My nutshell answer is, "easier than just two." And the crazy thing is that I mean it! Maybe it's because Garrett and Addison were both mobile and verbal when Charlie was born. Maybe it's because the two of them are best friends and do everything together, often preferring to just hang out the two of them without my attempts to entertain them (or object to their crazy ideas). Maybe it's because I'm getting older and more experienced and things get easier when you've practiced. Maybe it's because Charlie is the easiest baby yet. Or maybe it's a little bit of everything I just listed. But whatever it is, I really feel like my life got simpler and easier to keep up with, once Charlie joined the family.
She's a pure joy. She even makes me smile at 4am. And if there was one thing I'd like to 'adjust' about her, it would be the 4am wake up. She goes back to sleep after a feeding, but I usually don't. She never had or has a 'fussy time of day' that is so common for babies, and like the other two had. I can count on one hand the number of times she's actually really cried and made me wonder what could be wrong (three times). And of course all three times I figured it out. Bubbles backed up because I was a lazy mom and didn't burp her after a couple car seat feedings on the way to Utah. Diaper rash on a particularly blowouty day. And a tired achy afternoon the day after two month shots. (You're bored, I'm sure. But I love reading back about stuff like this that I'd forget otherwise.)
Garrett and Addie adore her. If she's napping Addie wants to constantly "tip-toe and check on Charlie." Garrett loves to sit by her and tickle her. If she gets grumpy in the car seat I always hear Garrett talking to her. "It's ok. I'm right here." "We're almost there Charlie." Addie jumps up during meals to put her binky back in. They both always want to push the stroller. Addie wants to change diapers and dress her. And Addie also always instructs me on which side I should start with when nursing her. All stuff that I was sure the newness would wear off but I'm thankful it hasn't yet.
Don't get me wrong. Life is crazy and busy and constant and I have my frustrating moments, but I'm always thankful when I remember to take a deep breath and just watch them, even in the chaos.
Some mornings when we have somewhere to be, I'll have a 10 minute stretch before go-time that goes something like this:
Have Garrett go potty.
Change the other twos diapers.
Send Garrett back in to flush.
Tell older two to get shoes on.
Scoop up cereal I just stepped on.
Put dishes in the sink.
Send Garrett back to wash his hands.
Bribe Addie to hold still while I pull her hair back.
Brush my teeth.
Yell for Addie do come get her wet diaper off the bathroom floor and put it in the outside garbage.
Tell kids again to get shoes on.
Put clothes on Charlie.
Full sippy cups.
Negotiate with Addie on what she can bring in her purse as I clean up more cereal.
Gather random Jammies that I keep tripping on and throw them in a laundry basket.
Restart the washing machine with clothes I forgot to dry last night.
Bottle some milk for Charlie.
Put a little makeup on.
Tell both kids their shoes are on the wrong feet.
Restock diaper bag.
Put Charlie in car seat.
Take Charlie out to change poopy diaper.
Take my vitamins.
Find my keys again.
And 15 minutes after the 10 minute warning we're all four working our way to the van. And then it's who gets in on what side. I wanna buckle myself. I wanna shut my door. Where we going? Can I have my cup? I want a snack. Garrett said no! Well Addie, Garrett's not in charge. You're not in charge, Garrett! Get back in your seats and start buckling! Can I take my shoes off? No. Can we watch a movie? No. And put your shoes back on. The suns in my eyes. Garrett took my sunglasses. I need a drink.
Sometimes I just giggle thinking of how entertaining it all must be if someone were a fly on the wall, (or in the van).
But at the end of the day, I tuck them in bed. Sing to them. Sometimes talk about our plans for "when the sun comes back." Tickle their backs. And kiss them goodnight, feeling so thankful for them and how much I love them.
And on really rough days I try and remember moments like these...
Listening to these two play mad dinosaur happy dinosaur.