A New Kind Of Normal: Adjusting to Life As a Family of Five

It has been two months since our little Audrey was born and we're still adjusting to the big change. I remember someone telling me that transitioning to 3 kids is harder than having your first baby. Now I can see what they were talking about. Life these past two months has been a constant juggling of priorities. With 3 kids needing your attention at the same time, a lot of the time, you find yourself constantly asking "Which child needs me more at this moment?" Is it the 2 year old that is currently foraging through my pantry looking for something to decay her teeth? Or is it the crying newborn? Or is it the 4 year old that so badly wants me to listen to his off key rendition to the Sesame Street song? I noticed that this constant prioritizing has made my brain wired to respond to 3  basic primordial things: food, sleep, and poop

1) Poop

My daughter is now being potty trained. She has a habit of going in her pull-up, taking it off, handing me the soiled thing, while looking at me like "You're welcome." My son on the other hand is potty trained of course, but has this insatiable desire to use way too much toilet paper. Seriously, he rips off chunks of tp like they are free lottery tickets. So then lo and behold, the toilet is always just about to overflow. I think I spend half my life in a bathroom these days. My newborn has explosive poops all the time. All these things will immediately get our attention and have us hail-mary-drop-everything while screaming our heads off.

2) Food

Food is forever and always hanging over my head. Who needs to eat now? Who is still eating? What mess do I need to clean now that he or she is done? I feel like I'm always getting my daughter something to eat because that's what she does all day, then getting my son to try to eat, because he takes forever to eat, then nursing the new born every 3 hours. I notice I feed the newborn first, then the others. Then if the newborn wants something she has to wait.

{In this area I notice how different it is for the 3rd child vs the 1st. When Joey was born his every cry was on the top of our priority list. Is he hungry? Diaper change? Does he want that toy? Does he want to be entertained? With the second child a little less, and now with the 3rd it's completely different. There's no VIP treatment just because you've been in the world only two months. If you are fed and your diaper is changed and now you're crying your eyes out because you want me to carry you around in the Bjorn, well get to the back of the line baby. I need to get your sister down from the kitchen counter, she's grabbed a banana and bit through the peel like some sort of spawn of Tarzan. Your brother has flushed the toilet for the umpteenth time hoping turn our bathroom into a real live Fantasia situation and after I do all that I need to FEED these creatures!}

3) Sleep

Sleep... O Sleep! I can write sonnets right now about how much I long for thee. Sleep has become the white elephant of my life. It's rare, elusive, impossible to maintain and deeply desired. What I would give for a full nights rest! Or if that's too much, what would I give so that my kids nap at the same time? It's like asking for the moon. I have two kids that hate sleep. I swear they are solar powered. As soon as the sun makes a slight appearance, their batteries are charged and they're ready to scale walls. However my new born doesn't sleep at night. She crashes when the sun's about to rise, making me crash too. As soon as my kids are up they want to see mommy and baby but unfortunately I'm out like a log. As a result my husband has taken over the whole morning routine so I can get some rest.

My son turned 5 yesterday and in the morning came unto the bed while I was in REM sleep to say "Good morning." What did I do on his 5th Birthday Morning? Hug and kiss him and tell him how much I love him? Nope. Problem is my brain was 90% in a vegetative state and all I could tell was something was interrupting my rest. From what I remember I thrashed about like a zombie and made incoherent noises, "Urhghahhahh!!! gAHHHHHH!!" It was only when I woke, and turned back into a human, that I realized.

I keep telling myself that this will all pass. That one day things will go back to normal. I will have a functioning brain again (another reason why I haven't been blogging because unfortunately writing requires a working brain unless you are just venting which is what I'm doing), I won't be willing to trade a kidney for an extra hour of sleep, I'll be able to distinguish between my dreams and reality (I don't mean that in an abstract way, I mean literally. I think I fed my son salami for dinner a couple nights ago but not sure if it was a dream).  I know that things will never go back to the way they were. From what I remember though, with each new baby things are a crazy-haze for a bit, but after a while things stabilize and each new kind of normal is in some way better than the last. The only thing is, in the begining you never know what the "new" normal will look like until you get there. For now with my compartmentalized brain, I'll take my own advice and get through one day at a time. Each day looking forward to be able to see the big picture a bit clearer.

In celebration of my husband's and son's birthday we had a rare evening out at the beach!

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