H&M kimono (similar); Old Navy jeans (similar); Target sandals (option) and bag (option); Forever 21 sunglasses (splurge, steal.)
This post was first published on Because of Jackie in October, it has been updated and revised.
I was thinking this week, about having a five and a seven year old and how much easier this age seems to be than earlier ones. I look back and wonder how I survived when they were both under two, or when my husband was away for long stretches of time, or when they were at home full time with no school for sanity breaks. Can we mention how integral sanity breaks are for me now? It is the ONLY reason I stay sane. (That and wine, but that’s another post.)
It seemed, for a long time, that life was continuously really hard. Yet normal? You learn to live on little sleep, little time to yourself, and at least one child either crying at your feet or in your arms. You push through and trudge along and keep you head down, under one day you look up, and it’s better.
You bring your children to the park and never sit, because they are climbing on play structures that somehow have six foot drop offs at different intervals that almost guarantee a hospital visit.
You grocery shop with one in a bjorn and one in the cart, piling groceries on top of them as they get older, and always, always, dreading having to go back a week later.
You go to the doctor with two children, whether it be the OBGYN, the dentist, the orthodontist, or the physical therapist, because childcare isn’t an option and WHAT ELSE are you supposed to do?
You sleep train two kids, praying for minutes to pass by fast while they cry it out in intervals, or pat their backs and shush continuously, like “The Baby Whisperer” taught you, wondering if it will work and will your child ever sleep continuously? (It does, and they will.)
You learn the pain of weaning from almost everything. Breast, bottle, pacifiers, lovies…everything. Just don’t ask about sound machines, that thing cannot be broken.
You potty train, spending endless hours sitting on the edge of your tub, with a six month old at your feet and a little girl who reads books and fights using the bathroom every step of the way. You also throw out panties that have been…destroyed, because you WILL NOT rinse those out and use them again for potty training.
You clean up accidents on the floor of Walmart with wipes you have to buy, because you stupidly forgot yours, and you learn the valuable lesson of knowing where every bathroom is in every store within a 100 mile radius.
You clean red gatorade from a carpet, crayon from the walls, vomit from the couch, baby powder that has been exploded in glee, diaper cream smeared over very surface, and a dirty diaper that has been spread all over a white, spindle crib. (Don’t ask.)
You learn the valuable lesson of not leaving a nine month old baby on a changing table for even one second, because they will fall off and break their arm. You will also bear watching them sick and suffering, having blood drawn with an I.V., X-rays for pneumonia and nursemaid’s elbow, and every other sickness under the sun. The emergency room will be your best friend.
You will cry the first time they give your two month old baby a shot. And hold down a five year old with all your strength when they get one, hiding your tears so they won’t know how much it hurts you to see them in pain.
You will learn it is never a good idea to go to Disney World either seven months pregnant in the Spring, or with two kids under two.
You will discover a little girl of two will dress herself and look homeless 90% of the time, but it’s more important to get out of the house on time than to fight this battle. Every. Single. Day.
And then one day, you’ll look up, and notice that it is better.
They sleep for twelve hour stretches at a time, and nap on cue each day.
They play outside for an hour while you sit inside and read a book.
They can be brought to a restaurant, where they can be trusted to sit and eat quietly, and behave with little prompting. Eating out as a family will become enjoyable! (Mostly.)
They can be reasoned with, and talked to, because all of a sudden they are real people who are capable of reasonable thought.
They will get up on a Saturday morning and watch cartoons while you sleep in till whenever you feel like it. (Cue the angels singing.)
They can tell you that they feel sick, and what hurts, and you can make it better.
They play at the park, they swing themselves, and can run unassisted and rarely need your help.
They turn into the type of people that you truly enjoy, with manners and opinions and thoughts that challenge you and make you a better person for knowing them.
They become kids, and not babies, who go to school and learn things not taught by you, and come home brimming with all they learned and saw since seeing you last.
You’ll learn they remember almost nothing before the age of four, making you exempt from every mistake you made until then. They will also then remember everything after that, and bring it up. Often.
And then you’ll look back, and wish for one more hour with that feisty toddler, or squishy nine month old. Because you know that IT GETS BETTER, and time passes quickly.