Your hands must be full

I’ve heard this phrase nearly daily since the day B was born. Leading up to that, it was “your hands are going to be full”. Got it, Karen. Kids are work. And they really are. My hands were full with 2 under 2. And my lack of enough hands became really obvious when CJ was born. That phrase needed to be “you don’t have enough hands”. And truthfully I don’t. S is 4.5 and needs to hold my hand crossing streets, and wild and three Mr. B certainly needs a hand (and probably a kid leash!) too. And then CJ. No matter how hard I try, 1+1+1 never equals 2 hands.

CJ is what we affectionately refer to as our “stage five clinger” and needs to be touching me pretty much all day. When CJ was about 4-5 months old, I was introduced to the single most useful baby product I’ve had in my 5 years of parenting. I had carriers with the big kids and used one with B quite a bit. And then I found the Ecleve by Innobaby (http://jolimoli.mom/alifinn). And life got a whole lot easier. If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, it is in nearly every picture I have of me and the kids. The Ecleve is my daily accessory and CJs ride of choice. I counted, and last week he was in it 17 times. I can easily put him on my back, and the seat design supports my little #foodiebaby. He (me!) loves it! I don’t go anywhere without it- literally.

There is for sure a lot of products that you need throughout all the different phases of babyhood. The magic bottle that the baby will take then you are gone, the snot sucker, the jogging stroller- you get what i mean. But the Ecleve has been my third hand for a long time. And I will keep using it for the foreseeable future. It has a detachable hip seat that even B goes on from time to time- it has a 46lb capacity! I was in crate and barrel the other day with CJ in just the hip carrier while I was picking up 26 lbs of birch wood that I swear we needed for my mantle. 🤣 We were like celebrities and were asked by 6 people about my hip carrier as I carted 26 lbs of baby on one hip and 26 lbs of wood on the other. But most importantly for me, it means I can use my 2 hands for my big kiddos and still have my little guy in tow and happy, which makes for a better school drop off.

The best part is that I Houdini him in and out of it and it’s easy. Not to brag, but I’m like really good at it and get lots of shocked comments when people see me do it. The company who makes it is truly a genius baby company. Their products are mindful and well made. I wish I found them in 2015 when I joined the motherhood.

And here’s the thing, anything that I can do to make my kids feel like they have the connection they need with mom is what I need. All my kids need a hand to hold, a back to snuggle, and a mom who can unzip the coats, wash the hands, wipe the nose, and give a big hug and kiss while still snuggling the stage 5 clinger. My third hand.

Yesterday

Today was hard. Like really f*cking hard. I woke up with a really full cup from a wonderful event I went to last night. I had a packed day and the grace to handle it. So I thought. My kids had other plans.

I got up and got myself ready, made sure Momo, our elf, was moved, and looked the day clear in the eye and said “let’s do this!” First on my list was the gym. Lord I needed it. We got there, walked in, and the MINUTE we stepped into the childcare room, CJ lost it. No problem, I thought. They will handle it. Think of the scene from Trolls where Poppy is belting “nothing standing in my way, and I will knock, knock them over!”. 26 minutes later. There she comes. The childcare leader. It’s over. 26 f*cking minutes. At least I ran for 20 of those minutes knowing very well that my little drop-out would possibly cut my Poppy moments short. And he did.

I went down to get him and he was somewhat content but screamed the minute he saw me and had the infamous “Finn rash” from several minutes of crying. Damnit. The big kids looked stunned and frankly, pissed. They were busy having fun with new toys and LOL doll coloring. They both joined in the chorus of shittiness and we were ALL in a crap place. We left and went to the open gym so I could mourn the loss of yet another workout while my kids yelled at me about being hungry and bored. And then we left with me still coffee-less.

Time for dance class. We made it in one piece. We actually made it through 90% of class when S was corrected by her teacher for not listening. Play it cool, mama. Just a faux pas. 2 minutes later, she does it again. OH NO SHE DIDN’T. I ask my dear friend to take CJ and B and I open the door. See, the teacher had given a warning the last class about listening and I’m not putting up with that shit. My kids are children of educators. They will not be “that kid”. S saw the wrath of god then I came in that room. She knew. This was it. I dragged her out, gave her a pep talk, and she melted down. I gave her the opportunity to go back, but there was no recovery. Full. On. Meltdown. I’ll spare you the details, but there was screaming like an abducted child, pushing and hitting mom, cooked spaghetti noodling while getting into the car seat, and lots of hyperventilating. It. Was. Awful. I cried. In front of people. And couldn’t reason with the crazy. This all forces us to skip much needed lunch plans with good friends which added to the disaster after dance.

And then it was over. We got home. And the boys went to sleep. Likely because of emotional overload. Poor B watched his siblings lose it and he was just there for the ride. He’s gotta be the kid who loves theater when he grows up.

And then I pittied myself. (Insert post-recovery eye roll). And then my kid shocked me. She recovered and made me look like I had no bones. She cleaned her room, bathroom, and loft while I put CJ down for a nap. Then she told me she needed a nap and stayed in bed for an hour after a long talk about behavior and choices.

We had already established plans with friends and S became host of the year. The house was a disaster after, and she LITERALLY cleaned it all. While singing. I had to pinch myself. Her report card last week said that she needs help remembering to clean. And this kid was picking up stuff she didn’t even play with. With NO direction. The. House. Was. Spotless. From a 4 year old. And all was right in the world.

Here’s the thing. There is yesterday, which could have filled or emptied my cup. And then there is today which was going to happen on whatever cup I had. So here we land. And I’m better for it. Because every parent has a “today”. And every parent has a yesterday. Not every parent has a tomorrow, but for now, that’s where I’ll head. Unpittied, living the #momlife and trying to remember that life is precious. A friend who left this world way too soon taught me that, and for her, I will remember and cherish that. Especially when i see her sweet baby go to preschool each day. This day is mine. Ours. Tantrum and gym daycare dropout or not. Yesterday is a a memory, today is a reality and tomorrow is a huge gift.