When Mattias was about 20, 22 months old, I entered a state of euphoria at the prospect of being done with babyhoods. The good feelings went on for several months - until I realized I was pregnant with Trixie. Somedays, I feel like I'm still mourning the loss of having no babies. I KNOW. Ridiculous, because Trixie is almost a year old. But, you know, having a baby (less than 2 years old, by my definition) in the house can be traumatic.
I used the word traumatic once before on this blog, in relation to Mattias and Noah, when Mattias was less than 2. And I felt bad using it. This time, I won't be apologizing, because NOT talking about of how intense it is to care all the time for a baby is problematic. If somebody claims taking care of a baby between the ages of 0 and 2 years is easy, or not-so-hard, I immediately dismiss him or her as: 1) out of touch, 2) not doing much of the caregiving, 3) vastly inexperienced.
This past weekend was rough. We had to keep up with a schedule much more suited to the 4+ crowd. Naps are these wonderful, magical things when you have just one child. They're a little inconvenient when you have an older child. They're a royal pain in the butt when you've got three kids. Trixie is taking two naps a day. She isn't going to sleep well in her car seat or the stroller anymore; it seems we just need to STAY HOME if we are going to maintain sanity. So there we have the solution: no socializing, no errands, no nothing but: sanity. Ha! That's not going to happen. And honestly, even if we could stay home all the time, then the repetition of life with a baby wears me down: the whining, or picking up toys again, or sweeping the floor under the highchair again, or trying to solve the problem that caused the whining again, or doing everything one-handed, or doing laundry and dishes and diaper changes again, or moving somebaby away from whatever dangerous/messy/precarious situation he or she has managed to get into.
Her cast, which isn't slowing Trixie down, is becoming its own liability. I don't know how many times she fell down this weekend because she just wants to walk. She balances precariously on the tiny tip of her toes, which peek out the end of the cast. The resin is rubbing off her toe skin, and still, still, she attempts to walk. Every few hours I glom a new layer of adhesive-backed felt over the resin edge trying to keep it from rubbing off more skin. I – I – don't even know what to say – I mean, do I call the doctor and ask if we can take the cast off? Are we trading "a fix" for a new injury? Seems like a possibility. At the time of typing this post, it's one week and 14 hours until the cast comes off. Not that I'm counting.
Most of the people in our social circles finished having babies about 3 years ago. Several commented to me this weekend that they had forgotten how much work babies are. (I guess I not only felt like my hands were full, but looked like it, too.) We do forget. I forgot. I propose that taking care of a baby all the time is not unlike the natural childbirth experience: extremely intense, yet the intensity is forgotten with time.
One more thought: it's clear to me on the third babyhood that sitting here, typing out these complaints is a luxury. Even vocalizing my complaints is a luxury. It's been rougher for the last three or so months (since the onset of crawling); I predict it will be rough another 8 months. To be able to sit down and semi-coherently type out a post about it? Luxury. Somedays, I don't have the patience to re-live it. Somedays, I can't think straight to sit in front of a computer. Most days, I have no time to waste complaining. I am in a constant state of multitasking between 6am and 7pm. (I hate multitasking.) I don't know if I'll have another chance to pull it all together and type it out again before we're out of this phase and onto the next. And that's okay. But I would like to remember that babyhood is really hard. The third child might be "easier," (after all, you know how a baby works, it's the not New anymore,) but the workload of three is heavier and less conducive to babyhood.
Sigh. Instead of feeling nostalgic and sad that it's over in the future, or looking back through rose-colored glasses, I would like to feel accomplished, not lacking. Sort of: I've Been There and Done That, Gave it My All, Earned My Stars. Big Smile. Next up?
(Dusts off hands,