Well, I have 3 kids now. Fucking insane, right? 3 kids! And they’re all still alive! I’ve had lots of people ask if the transition from 2-3 kids is crazy. And honestly, it hasn’t been too bad. I have to attribute the majority of that to all the help I have from friends and family. Holy shit. I don’t know how people do it without help. But don’t get me wrong…I still use “I have 3 kids” as an excuse for any and everything: eating too much, drinking too much, drinking too early, not showering, not cooking, not cleaning, Netflix binge-watching, blogging when I really should be doing laundry because I’m almost out of sports bras and I only wear activewear regardless of if I’m actually working out because why would you ever wear pants that you need to zip up and/or button??!? I would say the biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is coordinating more schedules and allowing myself to let it go if we aren’t where we need to be exactly on time. I notice this the most in the morning. This morning, for example. (See below a visual representation of mornings: rough)
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Nick and Adam go to school from 8:30-2:30. (I fucking love Tuesdays and Thursdays). However, the act of actually getting them to school on time is a goddamn nightmare. Let me preface by saying that I could get all of their shit ready the night before. I SHOULD get all of their shit ready the night before. But rarely do I actually do that. I’m too busy sitting and/or drinking and/or watching TV. So this morning, here’s how the fiasco played out: Nick woke up at 6:30 and climbed in bed with us. Ideally, this would be fine. We’d all rest in bed until 7ish and then get up. However, Nick has restless everything syndrome and apparently can’t hold still for more than 1 second at a time when he’s in our bed. He will twist and turn and babble and kick you right in the back. It is NOT relaxing. So I finally force him to go back to his room for a little bit. Tori starts crying, so I bring her in bed to snuggle for a little while. She, on the other hand, is fantastic at holding still. My alarm goes off at 7 and I figure I should get out of bed since I already hear Adam and Nick knocking shit over downstairs. Now here’s where it gets weird. We need to leave the house around 8:20, so you’d think an hour and 20 minutes is plenty of time to get everyone ready to go. But somehow, it’s not. By the time I get up and dressed, pick out clothes for the boys, pack their lunches, gather their backpack shit, make them eat something that qualifies as breakfast, it’s already almost 8 and Tori has decided she’s ready to eat. So while I’m breastfeeding her, Nick waddles over to me and as I’m trying to figure out why he’s walking so strangely, I get a whiff of exactly why he’s walking so strangely. I hadn’t changed his diaper yet and it was sagging down to his knees, just marinating his butt in poop. But, I wasn’t gonna stop breastfeeding Tori, who also needed her diaper and outfit changed. So it’s 8:15 and nobody is in their clothes for the day, so I know I’m screwed. Before Tori was born, Adam wanted to do everything by himself. He picked out his own outfit and would be dressed before I even got out of bed. Now, he can’t do ANYTHING on his own. I have to help him take his jammies off and help him put his clothes on and help him carry his backpack and help him clean up the toys he got out of the play room and help him throw away the fucking crayon wrappers that HE took off the crayons!!!!! ….so basically, he’s worthless. I rarely get out of the house without all 3 kids crying at once. My apologies to any neighbors who are leaving around the same time as me. They probably think I’m a monster. Once I get the kids plugged into their car seats, I can breathe a short sigh of relief…until we arrive at school and I have to try to walk in with a carseat on one arm, lunch boxes and backpacks on the other, and somehow hold a hand of a kid who’s hopefully holding the hand of the other kid while we walk across the street into school. We drop off Nick first, but he’s decided he’s going to throw a fit so I have to hold his hand and essentially drag him down the hall into his classroom. Then I have to climb fucking Mt. Everest to get up to Adam’s classroom on the 50th floor or something. But then. Once I make the descent and snap Tori’s carseat into the car. I can breathe. It’s amazing. And even though it would make the most sense to run some errands or straighten up the house or go on a walk, I’m already so tired that I end up sitting down on the couch and not getting up until I have to go pick up the boys. And I tell myself it’s fine because babies don’t stay babies for very long, so I won’t be able to rest with a sleeping baby on my chest forever. So for now, I will cut myself some slack.
I guess I should probably tell you my birth story. I realize a good majority of you don’t give a shit about my birth story. But I don’t give a shit that you don’t give a shit. I literally shit out a huge goddamn baby so I’m going to tell you my birth story and you’re going to read every word of it!! Every. Fucking. Word.
…I don’t really know how to transition to the story because I’ve set it up to be enthralling and horrible, but it really wasn’t. I had a successful External Cephalic Version on August 16th. Which was basically like someone punching me in the stomach in super slow motion. It was not pleasant. BUT, it worked. Baby turned to head down! On the night of August 25th, I started having painful contractions. Not so painful that I couldn’t talk through them, but fairly regular and close together. So in the middle of the night, we thought it’d be a good idea to go to the hospital. I was dilated to 3cm, but didn’t really do much from there. They monitored throughout the night and then sent me home. With my boys, my water had broken and I’d been induced, so I had never really experienced “pre-labor” before. And let me tell you…it is balls!! You are having painful contractions that make it seem like stuff is happening. I mean, stuff should be happening. It feels like someone is wringing out your uterus, so shit better be fucking happening!! And stuff was happening, just not quick or intense enough to warrant going to the hospital. So all day on August 26th, I had contractions every 10-15 minutes. Some of them painful enough I had to stop what I was doing to breathe. But they never got regular enough to go in. It was so frustrating. My doctor had offered induction at my 40 week appointment (before I was having contractions), so I’d said I wanted to wait, but by this time it was clear that I wasn’t going to be able to relax or sleep until I had this baby, so we called and scheduled induction for the following morning, August 27th. The night of the 26th, my parents took the boys and Andy and I tried to stay occupied by going out to dinner and a movie. We got Indian food, which was delicious, but a fairly risky move to be going in and shoving out a baby the next morning. I mean, who knows what else I would be shoving out?! (Spoiler alert: I didn’t poop). When we walked out of the movie theatre to go home, it was raining harder than I think I’ve ever seen it rain. Andy had parked directly in front of the theatre and I was still drenched just walking 6 feet to the car. If you recall, this was the night with all of that crazy flooding in Kansas City. We actually made it out of Westport just before cars were trapped under several feet of water in that part of town. We got home (very slowly and carefully) and the people on the news were advising everyone to stay home and not get out if you could absolutely avoid it. So of course, I was convinced my water was going to break. My water was going to break and we were going to have to venture out into the flood and get stuck and I would have to deliver my baby in a fucking car. But, things just stayed the same. I slept for about 10-15 minutes at a time in between contractions. When I would wake up and breathe through the pain, Andy would wake up with me and hold my hand and talk me through it, feeding my ice chips and rubbing my feet…hahahah, are you kidding me? Andy slept his ass off. As I was breathing through immense pain, he was snoring his nuts off. I mean, I can’t really blame him. What could he really do? But it was still a pretty ridiculous situation. We went to the hospital at 6am the next morning. I was 5cm dilated. They started me on a tiny bit of pitocin and my contractions regulated really fast. I had to wait until I’d been given a full bag of fluids before I could get my epidural, so I probably had it placed at 8am. The doctor came in to break my water and I told her I was convinced I was shitting the bed. Just, straight up turds in the bed. She checked me and said it was actually my baby’s fat head. I was complete and could push! She came out in 1 contraction (3 pushes). And it was just as amazing as I remembered. Omg. Unbelievable. She was also my biggest baby, which is ridiculous. I guess I just specialize in shoving out fat ass babies. Put it on my resume.
At least for the 7.5 weeks she’s been on the outside, Victoria (Tori) Patrice has been an amazing baby. She eats well, she sleeps well, she’s fucking adorable. And I remember my boys being good babies, too, it just seems like this time Tori’s making a conscious effort to give me a fucking break. She’s probably like, “I heard you yelling for the majority of your pregnancy, Imma just chill.” And it is so kind of her. People ask if it’s different having a baby girl. And yes, it is a little different. Obviously, in the physical ways that she has girl parts and not boy parts. It’s weird that during diaper changes, I’m not nervous about getting sprayed in the face with a stream of pee. Instead, when Tori pees, it’s more like a mass exodus of pee. When it happened for the first time when I was changing her, I was like, “ohhh…ahhhh…uhhhhh”, because it’s difficult to identify where the liquid is coming from, it’s just kind of breaking free and soaking the changing table. With the boys, I could throw a diaper on top of their baby bits and things would be covered. But when Tori releases the flood gates, I have to kind of just let it happen. Tori’s facial features seem a little more petite than the boys. She has a little button nose and these wide eyes that make her look like a little baby bird.
And she has so much more hair than the boys did! And dark hair! As with my other kids, I feel the urge to eat her face. On more than one occasion, I’ve poked her eyeball with my nose while trying to kiss her eyelids. That’s right. I must kiss her eyelids. I just can’t stop. I mean, could you??
For the most part, the boys have been really great with Tori. Neither of them seem jealous and Nick especially likes holding the baby and helping her with her binky when she’s crying. Adam is fairly ambivalent, but seems to like her a little more now that she can look at him and smile and interact.
Nick continues to say more and more and really enjoys narrating what’s going on. One day, when I was breastfeeding Tori, he pointed and said, “that’s your BOOOOOB!! You’re feeding baby Tori with your BOOOOOB!!” Good. Speaking of boobs, Nick also grabbed mine to pull himself up off the changing table the other day. As if they were my arms, or handle bars or something. I guess my breastfeeding boobs also double as fucking safety rails. So that’s exciting. I think Adam is just now starting to regress a bit as he continues to adjust to a new baby at home. Like I mentioned before, he all of a sudden needs help doing EVERYTHING. Especially at times when I absolutely cannot help (like when I’m feeding the baby). He also lost his mind at Target the other day because we were there to get a birthday gift for a friend but he wanted something for him. Sometimes I try to have these deep conversations with him about how much stuff he already has and how other people don’t have anything and how he should just be thankful for how lucky he is and not ask for new things all the time. And he’s basically like, “I will pick out toys to get rid of so we can go to Target and get new toys.” Ugh!! So of course I freak out about having a fucking spoiled, entitled kid who’s going to expect things to be done for him his entire life. When I’m sure it’s more that he’s 4 and going through a pretty big transition right now.
With all this election shit, combined with having another kid, I do think more and more about the kind of humans I want my kids to be. It’s this constant pressure. And sometimes it’s hard to feel like I’m setting the right example for them. Above all, I want them to be kind. Just kind, compassionate people. I want them to be empowered to be whoever they want to be and to be comfortable with who they are. This year for Halloween, Adam is going to be his favorite Paw Patrol character…which happens to be a girl dog, Everest. And I think it’s fantastic. I love that his favorite character is a girl and I love that it doesn’t even cross his mind that it would be weird or unusual for him to wear a dress for a costume. And yet, I find myself nervous about it. I try to pride myself on being progressive and feminist…and still, I’m nervous that a kid is going to say something, or a parent is going to say something. And probably nobody will say anything, and if they do, it will be a parent. Because kids don’t care. Just like kids don’t care about skin color or socio-economic status. Kids have such a pure filter with all that extra bullshit. In Adam’s mind, he’s dressing up as his favorite character. The fact that she’s a girl is secondary. So I guess I just hope that I don’t have to change that. That I don’t have to explain that some people might think it’s strange to dress up like a girl character. This election stirs up so many conflicting emotions because I love that my kids will never remember a time when a woman hadn’t been a presidential nominee (and hopefully the president, please sweet lord please let her be the president). But it also highlights the fact that I will have to explain to my kids that some people never outgrow being assholes and that, despite what some people say and believe, bullying is never ok and sexual abuse – verbal or physical – is never “just” anything, locker room talk or otherwise. That different does not mean dangerous or wrong and that love is love is love. It can be overwhelming at times, but luckily I’ve surrounded myself with people who feel the same way. And if you honestly think this costume is anything but adorable, then that seems like your issue, not mine.
The other question I get asked consistently is if I’m done having kids. And I don’t know. If you ask Andy, he will say yes. And it honestly depends on the day for me. I think I’m done being pregnant. I’m fairly confident about that. But adoption might be in our future. Who knows? In the meantime, though, I’m pretty obsessed with our little family. The fun definitely outweighs the crazy…at least most of the time…