3 months with 3 children under 2 1/2. What.The.What. It’s crazy town up in here.
Let me say a few things right up front.
1) Months one through three are just nuts. For every new mom. Plain and simple.
My life was crazy town for the first three months with my first born, too. It really doesn’t matter if it’s your first kid or fifth, if you have one at a time or multiples. It’s all an adjustment, and it is H.A.R.D.
2) I am most certainly NOT super mom. Unless, you are also super mom. Then, yes, I agree. All moms are super.
I’m not sure what people imagine my life is like when they see me out in public, but I need to set the record straight. Yes. It is a miracle that I am out of the house. Yes. It is equally miraculous that I am making an appearance wearing anything other than pajamas. Yes. It is insane that I am carting around the world’s largest diaper bag, pushing the world’s longest stroller, and herding the world’s grouchiest toddler plus two sleeping infants.
Yes. It is impressive. Yes. It is note worthy. But. I am not unique in this accomplishment.
Every other mother in the world fights the same draining, demanding, and daunting battles to take part in this world with tiny children in tow. Our job is hard, ladies. Carting kids around is hard. You deserve a medal every time you show up to bible study or brave the grocery store.
Pat yourself on the back, first. Then I will allow you to congratulate me.
And we can celebrate our accomplishment together.
Cheers to us, mamas. Cheers to all of us.
With that said…
I’m not blind to the fact that this life of mine is a bit of a curiosity to those around me, whether friend, family, or stranger. I would have to be completely oblivious not to notice the stares and comments as the Great Osborne Caravan makes its way past gaping faces anytime we go anywhere.
We are a spectacle. Oh yes. A spectacle.
So I’ll attempt to wrap up the past three months with a toddler and twins for all of you, my lovely, dearly missed
readers friends, and answer the questions I would ask me if I were you.
The first three months with a toddler and twins
Can I tell them apart?
Yes. It’s a freaky deaky nature thing that God created in my mama brain. And, yes. I’ve always been able to. It’s super weird, and probably one of those things I’ll ask my Jesus about at the end of days.
But then again, I guess any mama would be able pick her own baby out of a crowd of babies, so maybe it’s not so weird after all?
How do I do “it”?
By “it” you mean..? Survive? The answer is: Just barely.
First, I have help. I’m not ashamed. Actually, I’m super proud. I brag about my helpers and my unabashed acceptance of their help. The more help the merrier!
Everyone should have help. All the time. With everything.
I’ll probably write at some point about the beauty of this amazing exchange, the music and rhythm of giving and receiving help, and how its a symphony conceived by our Lord. How we see it in the Creation Story, that Adam wasn’t alone for long, that God made him a suitable helper, and then forever after God has spoken of how His creations have helped and supported one another. How giving and receiving help binds us together like nothing else in life, and when we deny others the opportunity to help us, we are selfishly, pridefully destroying the chances for a great transformative, unifying work to be done in our souls and theirs. Turning our backs on the union God had meant not just for husband and wife as helpers to one another, but for all mankind, as helpers and receivers of help, each and every one.
But that’s a story for another time.
I have help.
In many forms.
Husband. Nanny. Church. Friends. Family. Fellow Warrior Mamas/Sisters.
Meals. Laundry. Errands. Prayer.
Baby holding. Toddler watching. Starbucks delivering.
That’s how I do “it”.
Not only do I have help. I ask for it. I accept it. I don’t feel an ounce of guilt or shame or even a hint of failure.
Every mom, everywhere, of one child or many, needs and deserves this kind of love and support. She should ask for it and accept it, humbly and gracefully. I think it is a tragedy that so many of us enter motherhood as if hurled into the deep end, forced to swim for our lives, and somehow, we feel guilty and ashamed if anyone reaches out a hand to keep us from drowning.
It’s utterly ridiculous.
Dear Mama, Let someone hold your baby, wrangle your toddler, pick up your preschooler, clean your house, fold your laundry, bring you a meal. Or at the very, very least, pray for you via text! Don’t you dare struggle to swim.
You won’t get extra points in the end for nearly drowning in the beginning.
Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest…
Let me describe what I actually do.
Very, very little. The least amount I can possibly get away with, to be perfectly honest.
Because 1) I have help and 2) I give myself a giant, freakin’ break and expect almost nothing out of me.
I think people see me at church or bible study with cute(ish) clothes and make up and 3 children in tow and assume some sort of magic is happening in my life. There is no magic, I assure you. I have a ton of help to get me out the door on the very, very rare occasions that I actually leave the house. Most days, I don’t. Let me explain.
Here’s a typical day…
6:00 am – I’m dead asleep. Someone cries. Usually Emma. I get up, change diapers, get to nursing. Still in my bed. (When I’m done nursing, I might be able to run downstairs and get some coffee and breakfast really quick without one of the twins crying and waking everyone up, but not usually.)
7:00 am – Put the babies back to sleep and start pumping. Still in my bed. Still in my pajamas.
8:00 am – Someone cries. Usually Emma. She has actually been fussing the entire time I’ve been pumping. I get up, change diapers, get to nursing. Still in my bed. Still in my pajamas.
8:30 am – Nanny (or Hubby) goes in and gets the Crazy Toddler up and ready for the day. (He has his own schedule, preschool or bible study or going out with Daddy or Nanny or hanging out at home. We try to keep him busy so he’s not stuck with nursing mama all day every day.)
(If we are all going to bible study or church, I throw some clothes on while Hubby throws the kids in the car.)
9:00 am – I hurry to get coffee and breakfast because by now, I’m starving. (Or I do my make-up in the car if I’m going to church/Bible Study.)
9:30 am – Savor my breakfast and coffee for the 3 minutes the girls are sleeping.
10 am – Someone cries. Usually Emma. I change diapers, get to nursing.
11 am – Hurry to get a snack because by now, I’m starving. Again.
The rest of the day is a blur of nursing and snacking and nursing and snacking. Occasionally, I go to the bathroom. I might be able to do one major thing, like give my Toddler some undivided attention, or take a nap, or a shower, or do my hair, or bathe the twins, but definitely not all in one day.
Around 5 pm everyone everywhere gets fussy and the nursing and snacking turns into nursing and nursing and nursing. And holding and rocking and cuddling, in the dark, for the next several hours.
Around 9 pm I prep my snacks & supplies for the middle of the night, and the pump parts I will need for early morning pumping, and try very hard to fall asleep, if the twins will let me.
11 pm/Midnight – Hubby feeds the girls with pumped milk
2 am – Nurse/Snack
4 am – Nurse/Snack
Day after day after day.
Of course, it never runs that smoothly. Never ever ever. But that’s to be expected.
And, for the most part, I do it all in the comfort of my pajamas. Mostly in bed.
There are days when I have all three kids by myself, which means a lot of TV watching while Mommy is nursing to keep Crazy Toddler from getting bored or frustrated that I’m unavailable for up to an hour while I feed the girls.
Once in a great while, the planets might align allowing me to run out of the house by myself for a hot minute.
Once in a very great while.
Only if the girls are fed, and sleeping, and the Toddler is sleeping, and another adult is home, and I have more than 30 minutes before the next feeding is expected. In 3 whole months, this has happened maybe 7 or 8 times total, allowing me to run to get Starbucks or frozen yogurt or something for 20 minutes or so of alone time. Half of those times, the twins started crying almost immediately upon my departure. -sigh-
But that’s just this very short season of life.
Do I get sick of it? Yes. But I’m so thankful I’ve been through it once before with my first born. It helps me to remember how painfully slow this season felt, but how quickly it went by. I know I’ll be able to go out on my own soon enough, even meet a girlfriend for coffee! Just not today.
I try to go to the library or park with all three kids and another adult once every couple weeks. This is a giant freaking deal. It has to be timed perfectly. We have to bring a ton of supplies. And I always have to nurse while I’m out.
Nursing while I’m out = Nursing one twin for about 30 minutes and then the next twin for about 30 minutes.
So if I’m at the park or library or something, I have to prepare myself to sit there for about an hour while Hubby or other adult helper plays with my Toddler.
The nursing thing really dominates our lives right now and places a lot of limitations on my availability and activities.
Which brings me to…
This is a twisty-topsy-turvy tale if ever there was one.
Basically, it’s the same as nursing one baby. But different.
As with any nursing mom, I don’t really know how I have kept this up for 3 months. All I know is this: I made my first attempt at nursing almost immediately after their birth. Every time they cried thereafter I nursed them again. They continued to eat and gain weight and be merry, so I did it again and again and again, and I haven’t stopped for 3 months.
That’s pretty much it.
And it’s pretty much all I do.
Of course, there is more to it than that, but not everyone wants to read about all that bid-ness.
For those of you curious souls who want to know the knitty-gritty of nursing newborn twins, you can read about it in more detail HERE.
For the rest of you, let me just say this. Nursing takes about 30-60 minutes, every 2 hours or so (from beginning to beginning), usually requiring a giant nursing pillow and a very specific seating arrangement, so for the most part, all I do is “feed da gur-als” (as Big Brother puts it).
I know all of this will change dramatically in the next three months.
I don’t know what our life will look like, but I do know is this, I’ll probably still employ the same tools I’ve used to get through the first 3 months:
1) Accepting lots and lots of help
2) Giving myself a giant, freakin’ break
3) Laughing as often as possible at myself and this ridiculous (wonderful) life I’m living.
I mean, if you’re gonna get pooped on anyway, you might as well laugh about it, right?
Other interesting and random facts
We do our best to keep them on the same schedule by feeding them at the same time.
For the first 3 months, they have slept in the same bassinet right next to each other. Yes. It is adorable.
Two babies crying is exactly how you would imagine it. It can drive you insane. But it is also so ridiculous that it’s just plain funny. (At least to us.)
No. Our son can’t tell them apart yet. Poor kid.
Yes. Twins run in our family. The girls have a great-grandpa and a great-great-grandpa who were both twins. (So you can wipe the sweat off your brow and sigh in relief. I could tell you were worried.)