On Monday last week, I visited my hometown and ran into an old friend at the park. She had her two adorable toddler boys in tow and was glowing with the last few weeks of pregnancy. When I asked her if she was excited about the arrival of her third little duckling, she admitted that the idea of three kiddos was a little scary, but yes, she was excited. With wide eyes I gushed about how wonderful it was, how she would do great, etc.
And I really meant every word. I did.
Yesterday morning was hilarious at our house. After a brutal beating from my friend, Alyson, (doesn't "brutal beating" sound more original than "workout"?) at 5:15am, I tip-toed into the house at 6:15, hoping the baby was still asleep ... and she wasn't. She was in a full force holler, ready to EAT. I snuck into the girls' room, swooped her out of her crib, rushed her to my room in the dark, and fed her. She took her sweet time eating (which I really don't mind, especially in the mornings ... love that snuggle time!) and when she finished I rushed into the guest room where my husband had fallen asleep working the night before, handed him the baby as he groggily woke up, and jumped in the guest room shower to rinse off. Naomi walked in as soon as I stepped out and I could see she had wet through her pajamas. So I rushed to her room, grabbed clean clothes, rushed back to the guest room (all while my hair is dripping wet), rinsed her in the shower, dressed her, rushed back to her room, stripped her bed, threw the sheets and her dirty clothes into the washing machine and started it, rushed back to the guest room with a diaper for my husband to change Lydia, ran into my closet to put on sweats (with a hole in the knee--classy!) and a t-shirt, and as I hurriedly blow-dried my hair, Cub came in with a cereal bar he wanted to eat, so I unwrapped it for him (the wrapper is still on our bathroom counter), dried my hair to al dente, checked the clock, and saw that it was now 7:20, and we were supposed to be at the kids' great-grandfather's for breakfast at 7:30. I scooped up the girls, flung my purse over my shoulder, yelled what-Cub-needs-to-take-to-school instructions over my shoulder for my husband, and the girls and I were off. We had pancakes, talked with PawPaw, and made it home at 9:00, where I sat down (really sat down) for the first time since 4:45, over four hours earlier.
I hadn't sat down since waking up. Oy, was I exhausted.
And really, every morning is pretty exhausting.
This morning I fed the baby in the girls' room in the dark and Naomi wanted to sit on my lap while I did so. Then Cub came in and wanted to snuggle, so I balanced a nursing baby, a squirmy toddler, and a sleepy big kid on my lap, my head resting on the toddler's head, breathing in the sweet scent of her hair, as I dozed on and off. An armful of love and the most perfect way to start a day. Maybe it started earlier than I would have wanted, but the day has to start at some point, right? And snuggling my three loves was really a great way to do it. And it was a nutty morning in its own right after the snuggling--getting the kids fed, the dishwasher unloaded and loaded, changing the baby's diaper, taking the toddler to the potty, helping the big kid get dressed ... it was two hours before I had a chance to get dressed (and even then it was, again, in sweatpants, score)!
My life is busy. And it is, at times, chaotic. I used to think that Moms with chaotic lives must have bad children (HA! Pre-Mom Katie THOUGHT SHE KNEW EVERYTHING), but now that I live in it, I realize that it's the circumstances that make it busy. The kids are just really little and still need me for most things. Even with extensive planning on my part, there are always unexpected things (like, say, a dead bunny in the dining room) that put my day into a tail spin. But there are moments where it settles. Sweet moments. Moments where I'm laying on the floor with the baby, as she coos and wraps her tiny fingers around my own, or when I crawl into bed with Cub at nap time and he reaches his hand behind his back to feel if I'm still there, or when a blonde-headed blue-eyed sassy Mouse asks me to paint her "fingah-naiws" (fingernails, for those who don't speak Mouse). And I don't always live in sweatpants. My teal pants have made several appearances and there are days where I feel coiffed and girly. Love it. But I just as much love the dance my little crew and I perform every day, passing from one partner to another, filling this sippy cup, changing that diaper, opening that cereal bar, tickling this tummy, kissing that cheek ... those moments in the dark, when my arms and my heart are full.
For nap time today, as Naomi Mouse draped her blanket over her head and toddled down the hallway to her room, I saw how small she really is. And I choked up thinking that she will soon be very big. I can't wait to watch my children grow, and become. But I really do want to relish these days, too, even if it means messy ponytails and hole-y sweatpants for me.
Because, soon, they won't fit so easily in my arms.
So, precious friend that I ran into at the park, there will be chaos. There will be dried toothpaste on the floor and cookie crumbs under the couch. You will want just one minute, just ONE minute to yourself, alone. And you might lock yourself in the bathroom with a square of dark chocolate to get it.
There will be moments of sweet perfection, too.
And you will be ready, and you will do great.
Have a lovely day.