He’ll be 1 in a month. His first year of potentially so many. I had a birthday last month. A fairly significant one, I think. People who, a few weeks before seemed so much older are now suddenly “my age”. I like being 30 so far…more than I thought I would. I know technically it isn’t really that much different from 29, but somehow, it feels different. I’ve been telling the girls in the high school small group I lead that once you turn 18, you sort of feel 18 forever. I know I do, on the inside anyway. Sometimes I look at my 3 kids and my house and my husband and I sort of giggle to myself and think “Don’t people know? How could they let me bring these babies home from the hospital? I’m just a kid!” But I’m not just a kid. And sometimes that is sad to realize, but mostly lately, I’m thankful for these 30 years that I wear on my face and speak in my words. I feel a bit more real and more secure. One thing I’ve learned for sure is I sure have a lot to learn.
Mommy accidently mentions the word “potty” and two-year-olds’ eyes light up. “I wanna poo-poo in the potty seat!” She disappears around the corner.
Three and half seconds later, twin sister two-year-old delightfully says the exact same thing…and disappears around the corner.
Mommy balances nursing baby brother in one arm while he fights to finish his lunch and tries to help first two-year-old pull off shorts and very wet diaper. All the while, listening to accusing tone of two-year-old. “I do it! I do it mySELF!”
Mommy sighs, sits on bathroom floor, watches as two-year-old tries unsucessfully to do it herself.
Mommy stands up and helps two-year-old finish undressing and mount the potty seat.
Two-year-old smiles, grunts, smiles, grunts, laughs, sings “Twinkle, Twinkle, litte star” (complete with hand motions), proudly announces “I did it!”, high fives twin sister (who is still singing), pulls 3 feet of toilet paper off from the wall, wipes (if you can call it that) jumps down from the potty seat and looks inside.
Potty is empty.
Two-year-old smiles again, announces her victory and runs out of bathroom naked from the waist down.
Twin two-year-old looks up at Mommy with big brown eyes. “I wanna poo-poo in the potty seat!”
Mommy looks at twin two-year-old. “Just go in your diaper.”
10 Vanilla hazelnut creamer (sorry Kari) for my coffee in the morning. I am taking full advantage of the one cup of caffeine a day that they allow a nursing mommy.
9 The theme song to the show The Office…less because of the show, more because it means for the next 22-26 minutes, The Man and I are going to be together and laugh at random, stupid comedy.
8 My two year old, still in her crib, sweetly singing Happy Birthday to her baby bear…because that makes up for 10,000 times she will scream “NO!” at the top of her lungs today.
7 My select comfort back sleeper pillow…I think I’m in love. For the stop-and-go pattern of sleep that define these early days with a newborn, at least I know I have this perfect pillow to return to.
6 & 5 Netflix and (ok, I’m just gonna say it) People magazine. Yes, I not only read People, I have a subscription. In my defense, it was a gift from my mother-in-law.
4 The potted flowers on our porch…because I planted them and they are still alive (because The Man took pity on them and gives them water).
3 Target. It is my trip to Hawaii, my grand getaway.
2 The FlyLady…because a made bed, clean laundry and a shiny sink go a long way to helping me feel life is normal and organized on those days when I don’t leave the house.
And the number one little big thing that has helped me survive the past 4 weeks:
1 Knowing this may be the last time...waking up in the wee hours of the morning and getting the fussy baby from his bassinet, feeding him until he is once again content and cleaning up the spitup that dripped down my leg when I got up to change his diaper all with only one eye slightly open becomes more bearable when I realize that, with each day that passes, this little baby in my arms grows older. And with 3 under 3, we will probably never have another one. And suddenly the draining cycle of sleep deprivation becomes an opportunity to remember that this crazy life routine we are in right now is temporary and fleeting. And just like that, the mundane becomes holy and sweet.
So much for an uneventful pregnancy. Our little one has decided he would rather lounge in my tummy with his back down than be upside down for the next few weeks. So we have decided to have another c-section and it is scheduled for tomorrow. I have approximately 12 more hours to be pregnant.
It seems like such an important moment in time. I didn’t expect to know when I would have this baby, but with the recent turn of events (literally), I have come to accept and embrace this last minute change in my idea of a birth plan and we have enjoyed a big day of anticipation.
So what is one to do the day before she is to have a baby? I cleaned the toilet. And went to target. And gave my 2 year olds a french manicure. And ate shrimp and tiramisu. And I prayed a lot and cried at stupid things. And I have been thankful.
One thing I didn’t do is watch the news for fear of seeing this.
For the past 8 months I have been waiting for June. With 2 and 1/2 weeks to go til our son is due to arrive in the world, it is both strange and exciting to realize that his birth month is indeed here. We’re “sittin’ on ready” (as my mother-in-law from Mississippi likes to say) and I am happy to have had an extremely uneventful pregnancy this time around. After giving birth to twin girls a little over 2 years ago, I have come to appreciate no longer being such a novelty.
It was the night of June 23, 2001 and my husband (of 4 hours) and I had just pulled away from our wedding reception. We sat closely in the way back of the limo somewhat surprised by the silence that greeted us as we watched our familiar town pass by through the window, the smiles and waves of those closest to us still a fresh memory. I remember looking down at my gown all gathered in my lap and then over at this man sitting close beside me with a crooked smile, both satisfied and loving, on his face. And in that moment an overwhelming and unexpected feeling swept fast through me: as a couple in love, we were finally free. Free to love and be loved without boundaries or fear of rejection. The way it was meant to be.
Fast forward five years to last night…sitting with my husband on the floor of our twin toddler’s nursery, he holding one and I the other. It was nearly 1 am and he had just cleaned out a crib full of throw up and I, seven months pregnant, was trying to navigate through my cloudy thoughts to decide what to do with a sick little girl in the middle of the night who was sure to throw up again, if not multiple times. It doesn’t matter how much time or money you spend when picking out cute bumper pads and pretty cribs for your babies. They all smell the same covered in last nights dinner.
She and I ended up in the living room and daddy took twin number 2 to the guest room with him…but because I couldn’t sleep for worrying about my daughter (and for fear of getting sick myself, if I’m completely honest) I began to think about my husband and about the transition from wedding to life. This is real life, I thought to myself. But I also realized something sweet and comforting as I tossed and turned on the couch. There is no place I’d rather be than sharing life with this man and these children in this place.
What a funny choice love can be. Why would I choose throw up and sleeplessness? Because this is life, real life…far removed from the lacy dress gathered in my lap, but no less sweet. It is all wrapped up in perspective. I like the way Paul Colman puts it: Life is where you are. And I choose to love it.