And it's not always fun. *gasp!* She say whaaaat?! It's not. It's exhausting. It's emotionally, physically, and mentally draining. There are good days. There are bad days. It's not always (hardly ever) easy. But...
I can't tell you how many times I've picked up handfuls, nay, armfuls of poop out of the tub. And folks, they're not always solid. I've never seen someone so afraid of something as Harper is of poop.
I've been baptized in bucket loads of vomit...not the cute baby spit-up kind (that's actually not cute)...but the stringy, chunky toddler puke. I can handle poop. Vomit and I aren't on the best of terms.
I've been bitten, scratched, pinched, hit, choked. I've been kicked in the chest, throat, stomach, and crotchal area countless times while changing diapers. My body has been pulverized by four arms and four legs and possibly more...I think they grow limbs when we wrestle on the floor.
Some days, I've been useful only as a "Mama horsey" who totes her ginormous kids around on her back like a beast of burden, knees crunching on the floors.
I've been given the evil eye. I've had them roll their eyes at me and huff away and whisper about me. It hurts.
If they get the slightest runny nose, it morphs into a full-out epidemic and for at least a week, we're up every 2-3 hours during the night and I'm holding them all throughout the day. Their nursery looks like a hospital room with all the humidifiers and Vicks Vaporizers and cups of water and snot suckers and medicine syringes.
When they're not sick, it's always a surprise whether they're going to take a nap or not. I'll look at them and think..."Take a nap. Just take a nap. It's fun for everybody. Take. A. Nap. Why won't you take a nap?? WHY?! TAKE A NAP! TAKE A NAAAAAAAP!!!!!!!!! When you get in college, you'll realize just how important a nap really is and you'll treasure them. YOU'RE WASTING YOUR NAPS. YOU'RE JUST THROWING THEM AWAY! FOR THE LOVE, TAKE A FREAKING NAP!!!!!" And then I remember that exact same conversation with my mom when I was about 4. And I did treasure naps in college.
Getting them to eat a meal is like trying to get Congress to pass a bill. It's purt near impossible. Every now and then, they'll eat great. But, it's like I'm the 300 Spartans and the twins are the Persian army. Sure, I hold them off and win, but it's a battle and I'm beaten and bruised at the end of it. There's only one of me and like 700,000 of them. And I think..."Eat. Just eat. Why won't you eat? I haven't eaten since yesterday at 5:30 p.m. I don't understand why you won't eat. I'm trying to keep you alive!! EAT!! FOR THE LOVE, EAT!!!!!!!!"
And when I finally DO get to eat, I have to snarf it down so fast because inevitably that's the time when they need me the most and the world is ending. It's weird how it works out like that. You know in A Christmas Story, the narrator says that his mom hasn't had a warm meal to herself in like 13 years. I haven't had a non-soggy bowl of cereal in 2 years. Not quite the same, I know. But, I just want to eat ONE BOWL OF CEREAL in peace. Just one.
They try to tell me things all the time and some of it is understandable, but sometimes they get really frustrated and I'm trying to work and they just repeat it over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over...see how annoying that is? And they're like, "Mama! Schwazoo mekah schwazoo mekah schwazoo mekah schwazoo mekah." I finally give in and look at them, "What? What do you want?"
"What does that mean?"
"Why can't you speak English? Two years should be enough time to learn it."
"Okay, the stray cat has a better grasp of the language."
"I can't help you. I'm sorry."
"SCHWAZOO MEKAH!! Water?"
"You want some water?"
"WHAT THE HECK?! Why all the 'schwazoo mekah' stuff?"
"Hehe." (mirthfully running away)
When we hear the keys jingle in the door knob, we know Daddy's home! And the three of us push each other and throw punches to try to get to him first. DADDY! SOMEONE NEW!
Most days, I look like I could walk right onto the set of The Walking Dead and nobody would know I wasn't an extra or that I didn't have any special effects make-up on.
During the week, we make "big plans" for the weekend, like hiring a sitter, getting dressed up, and hitting the town! Come Friday, we look at each other and say, "Let's just stay home, order Chinese take-out, and Redbox something." (It ends up being more fun and restful than going out anyway.)
But all of that stuff is far outweighed by the joys and rewards that come with motherhood. When they are sick, and David and I take turns holding them through the night, I'll lay on the couch in their room, feeling the weight of whoever I have against my chest and in my arms. I can feel her back raising and lowering with each breath. When she gets on the verge of a deep sleep, her breaths slow down, and she starts twitching. Her feet, her hands, her arms, her shoulders. And I try not to wake her as my body shudders with giggles. David does the exact same thing. He would kill me if he knew I told y'all this, so don't say anything. When he's getting into a deep sleep, he'll start twitching and I'll laugh to myself. And I love that his daughters do it, too.
When I paint my fingernails and toenails, they'll ask me to paint their "feegahs and piggies." And they'll run and show David how pretty their nails look.
When we brush their teeth, they'll lean over the sink and give the most pitiful, but cutest excuse for a spit. They want to be grown up so badly. They like to cook and feed me. They like to brush their babies' bald heads and sing to them. I taught them to make the dinosaur eat the cows and make a crunching sound and I'm so proud they stuck with that because it freaks people out.
Before we had the girls, you would hear people say their kid(s) did something funny and they were just dying laughing. And I would always think, "Yeah, I'm sure it was pretty cute, but how funny can a kid really be?" Oh...pretty stinking funny, let me tell you. I just laughed because Piper Lee came running to the gate and said, "Maaa-(buuuuuurp)-ma!" and then ran away. They're completely ridiculous. David and I will be in stitches just sitting in the chairs watching them at the end of the day. Jumping on the trampoline with them in the afternoon has gotten to be one of my favorite things ever to do. I will have tears streaming down my face.
I feel like having kids has made David and I grow even closer. Not just because we share genetic make-up with two other humans, but because we have a common adversary. A common mountain to conquer. A common goal: Survive parenthood. I'm glad he's in it with me.
But, those baby girls make us so happy.
Despite all of the up-all-nights and cranky days and napless afternoons and having to learn to understand an alien language, kids are the greatest things. God called us to have kids and He's never failed at giving us the energy and mental capacity to make it through the day. Sometimes, it's just baaaaaarely enough, but it's always there.
And I know the exhaustion is just a phase and soon, they'll be in elementary school and I'll miss them terribly during the day. And then they'll be in middle school and too cool to hug me in front of their friends. And then high school when we're fighting all the time and I'm grounding them from their holographic games and hover craft. And then they'll head to college and we'll be like WOO HOOOO!!!! Except we'll really really miss them and look through baby pictures and not even think once about or even remember the "hard" days.
And it makes me appreciate my own mom even more. She put up with a lot of crap. And would say stuff like, "You'll understand when you're a mom." And I'd always think, "Yeah, okay, crazy lady." She was so right. Mom, zip it. I just admitted you were right, no need to rub it in. I know you're smirking. And thank you for letting the four of us live. And I'm sorry the other three kids weren't as perfect as me. I know that made it harder on you.
Being a mom is hard. But it's so worth it.