Beatrice has been a little angel baby. Part of her angelic-ness comes from her easy going, smiley demeanor, and part of this is purely perception. I’m sure our third baby could have spanned the whole spectrum of difficult and we would still think she was easy in contrast to her brothers.
Baby boys are difficult, and they grow up to be become little boys….who are difficult.
Don’t get me wrong, I adore being a “boy mom.” I love how easy they are to entertain (mud, sticks, and water are their main playthings), and I love, love their adventurousness and creativity. But again, those very same qualities are what make them hard. You cannot imagine the trouble little boys can get into until you’ve raised one. I’m just telling you.
You. can’t. even. imagine.
Beatrice is now eight months old, and is going through a sleep regression. It’s funny. As I was online last night, refreshing my memory about how to survive a sleep regression, it struck me how I was doing the same thing with Oliver and Theodore at this very same point when they were this age, and yet, it feels so different. There is no understating the weird paradox of being a seasoned mom who “knows stuff” and yet knows nothing. You constantly get that nagging feeling of, “I’ve been here before. Haven’t I?”
So last night, as I reminded myself that a regression doesn’t last forever, and that a regression isn’t really a regression at all, but progress (all that fussiness and fighting of sleep is really babies being on high alert because of some pretty major motor skill development), that old sense of familiarity came rushing back to me. I wasn’t here for the first time. I’ve been here before. I got through this before. It would all be ok.
The day prior I had been overwhelmed with Bea’s fussiness. With her need for constant nursing. With her lack of sleep. With my lack of sleep.
And then, just like that, something flipped. Suddenly, a little perspective kicked in and I wanted to run into my bedroom and grab my pretty little sleeping baby and hold her tight. I wanted to cuddle with her and nurse her and put her in my sling and wear her around to reassure us both that this was not the end.
We have time.
Part of the perspective that two older kids brings is the recognition that it’s not forever. And most days, that brings me great comfort. I’ve mentioned before but I’ll say it again: it’s virtually impossible to enjoy every moment of motherhood and you’ll make yourself crazy/depressed trying to do so. Some stuff just sucks. So trust me, I’m not going to be that person who tells you to “enjoy it, because it goes so fast.”
What I am saying, though, is that once you’ve had a few kids, you start to realize that this stage of life isn’t forever, either. Some days that makes me excited.
Some days that makes me sad.
I’m not one of those people who get all bent out of shape when people ask me if we are going to have more kids. I think it’s a pretty fair question. People have babies. Some people have a few, some people have a lot.
Right now we have three kids and most days, I feel so in over my head I can’t even fathom adding more kids to the mix.
I’m not ready to close that chapter, permanently seal that door.
Will we have more kids? Maybe, maybe not. I have no desire to be pregnant again, I can tell you that much. I’ve not had the greatest pregnancies, and Theo and Oliver’s births were traumatic and dramatic and I don’t wish a repeat performance.
Would we adopt? Would we open our arms to more people into our lives? Sure. Maybe.
I can tell you this. I’m not the same person that I was after having my first baby. I “know stuff” now. I also know how much I don’t know. I know how hard this motherhood gig is. I know how freaking amazing it is, too. Gosh I just want to cry thinking about it all (ok, I am crying).
The decision on how many kids to have, like sleep regressions and growth spurts, and like motherhood itself, is hard. There is no right or wrong answer, other than to try your best, listen to your heart, and dive right in.