Rookie Thoughts On The Transition From Two To Three.
I don't get much time to think these days. Ever since Collins and I left the hospital to rejoin the family at home it feels like I've been running on some sort of alien autopilot. My body knows the motions it needs to go through- wake, feed, diaper, pump, fall into REM and fall out just as quickly, eat as many things as possible with one hand, etc. but I can't always say that I feel readily present while going through said motions.
After all, my body has been through this before. Twice, as a matter of fact, just within the last three years. It knows how to do babies. It gets babies. It doesn't, however, get babies and toddlers and preschoolers, husbands and households all at the same time.
Someone (actually, just about every blog and family/parenting website on the Internets) once reassured me that the transition going from two to three children was much easier than the transition going from one to two. When I first heard this, I must have stared blankly back at them.
Anyone with any sense of logic could have called their bluff right then and there. I mean, how could it not be more difficult going from two three? You don't need to have a mathematician's degree to see that there is obviously strength in numbers. Not to mention that said strength lies in the court of the offspring, not the parents. Mistake numero uno.
I could see the transition being easier, if say, the children were older or spaced more than twenty-something months a part. Or if you had a full waitstaff on hand to cater to everyone's needs.
Let me set the record straight here. I am no Parenting Rock Star. This is easily evidenced by a video that I recently posted to my Instagram account. I am by no means a professional mother but I will be the first to say that three kids is hard. I want to stomp my feet and whine and say, "it's really really fucking hard," but that wouldn't exactly be demure of me so we'll just say it's hard. How hard is it?
So hard, in fact, that by the end of the day I'm seriously questioning my sanity and considering my ability to adequately parent while remaining a calm, collected and contributing member of society.
My husband hit the nail on the head the other night when, while laying in bed, he turned to me and said, "I feel like I start the day with an 'A' and end it with a 'C-'" Now, some of you might be happy with those statistics but for two first-born overachievers like ourselves, we may as well don our Parenting Dunce Caps and walk ourselves down the hall to detention.
Similarly I told him that I often wake up feeling like the proverbial Valedictorian of the Motherhood class first thing in the morning and that by the end of the day I feel much more like the renegade high school drop out strung out on drugs, yelling obscenities at The Man who by no fault of his own greatly wronged him. In my case, however, I would be yelling obscenities at Three Little Men who may as well have full dictatorship over our household. I might even venture to say they could probably run the house better than my husband and I at this point.
And it's not "hard." I don't think that's the proper word I should be using in this instance. Like I said earlier, I know what needs to be done. I know whose needs require meeting, when they require meeting and what happens if those needs are met too early or too soon or with the wrong type of milk. There just isn't enough time. There isn't enough time to make everyone happy every minute of the day.
As a matter of fact, screw happy. At this point I'm aiming for just amicable. Simple middle ground. Nothing great or profound. I'm not shooting for the Parenting Olympics. I just want everyone to be satisfied and alive at the end of the day.
But doing just that for three tiny humans is exhausting. As if someone always wanted something from you before before now there's one less parent to child ratio to support the something. Someone always has to wait and let me tell you, nobody likes waiting in this house.
I know we'll eventually fall into a rhythm and that this will all just be a distance memory that I look back on one day and laugh about. That day may not come until I'm forty but it's nice to know that day is out there.
It's just that I'm a people-pleaser who appreciates having a modicum of control over her family. It's difficult to maintain that control when my 4 year old is melting down over chocolate versus vanilla milk, my 2 year old is consistently letting himself out the front door and the baby is hanging from my nipple by a thread. And by thread I mean the K'Tan wrap because without the ability to baby wear this time around, I surely would have not allowed anyone to discharge us home from the hospital. We would have stayed forever and ever.
And these feelings? All of these feelings have been felt while having the comfort of my husband home to co-parent alongside me. If I'm speaking honestly, there have actually been very few moments since our arrival home that I've actually had to be in charge of more than two of our children at a time.
For what it's worth he goes back to working full days on Wednesday. I want to say something totally witty and cliche like, "at least there's always wine!" But let's face it. That only numbs the pain and just a week out of major abdominal surgery I'm in no form to start day drinking just yet.
I think I'll save that for when the baby becomes mobile, no?
So, you're thinking of having a third baby? I strongly urge you to come spend a day with us in our home. Think of it as kind of like a Major Life Decision Site Visit. No, no. Don't let the idea of it sway you.
Let the shrill screams of fighting brothers and the exhausted sighs of two wet-nosed parents of three speak for themselves.
Welcome to being a Party of Five, I guess. One day we'll get the hang of this. Today is just not that day and tomorrow isn't looking too great either.
*Collins' birth story to come. The third child we never knew we always wanted and we are grossly enamored with him. He is beautiful and wonderful and every ounce of sheer perfection in our eyes. I mean, just look at that face!