My not-so-baby boy is officially the big ONE. It feels surreal to think that this time last year I was a pin cushion of IV’s laid up in a hospital bed staring at ceiling tiles all night long wishing the stages of labor would swiftly move along and that my cervix and other parts would cooperate so he’d hurry up and get here. Now that a year has passed, it seems that time does in fact have wings.
A year with a third child literally under foot has been a blur. It feels like we just brought him home and just started adjusting to our party of five yesterday. I still feel like I should be napping like he does, but instead I putz around the house doing chores that never feel like they’re truly accomplished all the while tackling the growing demands of my other two weed-like children. I sometimes catch a glimpse of them and think, “Where did the baby go?” They’re kids now. Ugh. My heart.
Number three is the most smiling baby of all time. He really is, and for this reason I feel like he has something in store for us when he becomes a teenager. He’s a charmer. He’s rotund. His knees have rolls. When my sister sees him she says, “I want to squeeze the Charmin.” My other two were not so pleasantly plump. Not to brag, but he is one hunk of a baby, and to top it off he has a crown of ringlets that I refuse to cut. He’s awesome, and even though I have dubbed him our “we’ve given everything away child” I am so amazed by him and so stinking glad he is a part of our family.
I was fortunate to share my third pregnancy with a dear friend (we’ll call her, “Liz”) who was also pregnant…with TRIPLETS. We really indulged in some pampering towards the end of gestation. While our kids were off at school, we’d drool over hibachi lunches doused in yum-yum sauce and pamper our swelling cankles with pedicures in massage chairs – those were the days. Her babies were due five weeks after my little guy.
The night I went into labor just happened to be Friday, the 13th. Our kids were sound asleep at the time, and a fabulous friend (we’ll call her, “Sam”) came over to sleep at our house to take care of them until grandparents could arrive for duty. I am pretty sure Sam didn’t sleep at all as she was excited about spoiling this baby rotten, and she was virtually with me all night long as one of my dear mommy birthing coaches from afar via text and facebook. After hemming and hawing over whether or not my contractions were close enough together to get me admitted at the hospital nearly half an hour away, my hubby and Sam convinced me it was time to stop cleaning the house and to get in the car. I checked into the ER around 11:45 p.m.
Shortly thereafter I received a text that Liz’s water broke. I fool heartedly thought it was a joke, a text sent to ease my distressing thoughts of my long night ahead as I was merely a “three” when admitted seemed laughable. But the text was no joke. As midnight approached, Liz had bent down to cross the day off of her calendar. It was something she did routinely every night in celebration of yet another day that she had successfully managed to keep her three little buns in her increasingly uncomfortable oven. As she stood up, her water broke. Her husband was working across town at the time, and his car grew wings to get him home in what had to have been record time. Good job, buddy.
I received her text in between contractions. You can believe my shock; however, we had joked from the beginning of our pregnancies about being in delivery at the same time. She & her husband checked into the ER merely two hours after us & were placed in a room directly across from ours. Naturally our husbands who are bro-friends hugged it out in the hallway while us women huffed and puffed, and they passed the time by joking about tag teaming the coaching duties and such. Ha, right…
Their babies were born in the middle of the night nearly eight hours before our little guy. That’s right, our four babies share the same birthday. During our hospital stays we had recovery rooms two doors down from each other, which made visitation easy for our shared friends. She wheeled herself to my room for a visit and held my guy before most of her own, and I moseyed down to the NICU to ogle over her tiny, triple blessings. Her sweet troopers remarkably spent less than two weeks in the NICU. Today they are all healthy, happy, busy ones each with distinct looks and unique little personalities. Their mom and dad are the perfect parents for such a brood, and the triplets’ big brother really loves him so babies and helps to entertain his siblings. They are laid back, know how to roll with it, and contain seemingly endless energy that I wish was contagious. I think of them whenever I get to the overtired woe is me part of a day after being up twice or more with my little sidekick in the middle of the night.
I can’t imagine the demands of three. I’ve seen Liz in action – all the buckles, straps, limbs, crumbs, toys, diapers, bottles – she’s AMAZING. I have also seen how the public reacts when her stroller makes an appearance. She has coined a phrase for those who stare dumbfounded. They’re “Lookie Lous,” and they’re unknowingly rude. The public sometimes drives me crazy with just my one baby in tow. While on the topic, why do some strangers think it’s okay to touch your baby? NO. It’s not okay, random Walmart shopper. And no, he’s not a girl. He’s wearing blue. This poor boy needs a haircut I guess, but I digress so pick your jaws up off the floor, Lookie Lous. Liz gracefully entertains the unwanted commentary and questions that endlessly meet her everywhere she and her babies go. She is a champ. I stood in awe of her preggo belly a year ago, and today I stand in awe of her as one heck of a mom.
The events of that weekend one year ago are still surreal to me. I am fairly certain our families experienced something worthy of a screenplay. 365 days later our homes and lives have adjusted to the increasing contents. Why do creatures so small require so many large objects to entertain them, keep them safe, etc.? Our pseudo quadruplets even had a block party to celebrate their birthdays complete with four smash cakes. What a photo opp, and what a dingy bath tub of soggy cake water that was!
I was worried about spreading the love before my guy arrived, but his arrival instantaneously made my heart grow at least 3x. I do my best to dote on each one of my three throughout my day, and I’ve seen Liz do the same with her four. Life sometimes gets crowded with demands. Time clearly flies, and this is precisely why I try to pause whenever the moment hits me – when I hear my daughter bound for Kindergarten read to me or see that her legs must have grown two inches overnight, or I notice that my son’s new front teeth have finally grown all the way in and are like Chiclets - so big, square, and white or hear him say something so profoundly insightful, or when my baby finally says “Mom” as he did today for the first time. In those moments my heart is like butter, and I just want squeeze my babies. Sometimes they let me. In those moments I just stare in total awe at the little blessings with such big hearts that my hubby and I are so fortunate to call our kids. I am so beyond thankful for my weeds and for all of the time we have been granted to share this crazy life with them.
Happy first birthday to my dear, forever smiley number three!