It’s 1:30 in the morning, and I’m loading a rubber snake and a plastic Parasaurolophus in the dishwasher after stripping a bed of wet sheets and blankets. I’ll be heading next to the baby’s room shortly to replace her pacifier and snuggle her back up with her blanket. This is the time of night I either hate my own existence, or laugh and think back to how I slept before having children.
They have brought about the most wonderful experiences, but this stage in life – having a one year old and a 2.5 year old – has been my most challenging to date. Forget the newness of the first baby, or learning what real communication is in a marriage, or applying for jobs after college, or living abroad in a country that didn’t speak my native language, or moving into my Freshman dorm, or walking down the aisle to my high school graduation…. the list goes on of those Big Moments that challenged me, but also proved to be growing experiences where I learned about the world around me, but even more I learned about myself.
I have said before that Parenting has a certain constant-ness to it. My days with a baby and toddler are not measured necessarily by my own personal success, motivation, or productivity, but instead from an odd combination of luck, toddler mood variability, number of meltdowns, quantity of outfit changes, success of food consumption, level of baby fussiness, and overall quality of sleep for the whole family. I may have the perfect start to a day – slept more than four hours the night before, up at a decent time, showered and somewhat put together before the kids are alert – but the success of the day can quickly change based on countless factors that I can’t always control.
This is not to say that it was easier with one child. Nope, no way, no how. The first baby is meant to teach you about sleep deprivation, how to understand 80 million different cries, faces, and actions, as well as simply how to put the needs of one little adorable creature well before any of your own. You must learn selflessness, love in the midst of challenge, and how to recognize the good in the chaos.
So when people have asked me how things are going with two munchkins, my catch phrase of this season of life has become Good Chaos. It is and will always be chaos, but there is still an overall goodness tucked in and throughout the chaos.
When Quincy squeezes his arms around my neck and says, “I yubb you, Momma” or when Eloise’s face is beaming with joy as I scoop her out of the crib and she lays her soft cheek in the crook of my neck and shoulder, or when there is a pile of children atop my sweet sweet husband, and my heart just wants to ooze out love until I am a gelatinous puddle of happiness on the living room floor – those are all things that make this chaos – our chaos – the best kind of chaos a girl could ever want.