Like clockwork, I hear the sound of the toddler's bedroom door open. A minute passes before it slams shut, a sound that is nothing but brain-jarring at six-thirty in the morning.
In a sleepy daze I vow to punch whomever is slamming doors at this ungodly hour but as the fog of sleep lifts from around me, I can hear the toddler standing outside my bedroom door yelling, "Mom? Mom? You there? I nee halp! Sheepie? Come halp me!"
I clumsily extend an arm from the warm tangle of sleep and pillows and reach for the iPad that sits on my nightstand. Pulling it from it's charging post, I slide out of bed with it and stumble into the hallway where the toddler is standing bright-eyed and bushy-tailed on the other side of the baby gate that promises no late night adventures around the house.
I hand over the iPad as he quickly runs back into room, jumping into bed with a hearty, "Danks, Mom! Now I watch a movie!" With tiny tech-savvy fingers I watch as he navigated the tablet, a swipe here, a swipe there. Within seconds the screen illuminated with red as the Netflix app came to life.
I have now bought myself at least another forty-five minutes of uninterrupted slumber as familiar voices begin to flood the toddler's bedroom.
Want to know what the toddler was watching and how Netflix has a portal in place that allows parents to rest easy, assured their tiny fingers won't wander into inappropriate media selections? Click the picture below!
One of my husband's more prominent love languages is words of affirmation and when you marry someone whose love language is vastly different from yours, holidays, anniversaries and even the nitty gritty day-to-day can be a challenge but that's a post for a whole other day.
It's no secret that one of my love language is gifts and not because I'm selfish and love things. Well, I do love things but as anyone whose love language is gifts will tell you, it's much less about the materialistic nature of the gift and much more about the time and thoughtfulness put into the gift that speaks volumes.
Recently my husband in all of his "words of affirmation glory" said something to me that has since resonated, echoing in my ears multiple times throughout the day. He was praising my efforts as a mom and letting me know just how grateful and appreciative he is on the daily that our kids are being raised by me.
He threw out words like "adore," "incredible" "lucky" and "amazing" and although I'm often uncomfortable when on the receiving end of compliments, even from him, I couldn't help but blush a bit and pat myself on the back for a job well done.
He joked about how he's my "third biggest fan," close on the heels of my number one fan who may be biased as his affections for me have a lot to do with my breasts and behind even our oldest son who staunchly refuses to let anyone take him up to bed each night other than me. He laughed and quickly followed up by saying, "I come third, but I'm okay with that right now."
And it hit me.
He's right. For a while now he has come third. As anyone with kids as little as ours will tell you, it's difficult to make time for anyone else, including yourself, when you're busy neck-deep in raising them. Between the fog of newborn-dom and the terrible twos, lack of sleep and let's call it what it is, trying your damnedest to keep them alive and out of the ER each and every day, there isn't a whole lot left for anyone else. Emotionally, physically, and/or spiritually.
I would be lying if I said that my wifely duties both in the kitchen and the bedroom have suffered a bit (maybe moreso than I care to admit) since we had the baby. I'm only human and I'm only one person and hot damn, raising two little boys under three is exhausting! There's just no two ways about it.
I applaud the women I see in social media who appear to do it all. Believe, I am not one of them. When I bake? I don't cook. When I steam clean the floors? I forget about the laundry. Too many Mondays have come and gone where my husband hasn't had any clean socks to wear to work that morning. Shame on me.
That's when I take a minute to remind myself that without my husband, we wouldn't have these two beautiful blessings that take up so much of our day to day energy. The foundation we lay for them now as husband and wife and mom and dad will be the foundation that their entire future is built upon. Nobody wants to build upon a weak and shaky foundation.
I'm no expert when it comes to marriage, although I have to say we have a pretty awesome thing going these last five and a half years and I'm certainly no expert when it comes to raising kids either. I mean, have you heard my child tell you to "mine your bizzies?" What makes our marriage so successful, however, is that it's made up of two people who allow each other to falter. Who show each other patience, understanding and forgiveness even when it isn't the easiest to do.
After all, he's a yell-er and I'm a door slammer.
I'm thankful to be married to a man that doesn't mind "coming in third" to our children in this stage of life. I love him so much more for realizing and understanding that this is not a permanent season in our life. That it's also a learning process for the both of us and that I'm really trying my hardest to accommodate the needs of everyone in our family.
Even if that means I occasionally fall asleep in the toddler's bed at night or forget to move his laundry to the dryer. Regardless, I'll always be his number 1 fan.
Let's face it. New Jersey is better than Maryland for many reasons and it's not just because my parents live there (but it is) or because of the awesome bagels and pizza (but it is). It's awesome because it's also where Maclane took his first steps and a few days after that, started running. For real.
Now, please excuse my incredibly amateur video editing skills. You see, this is not my forte and not only am I on a laptop in New Jersey that I don't normally use but I'm converting video files and splicing things and using shady software and really making a fool of myself when it comes to editing movies.
Forgive me, okay? One day I'll get the hang of this and register whatever ridiculous video converting software I downloaded from god knows where (sorry husband) so that there isn't that annoying watermark.
In the mean time? Here's a video of Maclane's latest and greatest accomplishment. On May 9th, nine days before his 11 month birthday, he took his very first steps. Within days he was up and cruising like a pro. Carter started walking on his 11 month birthday and I will never forget the day I saw him toddle down the hallway in our kitchen. Big boy status, achieved.
Way to go, MacAttack! We're so proud of you. I, on the other hand, need a stiff drink. Two bipedal kids is no f'ing joke and Maclane is at the exact head-height of every single object of death in our home. It's time to put the ER on speed dial or buy the kid a helmet.