I was at the grocery store the other day with my four boys – who all happen to be 2 1/2 years apart from each other. The lady at the checkout was kind and friendly and was inquisitive about our family. After surveying the ages of the boys she joked, “Looks like its time for another one!”
Her comment (unbeknownst to her) had interesting timing as someone just days earlier had said the same thing. I joked back with each of the commenters – I’ve already got my hands full!
But then I started thinking – this is the first time I’ve had a 2 1/2 year old and not had a baby. (or have been really pregnant – there’s a slightly larger gap between Hallie and Hunter). I hadn’t thought anything of it until their comments, but we are really entering a new stage. Briggs grows out of clothes and I don’t save them – they get donated. We’ve cleared out all the baby toys and even some of the other toys he doesn’t show interest in. With each stage he grows out of – we get rid of more and more gear – gear we’ve had for years and years. He’s the first kid we haven’t had to kick out of the crib – we can keep him in it until he’s 5! 😉
But what’s interesting is those baby memories are still really close to the surface. I think I’ve had babies on the brain since my sister told us last weekend that she’s having a girl (after two boys).
As I was getting ready this morning with my bedroom door shut, I heard what sounded like a newborn cry. And for a minute, I was panicked thinking I didn’t get ready before the baby got up…and then I realized, I don’t have a baby! When I saw the lady in church holding her sleeping baby as she thumbed through a notebook I could feel my own arm going numb from her awkward position. I could feel the weight of the car seat as a dad held it in the crook of his arm. There are so many relatable moments. I’ve been there. I’ve felt the fatigue and frustration that comes along with babies and I want to give a hug to every mother and father I see juggling a baby. You’re doing an extremely exhausting and yet rewarding work.
Some of my early motherhood days seemed so long and the thought of being out of the baby stage seemed incomprehensible. And yet here I am with a talking toddler and I have to say I’m quite enjoying it. Each stage is better than the last.
I find these Little People every where. We’ve got a bucket full of them that we’ve collected over the years and yet the bucket is always empty. These 6 characters kept circulating around my office. One day I found them on my picture frame, the next day they were in the tic-tac-toe box and the next shoved in the chair cushion.
Its hard to believe that one day I’ll put them in the box and they’ll stay there. I won’t find them carelessly and not so carelessly scattered through the house. For now, I’ll take pictures of their randomness.
Treading water is just about the best description of motherhood and the stage we’re in right now. I love when Jim Gaffigan jokes about having four kids. “You know what it’s like having a fourth kid? Imagine you’re drowning, then someone hands you a baby.” We used that line over and over again…until we had five kids! And although we laughed about it – it was all too true.
I came across this quote recently and it touched my heart.
It spoke to me. Probably because of my stage of life but partly because it speaks truth. Yes, treading water is a necessary part of swimming, but it doesn’t get you anywhere. What it does is buys you time and energy until you can continue swimming. The hard part is we start treading water and we never seem to stop. And all the while we start getting frustrated that we’re treading at all and then we start to swallow water. Perhaps the question starts to cross your mind, “Why did I even jump in?!” Or you question if you even know how to swim.
We forget. We know how to swim. We love to swim. But swimming in waves has its challenges, so we tread. Luckily, waves change. Treading water today, this week, or this month doesn’t mean we won’t be able to swim soon. And it’s once we start swimming that we’re reminded just how much we truly love it.
This picture makes me laugh – mostly because it portrays Bennett perfectly. First of all, I was taking a picture of something else and he was off to the side, being completely silly and totally entertained with himself. Of course the minute I turned the camera to him he did some fancy dance moves and then pretended to be embarrassed and took off running with his long hair bouncing as he made his way across the grass.
He’s funny. He’s an entertainer. He’s animated. He’s emotional. He’s short fused. All of which makes him fun to be around and exhausting on most accounts. It is my daily struggle to remain patient with his antics. I kept telling myself he would grow out of this “stage” which is what got me through so many days. I’ve come to realize, it’s not a stage – it’s a personality. And I can’t expect him to grow out of it, we need to learn to manage it. Parenting is a journey and every kid seems to be on their road.
This guy is just skipping down his road and I’m just trying to keep up!
Let them be little and let them eat powdered doughnuts!
This is where the first child and fifth child start to grow up a little differently. The younger me, with one child would’ve said it’s too messy (note the shelf of crumbs on his shirt) and not breakfast worthy. The older me recognizes that his face can be washed and the floor can be swept so when his brother shared his doughnut I thought, “Wow – he shared without even being asked!”
I still don’t think it’s breakfast worthy but once in a while isn’t doing any harm, right?! I see why parents start to relax on things such as this. It’s not because they’re lazy or have given up on parenting – its because they…relax. It’s key. Which I’m sure my parents thought over and over again as they saw me raising my children. And I’m sure most people in the grandparent stage would say the same about their kids raising kids. We over think. We put too much pressure on ourselves. We’re unsure as to what is best. When really, we all just need to relax a little bit. And I think you can relax and still run an organized and respectful home. I’m learning the balance.
Back to doughnut boy – his face was priceless after he shoved the whole doughnut in his mouth (in which only half the doughnut actually made it in his mouth) only to realize it was a little dry and harder to swallow than other food. And not surprisingly one powdered doughnut is never enough!