Over the weekend, we celebrated my daughter’s birthday. It is hard to believe 5 years have passed since she joined our little family.
Particularly during birthday and holiday weeks, I find myself telling the kids about funny moments from when they were little – our son mistaking a piece of dog pooh for a tootsie roll, snuggling for hours, the first time our daughter took aim and projectile pooped on me, and of course recounting the day each of them was born. We joke that I knew they were ready to make their grand entrance when they started knocking on my belly to say, “let me out woman!”
In the early days of parenting, I used to walk into my office recalling moments from the previous night or from that morning, thankful for the adult interaction and for other humans to remind me I wasn’t losing my mind.
There have been many moments through the years, stories from the trenches. I couldn’t help but think of some of those moments over the weekend, as we watched the kids run around with their cousins.
It still makes me laugh that it took moving halfway across the world to finally say we live close to family. Seems a bit odd, but then again, I can’t say we have always done things by the book or fall into the “normal” category. We embrace our weird.
At one point, I was looking for an old game for the kids to play and happened to come across a program book from the 2012 CMA (Country Music Association) Awards. My husband and I attended the rehearsals each year as a friend and former client is the script writer for the show. It was always the first week in November. Our daughter was only a few days old at the time, so that year I opted to stay at home with the kids while my husband and mother took in the festivities.
It was also the first time I was at home alone with two children – a 1-year old and a newborn.
As the only other adults in the house made their way out the front door, I am certain I yelled from somewhere inside our home, “save yourselves!” No matter how much you love your children, those early days of walking around like a sleepless, depleted zombie are tough. Every single parent has gone through it.
So, there I was in the midst of my post-natal sleeplessness, looking like I was straight out of the “Walking Dead,” when I realized I now had 2 small lives depending on me.
I settled in on the couch and prepared myself to feed the baby (aka: strip down from the waist up). To that point, things had gone seamless. I was starting to feel great, “I got this parenting stuff!”
I fed our son, changed his diaper, dressed him, and set him up with a Baby Einstein video and figured I was good for at least 20 – 30 minutes to focus solely on the baby.
But, it couldn’t be that simple.
I was only 5 minutes in to the feeding process, when he lost interest in the video and started running around after the dog. It seemed harmless, so I sat there watching him while feeding the baby.
Until he went face first onto the floor.
He was crying. I kept looking at him and looking at the baby. Back and forth. I knew I wasn’t super woman and couldn’t do both at the same time. The baby, the child. The baby, the child.
Then I noticed the blood.
I stopped for one minute to process and quickly started screaming, “Blood trumps Hunger.”
I put the baby in her bouncy chair, hoping the vibrations would distract her from realizing she was just pulled away from her food source, and picked up my son.
There was blood everywhere. His tooth had gone through his lip when he fell. It looked far worse than it actually was, but I knew I needed to clean him up and calm him down.
I was half-naked, soaked in blood, and trying to calm a toddler. And then, the baby lost it. It only took a few minutes for her to realize she was no longer eating.
Topless, there I was running back and forth between the two. “Blood trumps hunger” on repeat. Trying to calm a hungry baby and soothe an injured toddler, simultaneously.
I finally got our son calmed down, cleaned up, and put some ice on his lip. We snuggled back up on the couch and I was ready to finish the job with our daughter.
I had a toddler with a swollen lip snuggling on one side, a dog on the other side, and a baby finally eating. And sadly, not enough arms to reach for a much-needed glass of wine.
When the rest of the adults got home that night, it looked like nothing out of the ordinary had gone on and I was a parenting ninja. Of course, the truth would be known the next day when I would recount the story, explaining in that situation that blood trumps hunger.
Those early days of running after a toddler while trying to feed a baby and sleepless nights, followed by the trials of dueling potty chairs seem like a lifetime ago. This weekend was a great reminder of just how quickly things can change.
When we are in the middle of the chaos, sometimes we forget to stop and take it all in. We forget that there are actually really amazing moments, hidden treasures among the crazy.
Parenting is a great example of this. But, it can also be said for life in general.
It is easy to fall victim to being busy and all the distractions.
This week, let’s all just allow ourselves to stop for a moment. Take it all in. You never know when you might be standing halfway across the world wondering where the last 5 years went. Don’t wait for that moment, enjoy it now.