The absolute last thing I need to read was an article telling me that what I'm doing every day with three kids under age 3.5 isn't difficult, and that really, I need to shut my yapper and give "bean picking in a hot field" a try before I complain.
Sasha's post on this same article made me give it a second read, and upon completing it, I realized that what the author was (probably) trying to say (I agree with Sasha in that the article lacks clarity, therefore leaving it open to vastly different degrees of interpretation) is that mothers put too much pressure on themselves and in doing so "professionalize" motherhood, which sets the expectations for motherhood way too high. Perhaps we're all trying way too hard to be "perfect mothers" and in killing ourselves to achieve this impossible standard, motherhood becomes less of a relationship and more of a job.
I will readily admit to trying too hard and putting too much pressure on myself. You've all read about my fears about not giving the twins enough stimulation and Isabella enough attention because their basic care, my work, the move, and everything else that's part of everyday life requires so much of my time. I constantly feel inadequate. I always feel as if I'm failing. And I never feel at the end of the day that yes, each of my children had enough of my time and enough social, developmental, and cultural enrichment. When I look at things this way, then yes. Motherhood is a job, and one at which I am not particularly succeeding.
But for me, motherhood is indeed the hardest job I have ever held, even if I wasn't self-imposing pressure to achieve perfection. My desk jobs as a technical and marketing writer and editor for the first 10 years of my professional life were cake-walks compared to what I do now.
Of course, it's not just a job. It's also an ongoing relationship, like the author of this essay suggests. Motherhood is all-encompassing, enormously fulfilling, and intensely gratifying, but for me there are many parts of it that are hard work, and I don't believe that admitting this means that it's entirely within my power to change it.
Is it easy for me to balance working with staying home with three small kids, two of whom are extremely high-needs and fussy, all day long? Absolutely not. I never have enough time. I have to stuff my work into the leftover cracks of the day (often early mornings and late at night) because I don't have any significant blocks of time in which to do it.
Is it fun for me to continually subjugate my own needs for peace and quiet and time to clear my brain in a house that's perpetually noisy and in which at least one child is seemingly always crying? No. There are times when they're all crying and I literally want to get into my car and drive away.
Is it enjoyable to try and decide whether it's worth it to lug two high-needs babies and an increasingly difficult preschooler to the store to get milk, to Target to buy mittens, or to the museum to have fun, only to end up staying home rather than face the explosive and temperamental personalities of two babies you love dearly, but who are slowly sapping you of your will to live? Of course not. I make decisions similar to this one every day, and more often than not, I opt to stay home, which makes me feel completely trapped and unhappy.
Would my view on motherhood as a job be a bit different if I had had two singletons? Probably. Would I view the "work" aspect of motherhood as less soul-sucking if I had had a Luci or a Nicholas but not both? Perhaps. But for me, being a mother to three small children is the hardest job in the world. The never-ending needs, the endless schelpping of gear and bodies, the exhausting preparation and cleanup that are involved in virtually everything we do make these parts of motherhood a job for me.
This is hard work. These things are not the joys of motherhood, of which I experience plenty, of course, but which are often forgotten in the face of dozens of diaper changes, 3am wakeup calls, and the heaving of way-too-heavy infant seats.
I know it won't always be like this. In about five years I will look back at this period in my life and wonder how I managed to maintain the thin shred of sanity by which I hang on a daily basis. It will be easier then. The work will still be there, of course, but it won't be so consuming and exhausting. Perhaps it won't even seem like a job anymore.
But right now it does. And no amount of "chilling out" will make it seem less so for me.
I'm really interested in reading your thoughts. What's your take on motherhood: job, relationship, combination of the two, or something entirely different?
(Speaking of which, I haven't had a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks yet this year. Must get one soon.)
Here are the twins expressing silent skepticism about the apple-picking business.
We returned home, put the kids down for their naps, and my friend came over to help.
She is a rockstar. I was a whale-like, sweaty, sleep-deprived, bloated, hot mess at 34 weeks, when I delivered Luci and Nicholas.
This is the last photo of me pregnant with Luci and Nicholas, taken at 32 weeks at my great aunt's 80th birthday party. I believe I spent the majority of the party in this chair, because I was too gargantuan and exhausted to heave myself out of it. To say I was uncomfortable, miserable, and panicky every single moment of every single day in those last few weeks doesn't quite cover it.
It's nearing Luci and Nicholas' 1st birthday, and Jamie is scheduled to deliver her twins on Monday (at 38 freaking weeks-yay, Jamie!), so I figure it's a good time to answer the question she asked me back in July, and that question is:
How do you survive the first year with twins and a toddler?
Oh, did I also mention that Jamie has an adorable 22 month old son as well?
Here are my Top 8 Survival Tips, in no particular order. I would like to add the following word of caution to Jamie and my other readers who are currently pregnant with twins.
My twins were (and still are) extraordinarily tough babies. I have several friends with much more even-tempered twins, better-sleeping twins, and twins whose screams do not break the sound barrier and make you want to pry out your eardrums with a dull knife. My survival tips are based on my own experiences, which when negative, will hopefully NOT be your experiences.
1. Line up help for the early weeks/months. And by "help," I don't mean relatives who want only to hold your babies, and who have no interest in giving you the help you really need. If they don't volunteer to wash the week's worth of dirty dishes in your sink, throw a load (or 12) of laundry in the machine, or cook or buy you a meal, since the crust from your toddler's peanut butter sandwich does not constitute lunch, consider asking them to postpone their visit until the twins turn 10.
I was extraordinarily fortunate to have my mom stay with us for the first 7 weeks of the twins' lives. She shopped, cooked, and cleaned for us, in addition to pitching in day and night (and middle-of-the-night) with twin care. Other relatives brought food, did my laundry, and watched Isabella. When someone asks you what they can do to help, do not be shy. Tell them exactly what you need. Most are more than willing to help.
2. Embrace the TV. I was entirely anti-TV until Isabella turned two years old. At that point, I started allowing her to watch an episode of Sesame Street a day, and as she neared 2.5, she started watching Clifford and Caillou. I really wanted to avoid having to constantly switch on the tv to keep her occupied while I was nursing the twins in those early months, but she chose the times I was stuck in my nursing chair for up to an hour to all but set the house on fire. So, a couple times a day I would stick her on the couch with a snack and she would watch one of her shows while I nursed. It kept her content, safe, and occupied like nothing else would.
3. Cook ahead. I did a little bit of cooking ahead before the twins were born, and then before my mom left, she stocked my freezer with a lot of meals. This is something I've kept up with to a certain degree, when I have the time.
I can barely remember the first 6 months of my twins' lives. Taking care of high-needs infant twins and a toddler is so all-encompassing that dinnertime would approach and if I hadn't thought to pull a meal from my freezer, we all would have eaten cereal for supper. I just didn't have the time to cook.
4. Make some time for your older child. Longtime readers will know what an emotional mess I was in the weeks leading up to the twins' birth over how their arrival would affect Isabella. Once they arrived and I saw how much she adored them, and how her behavior wasn't out-of-control as a result of her two new siblings, I relaxed and tried to figure out how we could spend some one-on-one time together. Two weeks after their birth, Isabella and I went to a toddler Halloween party at our children's museum. Every Thursday, she and I went to her gym class together. I am still looking for ways to give her my undivided attention. Some days I succeed. Others (sadly, most others), I don't. Twins require a lot of care in the first year, and even if your older child is still just a baby herself, she suddenly becomes the "big kid" and your expectations of her will change, sometimes unfairly. Having time alone with you makes her feel special, especially when a lot of attention from friends and relatives is lavished on the twins.
5. Get out of the house. If you're staying home with the twins, leave the house as soon as your partner gets home. Take a walk, grab a coffee, do whatever it takes to see the light of day (or the dark of night) and breathe the air outside your home. Even if you think you can't leave because one twin is screaming, and your toddler is begging you to color with her, if you've been immersed in newborn twin hell for 12+ hours on your own, you need a break to keep from burning out. I didn't do this enough, and I really, really should have.
Now for the things I didn't do with my first set of twins, but which I totally plan on doing with my second.
6. Pump. If you're breastfeeding, pump as much as you possible can. I rarely did and now only do it if I know I have a (rare) event that will keep me away from the twins during a feeding. In the early days with Luci and Nicholas, I felt as if I spent 18 hours a day feeding them. I nursed them each 8-10 times in a 24 hour period, and these were just their normal feedings. I would also nurse them to get them back to sleep because it was literally the only thing that worked. It was all me, all the time, and while the hubs was able to do some rocking, I was stuck in my chair nursing them constantly. Admittedly, finding time to pump for twins when you also have a toddler needing attention is really hard, hence the reason I didn't do it. But I believe that if I had, I would have been able to preserve more of my sanity over the past year.
7. Separate them if necessary (and if possible). We live in a small three-bedroom house. Luci and Nicholas had no choice but to share a room, and frankly, prior to bringing them home, I had no qualms about this arrangement. A close friend's four-year-old twins have always shared a room and quickly learned to sleep through each other's cries. I thought my twins would do the same.
How wrong I was. Luci and Nicholas constantly woke each other up both when they were in bassinets in our bedroom and when we moved them to their own room. They still wake each other up all the time almost a year later. I was worried they wouldn't have a close relationship if they didn't share a room, that they wouldn't share the twin bond I've heard and read so much about.
But you know what? Well-rested babies trumps any talk of twins needing to share a room in order to bond. Knowing then what I know now, if I had had a fourth bedroom when I brought them home, I wouldn't have given each twin his/her own room, and I cannot wait to move them into their own rooms in the new house.
8. Don't be afraid to seek help for PPD. Looking back, I believe I developed PPD once the cloud of their emergency delivery and NICU time lifted. I was completely overwhelmed with their care and the care of my just-turned-two-year-old daughter. In many ways, I still am. But I didn't see my doctor, and I didn't ask for help. Instead, I blogged, which was certainly helpful thanks to the support of all of you, but which may not have been the smartest thing to do when a prescription could have helped too.
There is nothing in this world that can prepare you for the birth of twins. Throw a toddler into the mix, and you have a recipe for serious mommy burnout. If it all gets to be too much, as it was for me, talk to your OB. End of PSA.
Good luck on Monday, Jamie. I can't wait to see photos of your beautiful baby girls.
Oh, and speaking of twin birthdays, Chas' twin girls turned one year old yesterday! Happy Birthday to A and E!
Since turning three, Isabella is becoming more and more independent (which can, of course, be both a positive and a negative...more on this later), but for the most part, I'm really liking this emerging trait. She wants to do everything by herself, and frankly, with two other little time-suckers in my house, I say, "Have at it, kid!"
I am a mystery wrapped inside an enigma.
I am attributing a lot of her spazoid behavior to the death of her afternoon nap, which happened right around her 3rd birthday a month ago. One day, she didn't nap, which wasn't that big a deal, as it had happened before. But when she didn't nap the day after that, or the following day, or for weeks on end, I figured it was ending for good. I've since switched to quiet time, where she stays in her room from 1 -3pm, supposedly reading books, but actually spending her time much more destructively, rearranging her bedroom furniture, stripping her bed, and dropping objects on the hardwood floor, sending noise reverberating throughout the house and waking up the babies. She also began busting through her childproof doorknob cover and walking downstairs.
Not so fast, little missy.
But, I will confess to liking three. So far, it's been very difficult, but it's also pretty awesome too. Isabella is so funny, so smart, and so charming when she wants to be. Yes, her behavior is bat-shit crazy at times, but I think I'll keep her.
Likes: Collecting acorns, leaves, and rocks during walks
Dislikes: Maintaining a single personality
I have totally stolen my change in title format for these monthly updates from Sasha, since my math abilities are about on par with a 4th grader, and I can't for the life of me remember how many months there are in anything past age three.
Luci always, always waits patiently in her crib while I change her brother's diaper and get him dressed.
But on this day, her morning squeals don't awaken her brother. I tip-toe into her room, and instead of two little heads popping up to greet me, there is only hers.
The room is dark, as it is in the early morning hours now, and I leave their sound machine on. She has just awakened, and so is not yet anxious to start the day. I carry her to the glider in their room, sit down, and rock with her.
Luci puts her head on my shoulder and closes her eyes. Her warm breath is on my neck, and her small body is cemented to mine.
For five glorious minutes, there are no other sounds in the room but the gentle gliding of the rocker and the white noise of the sound machine. Her brother is asleep, and she is completely relaxed and blissed out in my arms. And in that moment, I realized that this act of a mother rocking her sleepy child, something that most moms experience daily with their babies, is something extraordinarily rare in my own.
I constantly feel as if there is not enough of me to spread amongst my children. Their needs often materialize simultaneously. They are hungry at the same time. Crying or tantruming at the same time. Wanting to be picked up or comforted at the same time. And these concurrent demands for my attention make me feel paralyzed and powerless to give them what they need. I am only one person.
I'm sure this occurs with close-in-age siblings too, but with twins and a preschooler just two years older than they are, the pit of need runs deep. It is often impossible for me to fill it.
Running triage is a way of life, and has been for the last 11 months, but sometimes it's overwhelming. I cannot rock two babies screaming in unison, and so I rock none. I feed them at the same time, and yet one is seemingly always upset because he/she (most often he) has to wait a moment more than is tolerable to receive his/her next spoonful. If I'm playing with one, the other needs half of my attention, because he/she is dangerously close to crawling under a table. And of course, there is Isabella, who is not quite as high-needs, but has her own set of issues and emotions that often conveniently materialize when the twins are at their worst.
I wish I could grant each of my children one-on-one attention. I crave alone time (that need never goes away), but as I'm sitting on the floor with them, as I do everyday, stacking blocks with one, holding the other playing with a ball on my lap, and reading to Isabella all at the same time, I wish there were three of me to give Isabella, Luci, and Nicholas exactly what they deserve - an unshared and uninterrupted piece of mommy.
My grandma was (and still is) against Isabella attending preschool. So is my mom.
Both told me she would lose her sh*t when I dropped her off. Both told me I should keep her out of preschool because of germs. Both told me Isabella would be "bored" in preschool because she's so smart. My grandma even went to far as to tell me that preschool is a place where (and I quote): "mothers who don't want to watch their children dump them off."
And so a few weeks ago, I began to dread the first day of preschool. I was nervous about Isabella's reaction to being dropped off. I had been talking up preschool for weeks and she said a few times, "I don't want you to go."
I envisioned her little face covered in tears as I walked out of her classroom. I thought I would be able to hear her crying down the hall in the room where the informational meeting I would be attending on the first day was taking place. And I pictured myself unable to keep it together if she couldn't, and all the other mothers whose children had been attending daycare or who had started preschool early smiling condescendingly at me.
I arranged for my grandma to come over early yesterday morning to watch the twins while I took Isabella to preschool. It was her first day, and I wanted to be able to concentrate 100% on her, and in case she was nervous or anxious or crying about my departure, I didn't want to have to worry about the twins' often temperamental behavior at the same time.
We got ready to go. Isabella was so excited.
We were a bit early, so we waited outside the door to her classroom with the other kids and their parents. Isabella couldn't wait to go inside.
When we got home, grandma didn't ask about preschool. So I had Isabella describe her day and how much fun she had.
Grandma didn't seem too interested.
Will she completely freak when it's time for me to leave her in her classroom?
Will I completely freak when it's time for me to leave her in her classroom?
Loud and Louder have changed quite a bit since last month. Nicholas is commando-crawling just like his big sister did when she began moving around. It's no longer safe for me to plant him in the center of the living room floor, leave the room for a few seconds, and trust that he'll still be sitting where I left him upon my return. He is moving quickly, and has rolled himself into the fireplace twice, which means we really should re-erect Shawshank, and yet we're only going to be in our house for a few more weeks, so it really isn't worth it. We did, however, erect a portion of the fence in front of the fireplace because CPS generally looks down on soot-covered babies.
Luci isn't as interested in crawling. She's still inching and rolling herself along, which frankly, is fine with me, because I'm having a hard enough time keeping track of one semi-mobile baby. When both are fully crawling, I'm going to need to look into cloning myself.
This was also the month where some cute baby milestones happened. Luci began clapping about three weeks ago, and often gives me a giant smile and a sitting ovation when I walk into a room. And just within the last week, my most well-behaved child moved even higher up on the mama-love scale by saying, "Mama." Now if she would only learn to sleep through the night. More on this later.
She continues to find new ways to torment her brother. She delights in pulling Nicholas' hair, stealing his toys, and hitting him with any toy within her reach. When they are in their side-by-side stroller, she quite literally leans forward, and stretches over to his seat to yank on his hair and swipe his binky. She is hard-core, and when I'm not trying to protect Nicholas from her attacks, I'm laughing at my tiny future pro-wrestler.
Nicholas began "talking" this past month, and when he isn't wailing, now says, "Dada" and what sounds like "Papa." He is just starting to go from laying down to a seated position on his own. Both babies now wave bye-bye as well.
The sleeping issues are still a nightmare. Luci will go a few days to a week sleeping through the night (as Nicholas has for months now), and then she'll have several days in a row where she's up and wailing. Sometimes I relent and nurse her, simply because I know it will get her back to sleep, and I am exhausted, but I really want to avoid this, because it's more than likely creating a bad habit.
But naps are even worse, and I am in need of any and all advice you might have to share. Here is their schedule: They are generally up between 6:30am and 7am every morning. I put them down for their morning nap around 9am, and they generally take a decent morning nap of between 1.5 and 2 hours. The afternoon nap is a complete joke, however. Depending on when they get up from their morning nap, I put them down between 1 and 1:30pm. This nap is sometimes less than an hour long, and probably averages just over an hour. Isabella has "quiet time" during this time, and I desperately need this time to work, but as soon as I start working, someone is up. They are terribly cranky and out-of-sorts in the afternoon as a result of not napping well, and I must work very hard to not run away from home during this time.
What am I doing wrong? Isabella, never a good sleeper herself, had an opposite napping schedule. Her morning one was very short (an hour or less), and her afternoon one was 1.5 to 2 hours.
Plans are underway for the big first birthday bash. The theme is the same as their Halloween costumes this year (which I am making-what is WRONG with me?), and I'm keeping it under wraps for now, but I'll just say that with these two being who they are, there is no more perfect theme than what we're using.
I figure it's time to introduce Likes and Dislikes for the twins, so...
Likes: Throwing toys, physically attacking her brother
Likes: Books, Biting, Boob
Dislikes: Sharing his mama
Word Count: Luci - "Dada," "Mama", Nicholas - "Dada"
Diaper Size: Huggies Size 3
Clothing Size: Some 6 months, but mainly 6-9 months
It IS natural to want a life, a slice of time, the chance to pee alone, for yourself, isn't it?
As you might have been able to infer from my recent posts, life is sucking here more often than it's not. In addition to moving stress and job stress, Isabella has seemingly overnight changed from benevolent dictator into despotic tyrant. Allow me to go on record: I am not liking 3. 2 was challenging, but not awful. 3 is making me turn grey well before my time. But again, this is a post for another day.
Today's rant concerns Nicholas and his metamorphosis from this charming, smiley, although definitely more higher-needs-than-his-twin-sister little boy:
Into this clingy, weepy, whiny puddle of despair:
I believe I have identified the impetus for his misery. It is white, tiny, multiplying, and causing both of us a great deal of pain.
Nicholas has his first tooth, which you can see just popping out along his bottom gumline.
This tooth was not scheduled. Isabella had a mouth full of gums until she was 15.5 months old. There were no teeth visible at the twins' 9 month checkup, and I figured I had months to go before having to deal with teeth.
And now I have to deal with teeth. Tiny, seemingly harmless, but f-ing sharp as all hell teeth. On my nipples.
Yes, I am still exclusively nursing the twins. And my son, this adorable little boy with the killer grin and big doe eyes is biting me while I'm nursing, drawing blood, and then laughing in my face as I scream in pain. I have tried everything I can think of to get him to stop, but this sadist will not be thwarted.
Teeth suck and are completely unnecessary for a 10-month-old. Their emergence in Nicholas' mouth is making him miserable around the clock. If I have the audacity to say, put him down in order to change his sister's diaper, make breakfast, or you, know, comb my hair, he screams and whines until I relent and pick him up. This begins from the moment he wakes up in the morning, with few exceptions, until the time he goes to bed at night. He's always been a mama's boy, but now it's getting ridiculous.
And the biting business is making me mad. Listen up, buddy. I have sacrificed a lot to nurse you for 10 months. I have given up caffeine, booze, countless hours of sleep, and loads of free time to give you the boob. And this is how you repay me?
Mama loves you, baby boy, but lay off the biting. Vampires are overrated anyway.
Mel asked me this: "Do you believe in the idea of being a "natural mother"? Are some moms "natural mothers" while others have to work at it?"
She had read this thought-provoking post, and wanted to know what I thought.
I have spent a lot of time contemplating this very question, even before Mel asked it.
And truth be told, yes. I do believe in the idea of being a natural mother. I also believe I am not one.
Even before the twins arrived and threw what little sense of "mommy pride" I had out the window, I found motherhood challenging. I am inherently selfish. I enjoy being by myself in absolute quiet, drinking coffee by myself while reading newspapers, and taking long walks or runs by myself, with only my iPod for company.
None of these favored activities goes particularly well with being the mother to three small kids.
I have a very difficult time balancing work with at-home motherhood. When I am stressed, I am even more impatient than I normally am. I do not enjoy being interrupted 47 times in 20 minutes to fulfill the never-ending needs of one child or the other (or the other). Tasks that usually would take me 30 minutes to complete take easily twice that because I have no peace until they're in bed for the night. I have no idea how I'm going to balance my freelance work, teaching online classes, and caring for 3 kids under the age of 3.5.
I have to work at (and lots of times fake completely) being even in the ballpark of being considered a "good mother." Most of the time, I fail miserably. I resent them a lot for draining my time and my energy, I don't particularly enjoy moving from one play activity to the next to the next all day long, because my three-year-old can't entertain herself for more than 2 minutes, and Nicholas won't stop crying unless he's glued to my body. I sometimes have to restrain myself from asking my temper-tantrum-throwing preschooler, "Are you f-ing kidding me?" when she's screaming because her cereal bowl is the wrong color. And I often think I would be a much better mother if I worked FT or even PT outside my home. I know my life won't always be like this, but right now, there is no time left for me. I don't even pee on my own half the time.
So natural? No. I am not a natural mother. But I know plenty who are.
My oldest friend is a natural mother. We met in kindergarten. She lives in Minnesota now, but we see eachother when she comes to town to visit family, and she calls me to talk often. She's a SAHM to three adorable, well-behaved little boys. She is patient and sweet. She never yells or threatens or silently swears at them as I do with my kids. They are always working on one craft project or another, visiting a new playground in her town, or playing "school" in their basement. She devotes zero time to herself and doesn't seem to mind this, and she's not on the Internet. The last time I sent out photos of the kids and asked her if she saw them, she laughed and said she hadn't even switched on her computer in five months because she's so busy with them.
If I'm away from my laptop for five minutes, I start to get the shakes.
My mother and grandmother are also what I consider natural mothers. They sacrificed everything for their children. In their minds, the children come first- their children's needs before their own, their children's happiness before their own, their children's time before their own. My grandmother never worked and my mom left work when I was born and didn't return to work until my younger sister went to kindergarten. As my mom likes to tell me, she spent all day playing with us, because she didn't have anything else to do.
The prospect of doing the same does not appeal to me in the least. Yes, my children are important to me, but I am important as well. What I want matters too. And yet at times I wish I was a natural mother. My stress levels would be lower. I might be happier.
In my opinion, natural motherhood is not something you learn (obviously). You either are or you aren't a natural mother.
And this mommy?
Is naturally not.
As I stared at the bare and lonely hooks and nails on my living room walls last night, it hit me hard: we really are moving.
And it made me very sad. I am a big emotional mess lately. Stressed and overtired Kristi = weepy, melodramatic Kristi. You've been warned.
I've been so insanely busy with training for my new online teaching gig (the last day of my month-long training was yesterday), dealing with all the annoying paperwork needed for our mortgage commitment ("please provide retinal-scan proof of identity along with the past 14 years of bank statements -ALL PAGES"), preparing for the garage sale, plus childcare, plus, plus, plus, and staying up until midnight to get it all done that I've had zero time to slow down and realize what's happening around me.
My life is essentially in boxes. I can't find a thing. And more than likely, in a month's time, I won't live here anymore.
You know I don't really want to move. Our house is essentially where we began. The hubs and I lived together in an apartment for two years before buying it, but we moved into our house and got engaged in the same month: July of 2000. Our married life started in our house. Our kids were conceived in...a lab about three miles away but still in the same general vicinity of...our house. It is where we began, and although we never talked about staying here forever, we never thought we'd leave it this soon either.
Life had other plans for us.
I'm thinking perhaps we should have renovated: added a first-floor bathroom, enlarged the kitchen. Although I know it would have been beyond our means to do so, and we would have destroyed the character of our 1925-built beauty.
I'm thinking perhaps we should have toughed it out and tried to create additional play space for the three kids. Maybe in the basement? Maybe knock down the wall between the family room and my "office"? Although I know that even this would not give them the room they need.
I'm thinking perhaps we moved too quickly, made a decision on the other house too rashly. Although I know we got an amazing deal and had to act quickly on it because someone else might snap it up, and in fact, did.
I emailed a friend in a panic last night, questioning my judgement, my sanity, my decision to move at all, since I love my current house so much. She talked me down from the ledge and reassured me that I was doing the right thing, that the space in our new house would make my life so much easier, and that deep down, she knew that I knew I had made the right decision.
And she is right. I know I made the right decision. I know the house we're moving into soon is the right house for our family. It is the right house for the right price at the right time in our lives.
But knowing this doesn't make leaving any easier.
Sorting the baby clothes took a lot of time. I'm selling 99% of the clothes I have in 0-3 month and 3-6 month sizes. Luci and Nicholas still fit in some of the 6-month clothing, so not everything is going. But if it doesn't fit, and I'm not sentimentally attached to it (I'm keeping Isabella's "going-home" dress, a few of the impossibly tiny preemie sleepers the twins wore, and a few other pieces) it's being sold for .50 cents on my driveway beginning at 9 o' clock this morning.
As I was sorting, folding, and organizing the baby clothes over the past few nights, I didn't feel even the tiniest twinge of longing for another baby to fill the soft newborn sleepers. I have many friends who have two or more young children and who speak of not completely closing the door to more. I have friends who fall into the "If it happens, it happens" camp, others who fall into the, "maybe in a few years" camp, and even one who seems to be trying to keep pace with Michelle Duggar. I am in none of these camps. In fact, the mere thought of going to camp produces a full-on panic attack.
This should come as no surprise to anyone who's been reading this blog for awhile. Three kids is more than I am equipped to handle. I am a two-child type of parent. Many days (especially lately), I think it might have been better to stop at one. I love them all to pieces, but I have been short on patience and long on massive frustration over having to meet their never-ending needs instead of my own 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. But that is a topic for another post.
Someone else can put my kids' baby clothes to good use. Our family is complete. And I am more sure of that than I am of anything else in my life.