22 June 2010

2 hands, 3 kids

I have heard the sentiment before. Sometimes with understanding and camaraderie. Other times it is with a cynical tone. Either way, the fact remains that I now have more children than I can hold on to myself.
I will admit, I am a little intimidated by the idea of raising 3 children - at the same time. Not just the emotional and social stuff, but even the logistics of it. You can't fit 3 carseats across the backseat of a typical car. We won't all fit on the 3-seat side of the airplane anymore, we could take up a whole row now (if we wanted to pay for the little one's ticket.) Everything just takes a little extra time.

Well, I have begun my journey into the land of 3 kids. It has been a peaceful first month. With lots of help from Justin, and my MIL, I haven't had to take all 3 kids on an outing by myself yet. That is, until yesterday. We are headed on a trip, and I needed to get a bunch of stuff. The idea of 2 hours wandering around Super Walmart, chasing after my 2-year-old had me sweating. Thankfully, there is a really nice Target nearby that just added fresh produce (and I needed some fruit.) So I packed us all up - said a prayer - and headed out.

As I pulled into the parking lot, I saw a space open next to the cart corral (thank you God.) and in that corral was one of those mega-carts that has 2 seats attached for the older kids. I thought this would be perfect for my first outing. All 3 kids contained sounded like a good idea. (All you seasoned moms can laugh at my naivety - I give you permission.)
I needed to exchange an item, so we started at the Customer Service Desk. She informed me that I needed to go and get the other size I needed, and come back. So I start pushing that monster of a cart around the infant section, looking for what I needed. As I am bumping into everything, Naomi is already begging to get out and walk. Annalia is repeatedly telling me she needs to go to the bathroom. And Xander wakes up - unhappy to be in his carseat - and probably just a little hungry. Great.

Thank God for the Family Restroom. One big room where we can all regroup. (not to mention no one can hear me as I reprimand Naomi for sticking her hand in the toilet water.) It is here that I decide the mega-cart is not for me. I am going to just going to suck it up and teach Naomi how to stay next to me. (insert lots of prayers here.) I put Xander in the sling, get him latched on and covered up (nothing stresses me out more than listening to my crying baby while I try to shop.) and we head back out into Target.

I am happy to say, that this story has a happy ending. With my nursing baby in the sling, I marveled at my oldest take care of her little sister. Although Naomi started in the cart, she soon wanted to be walking with Annalia. You need to know, that this has NEVER worked out before. But this time, she stayed in the same isle as me, and always returned when I called her. She did remove quite a few items from the lower shelves, but always put them back when I told her to. I was shocked - completely amazed. Naomi, who is usually one to test every boundary, over and over again, behaved beautifully under the example of her older sister.
As we left the store, I almost teared up when I saw Annalia take Naomi's hand to walk her across the parking lot. It made me think that I even though I have more kids that I can hang on to myself, I do have enough hands. They just may not all be my own.

11 June 2010

Learning my own lessons

Well, I am now the proud mother of not 1 or 2, but 3 children. And now that Xander is 3 weeks old and has finally woken up, the real fun begins. The last few weeks have been a wonderful blur of the perfect, sleeping infant while I continue with the job of raising the 2 older girls. I am thankful God made it that way. It gave me 3 weeks to reinforce the rules with Annalia and Naomi, assuring them that Mommy still loves (and disciplines) the same, even with the new addition in the house.I had prepared myself for the girls to have a bit of a difficult time when Xander finally joined our family. Remembering Annalia's reaction to Naomi (which was great) I completely expected Annalia to transition beautifully. And I thought that my introverted little Naomi would be the one to struggle. Boy, was I ever wrong. Somehow, the presence of Xander in the house has brought Naomi out of her shell. When guest come over, she is the center of attention, talking, laughing, and just having a great time. Not to mention she is IN LOVE with her brother. Really, she can't keep her hands off him.
Annalia, on the other hand, is having a more difficult time. Don't get me wrong, she loves her brother just as much as Naomi does. She loves to hold him, get things for him, talks to him. It is adorable. But she is having a hard time adjusting to the ramifications of a 3rd kid in the house. I like to think that I am a fairly good mom, but I certainly have my faults and shortcomings. The main one being that I tend to take the path of least resistance. When Annalia wanted something, or wanted me to do something, if I could do it, I often did. I really only said no if it was going to hurt her, or if I really couldn't accommodate. I am still that same way, however the amount I can do has just decreased. She is having a hard time with this. Often throwing fits when things don't go the way she wants. I have repeatedly had to tell her "Sometimes things don't always go our way, and we just have to learn how to deal with it."
Well, she must be learning something, because just yesterday she was able to apply that lesson in a very humbling way (humbling for myself.) For the past 3 weeks, I have been very blessed to have all 3 kids down for an afternoon nap at the same time. I know - I should be on my knees thanking God right now. However, yesterday it was not to be. Naomi - who ALWAYS takes a nap - who has ALWAYS been a great sleeper - hardly ever gives me trouble in that area, decided not to take a nap. And if Naomi doesn't sleep, there is no way Annalia is going to go down. It didn't really help that I was already a little tired. I took them all downstairs, hoping they would watch a show and I could rest on the couch with Xander for 26 minutes. Lucky me, though, Naomi decides this is the perfect time to test just how much she can get away with before I drag myself off the couch to punish her.

Needless to say, I was soon in tears. I tend to throw myself a pity party when the girls miss naptime (and I miss "me-time"). Don't get me wrong, I had every right to cry and be disappointed, but I was then reminded that I could chose a better reaction. Soon, my 3-year-old is at my side, stroking my hair, saying, "Remember Mommy, sometimes things don't go the way we want, and we just have to learn how to deal with it."

From the mouth of babes - words of wisdom. And it was just what I needed.