|They are the real joys of returning home from China.|
So, my initial assessment is that three little people is hard. Especially three little people aged 5 and under. Let's face it, little ones are needy. SUPER needy. And it's not as if all of a sudden Emmie and Rosie became totally independent overnight just because we brought home Francesca. Of course it feels like everyone needs parental help at the same time. So when Patrick is home, the two of us run around with our hair on fire to manage crisis after crisis--and by crisis I mean anything from a diaper blowout to needing more yogurt to getting a boo-boo to being stuck in your Frozen costume. But most of the time, I'm the one here running around...alone. Just me. That's life in the cocoon.
Some people cocoon, some don't. I'm no psychologist, and I'm not equipped to discus the merits of cocooning with any sort of authority. I just know that at least on the surface, it makes total sense to us. There's this new, confused, displaced person thrown into your family and your house. She's trying to figure out where she is and who you are. It stands to reason that the more people and places you throw into the mix, the more confusing it will be. So, that's why we do it. But it's hard. Now is when I'm feeling the most out of sorts myself and like I could use a helping hand, but now is when I have to juggle it mostly on my own. I said to my mother the other day that now I totally understand why people have their mothers come and live with them or visit every day when they bring home a new baby from the hospital. There is nothing I'd like more than to have some help here. But right now I'm trying so hard to convince Francesca that I'm the real deal and win her over. ("Look at me cook! Look at me braiding your sister's hair! Look at me wipe your tushie! Look at me feeding you! Look at me playing with you! Look at me loving on all three of you!") I just don't think it's a good idea to throw much more confusion or stimulation into the mix. But staying the cocooning course is definitely the harder route.
Overall I feel like I'm in slow motion. Even when Patrick's around, just getting out of the house is a challenge. Frannie will wake us up at 4:30am and with that much of a [reluctant] head start, we're still just piling in the car by 11:30. Getting to Target is a huge triumph. Last weekend we miraculously made it to the North End! (I'm still wondering if that really happened or if it was just a dream.)
|OK. It was real. We made it to the North End for pizza.|
|At Modern Pastry. Frannie loves to eat. After I took this picture, she|
started licking the display case. Not joking. This germophobe wanted
to Purell her tongue but thought better of it.
|On Hanover Street. We enjoyed all the treats the North End has to offer.|
She's indoctrinated already.
|Caffe Vittoria for a mocha. For the grownups. Kids had hot cocoa.|
Although Frannie looks like she might have hit the espresso.
I will also be the first to admit that at least part of the problem is on my end. I mean, after Emmie and Rosie, I thought all kids started at the age of two. I'm not used to someone who wrestles me during every diaper change and who is harder to dress than an octopus. And strapping her into the car seat...don't get me started. "Cooperation" is apparently not in the vocabulary of a 16-month old.
I know it's going to get better. But right now I'm feeling like I'll never be on time for anything in my life again. My house is messy, my definition of clean (hair, clothes, kids) is getting looser, and a "good night's sleep" is any night that doesn't involve a 2-hour interlude in the wee hours awake with Frannie. I consider myself to be a decent cook, and the other night was the first time since we've been home where something wasn't burnt or overcooked because I was running in 7 different directions at once. ("Don't you like the toasted garlic flavor?" has become a common question around here.) As long as no one goes missing, everyone gets the correct medications, and people have two shoes on when we leave the house (they don't have to match), I think I've had a good day.
So here's to all you moms with 3, 4, 7, 12 kids...whatever it is. I don't know how you keep it together. You look so lovely in your Lulu Lemon yoga pants and perfectly straightened hair. I looked at my hair straightener this morning and wondered if I could use it to quickly remove wrinkles from the pants I've been wearing for 6 days in a row, or if it would just bake in all of the different foods Frannie has dropped on them over the past week.
And, for anyone who thinks I am exaggerating about my haggard existence, here is a real conversation I had the other day. Because I can't leave Frannie with anyone yet, I had her and Rosie in tow when I went to the doctor. This was my waiting room conversation:
Some Guy: Wow! You have two little ones there, huh?
Me: [Um, duh. You can count to two. Great.] Yes! They are 1 and 4!
Some Guy: Wow! That's two little ones!
Me: [Oh, my goodness again with the "two". I KNOW YOU CAN COUNT TO TWO.] Well, actually there's another who is at Pre-K. She's 5.
Some Guy: Three of them!!! Jeez...no wonder you look so worn out!