Friday, June 13, 2014

A Hot Shower

It's Friday morning. Greystoke is back asleep after an hour of cooing and smiling at everyone.

The older boys have eaten their breakfast and we finished our 30 minutes of reading so that they could cross off the day on their library calendar and earn a book buck. That is very important to Aquaman.
Now they are shooting marbles down the stairs in two noodles taped together, which is what they have been doing since we bought the noodles and marbles yesterday at the dollar store.

Aquaman wanted to buy a matchbox car, because apparently 2000 of them is not enough, but I insisted on the noodles and marbles, and they have not disappointed.

Trapped in the house so much of the day due to having a small baby and very intense sunshine means we have to find creative ways to have fun indoors. Especially right now, when summer boredom and new sibling jealousies leave the older two jockeying for position and therefore fighting constantly.

Aquaman just approached me and asked where I kept his schoolwork from kindergarten, because he would like the painting he made of an elephant. Apparently it was the "best painting he's ever done". I hope I saved it. I doubt I did. Toward the end of the year I was kind of chucking everything, being that we already have a closet full of artwork and we've only completed one year of elementary school.

The Dude is now screaming at Aquaman about nothing in particular and will probably soon be in a full-fledged 3.5 year old rage.
He is entering "friend or enemy" stage, and this week he has traded places with Aquaman in being the exhausting one.

The dog will now not allow JT to bring her out at all, because 2 weeks ago, while walking her, he accidentally clanged 2 coffee cups together, and apparently she felt threatened by that. The next day, when JT tried to take her out, she jumped on the couch, shaking, and then pooped on it. Now she goes in the closet every time he asks her if she wants to go for a walk. She seriously needs some anxiety medicine.

Since I now am the only one who can take her out, and since JT is gone at work or practice about 12 hours a day now...I have to take all 3 kids and her out for walks. About every other day she ends up pooping on the floor because I cannot get her out soon enough.
Yesterday while walking her, The Dude, who was running along beside us pushing his toy, decided his shorts were slightly wet, and took them off in the middle of the sidewalk, and then refused to put them back on. Then he spent the next 10 minutes screaming and naked as we walked back, and all of the neighbors stared. Like they don't stare at us enough already.
Aquaman dutifully returned for the shorts and carried them home. Greystoke squinted in the sunshine and told me in no uncertain terms that he had had enough. I dropped the bag of poop, and then Aquaman stepped in it.

Somehow, we made it home in one piece.

Being as our only option with the dog is to keep cleaning up her poop and dealing with her anxiety or put her to sleep, we just keep cleaning up the poop and try to laugh just when we feel like we're going to go crazy. I'm pretty sure she has turned us off ever having another dog again.

Yesterday was my 6 week postpartum checkup, and all 3 boys accompanied me.
The Dude took all of these office pictures, to keep him from playing with the stirrups...

 It was smooth and easy since I have not had any recovery troubles.

It was even kind of fun to be back.
The Dude came to all of my OB appointments with me, and was an office favorite. They called him "husky" because they liked his voice. Right before the doctor came in to deliver Greystoke, the nurse told me that he said "I'm going to miss seeing her little boy in my office."

It was a strange feeling being there with what is probably my last baby.

When I was in the waiting room, I heard the receptionist talking with someone who was obviously scheduling their first OB visit. "When was your last period?" She asked. And I had a wistful moment thinking of the 3 times I had been asked that very question as I called on the phone, and how I wouldn't be asked it again (in the same context anyway).

Today is the older boys' last swim lesson.

Next summer Aquaman will be old enough for swim team, and so far wants to do it, "as long as he doesn't have to swim in any races".

Two days ago at the swim lesson showers, I ran into a girl I went to middle school with who has two young boys and asked "how 3 was", because she is trying to decide whether to have the 3rd.

It isn't a difficult question, when you're in the thick of it. I guess maybe because in my case, each child has gotten a little bit easier, and not harder as is the case in some families. And of course because once that little baby is in your arms you can't imagine it any other way, even if there is a little more chaos. And mostly because, always, even in the busiest days of two, there was something that just felt empty and incomplete in our family before Greystoke was here.

I think about how last year at this time, I was just coming out of several months of struggling with some pretty deep depression. Some of it was certainly physical (my body just doesn't agree with hormonal birth control), but I realize now that much of it was just knowing that there was supposed to be another person in our story.

And somehow, perhaps just because we are right where we are supposed to be, adding a kid and cutting out some of my work has made our marriage closer and deeper. Despite that there is less money, I believe in JT's work more. I care less that he is working right now many many hours for no money at all. I see how what he does matters, whether he gets paid for it or not.

I see how, despite some days falling into bed wondering how I screwed up my children today, and wishing the bathrooms had magically gotten clean, and shutting the boys' closet because it is a jumble of disorganization, what I did today matters too.

I heard someone on Focus on the Family say yesterday on the way home from the OB appt: "Success is not measured on what you accomplish in life, but on how your grown son describes you to his friend."

I'll admit, I'm not always patient these days. I am somewhat sleep deprived. I feel perpetually dehydrated and ridiculously hungry. I can't seem to process all of the questions that Aquaman has been throwing at me lately. I honestly just don't know the answers: "how do they build the middle of a bridge? Does coke evaporate and turn into rain? Does that cause air pollution? How do you make soap? Does cardboard melt?"

I don't sometimes know what to do when The Dude starts flailing around and screeching at the top of his lungs because his water cup is not filled to the top, or he can't go out into the puddles.

But I remember when I was pregnant laying in The Dude's bed with him, up in the middle of the night while he tossed and turned, feeling Greystoke kick and prod me from the inside, and for some reason the thought came into my head: "if I didn't have this third child, I bet I could get an iphone".
And how I laughed out loud, in the middle of the night, at the very thought.

 At the ridiculous comparison.

Greystoke is an amazing baby. He's slept 6 hours in a row 3 times now, and every night sleeps at least a 4 hour block. Some nights he falls asleep in his bed all by himself. I can count his fussy days literally on one hand. There will be 3.5 year old fits, and 5.5 year old questions, and many many days where he drives me crazy. But so far, 3 kids is a charm. A tiring one, but an amazing one.

Aquaman just entered the house from the courtyard and announced: "we're playing in the dirt!" So I guess I better get moving. I'm way behind on laundry, the bathrooms definitely need to be cleaned today, and swim lessons start in an hour. I'm guessing both of them, and the courtyard, will need baths.

Mostly, I need to go take a shower myself, because I've found that is the best place to start my day in prayer each morning. To start with a prayer of thanks...for the way the hot water soothes the tightness that I have in my neck from laying curled around various children all night. For the way the coffee and the ice water slowly soothe the sleep deprived/dehydrated headache. For the 3 boys who leave me sore and tired and thirsty.

Then there's the praise for who God is. For His patience with me, for His great love that is more than I can comprehend. For the sacrifice He made in sending His son, that He loved even more than I love my own sons. Then confession of my gross imperfections. Of my selfishness in the daily grind. For bursts of impatience when Aquaman is tattling for the 50th time, and The Dude is refusing to share again and Greystoke wants to be fed for hours on end.

And the endless supplication, that sometimes only comes out in just two words: "help me".
Praying for the wisdom of Solomon, to know how to arbitrate the endless arguments. When to step in, and when to let them work it out. How to help Aquaman curb his insatiable need to tattle. How to help The Dude curb his impulsive need to lash out in frustration.

There is a long, hard, wonderful day that I can't do on my own stretching out in front of me.

It's going to start with a shower.

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