Monday, April 28, 2014

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!

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  1. Thanks for your honestly. I type this from the peace and quiet of my desk at work- outside the home where I guiltily feel sane with only ONE child at home. :) I am terrified to have another. Your honestly though is refreshing and Collins is ADORABLE!

  2. You are so witty. I just love this blog and you are my favorite "friend in my
    Mind" !

  3. I've been really interested (as always) to hear how transitions from 2 to 3 go. For me, personally, I found the transition from 1 to 2 WAY easier than 0 to 1. But my kids are 3 months shy of 3 years apart and that is the exact reason why if we do add a third they will be 3+ years apart. I know myself that I *could* do 2 close together, but for my mental stability I'm waiting an extra year *if* we decide to add a 3rd. Biggest congrats! P.S. How is tandem nursing going!? Eager to hear about that too!

  4. i think is the first time i've commented but i'll just say. i just joined the "mom of 3 kids" club 2 months ago. mine are a freshly 4, 2 1/2, & 2 months. its nuts & chaotic but so worth it & i seriously consider it a good day if we just all survive. :) keep up the good work.

  5. If anyone can conquer this task, I know it's you, AP. Proud of you and proud of the mama you are, even on the hard days. Those boys are loved and they KNOW that they're loved, and that's all that matters at the end of the day. Grab a glass of wine and soak it all in, you've got this.

  6. So happy for y'all! I bet in a couple of months, this will be something you've completely figured out. The great news is you're an amazing mama and you can fight a bear for a little while! :)

  7. As usual, your honesty is so refreshing.

    And pretty f-ing scary! ;) xoxo

  8. First of all, that photo is BEAUTIFUL. And the video was hilarious. Second, I've never really understood that the third is easier. I think every time you add one it has to be harder. Or at the very least, feel harder in the moment. It's possible that moms look back a few years later and say "psshh, that was a breeze." I wish breezy days upon you soon.

  9. Congratulations on your beautiful baby boy!

    I only have one child (for now), and that is a handful. I am sending all my mommy vibes to you. As I was told too at the beginning... It will get better :)

  10. Yes yes and yes...I love the 'no one likes waiting around here'. Every day I find myself saying to my 4 year old "does it look like I have an extra hand for that right now?"...for some reason I figure I have some chance of getting her to understand (unlike the 2 year old who is likely melting down on the floor of Target, or the 8 month old who missing yet another nap and being dragged along to whatever activity we are heading to). The only way I survived was by lowering expectations of myself (SO Hard!) But if I kept everyone happy with a big bowl of goldfish crackers and cuddles on the couch...while nursing the baby with my eyes closed...well, some days...that's a win.

  11. Thanks for your honesty and candor. I can only imagine that it gets better but I only have two- a 3 month old and a 22 month old. I think the first few weeks are the toughest with hormones and constant nursing that seems to take forever. Or, maybe that's just me. Ideally, I'd love to have a third but there are days where I seriously question whether or not we can handle the chaos. Sometimes, we're barely surviving with the two we have, especially when Daddy has to work late and is home after bedtime. But, then you love the moments when your oldest gets so excited when her brother smiles at her and she tells him that she loves him. And, suddenly, it's all worth it. I hope those moments haven to you soon and often! And, I hope juggling everything/everyone gets easier as you heal and the insane demands of a brand new baby lessen a bit.

  12. This makes me realize going from 1 to 3 might be the way to do it. I tell everyone the twins are not hard it's the 3 year old! Having 2 needing you while you are nursing would be tough. The only thing that's nicer for you is the wearing him ability. I could buy a $100 wrap and have it converted to two ring slings but I haven't really needed to wear them both yet. Don't try to have a clean house or educational fun with the older two. It's survival mode time!

  13. My first and second are 16 months apart. My second and third are 18 months apart. Now they are 6, almost 5, and 3. I thought the transition from two to three honestly wasn't too bad but for some reason I'm nervous for our transition to baby number 4 coming soon. I'm hoping it's smooth since they're all older. But we shall see. :)

  14. Oh man, mama. I can only imagine! But if anyone has this- it's you! I appreciate your honesty (and bravery- he's going back to work tomorrow???). In a few short weeks you will have an awesome rhythm going, complete with a mommy happy hour. Stay strong!

  15. Oh wow, it's just as I suspected and now all hopes and dreams of me having a third has gone up in flames. Thanks for that. It's funny I keep pushing it back. At first it was when the baby turns 18 months we'll try, then it was when he turns 2, now I'm think 21/2 but that time will be here much too fast so maybe when he turned three.

  16. First time commenter but I really appreciate your honesty. Going from two to three was brutal for me. When I brought home my third my older boys were only 4 and 2 and it was hard, for a long time. Now I feel like we've really got it together and we're adding a fourth in September! It took a while, and we still have our bad days but you'll get it down. The first four months of any baby's life are all about survival anyway right?

  17. I really love this post. I love your honesty. Sometimes making it through the day is the success that you need to hold on to because it is damn hard. I hope what they say about things getting better/easier is true, because I know I held onto that hope after my second was born.

  18. you are so loved for your honesty!!
    mom life is hard in general. i wonder how we may ever do it with 2!
    C and i will come over for a visit to lend our helping hands :)

  19. Just started following you on IG and saw your blog! I absolutely love how honest and raw your posts are. These are the kind of blogs I always like to follow!! I'll definitely add you to my list. :)

  20. You nailed it on the head when you said there isn't enough time. I found the transition easy when adding each child to the family, but it was REALLY difficult to let go of all the expectations. There simply isn't enough time to meet the needs of all your children, a husband, a home, and pets, while trying to check things off your to do list. That being said, I wouldn't change a single thing. All too soon, there will be plenty of time for everything. Praying everything falls into place soon. I have faith that it will!

  21. I've followed you on IG for awhile but this is my first time visiting your blog - to read your birth story and now this. I have #3 due in late summer and I'm totally freaked out at how crazy life will feel, too, since life with two boys feels crazy now!!! But we all get through it, somehow, and it does help to read such honesty from others and know we're not alone!

    Loved your birth story, love your sweet brood of boys - congratulations and hang in there!!

  22. Love and appreciate your honesty! We are expecting our first and we really want 3. I am going to need to re-read this post in a few years!


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