Well, here we are. We are all still alive and mostly sane. It seems as though it was just yesterday I was spending 12+ hours a day in the NICU caring for our 4 pound little ladies. In truth, they are about 12, 13, and 14 pounds now at their four month mark. It is getting much harder to carry them up and down stairs throughout the day and now that they are all almost rolling over, my fears of them all crawling into danger in different directions are coming near.
While I try not to look too far into the future or back at the past, I do believe that this may be one of my favorite ages they are or will be at. I don’t have to chase them around or pad every corner in existence, they don’t talk back or throw food across the room, and I can still dress them in whatever I choose to. Jovie and Sienna are sleeping 7 or 8 hours a night, while Rowan is working her way up, but plateauing at around 5 1/2, which has moved her into her cousin Tennyson’s nursery on the third floor by herself with her own monitor. In Rowan’s defense, she IS the best napper by FAR, while the other two maybe give me two 30 minute breaks throughout the day.
In the last month, they have become much more interactive, which Tommy was very excited about because he had been waiting a long time for them to “do” something. 🙂 Sienna “talks” so loudly that you can hear it through the floor and a few closed doors. She has figured out how to roll over, but gets her arm stuck underneath her. She will be laying in one spot and you look up for two minutes, and she has turned a complete circle. Rowan still likes to have you at her beckon call. She will play on the playmat, but only if you lay with her and talk to her. She will almost break her neck and conform her body to be able to see a TV if it is on and loves to look at bright colorful books. Jovie is content and sweet as long as she is fed and has a dry diaper. She isn’t really interested in rolling over yet, but she loves to smile and laugh when you sing silly songs to her. She remains the best lap snuggler, which is slowly becoming more tiring because she is so long and heavy.
Tommy is still the amazing daddy I knew he would be. He still runs in from work to grab a baby and willingly volunteers to change a diaper no matter how disgusting it may end up being. He is loving the fact that the girls are sleeping longer and helps me change and feed them before he gets ready for work. We both love the weekends where we can spend family time just hanging out, most the time in our pajamas all day. We love to take walks with our limo strollers after supper on the still-closed road my parents live on while the sun goes down and so do the eyelids on our babies. I know he longs for the day when they can run to the door screaming “Daddy!” as he arrives home from work, but for now, he still melts my heart when he lays all three on the floor and plays the guitar or sings to them and they are totally entranced in their Papa.
As for me, as any stay at home mom can tell you, my days are painfully the same for the most part, but I am aware of the fact that I will never get this time back with the babies and that not every family has the luxury of having a parent stay home. I wear pajamas until I shower and then put on clean pajamas. There are days when I literally count MINUTES until Tommy is home. Not that I don’t have a lot of help during the day (which I’ll get there later) but to have another parent take the reins for even 20 minutes is relieving. I do try to take the girls out in to public, usually one at a time when I run errands. Every time I do this I think, wow. I could basically do anything with one baby to haul around. Not that one baby isn’t a TON of work, which I know it still is, but the logistics of taking three babies out is overwhelming and stressful. The “taking turns outings” also allows me to spend quality time with each girl and cancel out a little of my guilt that they weren’t all born separately. The number one question people ask me when they see me with all three is “How do you do it?” All I can honestly tell them is that I don’t know any different. I think this would have been much harder if we had one first and then these three.
I do catch myself from time to time wondering what I would be doing at the point in the day if I were still teaching at school. I miss the kids and the feeling of accomplishing a set of given tasks every day, I miss the 28 “Good morning Mrs. Hardinge”s. We will definitely miss the second income. But all that being said, even when all three girls are screaming as though I will never feed them again, I wouldn’t trade this for the world and I would never trade this emotional exhaustion for the emotional exhaustion we went through trying to start our family.
Part of what relieves that exhaustion is the help I get throughout the day. As you know if you are a frequent reader of our blog, we are currently living at my parent’s farm while we sell our town home and begin plans for the building of a new home on the back of this farm. This allows my mom to help out with the girls a lot during the day. While that is amazing in itself, the even more outstanding part of my day is when my Grandmother comes over to help. She just turned 82 and is not as mobile as she would like to be, yet she drives herself over here and climbs up a few stairs with her walker to help with her great granddaughters every day. My favorite part of the day is when my grandmother, my mom and I are sitting in the living room each feeding and holding a baby… four generations of “women” loving and caring for one another. I try to tell both of them how thankful I am to have their help, but I don’t really think they know how wonderful it is to me. My grandmother always says, “I’m just thankful I lived long enough to meet and care for these girls”… me too Grandma, me too.
In closing, we are about to embark on a trip across the country to the East coast to kill three birds with one stone; go to the VMI 5 year reunion, introduce the girls to Tommy’s family that has yet to meet them, and go to Heather and Dave’s wedding (my brother’s wife’s sister) in North Carolina. We are nervous about the traveling, not only in the plane, but the hours of driving as well. We have booked direct flights and sent our checked luggage ahead of us with Tommy’s dad and stepmom. While it will be stressful all sleeping in the same room while I wake up to every movement they make, I know that if we just stay cooped up in one house and don’t attempt to do “normal” things, we will go nuts. We are taking my sister with us on the way out, and my mom will be flying back with us so the man ot man defense will be intact and I know we will have plenty of help from family while we are there. We just have to remember to take a deep breath, laugh, and remember how cute they are when things get stressful.