One question that I seem to hear a lot these days is, "How is motherhood with three kids going?" There really is no single answer to that question. The truth is that parenthood to three boys aged three and younger is a hilarious, fun, tiring, stressful, time-robbing, educational, spirit-boosting, spirit-trodding, eyebrow-raising, dinosaur-stepping-on, laundry-folding, laugh-until-your-sides-hurt, newborn-cuddling, pour-me-a-glass-of-wine experience! "Hallelujah! Holy shit! Where's the Tylenol?"(to borrow my favorite line from Clark Griswold). We're five weeks into it and we finally have our sea legs beneath us. I no longer (mostly) dread the days that BJ works and leaves me with all three boys, although we still welcome breathers when family members offer to take one or two of the older ones for any specified amount of time. We are rolling with the punches, engaging with each of the boys individually and together, and truly loving and surviving life as a family of five. With that said, BJ and I have learned that reality sometimes sadly deviates from our expectations. Let me give you a specific example of this by sharing the story of our evening last night in a little tale I shall dub "The Grammys:"
It all began yesterday afternoon when neither of the older two boys fell asleep during their nap time. Typically both boys nap for at least two hours, so this was unusual. We spent the evening with BJ's mom but came home at a reasonable time in anticipation of getting the boys in bed early. This, we thought, would work out well for us in the end. After George and Silas were down, we said, we could hang out with Van on the couch and watch the Grammys and drink hot chocolate (for me) and bourbon (BJ)! Huzzah! We drove home with baby Van screaming the entire way, but despite the cacophony Silas fell asleep on the way home. He transferred successfully to his bed initially but reemerged ten minutes later only to fall into a pitiful heap on the floor and announce that he was not tired. In the meantime I had just bathed Van, BJ was putting boxes of newborn and 0-3 month clothes back into the attic and moving his car into the garage, and George was doing something. Don't ask me what because he was only partially supervised (you can judge me when you have three kids under the age of 4). BJ came back into the house right about this time and I put Van into his crib with his soother on while we quickly changed Silas and George into their jam-jams, and then I took Van to the couch to nurse him while BJ put the boys to bed and read them each a book. He then came out and plopped down on the couch beside me. Deep sigh.
Then... the calling for "Daddy" ensued. George wanted to show Daddy his two Snoopy's. They both wanted water. Silas suddenly thought his bed was too high (bear in mind he has been sleeping on the top bunk with nothing but excitement for five months now). George got out of bed and pulled down his miniature bookshelf (and all of the books, of course). Several trips BJ made back into their bedroom, each time coming back out increasingly exasperated. Finally after an hour and ten minutes it grew quiet in the big boy room, and for 20 minutes we thought they were asleep as we watched our DVR'd Grammys.
I hadn't prioritized listening to music the past year, so I had low expectations of enjoying the Grammys. I must say that low expectations sometimes make a great evening because
it turns out that I was quite pleasantly surprised. Just as we were getting involved in a breathtaking
mash-up of Carole King's "Beautiful" and Sara Bareilles' "Brave,"
performed by the respective artists, here comes Silas traipsing out into the living room with a grin on his face rivaled only by the grin on Georgie's face, following about five feet behind. Skunked again! By then BJ and I were exhausted, so we let the boys snuggle up next to us on the couch and watch the Grammys. They loved the pyrotechnics, adored the "robots" (Daft Punk), and oohed and aahed during the various performances. They stayed awake with us until 11:00, at which point Van finally fell asleep so I put him down. BJ and I were determined to get our drinks in, even if we didn't actually enjoy them, so I chugged scalding hot chocolate and BJ quickly downed a whiskey while our older kids wrestled loudly in the living room at 11:15. The cold front had come in with 50mph winds, so BJ repeatedly went outside to aright blown-over trash cans while I discovered that George's snack of a fruit/vegetable squeeze had left 14 purple stains on the carpet. BJ then herded the children into bed (AKA a pallet for each of them built on either side of our bed because we wanted to battle them no longer) while I de-stained carpet, then we took a shower and finally crawled into bed at midnight with children on the floor on either side of us.
That, my friends, is our life right now with our three young boys.