A lot of people have asked me how the transition to 3 has been. I've noticed that most of the people asking are parents of 2 asking with a "Hello, brave pioneer. How does the weather look ahead?" type of look.
Someone just today asked me if the transition from 2-3 was easier than the transition from 1-2. I stuttered a bit over the word "easy" in any form being used to describe the addition of a new baby.
I don't know. For sure I am more confident in my mothering. The doctors called me a "veteran mother" in the hospital when I had Eli. If "veteran" means more white hairs, fewer outfits without stains, and a sense of humor bordering on insanity- then yes, yes I am.
But also? I now have more children than I have arms.
Today I made my very first outing with the 3 alone. It wasn't even a necessary outing. I'm just trying to get my feet back under me and get more comfortable with leaving my house alone with them before my husband's busy season starts up again.
And as I was standing in the playroom, watching the two tots scoot away into the store while I was holding Eli- it occurred to me that I could only grab one of them to bring them back as I only had one free arm. So I grabbed Addison and bribed Carter with some juice when we got back to the car if he obeyed. First battle down- victory won. Although really, I just got lucky my first go of it.
Some days are awesome. This morning Addison was at school, Eli contentedly played on his blanket, and Carter messed around with the new tractor aps on my phone while I actually got some cleaning done (thus getting the kids out of the house this afternoon...so it could stay clean just a bit longer). I felt like superwoman, and it was amazing to be able to claim back some portions of my house.
Other days absolutely nothing gets done other than 3 sets of bums being kept in clean diapers, 3 stomachs are kept full of good food, and 3 sets of eyes close for sleep promptly at 7pm. If you were to unexpectedly drop by my house at the end of one of these days, you would gasp and no doubt feel the need to call someone to have my children taken to a safer environment. These days happen when Eli is particularly needy in the eating department, meaning that he gets held a good portion of the day while hurricane #1 and #2 set to work. No complaints about getting to hold my newborn for long hours (clean up duty notwithstanding). Although it would be nice if I could sit and feed him while picking up and putting away the toys off the floor with my eyes. Apparently "veteran mother" does not include having eyes with magical powers. Not gonna lie- it would be nice.
So is it easier than when Carter was a newborn?
It is so hard to compare because Carter was such an incredibly demanding baby. Eli is a pretty easy going baby (knock on wood). But now I have two toddlers to continue to parent whereas when Carter was a baby- I just had Addison who was still pretty babyish herself.
I think the easiest thing about 2-3 compared to 1-2 is that I know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I know that they will adjust. I know that Eli will grow into different stages. I know that my ability to juggle whatever necessary to parent my children will continue to expand with them because I have seen it happen before.
So when I have rough days when Carter is destroying one room, Addison is destroying another, Eli is pooping through all his diapers and screaming with rage if he isn't eating constantly- I know that these rough transition days are numbered because before I know if they will all be in the next stage and I'll be wondering where my tiny babies went.
It's strange to me how 3 children can be completely overwhelming and yet be completely wonderful. I already can't imagine life without Eli. My little family has expanded and yet it seems perfect and just how it was supposed to be. We sit at family dinner. We hold tiny hands as we pray. We talk and listen to toddler jabber and cradle a newborn in one arm while trying to eat salad with a non dominant hand holding the fork. Life with 3 is chaotic and strange, but also very good and right.
1. 2. 3.
Most days I blink in awe that I have 3 kids. THREE. How is that possible??? Of course, this is only after I consume large quantities of coffee. Because on this amount of sleep, counting to 3 without caffeine would be quite the achievement.