To the parents who told me it never gets easier...
It's a Sunday morning and I'm sitting with Totes in the Nordstrom eBar at the Nordstrom Flagship store in Downtown Seattle. He picked out a chocolate donut with pink frosting and I'm casually a latte and croissant. From our perch at the window bar, we have a view of busy 6th Avenue and are just sitting here watching the foot traffic on this cool but sunny day.
He is constantly chatting about something, and a new sentence always starts out with "Hey Mamma..." or "Look Mamma!" followed by a description of something he's seeing, over and over. He's also now in the "why?' phase, which can be super intense at times and leaves me mentally drained from coming up with explanations I myself have never had to think about before. Most of the time he asks a new question before I can finish my answer. But I absolutely love our conversations.
He's wearing my favorite skinny jeans from Zara. They started out with a few minor distressed spots but over time the distressing has turned into huge holes that match the One Teaspoon denim jeans that I'm wearing. The t-shirt he requested today has a faded screen printed image of Mickey Mouse that we layer under a denim button up from H&M. Completing the look are a pair of TOMS paseo in black faux leather. I love dressing this boy and I love even more that he lets me and gets excited about the fashion too.
When we are done with our snack, we walk through the departments at Nordstrom while I stop to admire all the new spring fashions. I get to set the pace today. He loves the attention he gets from people we pass and always has a ready smile. Totes loves to hold my hand or sometimes skips ahead of me, bouncing around. He loves going up and down the escalators and still calls them "esca-gators", which I repeat and encourage each time. All his little toddler quirks are disappearing quickly these days.
When we walk outside, he grabs my hand and says "Let's run Mamma!", which I gladly do. It's not often I get to do this with him anymore so I love letting him take the lead and not feeling like I have to tell him no for the millionth time that day.
His sister is home napping. Papa stayed behind with her. Totes and I try to go on a "date" as often as we can and even though most times we are only out of the house for less than two hours, it's so nice to have this one-on-one time with him again.
He becomes more independent every day, which on some levels is a bit sad, but very needed now that we have another child. He still has his moments. What do they call this age? Four-nado! But luckily now just moments in the day rather than a constant bombardment of difficult behavior.
He stays close to my side when we are out and follows my directions. He gets himself into his car-seat without my help. Although he still regularly asks to buy a toy or candy, there are no tantrums when I say no. I don't have to worry about him falling off a chair (mostly) or picking up food off the floor and putting it in his mouth. He won't run in the opposite direction that I'm going, forcing me to divert my own path to chase after him. He can sit quietly and observe the world around him without the need of my intervention and entertainment.
I love this age. I have a buddy by my side at all times. I knew I would love this age because I remember experiencing it with my sister. She turned three when I turned 18 so the memories are still fresh.
Some people absolutely love the newborn phase most of all but I will admit that I am enjoying Totes at this age even more.
The first year was the roughest for us. For me. Feeling like a zombie in those early months of motherhood, running on minutes of sleep and fueled by whatever you can grab out of the cupboard or fridge that doesn't involve more than two minutes of preparation.
All you keep telling yourself on a daily basis is; It's going to get easier. Once they can walk and I don't have to carry them every minute, it's going to get easier. Once they can talk and not cry for everything they want, it's going to get easier. Once they can entertain themselves instead of losing their shit when I step around the corner, it's going to get easier. Once they start SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT... You tell yourself these things over and over to maintain the hope you're desperately holding on to.
In one of the early days of Apple's first year, I ran into a friend with much older kids. After exchanging the typical mom-babble about our current struggles in motherhood, a dreaded sentence escapes her lips and hit me like a punch to the gut.
"It doesn't get any easier."
I laugh it off with a flippant response of "oh yeah?" while trying to hide that all my hope has just gone out the window. What do you mean, it doesn't get any easier? It has to! I want to scream at her; Have you just forgotten what it's like!?
But let me stop right there and tell you; she's lying. It does get easier.
"Easy" to everyone has a different meaning. I get that Mothering never stops. Worrying never stops. Life just continues to get busier and maybe some days we yearn for those quiet moments that came with cuddling up to a sleeping newborn all day. When time did seem to pass at a slower pace yet we look back and realized it came and went in the blink of an eye.
There are difficulties to overcome with each phase of your child's life and will be even into their adult years. But, if you are like me, the fog you feel in those early months is easy to forget once you are out of it.
With Apple, I was right there again. Clouded in that sleep deprived fog. My back ached terribly after carrying her around all day long because she refuses to be out of my arms. My brain is mush from trying desperately to decode what the different decibels of a baby's scream means.
I remember being at a recent family gathering. I'm sitting on the floor, entertaining my baby while the other adults present sit around the dining table enjoying their adult conversation and warm meal. Their older kids (and mine included) play upstairs together quietly and without the need of supervision. But it doesn't bother me because I know in a short time, I'll be able to join them again.
Another time, a friend invited me to her house for a mom's night and suggested we put the older kids downstairs and let them watch a movie while we enjoyed a bottle of wine. Hello, heaven?
I politely pass. She clearly has forgotten the amount of attention these little beings require at this age. But I know one day in the near future I will be able to graciously accept that offer.
And right now in this moments that I'm walking hand-in-hand with Totes, I've never been so proud of anything I've ever done and never want these days to end so I'm enjoying it while I still can.