These are the crazy days. I write this with hope, in great anticipation of that someday when I’ll look back and think: Ha! That was nuts, wasn’t it? When this will be over, and I’ll smile about it.
What is this, exactly? What shape is my crazy?
It’s being 6 days past my due date, coming down with a fever, and finding out I have the flu. Then giving birth two days later to a miracle with chubby cheeks I can’t kiss for a week.
It’s a 3 year old, a 2 year old, and a baby, all crying at the same time for problems of various complexity from the back seat. I turn up the music. It doesn’t help.
It’s nap time, when the older two are asleep, and I have been commanded by seasoned mothers just this morning to sleep when the baby sleeps (take care of yourself, honey!). Only the baby isn’t sleeping. He’s crying, strapped to my swaying body with a sling. If I sleep when he sleeps, there will have to be cartoons on for the 3 year old, and nothing keeps the middle one still, so she will be dumping cereal out, unloading wardrobes of clothing, hiding pieces of puzzles so we can never, ever have a complete puzzle in our house. Sleep now, pay later.
It’s whispering goodnight to my already asleep husband who’s been up for 36 straight hours at the hospital. Watching his chest rise and fall against the silhouette of a month-old baby who will sleep only there, only in the warm place between two exhausted parents.
It’s cleaning rice off the floor, cleaning Lucky Charms off the floor, cleaning strawberry yogurt off the floor. Then watching my little girl knock a full bowl of milk and cereal onto the shiny wood just as we’re about to leave for church.
Speaking of church? It’s loading the three kids up by myself on a Sunday morning because David’s on call. Disciplining the older one who knows how to buckle himself but would rather climb disobediently into the front seat and turn on the windshield wipers, flashers, steering wheel (so it’s locked when I try to start the car). Strapping the middle one in while the baby cries because he only likes being in the car when it’s moving. Throwing shoes in as we leave because no one knows how to put them on by themselves yet. Then? Backing straight into the garage door, bending that blessed metal in, because I don’t even know how to drive anymore.
It’s finally getting the baby to sleep for 4 or 5 hours at a time, only to discover 2-year molars aching through bloody gums just five days before she turns two. She wakes up every hour, 2 days of that week. I have a cardiac episode after one of these nights, a heart that starts racing as I stand perfectly still stirring scrambled eggs. Doctor says caffeine and lack of sleep can cause this. Have I had either of these? Ummmm, yes?
It’s a 3-year-old who mysteriously develops hearing loss in the exact frequency of his mother’s voice, unable to respond to commands, correction. It’s saying seventeen times in Sam’s Club do not climb on the shelves, only to find he’s disappeared into the plastic display model of a storage shed. Then leaving the store without eating our cheap pizza and hot dog because the baby is crying, everyone is whining, and tables full of winter Texans are watching as I slowly lose my mind.
Some day, they assure me, I will miss this. What is this, I asked a group of more experienced moms once, the this that I’ll miss? There were some nice answers, and the gist of it is: I’ll miss everything that I don’t miss. (Isn’t that profound?) Will I miss the crazy? Probably not. Will I miss the messes? Nope. Will I miss the zero nights of uninterrupted sleep I’ve had for the past 3.5 years? Not a chance. But I’ll miss the little people being little. The big blue eyes that look back at me (however defiantly) when I’m repeating myself, again. They’ll be all grown up some day. I won’t feel crazy like this some day. I won’t miss the crazy, but I’ll miss the crazy-makers. Right?
And the craziest part? I might not even remember just how crazy it all feels. So I wrote it down. (Someday me, you’re welcome. When you’re making this trip down memory lane, be sure to imagine how your shoulders were aching as you typed this, because of all the fat baby-lifting.)