Life Lately: The first weeks as a mom of three
Life lately...life lately is imperfectly perfect. It's everything that I need it to be: slow, simple, close. No life is perfect, but in it's imperfections it suits us perfectly. We fumbled through our first week as a family of five. While Sophia took her second brother in stride, Jack struggled to figure out his new "place" in the family. He struggled with boundaries (no you can't pry open Liam's eyes) and mostly just seemed lost. And when you're two and a half, "lost" gets communicated through hitting and crying and throwing and taking flying leaps off the couch onto your sister (or the corner of the end table). And we struggled as parents to keep our cool despite the crazy behavior and the lack of sleep. We weren't always successful, but we did manage to turn things around towards the end of the week and life has settled a bit.
Liam seems to sail through it all unfazed. Of all three, he is the most relaxed newborn: a good eater, a good sleeper (four and even five hour stretches already...although that was only once). He's the kind of baby that makes you think: Maybe four is doable? And then he has a night like last night where he's up almost every hour and half and I think: No. I don't want to do this again.
But at the same time I'm savoring every moment, even the sleepless ones. A friend of mine said, "By the time you have the third, you realize how quickly time goes." I'm finding that true in every way. With Sophia I felt like I looked forward to when she'd grow up and reach new milestones. With Jack I wished away his first year, longing for the day when we would be done with the surgeries and the appointments and the hospital stays. But with Liam, I just want to be in every moment with him as he is. I know he will roll over and walk and talk and eventually swing from the monkey bars or launch himself off the couch onto his sister. I know all those things are coming...more quickly than I ever realized before.
And in those moments with Liam I'm finding myself re-processing everything we went through with Jack. It's remarkable how similar the two of them look. Sometimes I dress Liam in the hand-me-downs from his brother and remember: Jack wore this the day of that appointment. And sometimes when I burp him, I rub his back and think about what Jack's back felt like before his surgery. Jack's nevus had a raised bump just to the left of his spine, close to his shoulder blade. I can pinpoint the exact spot on Liam's back. It's one of those tiny things that I'd forgotten until now, but holding little Liam is bringing back memories I'd pushed aside and forgotten. Mostly because they were sad and difficult and it was a time where I just had to push.through.the.hard.
But I look at Jack now and he is so vibrant and rugged and rough and tumble, with the scars to prove it. And I look at the way he loves his brother Liam so much and I feel so grateful. I have two healthy boys.
Somehow this gratefulness and the fact the life seems so "full" right now has me at ease. Just a few months ago I was very anxious about my ability to be a mom of three. I wondered what would change and how I would manage. All of the anxiety has seemed to melt away and the postpartum blues I was expecting have yet to materialize. I think it's in part due to the fact that I feel rested, far more rested than I've ever felt after my previous two children. But mostly I think my ease comes from the fact that I've let go. I let go of some of the unreasonable expectations I had of myself: expectations for the order and cleanliness of our home, expectations for our homeschooling schedule, expectations I have of myself in regards to fitness and running. I've let go of a lot and embraced the "now." Somehow holding little Liam for the first time was a catalyst for this.
He's a game changer, for sure.
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