Thursday, March 26, 2015

Playing Peek-a-Boo From the Trenches

When I was a first time mommy, I can remember friends asking me, "How is it?" "How's it going?" I was one of the first of my close friends to get married and start a family. My response was always a positive, "Great! It's amazing!" not because I was trying to prove to everyone that I had it all together, but because I was genuinely oblivious of the hardships of motherhood. You do what you have to do and the rewards far exceed the difficulties. Money, finances, paying the bills, owning a home...oh. my. GOSH, home ownership! No body warns you about how difficult that is, and what's the reward? A roof over your heads? Just like you had before when you were renting? Yeah. Swell. But these are the difficult things. These are the things I stressed over, but motherhood? I was born to be a mother. It felt like the easiest, most natural thing ever. So, maybe I wasn't the best person to ask if you were looking a less biased response.

Fast forward to 2015 and 4 kids later. It's not so easy. The rewards are still immeasurable, but the difficulties...well, a little harder to overlook.

Every additional child somehow makes for double the laundry, so my laundry responsibilities have doubled FOUR times in the last 8 years. Each additional child means less time for cleaning but double the mess, more phone calls and appointments to make and less time to make them, more noise, less quiet. And each child comes with their own set of rules. This one can't be put on his belly or he'll scream til he pukes. This one needs to stay upright for 30 minutes after eating, or she pukes. This one won't drink day old breast milk...or he pukes. All the rules somehow involve puking.

Now I have four. I'm homeschooling two and trying to coax the third into sitting just long enough to color half a page. All the while trying to keep the fourth guessed it...puking.

She is not going to be a basketball player, I'm certain. She couldn't hit the broad side of a barn with that puke. I need an adult sized bib to cover my chest and shoulders while burping her. As it is, I will use a large receiving blanket, because burp cloths are tiny and useless, and she will lean and scrape and crawl until she has the blanket pulled out of her way and a clear shot to vomit down between my boobs. On second thought, maybe she will be a baller, a scrappy one, and she likes a challenge.

And oddly enough, her "I'm gonna puke!" screaming and clawing is strangely similar to her "I need to eat!" screaming and clawing. Imagine an adult running around, frantically searching the cupboards for food right before puking. That's what life is like with her right now. And what's a mom to do when her new baby is clawing and scraping and rooting around for what I can only assume is sustenance? I feed her, and get rewarded with double the puke.

I could free up a lot of time in my days if she could keep her food down. Truth. 

So, it's harder to overlook all of that from the trenches, where I am outnumbered, trying not to get taken out by projectiles, and trying to keep everyone else calm. The days go by faster and slower all at the same these never-ending days which somehow pass me by weeks and months at a time.

But then there's a slow, quiet lull, a moment for me to peak up over the trench, somewhat skeptical of my safety, and find my toddler lovingly wiping the spit up from the babies mouth while my two oldest read to her and bounce her in her chair. And I am reminded that the rewards still far exceed the difficulties, no matter how much laundry cleaning puke is thrown at me, because each additional child means double the love, so the love in my home has doubled FOUR times in the last 8 years. ;-)

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