There are moments when you look at your child and realize how worth it all the hard work is. Before I had children I never really gave much thought to the work entailed. I would see moms in synagogue on a long day, say, Rosh Hashana, who came with toys, treats, food, changes of clothes and never once did I give a thought to how much is involved in getting all that packed and a clothed, kempt child out the door and to the destination of choice in a (somewhat) timely fashion. The kids were usually adorable; especially at my kids' age (three) and the moms were usually pretty well dressed and smiling.
Let me draw you a picture of the behind the scenes:
Me: Shira, let's go get dressed for shul (synagogue).
Shira: No, Maya! As she goes running across the house gleefully contradicting mommy
Me: Maya honey, let's go get dressed.
Maya: No, Shira! As she too erupts into usually darling peals of laughter but at the moment not such a cute sound.
I then go into their room, pick out clothes and as they come running in with shrieks of "No ME!" or "SELF" we finally get dressed. My girls put on their own shoes and after 7 requests to put them on the correct feet, we go to the bathroom to brush teeth and wash faces.
I then go to shower. By the time I'm dressed, they are naked. Lest you suggest I try dressing first and then get them ready, this is an option but one that I have tried and rejected due to the hot sticky summer weather. In other words, by the time I get them dressed I'm so uncomfortably hot and sweaty that I want to get right back into the shower. Maybe we will try this method again when it cools off a little.
Then with packed bags that make some people's suitcases for two weeks abroad seem sparse, we leave. There are of course last minute problems like pacifiers, blankies and crying since we (meaning ME) has decided that blankies no longer leave the house. We then have the good bye ceremony whereupon we say bye bye bayit (house) bye bye blankie…and then we actually leave, make it all the way downstairs, into the stroller, out the front door and….."Mommy PEEPEE".
I am by now feeling trickles of sweat dripping down my back.
Peepee finished we go! I am by now thoroughly exhausted. Have I mentioned it is 10am???!!
The stroller ride is pleasant and calm is restored. My dress is now stuck to my back but I look down at my angels with their hair brushed and coiffed, their clean rosy faces, their little holiday outfits and I melt.
I have never once even for a second regretted my decision to have children. Having said that, I do often wonder what is it that makes us WANT to have them to begin with? I assume it is for all the reasons we are familiar with and sometimes societal pressure and as I've discussed in previous posts; our maternal (and paternal) instinct. But this is hard stuff. I thought the first year was hard, and it is but in a completely different way. It is physically exhausting. You completely lose yourself in the wants and needs of your infant and you are constantly trying to figure out what is wrong and how to make it better.
But three…this is hardcore. True, there are far less physical demands. They walk and talk and eat and use the potty by themselves. They can tell you if they're not feeling well. But GD FORBID you put an apple with a blemish only seen under a microscope on a blue plate when they wanted the red plate. Or the shrieks and cries if you put six Cheerios into the cup instead of seven. Indescribable meltdowns over what adults consider nothing. In moments of calm I feel for them. They are trying so hard to be big girls and independent and constantly learning new things. Every day is new and fascinating…how cool is that? But they are really still babies in very many ways and it is our job to help them. I love explaining things to them but how many times can a person ask why???!!! How many times in the space of five minutes can someone repeat your name? Or the same question? How do you keep your sanity? I am finding three to be thoroughly challenging and spectacular at the same time. I wish I could keep a video recorder on constantly because the things they say and do and dress themselves in is priceless and what builds that indescribable feeling of family.
Last night I was watching Project Runway. It was the episode where they bring the designers' families onto the show. The families always bring the photo albums. It struck me that no matter what, our family is our roots, our support, our network, our love, our comfort, and the thorn in our side. Those pictures are the fabric of our lives together; of all those moments threaded together, of holidays and arguments and family vacations and sick days when my mom made me tomato soup and grilled cheese and bought me paper dolls to play with. I remember this as though forty years haven’t passed. This is family. And so, the meltdowns and endless trips to the bathroom, the testing, the defiance, the beauty, the joy is so perfect that my heart swells remembering my past and my girls' present and how I pray for many future moments with them.
Wishing you a happy, healthy, fertile, peaceful, and prosperous year filled with all the ups and downs that are part of family.www.andbabymakes2.co.il