Saturday, April 2, 2016

Considering a third baby? Read this.

If you are even considering getting pregnant with a third child, it is important for you to know certain things.

Needless to say, I won't be the only one warning you about how your life will change once the third baby arrives. You will get many warnings about life with three kids, both warranted and unwarranted, from many different people. 

When you go to the bank in the third trimester of your third pregnancy, the bank teller will smile sweetly at you and ask you if you are expecting your first baby. When you smile back sheepishly and tell her that you are expecting your THiRD child, her expression will change. She will know the balance in your savings account, and she will suddenly be telling you with her eyes that you CANNOT afford a third child. 

She may be right.

When you and your family bravely go to Chuck E. Cheese one night for dinner during your thirty seventh week of pregnancy, the manager will specifically come over to you, corner you, and tell you with a very tired face that he too has three children. He will share with you that he is working seven jobs including this one, just so he can send his children to college. He will say that the third child changed EVERYTHING, and you will sense that he does not mean "change" in an amazing, exciting, revelatory way. 

He may be right.

Many many other people will warn you that you and your husband are about to be to be outnumbered, as if you and your children are at war with one another, and you are about to LOSE that war.

They may also be right. 

Listen. Having a baby, whether it be your first or your ninth, is always incredible. Babies are beautiful creatures. Everything they do, even the expressions they make when they are farting, is adorable. There is no denying the cuteness. But no matter how cute that baby is, the reality of life with three kids is pretty UN-cute.

For instance, your day is going to begin at 3:30 a.m. No, you are not suddenly going to become a morning news reporter. You probably chose not to pursue news reporting as a career because you specifically wanted to avoid having to wake up at 3:30 a.m. And yet... Your adorable baby will wake you up at 3:30 am, screaming for nourishment.  You will feed him, burp him, change his diaper, and rock him back to sleep. At 4:30 am, your middle child will wake up, completely convinced it is time for breakfast. You will show him the dark sky outside his bedroom window, tuck him back into bed, kiss him on the forehead, and tell him not to open his eyes for another three hours. By about 4:45, you will JUST be falling back to sleep when your oldest child will wake up, begging you to help her find her iPad so she can watch YouTube videos of things being made out of Play Doh. At 5:15, your middle child will wake up again, and will threaten to cry loud enough to wake the baby if you don't bring him downstairs for breakfast immediately. So you will bring him downstairs and you will feed him Cocoa Puffs.

Also, you are going to immediately brew a very BIG pot of coffee. You are going to drink 3/4 of the pot before 6 am.

Getting your family out the door of your home is going to take 27 days of planning. You will need maps, strategies, back-up plans, emergency contacts, and a member of the military to make it happen. Your eldest child will somehow forget to wear socks or shoes. Your middle child will wear all of his clothes backwards, will take fifty seven hours to decide what he wants to bring to school for show and tell, and will suddenly want to talk to you about every rock in your front yard before he gets into the mini van. Your baby will hate his car seat so much and will cry so hard it will make him spit up all over his onesie and blanket, so you will have to change him, and then you will get him back into his car seat just in time for him to poop in his diaper.

You will have exactly thirty four seconds to get your own body ready to leave the house in the morning. Your self-maintenance routine will have to be uber efficient, and will need to be able to be completed during the time you are idling in your mini van at a red light or stop sign. You will keep your deodorant and your eyeliner in your pocketbook and you will not care that the man in the car next to you is staring at you as you stick your left hand under your right armpit while applying your eyeliner with your right hand.

You are going to need to make sure your place of employment offers a very liberal "sick day" policy, because for 359 days out of the year, at least one of your children will be ill with something very highly contagious. On the days when your children are NOT deathly ill, you will go to work feeling like you are going to accomplish a lot. Twenty minutes later, the principle of your eldest child's school will call to tell you your daughter stuck a bead up her nose and they can't get it out. 

You will know all of the names of all of the staff at the pediatrician's office. You will have a chair that you consider YOUR chair at the pediatrician's office. You will seriously consider bringing a sleeping bag and camping out in the hallway outside the pediatrician's office just so you can save on gas.

You are no longer going to eat at meal times. Dinner will be spent holding and feeding your baby with one hand while pouring ketchup, buttering noodles, cleaning juice spills, cutting chicken, peeling apples, and wiping faces with your other hand. If you intend to eat, you will need to make yourself a plate of something edible, hide it under your shirt, and sneak into the bathroom to eat it in under four minutes. You will need to learn to consume food without ever needing to actually chew it. 

Also, your eldest child will become obsessed with collecting very teeny tiny toys that are exactly the right size for your baby to choke on.

Also, your two older children will love coming up with new fun games like "let's see who can stick their fingers as far into the baby's eyes as possible" or "who can break the baby swing by using it as a human catapult?"

Getting all three of your children to bed is going to take eight and a half hours. You will need to fill up 2 water bottles, break up six arguments over who gets to play with what toy during bathtime, brush 40 teeth, read 81 books, and sing 172 lullabies. Your eldest will try on seven different pairs of pajamas before settling on the ones she wants. Your middle child will ask 2,693 questions about the universe. Your baby will spit out his pacifier nine million times and cry every single time it happens.

And finally, at 1:37 am, you will feel relaxed enough to watch a few seconds of TV and fall into a deep, deep slumber, until you are once again woken at 3:30 am.

And yet, despite this crazy life, you will have zero regrets. Why? Because everything that third baby does is going to be absolutely adorable.

Friday, April 1, 2016

10 Day Countdown

It is now ten days until my maternity leave ends and I return to work. Part of me feels ready to be reunited with my desk, with my Google calendar and daily emails and responsibilities and deadlines. The other part of me gets caught up in staring at Erez's face, hoping he will be okay in daycare, and feeling my heart break a little in advance of our separation. I wish things were different, that maternity leave was longer, that I could be present in a more complete way to witness his daily milestones. I ache that I won't be. But I also love my job and don't want to sacrifice it, or make a change in my career, or give up the second paycheck that benefits everyone in our family. It is a shame and wrong that our country isn't better about these things, about giving parents ample time to be with their babies without having to choose between their jobs and their children.

The past seven weeks with Erez has been everything: beautiful, rewarding, exhausting... He is and always will be my miracle baby. When I look at him, I think about my surgery last February. I think about the hard decision I made to give up pieces of my body in order to hopefully up my chances of a prolonged life, of being there for my kids, and how I was strangely rewarded by the universe with a pregnancy, as if I was being told my decision was a wise one for yet another reason. Erez is also proof that my body rallied after a crazy ordeal, and how lucky I am, at forty, to have had yet another healthy and uncomplicated pregnancy. He is my "everything happens for a reason" baby and my "expect the unexpected" baby.

Here is just a little of what I have learned about Erez over the past seven weeks: he is a better sleeper than either of my other children were; he loves to touch and hold fabric; he loves it when I gently touch his forehead; he really dislikes having a poopy diaper; he sleeps with his eyes open sometimes (creepy); he raises his left eyebrow a lot, like he is already highly skeptical of the world; he makes noises all the time - when eating, sleeping, peeing, breathing; he likes when I talk to him in a Minnie Mouse voice; he enjoys looking at lights and curtains; his resting face is that of an 87 year old man, but when he smiles he looks like a baby; he loves snuggles; he hates burping; he seems to notice all the artwork on our walls, and seems to especially like the tree art piece that I made that is hanging above his crib; he hates his car seat and bouncy chair but loves his rock n' play; his one left dimple is possibly the cutest thing in the entire world.

I hope that even when I return to work, I will feel like I have adequate time to notice lots of new things about Erez. I hope I will learn lots of new ways to make him smile and laugh, that I will appreciate his new sounds and movements, and especially that I will have enough time to show him how much I love and adore him, and how grateful I am to be his mommy.

I plan to make the most of these last ten days, and to try and embrace these hours as much as I can, knowing they won't last forever.