Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Revelatory

Monday I started watching after a baby.  That's right- someone entrusted me with the life of their offspring.  I'm assuming they're doing this, at least in part, out of sheer desperation; it would appear that despite the fact that our small town is seemingly teeming with daycares, there still aren't enough openings for infants to go around.  This sweet little baby boy is on a couple daycare waitlists- and has been since around six months before he was born- so I'm just filling in the gap before something opens up.  

Adelaide's school dismissed early that day, the first day of school, so part of the day I just had three kids, and part of it I had four.  

First of all, J is, so far, a pretty easy baby.  He's happy, he's cute, he's cuddly; he's a baby!  Even the first day in to this whole experience, however, I had a couple revelations.  

Number one:  I can understand why people keep having kids as their first ones get older.  Atticus and Caedmon were relatively helpful- as helpful as two- and four-year-old boys can be- but when Adelaide got home, it was a completely different situation.  Granted, J is still a novelty, but she kept asking if I could lie him down on the floor so she could play with him (yes), if she could feed him (no), if she could carry him around and show him "what the life of a cheetah is like" (no), and if she could teach him things like "patty-cake" and "itsby-bitsy spider" (yes).  I felt a little bit like Super Woman that day (minus the fancy spangled cape, although that would no doubt make laundry and 10 straight games of Memory feel a little more festive) because I was able to get all kinds of chores done with four kids in the house, but the truth is, without Adelaide, I would have accomplished very little.  Just playing with him for five minutes at a time allowed me to do extravagant things like use the bathroom and wash the boys' perennially smelly sheets (SERIOUSLY, BOYS.  I realize that males practically come out of the womb peeing all over everything, but I feel like I need to get "JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN DOESN'T MEAN YOU SHOULD" tattooed on some highly visible place on both of them.)

Revelation number two:  Before Adelaide came home from school, when I just had the three boys in the house, it was uncannily like going back in time about two years, to a time when I had (for those whose brains can't do the math) a four year old, a two year old, and a newborn.  

Can I just ask a favor of you?  If you know someone in that stage of life- someone with two or three or God help them four little ones- go out of your way to do something nice for them.  I'm talking small stuff: take them a cup of coffee (or buy it for them, it'll get them out of the coffee shop faster anyway, benefiting everyone!), smile at them when the spectacle that is their family careens through the grocery store, make comforting noises when the mom bursts into tears mid-conversation.  Yes, it's a short, often sweet stage of life and you should "cherish these years" (I cannot even tell you how stabby that phrase still makes me feel), but it's also desperate and exhausting.  

It's incredible how just two little years later how much easier our everyday life is.  All of our kids can buckle themselves into their carseats.  They're all capable of small chores and being pseudo-helpful.  You can kind of reason with them.  Let me tell you what, taking care of J caused quite the wash of memories to overtake my brain, and although I'm still in the throes of preschool- tantrum- fun and am just beginning the crazed can-you-fill-this-out and do-we-have-twenty-photos-of-me-that-I-can-cut-up-because-this-is-due-tomorrow and but-I-DO-want-to-do-cheer-clinic-again-even-though-I-hated-it-last-year, it is so much easier than life was only 24 months ago.

Hallelujah.

5 comments:

  1. So, you have three. Are the second two easier because of the first one? :-)

    Almost-13-year-olds can make great cookies, while you're relaxing on the couch or floating around the pool. They clean themselves, as long as you remind them and insist. Every once in a while they decide to do some sort of major cleaning --such as their closet. And some days they drag stuffed animals down into the living room and revisit Winnie-the-Pooh DVDs with a good friend.

    A colleague once told me, as I was holding a fussing 4 month old in the hallway outside a required work meeting, that kids just got better and better. She was SO right.

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  2. Buckling themselves into their car seats. That one is huge.

    I don't know what cheer clinic is, but it sounds like it involves driving someone somewhere. That's what comes along as they get to be teenagers - far less bodily function stuff (I feel for you with the smelly sheets!) and far more driving while sulking (either me or the kid).

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    1. Don't feel that bad for her, she can't smell them until the stench reaches the neighbors. Her sniffer is just that good.

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  3. This is why I'm looking forward to having grandbabies.

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