Monday, June 10, 2013

Life with Three Little Humans

On Friday, I went grocery shopping with the three little humans all by myself for the first time. From the moment I unloaded them out of the van, weaved through the parking lot like a "red rover chain", piled all of the groceries on top of my children in the cart, unburied them at the check-out, and returned back to the van victorious with groceries, people were staring, gawking, and trying to peel their eyes away. I overheard them whispering to each other.

I have entered a new territory - life with three (three and under, might I add). And evidently, I look as crazy as I'm feeling right now. We are beyond outnumbered, and have surpassed the average 2.3 children. And now people stare at us like we are the Duggars. Or maybe they were just staring at my childrens' heads, peeking out from the food that they were buried under, since the carts just aren't big enough.

I'm having to re-learn motherhood and life and everything, it seems. And it's been a challenge so far. I underestimated how "new" this would feel- like being an overwhelmed first-time mom all over again. I know that we are in an adjustment period, and I know things will get better (they have to, right?!) but right now, it's hard.

Three little people with three different sleep schedules makes for one tired mama. An almost-four-year-old with night terrors, a two-year-old who can't sleep without mama for more than 45 minutes at a time, both of whom still have the occasional night-time potty accident, and fight bedtime like there is no tomorrow, plus a newborn baby who needs diaper changes and feedings during the middle of the leads to:

Three cups of coffee a day. Minimum. And by a cup, at least one of those is a venti. And headaches. Lots of headaches.

Three hungry bellies, one of which is always demanding food or water or milk. And I forget to eat amongst the shuffle, and then I wonder why I'm shaking and sweaty at noon and I force myself to sit down and eat.

Having a newborn baby is just like having a newborn baby. Eleanor is generally content as long as she is fed and diapered, and held when she is awake. Luckily, she sleeps quite a lot. Sometimes she sleeps at night. Sometimes she doesn't. And sure, I'm tired, as I mentioned above. What mom to a newborn isn't. But add taking care of a newborn baby while trying to keep up with my tasmanian devil children, and I'm pretty sure this must be some kind of extreme sport. Breaking up brawling toddlers while trying to breastfeed an infant takes some pretty crazy moves.

When we were trying to get pregnant, I remember running into a friend of mine at the Farmer's Market who had recently had her third child. I excitedly asked her what it was like having three, to which she cautiously whispered, "Stick with two!!!" Now, I am on the other side of that question. Several innocent and well-intentioned friends have asked me, "So, what's life like with three?" Depending on how much coffee I've had, I have either stared blankly at them or respond, "Ask me again in a couple months."

Although I speak of the challenges, transitions, and craziness of life with three these first few weeks, the little victories that I achieve each day are incredibly rewarding and empowering. Our first trip to the grocery store, our first trip to the park, our first trip to Target, actually finding time to sweep the floors, while exhausting and challenging also remind me that I CAN do this. The love that is showered on Eleanor by her proud big brothers absolutely melts my heart every day- it reminds me that our love is multiplied, not divided. And I love having a cuddly newborn so much. I am even more intent with this fleeting newborn phase on cherishing every moment. Could I put her in the crib when she sleeps? Sure, but why would I want to?! It just goes so fast. (I find a little comfort in that too when I'm having an especially challenging moment.)

And so it goes- we are surviving the ups and downs. And I'm trying to enjoy the wild ride. And the love x 3.

One of the challenges of 3 little ones - family photos. Hopefully we will get one one of these days. In the mean time, I'm just having to laugh at our attempts.


Jackie said...

What a wonderfully honest post! I loved it! I think I'll stick with two for now! ;)

Mandi said...

I've been told by people who have a lot of children (5 or more) that 1 is easy, 2 is a little stressful, 3 you are outnumbered but by 4+ adding to the chaos is no big deal... you are already stressed and outnumbered, what's one more? :) Lol! I know you will adjust... especially once you are able to sleep more!

Rixa said...

You're right--the baby is easy. It's the baby + little children that makes life crazy!

Mama Gone Green said...

Wishing you a few moments of peace in the days to come.
Phoebe has just started having night terrors and they are CRAZY.
Hugs! xo

Gang Of Girls! said...

I remember when I brought my 3rd one home. Its kinda like juggling. For some reason the odd numbers throw you off. Things got better with 4 but the 5th threw me off again.

Now after having #6 in Feb things are much better. Im so much more relaxed now with this one. I promise. It DOES get better. Might take a couple more months but once your in the swing of things it will be all good. :)

rachel said...

i found your blog through rixa's blog awhile back, and just have to say this post made me smile. you are doing a GREAT job! i was a youngish mom too (had my first at 23, almost 24). going from 2-3 wasn't too hard for us, but our third was adopted and i think not going through pregnancy/birth/breastfeeding made it so much more manageable for me. (i got a glimpse of what it's like from a father's perspective). going from 3-4 has required us to surrender so much of ourselves. but at this point we do realize it goes by so quickly that it's so much easier to give of ourselves than when we had our first. our first was a high need baby as is our fourth. that definitely makes the adjustment more difficult. i wish you all the best!

Sparky said...

Wow a new baby girl...congtrats to you and David and the
D boys...! As a mumm of six, i too wondered how I got through it, but I will say, you will and it will be these exact moments, that will be your sweetest memories. Your family looks very happy a true reflection that is all within your hearts , love of each other and for each other, with that you have a very stong foundation that will get you through life's what I like to call " testers" ..You will pass with flying colours, i can just feel it....x