My very best friend just had a little baby girl this past Friday. She also has an eight-year-old daughter and a two-year-old son. Today was her first day home with the baby and her two-year-old. I was thinking about Katie as I was driving to work this morning and was reflecting back to when my oldest son was two and my younger son was a newborn. Those years seem like such a blur to me and even though my kids are still young, these years are nowhere near as demanding as the earliest years were. I remember being tired and never stopping during the day. I’m thankful that I took as many pictures and videos as I did because that is how I remember small shapshots of those days. What I do remember is how I would call my sister who has children a few years older than mine, so she had been through the trenches already and I would ask her, “Is this normal??”
As I drove, I tried to think of what Katie’s day would be like today as she settled into this new dynamic with three children. And so Katie, yes. It’s all normal. Every emotion, every minute, every stress, every laugh, every tear whether happy or sad, is all normal.
Having a two-year-old and a newborn is work. A LOT of work. There are times when I would hear Nate wake up in the morning just after I had gotten Aiden back to sleep and I would want to cry. Not because I didn’t love my child. But because once the toddler is up, there is no stopping until nap time. (Ahhhhh! Angels singing! Magical, wonderful, blissful nap time!) Showers might become infrequent but what choice do you have? Leave a two-year-old alone while you shower? Sure, if you want crayon all over the walls and mini heart attacks all the while you are in the shower because you keep thinking you hear horrendous noises coming from the house. At least, that’s how it was for me. So the only choice is to shower before everyone wakes up which is impossible because you’ve been up all night long with a baby, or shower during nap time but who wants to take twenty minutes out of the only hour and half that you get to yourself during the day to stand in the shower? Besides, there are bottles to wash, dinner to think about, a house to get somewhat thrown together, laundry to do, and the ever so enjoyable act of P.A.C.B (pooping after child birth) which can take an ungodly amount of time, courage, and energy. Just when you finish those tasks, you’ll be on the 30 minute wake-up countdown where you know the toddler can wake up at any moment and wasting those last 30 minutes of solitude and quietness in a shower is just not that appealing when you can sit on the couch and just stare at a wall and not have to think, speak, or move for the first time since 4 AM. I’m sure PJ is similar to Nate, in that Nate always wanted to play–he wasn’t a sitter, he wasn’t a TV kid, he wasn’t a coloring book type of kid; he was a player, a giant energy ball. So even when I was dog-tired, I was playing cars or dinosaurs, chasing Super-Grover, or playing outside–with a baby in tow. Sometimes he didn’t want anything to do with having his little brother monopolizing every minute so there would be whining and a tantrum, and I’d have to figure out how to juggle it. I’m sure you’ll handle the juggling better than I did. I always thought my oldest was older than he really was, I do know that. Now looking back I can’t believe I expected Nate to understand what was happening and how this family transformation should be no big deal to him. Baby PJ a little more than I babied Nate because he’ll need it. I wish I would have given in to his tantrums because he just wanted his mom, that’s all–but I was too tired to realize it.
The point is, it was work and it was hard. And it all went by so fast. I know that I didn’t ever dislike it because I didn’t know any different. I just did it, I just moved through the days the best I could and put my toddler to bed every night thinking how great of kid he was, and woke up in the middle of the night to feed the baby thinking that this wasn’t going to be forever. Eventually, the glorious night of sleep would show up.
And you’ll move through the days Katie. You’ll adjust, you’ll learn, you’ll have bad days and you’ll have great days. You’ll have days where you wish someone would come over and give you a break, and you’ll have days when you just want to be left alone with no visitors (mainly because you haven’t had a chance to shower in days) but also because you just want to enjoy your kids without interruption. You’re in the trenches right now and you’re going through the most difficult time of parenting but the trenches are where moms are the strongest. And you, my friend, are one of the strongest people I know. You will rock this.
Love you always.
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