yesterday, I really felt the weight of that truth.
I know, that probably doesn’t make much sense unless you have three or more kids.
I’m not saying our house doesn’t get a little nuts. In fact, for many people, I’m sure our home and life seems unbearable.
I have three children. I have two extremely energetic, loud, very physical boys who love to race and wrestle each other. They are mini Curious Georges (x100) and they have to be reminded often of things that seem intuitive, like a) climbing over our fence barefoot is a bad idea and b) throwing large, heavy objects at each others’ heads won’t end well.
I have a baby girl who happens to have a much daintier build than her brothers did at the same age and yet keeping up with them seems her main goal in life. She’s currently obsessed with climbing, well everything, including them.
Since, I’m sure at this point you’re ready to never spend more than 5 minutes with us, I should probably get to the point. What do I mean?
When we had Dylan, everything felt like the end of the world. My emotions were insane, I was used to having the freedom to spend time alone on a long walk or take a yoga class on a whim, and I could no longer do that. Andy and I couldn’t go out to a movie or dinner without planning for a sitter. Oh, and finding a sitter?! Such a scary idea. Who else could wing it like me and take care of my baby the way I could?
I wanted freedom on one hand, but on the other, I couldn’t leave my baby without crying. So many new thoughts and feelings. THAT was incredibly overwhelming.
Then Wyatt came along, three homes and two states later. (Yes, we used to move often for no good reason.) Dylan was 2 years old and I thought I knew what was coming. I was wrong. I’ve never felt like more of a mess.
My two year old decided sleep was overrated during the day and the world was such an interesting place full of new adventure. Up until that point, he was the kid that slept until 9am every morning, took a two hour afternoon nap and was in bed by 7pm. That schedule was a thing of the past. Meanwhile, my new infant was completely different in pretty much every like and dislike, he had a lot of trouble latching to breastfeed, and he wasn’t a huge fan of sleeping at night. As if that wasn’t enough, we had just moved further away from both sides of our family to an area where pretty much everyone lived in close proximity to their own family, so there wasn’t a huge sense of community among neighbors. Again, OVERWHELMING.
So what about the third baby? When Naomi was born, we had two bigger kids who kept each other company. They loved each other fiercely and they both wanted to help with baby sister. We had moved to a more affordable area, close to good friends and in a community with a lot of transplanted families. My family had also moved close. I joined MOMS club and MOPS and we felt extremely supported. Not too bad.
I’m not convinced the number of children someone has always factors in. There’s something to be said for time and support. Maybe something sacred about the number three, too… It didn’t happen all at once and, with the addition of each child, our family has morphed. We may technically have our hands full in that we have more kids than adults, but it’s more than manageable.
I used to be afraid of kids. I thought they were destructive and threw tantrums and the idea of having them around for “adult” events made me nervous. I’m guilty of thinking that way before my wedding. Can you guess one of my favorite memories from that night? When a toddler took over the dance floor. Kids are the definition of fun. Their hearts are so pure and, when adults take the time to soak in the simplicity of their joy along with them, life is better for everyone.
There are so many things I can’t do (or are harder to do) right now, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. I’m having a different kind of fun now.