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May 18

Three kids

It’s wonderful – really. I love having three children, I love each one individually, and together. My Angel Girl Jess, with all her empathy and passion, my Samilicious, with all his little boy rough and tumble and sweet little Sammy Snuggles, and my Julie, my tiny, adorable, squeeky little baby love. Separately, they are each amazing, but together? It’s like my life is filled with these amazing blessings, and I still can’t quite believe how lucky I am to have these three children. But holy moly, is it hard sometimes.

Julie had a rough day yesterday – she’s started spitting up. And fussing. Sam’s infancy was difficult, because he had colic and reflux and my memory of it is him crying constantly, unless he was nursing. And yesterday – I was really stressing about my poor baby girl, because she was nursing constantly, spitting up and fussy – thinking in the back of my mind that we might be starting down that path with her. Every time I put her down, she’d cry, and I wasn’t able to do much more than just take care of her. Which is a problem, when you’ve got other children who also deserve time and attention. Poor Samilicious went to bed grubby, without brushing his teeth, because I just didn’t have the time or ability to put him in the tub or supervise teeth. Thank goodness he’s potty trained, because he went on his own, but slept in his shorts that he’d been wearing all day. And then he cried himself to sleep next to me because I was nursing the baby and couldn’t soothe him effectively. I did slightly better with Jessica, because I was able to read Harry Potter to her while Julie slept on my lap, and direct her to put on jammies and brush her teeth and she could do that on her own.

I know this is just a particularly challenging time – and it’ll pass fast. Too fast, because I’m going to miss this time – when I had my last little baby who needed me 24/7. But last night, I just felt so overwhelmed, I had burned dinner because I forgot I was cooking, Sam had eaten half a banana and scattered the rest of it all over the living room, opened two containers of yogurt and eaten half of each, Jessie needed a bath and her hair washed and there wasn’t anything I could do about any of it. My breast was so engorged (I had started using the nipple shield on the really painful breast because I had reached the point where I just couldn’t force myself to nurse her, the pain was excrutiating – but that meant that she wasn’t fully emptying the breast), I couldn’t pick Julie up and hold her without it hurting.

I just tried to meet the most immediate needs, which were feeding my baby, making sure Sam had shoes on before he went outside with the neighbor and in my spare time, slogging thru Harry Potter. I feel extra guilty about Harry – because Jessie LOVES being read to, and I used to be able to snuggle up to her and read and discuss it. And ever since Julie was born, she’s lucky if she gets half a chapter every other day. And last night, I was stuck in the rocking chair, with Julie asleep on my lap and wasn’t even able to snuggle my big girl.

The guilt is at time overwhelming. I feel like I’m on the ball handling everything very rarely, and mostly feel like I’m playing catch up, and no matter what I do, someone is getting the shaft. Julie might fuss more than I want, Sam might miss out on a warm bath and some snuggles, and Jess might never learn who wins the Triwizard Tournament. I’m worry that I’m not the mother that any of them really need, because I’m spread so thin. Then I remind myself of how much they love each other, how Julie calms down instantly when Jessie coos at her during diaper changes, how Sam talks about his big sister Jessie when she’s not here, and how Sammy likes to give Julie “little pats” to make her happy. It really is amazing and wonderful to see your children together, and know that you’ve created these bonds, or that you’ve started the seeds for your kids to build these bonds. Sibling relationships are endlessly complicated, I know that from personal experience, but I can only hope that my children love each other and trust each other – and that in the end, all the work, the guilt, and the stress will result in relationships with each other that bring them all joy and comfort and fun.

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