School started this past week. Arbor’s in Pre-k, which means a huge change in household dynamics Monday through Friday from 8 to 3.
Lucy is running the joint–I want to say she’s power-tripping a little bit, but surely two-year-olds can’t be intentionally bossy.
I thought she’d miss her big sister more, but she is taking every opportunity to play with every toy and sit on every chair with every blanket and watch every movie while eating all the snacks. She’s reveling in her rightful place as queen of the living room; in five days she has become more assertive, more rambunctious, more talkative, and more cuddly. She is now the star of the show, and I am loving the sheer cuteness of it all.
Duncan and Indie are crawling and teething and not really sleeping.
They do love their walkers and I am thankful for the ten minutes I can put them down in them so I can eat or go to the bathroom. Duncan is tipping the scales at 23 pounds, while Indie remains a “petite” 19. Their nine-month-old mark is fast approaching; they remind me of this with their perfect execution of the alligator-death-roll, among other evasive maneuvers, whenever I try to hold them for any reason.
(My back is breaking, send help.)
Arbor loves school. She has 115 best friends at last count, according to her. She can spell R-E-D, and she is utterly fascinated by her teacher’s whistle. Struggles are few, but her biggest complaints are napping with her shoes on, and sweating on the playground. No word yet on whether or not she has attempted to employ world-domination tactics on her fellow classmates.
Merrick is in 6th grade this year which means he should technically be in the throws of middle school awkwardness.
He is not.
And Mia, finally back from her travels, has officially started her sophomore year of high school (only to once again miss another day due to sickness, and yet another two days still due to the softball coach’s fondness for signing up for tournaments during school hours.)
That’s the social media spin on the last two weeks. Truthfully it’s been a very, very rough go here at the house. The teething and sickness have taken a toll on all of us, for sure, but just the general ages and phases of the little children have me (and Merrick, my ride-or-die sidekick, bless his heart) a bit (a lot) well…shell-shocked.
For instance, I never imagined how many times I would see this meme played out in real life:
Indie loves to hurt Duncan, I think. It’s like her sole purpose in life.
I’m not really joking here: the constant, and I mean constant, crying/screaming/screeching/shrieking/shouting/tantrum-throwing/running/tumbling/banging/you-name-a-sound-they-make-it, can be stressful, but the catastrophic events of life with preschoolers, toddlers and twin babies are downright crushing and debilitating, and these kids will break a man.
Example: Last week I was getting ready to run dinner to a friend. I put Indie on the ground alone, in the safety of her room on her carpet, while I dashed Duncan over to the stroller to get him into his car seat. Two seconds into the three-second buckling process, I heard a long, shrill and throaty scream coming from Indie. I ran into her room to discover Arbor (formerly busy in the living room) standing over a bloody Indie, who was face-down on the concrete.
Yes. I died.
Turns out, she had barely picked Indie up off the ground when Indie wriggled like an alligator, and was dropped 8 inches right onto her face. She had bloodied her poor little nose. I resisted the urge to bear-scream at my 4-year-old, who was hysterical by that point, and cleaned Indie up; changed her clothes and mine, and went on delivering meals, only to get home and put all the crying children and babies to bed. Then, and only then, did poor Merrick and I give ourselves permission to bawl our eyes out as we tightly hugged each other.
Three days ago, while I cooked dinner and Merrick emptied the dishwasher, Lucy tried to hang onto the front of Duncan’s high chair with him in it, sending them both crashing to the ground, skyrocketing household decibels to dangerously high levels, giving me and Merrick legit matching heart attacks–but thankfully, bloodying no one.
I’m just…we’re just battle-worn, guys. Just plain out battle-worn. Merrick cannot handle one more accident I don’t think; and my face has never twitched so much.
Going anywhere…it’s not happening. (Like, ever.) Commitments–I can’t keep them. (Therefore not making any new ones.) Important papers, not signing them. (No hands-free seconds.) Phone calls, ignoring them. (Can’t hear you. Seriously cannot actually hear you.)
Caleb reminds me that this is our season; that camping-out-on-the-living-room-floor, sippy-cups-and-pull-ups, two-pots-of-coffee temporary season; and that skipping or cancelling things to take some quiet family time is okay, but the mom guilt is so real and strong. I have so very little mental or physical energy left to give to my older kids that I feel like they’re being epically failed and deprived. I can’t make it 15 minutes into movie night, I don’t have time to play legos, I don’t come to the games, I can’t wash the uniform without six days’ advance notice; I pack their lunches and send them out the door in the morning–“Good bye and good luck!”–and that is that.
Real talk: Sometimes I can’t even remember where they are or what they’re doing. And I apologize to every mom I ever privately criticized for being out of the public picture.
Stuff I never thought I’d let slip has slipped–oh how it has slipped.
And I find myself bonding with my older two over how exhausted we all are from the crisis-management that is 4 kids under 4. I’m worried they’ll never want to have their own babies after living in the midst of this madness.
I love them all, and I’d be lying if I said that even in all the crazy there weren’t golden moments, though.
Each little soul growing up in my house, in my care–I hope and I pray I am doing right by them, as right as I can.