Mission Impossible

My daughters have been extra clingy lately and my guess is it’s because they sense something is cooking. I remember people used to ask me if my 1-year-old, Charlotte, was excited about becoming a big sister and I’d feel the need to gently remind them that we’d just mastered identifying facial body parts, so no, the abstract concept of having a sibling was well beyond her grasp. Even now with a 3 and 4-year-old there are only a limited number of ways we can get them physically ready for the change of a new baby. They have their own baby dolls, we’ve read the books, they ask questions like yesterday, while we were waiting in the pharmacy line to pick up antibiotics for an ear infection at Kaiser, Charlotte asked me why the baby will only drink milk “from mommy’s boobies”. Though we are doing our best to prepare ourselves, as we learned the first time, mental preparation is mission impossible—the only real way to learn is to just live it.

I’m enjoying these new conversations with my kids—sharing that the baby will be another girl, despite Charlotte’s constant requests for a “boy sister”, since “brother” is an unfamiliar term in our household. My heart, the muscle that it is, is also being stretched in preparation for loving 3 girls, like I love my 2. For example, I explained that it takes babies a very long time to grow inside their mom’s tummy’s and even though we want to meet her so very much, the safest place for her right now is with me—and I had to sniffle back tears when my youngest said, “that’s my safest place too, Mommy.”

With every week, the baby gets compared to a larger more intimidating piece of fruit or vegetable. Typically, fruit doesn’t seem ominous—funny how that changes when you are forced to imagine expelling it out of your body. Finally, when their little personalities develop and you await like a child on the other end of a loaded bubble wand, wondering what parts of yourself will be revealed in them and pray it’s just the good stuff—then laugh at all the parts that feel like bittersweet karmic retribution.

These tasks before us: expanding our family, making room in our hearts, and even birth seem unbearably hard—until they are staring us in the face and somehow you’re gazing into the familiar and think, of course, it was you there all along, and suddenly it feels impossible that anything ever existed without them.


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Slow Down and Savor It

With a 3rd baby on the way, I like to gently push the boundaries of what might be considered difficult, as a practical lesson into what will ultimately be my future. Case in point, I needed to pick up our car from the shop 1.5 miles down the road and so I loaded the girls in the double Bob stroller and decided I’d take our Cocker Spaniel, Macie, along for the run. We made it exactly 30 seconds before Macie got so excited she pooped on someone’s driveway. As I made an unsuccessful attempt to lock the stroller, in order to dodge getting run over, not only did Macie step in it, but I didn’t open the bag all the way and so I came up with a steaming pile of poo in my unprotected bare hand, just as my stroller rolled gracefully down the driveway. If this isn’t the perfect metaphor for trying to do it all as a mother, I am not sure what is.

My list of things I need to do this week makes me want to curl back in bed and sleep until next Tuesday. My youngest, soon-to-be middle daughter is turning 3 and I’m hosting a family brunch on Saturday and then a Bounce House birthday a few towns over on Sunday. My philosophy for kid’s birthdays is that it be some place contained that will safely exhaust every child--everyone goes home with a full tummy just in time for family nap time. Also, if you tell me that you flat out don’t want to come because this would be your 6th kid's party in a month, I absolutely won’t be offended. This won’t be New Orleans on Mardi Gras, let’s make sure we call a spade a spade and recognize that all we can really pray for is that the children have fun and nobody bounces to the point of a bloody nose.   

We spent last weekend out of town at our annual Apple Hill family reunion, which was wonderful but exhausting since my kids don’t sleep when we aren’t at home (or even at home these day— every night we play a lively game of musical beds). We stayed at a cozy Airbnb that was on an actual little farm with goats and chickens. Have you ever been awakened in the morning to the sound of roosters? Yeah, me either, my kids were up well before then, but I can one day hope for such a dreamy fairy tale to come true. I guess I’ll call this #roostergoals.

It seems like life these days is coming at us hard and fast. We get to experience a lot of joyful events, with limited downtown and now the holidays are on the horizon, so the rest of 2018 is likely to be one long food coma— sprinkled with a dozen more kid’s birthday parties and some light, tier-2 tantrums. I’m not going to tell anyone to slow down and savor it all, because when someone stops me while I’m pregnant lifting both my kids into the shopping cart and tells me exactly that, I want to kick them softly in the shins and say, “It may be hard to tell through all the chaos, cringing, and crying; but that’s exactly what I’ve been doing all along.”


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Some Days

Some days I feel as if I can do it all. Make nutritional meals, stop and take the time to explain, play, and comfort my kids when they need me. I can dress them in matching outfits, brush hair and teeth, remember their favorite stuffed animals for the car rides—switch the laundry before leaving the house, write, pay a bill, all while growing a human. I climb into bed that night content with my efforts and award myself with an internal high-five and gold star for excellence in all-things adulting.


I wake up the next day and feel zero motivation for the grind. Suddenly I am uninspired—I cannot possibly apply another band-aid to factious boo-boos and I begrudge that my life has come down to loading and unloading a dishwasher while listening to another song from Frozen. No, I don’t want to build a snowman.

I’m amazed by the polar shift in my attitude. I chose this life and sometimes I am so grateful it is hard to breathe. Sometimes I am so overwhelmed it is hard to breathe. So let’s just breathe. Unfortunately, there are no trophies for “successfully” running errands with 2.55 kids since your decision to let both kids steer their own mini shopping carts in Trader Joe’s while picking out food items, could be another mother’s version of hellish-chaos in the form of herding cats. The barometer of success, I believe should be measured by the happiness of your child. Since this is their season, their happiness could also be yours. Never mind the meltdowns at checkout when you deny them chocolate, they will learn, just as you have, that the tough stuff is necessary to shape us. It cannot all be matching ballerina dresses and gold stars and snowmen. But it can be all heart— even on the days I run out of patience, I can promise we will never run out of love.

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