Shallow breaths and a stretch.
From where I’m sitting in bed, I can see the side of my son’s face as it relaxes back into sleep. He exhales and settles into his Rock and Play. He’s full and happy, loosely swaddled in a warm, pink blanket that used to be his sister’s.
Yes, a frilly pink scalloped-edge blanket. #thirdbabyproblems
It’s easy to fulfill Henry’s needs right now. He wants to be held, fed, changed and rocked to sleep. If that’s all I had to do each day, I would almost be bored. Sleep deprived, but still mostly in control.
His brother and sister are a different story. Abby has been weepy and waking early to come sleep on my chest like Henry does. She wants to sit in my lap while I feed him. Jackson has been extremely short-tempered. He wishes school had never been invented and his stomachaches have gone from frequent to everyday. I’m not sure when he’s really sick and when he’s just trying to get attention. Given his history, you know, just cancer growing in his abdomen, this is a special kind of torture.
Even our dogs are jealous. The yellow lab sits right under my legs like an ottoman while I check emails. Bailey Beagle is taking it hardest. She hid from me the other day and I couldn’t find her to put her up while I ran to Jackson’s school for a meeting. I came home to all the trashcans knocked over and she had peed on the sofa in the exact spot I sit to nurse the baby.
The biggest thing I’ve learned in these two short months of being a mom to three: there is no perfection. Any semblance of order to this chaos is just a facade.
It truly bugs me to be doing everything so…mediocre. I didn’t realize how bad I had perfection-itis.
I mean, I like the kids to always look put together. Who doesn’t? New outfits for special occasions. Making big deals of their birthdays. Planning special outings. Good progress reports and doctor visits deserve a reward.
Is it too much to ask to get a picture in the same spot on the first day of school each year? No.
So obviously it’s a little against my nature to use that gorgeous pink blanket for Henry’s nap. Even as I watch him sleep, content, I still have this compulsion to trade it for one of his boy blankets. But the pink one, friends…the pink one is clean…and clean is a pretty high commodity in this house right now.
Shoot, even Princess Abby didn’t have matching white socks yesterday. My mom’s been taking her to PT instead of me, so they weren’t even hidden under shoes. Someone even SAW THESE OFFENDING NON-MATCHING WHITE SOCKS.
Hands down the hardest part of letting go right now is the medical stuff. That has always been my domain. Abby going to PT with another person, even my sweet Mom, is hard for me. I like to watch her progress myself. Ask my questions. Jackson went to one GI appointment with Ev and it still bothers me. That was in October.
Letting go. Accepting help. Hard stuff.
With three, I know someone’s going to be sick and won’t get a special bed on the sofa and a trip to the grocery store for their favorite popsicle like they’re used to. There will be constant tumbleweeds in the foyer, Happy meals fed in the car and a skipped bedtime bath when Mommy’s patience has run thin.
In a way three kids is weirdly going to be easier on me. The pressure for one-on-one perfection is more catch-me-if-you-can. Even though I feel guilty for what was, these key moments of truly connecting with the kids feels more genuine. It doesn’t have to be planned or photographed.
Does that make sense?
They’ve been through so much. I probably remember more than they ever will. But do all the past special celebrations and moments really make me a better parent, when those moments are going to happen anyway? Have I been holding onto how hard it all was when it’s time to let go and live a more authentic life according to the here and now?
It is very hard not to live in the past when the past changed everything.
I’m not saying it’s easy to let go. Yes, Henry woke up and I re-swaddled him in a clean elephant blanket.
Hey, we’re all a work in progress.