Monday, July 23, 2018

Life with 3 kids (alternate title: life in crazytown)

A lot of people have asked "what's life like with 3 kids?". And I really never know what to say.
So I'm going to start just texting back this picture.

Can you spot the baby?

Before I had the picture, I would usually say something like 90% fun chaos, 10% hiding in the bathroom trying not to hyperventilate. That’s usually when I’m doing bedtime on my own.

Honestly I don't really know. We've been lucky to have a ton of help, so I don't truly feel like I've "done it" yet. I actually feel guilty, like I'm cheating and it makes me scared for when I'm thrown to the wolves in September when school starts. The boys have still been in daycare, so even when Eric has been at work (a week plus a few other random days in June and full time at summer school now) I've spent a lot of time pretending to be a first time mom laying around, snuggling with Remi, doing nothing but reading books, nursing, and eating. Except now I have the perspective to actually enjoy it.

Exactly how we both look every day, put together and in nice, milk free clothes.

One of the (many) things I was nervous about logistically when I was pregnant was taking all 3 of them places by myself. I am very happy to share I have gotten over that hump! I eased in to it with playdates so that I could have help.

Making pizza at our friend Elliot's house!

We tried a nearby library story time. We went the first time when Eric was still off work, it was overwhelming. The kids were running everywhere while Remi needed to eat and I really wasn't sure how I was going to possibly handle it solo, especially since we never go to "story time" because it ends up being "chase my kids around the room while other kids sit quietly for story time".

We went back and it went really well! There was some chasing Royce, made possible by my favorite baby invention EVER, the ergo (a baby wearing device that holds them in tightly so you can sprint after your insane older children). But Dalton participated in the circle time and, therefore, Royce also did, and we've been back twice and it's been actually fun!

After that push to get out of the house, we also started attending hikes on Sunday mornings with the Free Forest School. It's a free (duh) organization that has chapters in tons of cities that meets to do a snack/introduction, short hike (short enough that Royce at just over age 2 could easily complete it), the kids play for about an hour in the woods/stream, and then a story circle and hike back.

It's perfect because Eric bartends Saturday nights, so it gets us out of the house Sunday mornings to let him sleep. Everyone I've met has been just so nice and helps me corral my gang out of the forest. I thought I knew real fear on trails in the woods from my background as an ultra runner. I've been out there in pitch black darkness with no idea how much further we had to go, I’ve done a 50K trail race in July in 90+ degree heat and finished after my buddy succumbed to heat stroke, and I’ve run in freezing temperatures through snow and ice. But here’s what is really scary: trying to coax my two and three year old children out of the woods when they are tired and hungry, while wearing a baby. That’s a true challenge. There was a brief time when I suspected we would have to accept the woods were now our home, but we did make it out (thanks to me carrying Royce while wearing Remi).

I even took them downtown, to Port Discovery, a 3 story children’s museum where I once lost Dalton. All by myself, although thank goodness my friend Bobbi met me there and helped out for part of it. I even found free parking and packed us lunches. It takes us a hot minute to get out of the house, but it apparently is doable!

I was asked on Instagram questions (is everyone just going to post the question box once, answer it, and then the trend will be over?) what’s the hardest part of having kids? For me, I think it’s just the stress of constantly wondering if I’m raising them right. I don’t find the newborn phase particularly stressful this time around, which is a huge contrast to how I felt as a first time mom. Luckily, Remi is gaining weight, and healthy, so I just kind of let her do her thing and don’t stress over it. I find it so much scarier with the boys, constantly navigating tantrums, trying to decide which battle to chose, wondering if I’m teaching, and more importantly, modeling how to be a good person, feeling guilty when another kid the same age knows more academically, hoping I’m giving each child the attention he needs (probably not), etc, etc. Long story short trying to actually raise kids is a lot harder than just keeping the baby alive.

The other thing people always ask about is sleep, which is also hard to answer.

Baby sleep?

Toddler sleep?


I don’t want to be too negative, but I also have a strict policy on not speaking about sleep when something good happens, because the baby always somehow finds out and punishes me. And people are SO curious, like for real a random stranger in Safeway wouldn’t let me give my pat answer of “she sleeps like a newborn!” and kept pushing “every 4 hours? 3? HOW OFTEN does she wake up?!” Like I don’t know lady, every night is different, do you want me to figure out the averages and draw up a graph? My hope for newborn sleep is just to wake up only to eat. I don’t even care how often, just wake up to eat and go back to sleep. Of course, babies DGAF what my hope is, so there are plenty of nights I find myself walking her around the bedroom at 1am or bicycling her legs because no one tells you going in to parenting just how much of the first few weeks are spent trying to get them to pass gas in one way or another.

I hear (well, usually see, in Facebook groups) people saying things like “well so and so’s baby slept x hours at y weeks old so I know it’s possible”. To me that’s like saying “well, Michael Phelps swam x distance in y seconds so I know it’s possible”. Like sure, that means it has been done by a human in this world, but that doesn’t mean it’s a given or even remotely close to achievable for most of the rest of us. In my experience of 3 kids, babies are really their own people with their own strengths and weaknesses straight out of the womb, and I’m happier and less anxious when I just embrace it and buckle up for whatever ride this baby is going to take me on. I actually have successfully been using an app to record feedings (I failed with Royce because he was such a constant cluster feeder that I gave up) but I mainly just look at which side she fed on last, and I usually don’t bother looking back to see how many times she ate or how many hours in between, probably because I’m too busy drinking coffee and making more coffee.

However, in the quest for always finding reasons for things to deal with life as a parent, I decided I have a small breastmilk storage capacity. Dr. Google says that basically means I store a smaller amount of milk at one time, so the baby needs to eat more frequently. It would explain why all my babies have had short, frequent nursing sessions and my tendency towards clogged ducts. So, that settles it, whether it's true or not, it helps me mentally accept many night wakeups and that's all that matters. For anyone who is actually interested, this post explains it really well.

It does seem that babies are designed perfectly, because right around 6-8 weeks when the new baby adrenaline is starting to wear off and the exhaustion is really starting to hit me, it’s time for BABY SMILES.

While at 8 weeks old Remi is still smaller than many babies at birth, barely tipping the scales at around 8 pounds, she is making it quite clear she is no longer a brand new baby. She’s smiling, holding her head up, and making eye contact. She still sleeps the majority of her life, and most of her limited awake time is still taken up by eating, diaper changes, and fussing/crying for reasons the world will never know, she’s starting to have really fun happy awake times where she looks around, smiles, kicks, and just being painfully adorable.

The boys continue to ask to hold her, Royce more often than Dalton!

They love bringing her the pacifier, which she is now taking and is a huge improvement in all of our lives. Other than that, she’s pretty boring, as newborns tend to be, so they go about their busy lives of chasing each other, playing, and so forth and aren’t super interested in her.

Except once in awhile they are and my heart explodes.

Other random updates on - me! The person actually writing this blog, not just my offspring. I saw my OB a few weeks ago for my six week checkup, and I'm healing, albeit slower than I would have preferred. My recovery from Royce's birth was a lot easier than Dalton's, so I expected the third time to be the easiest yet. Not so much. Probably part of my perceived ease with Royce was that it was a non-emergency c-section compared to Dalton's emergency situation. And, well, it turns out that 3 pregnancies and 3 surgical baby removals in under 4 years is just hard on a 35 year old body. Who knew? But I am on the right path.

Since my doctor cleared me, I've been working out some! Meeting my running buddy Jackie for walks here and there, but mainly 10-20 minute at home workouts. I have been using an app for just simple upper and lower body weight workouts. I've used the treadmill a few times for run/walks and incline walks. I know from experience that if I try to carve out time for something specific like a 3 mile run or 30 minute video, I'll just get frustrated, so 10 minutes is manageable because even if Remi wakes up I can probably finish before she gets truly pissed. If I hit the treadmill, I just do whatever till she's up with no goal in mind. She sleeps best the more uncomfortable I am, so really hot hilly walks with her in the ergo are generally the best naps of her life. She would absolutely sleep through the night if I were willing to do this from 10pm-6am.

I'm trying to eat a little more healthy, because, let's face it, it's not fun being fat and having none of your clothes fit. Being pregnant in the summer gets a bad rap because of the heat, but honestly I loved being pregnant with Dalton in the summer and wearing all sorts of cute maternity dresses, showing off my belly. Then, once he was born in late September, it was perfect timing for leggings and sweaters to hide my post partum belly. I'm not losing sleep over it or anything because I know it just comes with the territory and for me, it takes a good amount of time for the baby weight to come off, but I'm not going to pretend to love the extra stomach fat either. Of course, I'm also not going to skip dessert, so, that's where I'm at. But I've actually made some really good salads lately and trying to get back in the habit of cooking lots of vegetables and all that good stuff, so summer is convenient for that.

I did contract a stomach bug and didn't eat for about 48 hours this weekend, so, should be totes skinny today. Kidding. 0/10 do not recommend with an 8 week old who hates sleep. 10/10 do recommend my amazing husband who bartended till insane early morning hours then woke up with the boys at 5am and dealt with them all day so I could lay down and not move.

Speaking of my amazing husband, this week was our TEN YEAR wedding anniversary. Like, when we got married, Snapchat, Instagram, and Pinterest didn't even exist. That's how long ago it was. A whole different world. Much like our actual wedding day, we woke up separately - me upstairs with Remi, him in the boys' room after one of them woke up crying and he ended up sleeping on the floor.

Flowers from that guy I married.

I thought about asking a friend to come over after the boys were down and going out on a dinner date with Remi, but then realized "going out" sounded horrible. See previous paragraphs about no clothes fitting and babies not sleeping. We put the boys down a bit early and ordered dinner from El Salto, one of our favorite restaurants, and attempted to watch our wedding DVD, but it wouldn't play, because we are so old and married DVD players aren't even a thing anymore. We watched Celebrity Family Feud instead because we've been oddly into that lately. There will be plenty of time for date nights, but right now I'm happy hanging out together on the couch (although we did go out for my 35th birthday last month!).

And that's where we are at currently. I'm completely overwhelmed, but not more so than you would expect from someone with a newborn, 2 year old and 3 year old? If that makes sense?

How I wrote most of this post.