It's been two months since Piper's birth and my initiation into the motherhood of threes.
I remember when I was pregnant and scared with Scout that countless people told me to chill out because it doesn't get hard until there's three.
"Hey, two is exciting. Three is a different story."
And they were totally right.
Two was bliss and three is bliss with an equal side of chaos.
But first, a quick update on the kids.
Jude started Kindergarten this school year and is doing so incredibly well my heart could burst. He's obsessed with all things Lego's and asks multiple times a day for the Lego City Fire Station we volunteered Santa to promise him for Christmas. He also started indoor soccer right around the same time and although he doesn't quite get the concept that the whole thing is a competition, that's almost what I love most about it--just my perfectly happy boy running (and often skipping) around the court happy to kick the ball and give it to someone else and cheer for the other kids whether they're on the same team or not. He also loves his new baby sister and teasing his newly crowned middle sibling.
Scout is constantly talking, singing and playing some sort of instrument. She's known for going 0-100 at any given moment, usually because of a dog or a baby or Winnie the Pooh. "WOOOOOAAAAHHHH DOGGIE! AIR-PAY! (airplane) DADDY!!" and such. And when the non-stop singing doesn't stop when it needs to (church) and crackers are shoved in her mouth to serve the same purpose as duct tape, she spits out a "ank you" and continues on humming loudly. It makes me so happy that she's just this little tone deaf humming bird around our house, putting anything around her neck that could resemble a scarf and standing up on anything that could resemble a stage, and just being a perfect mix of affection and fire. Two is so much fun. And so freaking frustrating. She loves her baby sister way too much and is often found hugging and kissing her with so much terrifying love that I swear she may inadvertently kill her. Piper doesn't seem to mind.
Piper has been smiling for the last few weeks and just loves her siblings, even when Scout sits on her back during tummy time. She's a beautiful and easy baby that loves to nurse and sleep and smile. She's even started sleeping through the night. If that first postpartum month wasn't so hard I swear I'd have 20 more if they could all be just like her. I'm one lucky mom and the magic of having a newborn hasn't lessened with it being my third. It's just as heavenly as ever. She's nearly doubled her birthweight, and although she doesn't have any dimples like the other two and her eyes are this weird mix of blue, green and brown, we've accepted her with open arms.
Recently, some friend think I've had enough time to become some sort of expert on the subject and have asked what it's like having three. For those on the cusp of becoming parents of three themselves, I've left out a lot of the struggle because, you know--fear-- and have been more candid with the others who still have time to save themselves.
No, it's not that bad, but I admit it is harder than I thought it'd be and everyone's emotions are running higher than anticipated.
Here are just a few things I've learned and been subject to over the past 2 months:
-I laugh on the inside when people assume that the baby is the cause of all of the stress, when it's actually the other two acting out due to having their attention cut by 33%.
-Your standards for cleanliness will have to be lowered, if only just a little bit. Otherwise, the pent-up anxiety will drive you to insane sprints of cleaning that just leave you in hopeless tears on the freshly mopped bathroom floor your son just missed the toilet and peed on.
-You will resent anything that needs mincing. When your baby demands to be held, your two year old is starving and your 5-year-old thinks this is the perfect time to tease the 2-year-old, ain't nobody got time for that. So just skip it. Or give it a few whacks with a butcher knife and call it good.
-Have a really interesting answer in your back pocket to the question of whether you're done having kids or not. You can't just say you don't know because people demand a follow up.
- Leaving the house is terrifying because the older two know your hands are full with the third and will take any opportunity to scatter in random directions, and usually toward a busy road.
-But, if you confine yourself and your little ones indoors, their stifled energy results in mutiny. I've come to appreciate the concept of "sister wives."
-With each kid my milk supply has increased exponentially. This time around I'm convinced big boobs are completely overrated. Why would I want volatile goodies that go from saggy, half-deflated water balloons to red and painful explosive firehoses, when I can be perfectly happy with the easy-going chest of a 12-year-old boy.
-I've never been more tired in my life. And as an on-and-off-again night nurse, that's saying something.
-Depriving someone of sleep is a form of torture, designed to not only mess with their ability to function physically and mentally, but to essentially break them down to a state of insanity. I haven't had moments of insanity, yet, but I've had moments where if someone asks me for so much as a turn of my head Dr. Banner ceases to be Dr. Banner.
-And when you're essentially up 24/7 around the clock taking care of people, you can't have too much ready-to-grab-and-eat stress food, i.e. homemade muffins, chocolate, cookies or pie. Seriously, this beautiful flying unicorn of a lady dropped off a giant Costco pumpkin pie a few days after coming home from the hospital and I devoured that thing in two days BY. MYSELF. Her name is forever etched on my heart.
-Also, having those foods your kids can help themselves to proves handy in keeping them alive when you've once again dropped into a near death-like sleep while nursing the baby on the couch.
-I hope more than anything that those moments when I'm nursing and nature's not only calling, but also refusing to stay on its side of the dam because, you know--birth--and everyone follows me into the bathroom, with the baby and boppy still on my lap, are completely erased from their photographic memories. Please, oh please, oh please.
-You may all of a sudden age 60 years and forget easy things, like a time when six hands weren't clawing at you for 10-12 hours a day, when you last shaved your legs, went grocery shopping, what day it is, your kids' birthdays, how jeans feel, or how to keep an idea going until the end of your sentence.
-You may even get to a point when your heart could burst for joy because of all the beautiful and wonderful kids you now have to love while simultaneously resenting that they require any effort on your part to stay alive.
I'm getting there, I promise. I'm not 100% yet. But I'm getting there. Inch by inch. Day by day. But the best advice I can give for adjusting in those first few months is to let things go, order in your groceries, arrange playdates and ask people to take your older kids for a few hours, buy a few new coloring books and packs of crayons, have a few takeout menu's handy, teach your kids to do chores BEFORE your baby arrives, and to just suck it in. Which is such a dumb saying and I hate it so much, but really. Soak in the moments. Because during all the hard I've been reminded over and over again to stop wishing away this day for the next because this very moment is the one I've dreamed about my whole life. Good or bad, I'm living my dream. And honestly, how many people can say that?
Here are just a few of thousands of favorite moments snapped over these last two months: