“So, how are you adjusting to life with three children?”
No matter how many times I hear that question, I always falter in answering. The problem lies in the term “adjustment”, which in my book means that while life may be chaotic for a while, there will eventually be a return to normal. Which we certainly experienced after the birth of each of the first two kids. There was about a three month period where sleep was scarce, diaper changes were numerous and the rest of life was a fog.
Slowly but surely, the sleeping, eating and pooping became more routine, the fog lifted and a sense of normalcy returned. A different sort of normal, yes, but still normal. We eventually returned to work, managed appointments, remembered to feed the dog, and cleaned the bathroom once a week or whenever it started to reek of urine, which is quite often with a four year old boy in the house.
I am now as lost in telling people how the “adjustment” to three children has been as I was in trying to tell them if I was “prepared” to bring number three home before his birth.
The short answer: there is no way to prepare, and there is no adjustment, because there is no longer anything resembling “normal”. In my normal life I didn’t come to work on a Friday morning and call the water service to let them know that our office had missed its water delivery the previous day, only to hang up and realize that it was Thursday and that the delivery was scheduled for that very afternoon.
In our normal lives, we didn’t panic that our eight year old dog was sick because she had an accident, only to remember that she hadn’t been let out of the house in fifteen hours. In my normal life, I routinely looked in the mirror before leaving the house, a luxury that I now rarely consider.
I do have full length mirror in my office, but let’s face it, at that point it is a little late to discover that you are missing a button, have spit up running down your back, or are, in fact, still wearing your pajamas.
I can now see the absolute truth in the statement that, “after three kids it doesn’t matter how many you have.”
At this point you could drop off a five year old, a one year old and a pig on our front step and I don’t think that it would impact our life in any significant way. I mean, I would want the pig to be housetrained (I would also like my daughter to be housetrained, but that’s another column), but beyond that, business as usual. Not normal, but usual.
Before bringing home baby number three, we had numerous discussions on whether to have another child or not. My argument, always, was that two kids, particularly one boy and one girl, was too cookie cutter and boring.
I think of these conversations often while I check in on the kids before I go to bed. These times are the sweet spots of parenting, when you look down at their angelic sleeping faces and tiny fingers permanently tinted orange from artificial cheese products and your heart swells with the sheer joy and amazement that they are yours.
And if I am quiet enough as I tip toe out of their rooms and gently close the doors behind me, I can almost hear the universe laughing.
As always, thanks for stopping by Beer and Junk! We hope you’ll stick around awhile and that our beautiful mess will inspire you to find the joy in your own.