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Challenge: Perfectly Imperfect Parenting

Baby Number Four: What's One More?

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It’s 10am and I’m still in bed.

I have a pillow between myself and the headboard, supporting my lower back. My legs are crossed underneath sheets that have been twisted every which way from a night spent tossing and turning.

There’s a U-shaped pillow resting on top of my legs. It fits perfectly around my mid-section, spanning just past my hips on each side. It helps support my arms.

My hair and teeth are unbrushed. There are traces of mascara smudged under my eyes. I’m wearing a t-shirt from my husband’s drawer like a nightgown, but it’s bunched up around my waist, revealing my oversized, powder-blue underwear, stained by post-partum bleeding.

On my nightstand sits a lukewarm cup of coffee. In my lap, a 3-week-old baby girl.

She’s not sleeping, but she isn’t crying. Her dark gray eyes are wide, as she turns her head from side to side, trying to focus on any shape she can. The ceiling fan is moving on low, and soon catches her gaze.

I. Am. Tired.

…which feels like the understatement of the year.

Baby Girl and I were awake on and off all night. She’s not an overly fussy baby. In that regard, she’s quite average, really. But, I’m still getting used to this new life.

We have three other children – so, how is this new, you ask?

Our two oldest (7 & 9) play baseball at least three nights a week.

Our 3-year-old takes out every toy he owns, daily, and has yet to master putting them away in their proper places.

The same old chores still need doing. The house hasn’t magically halted its collecting of dust, and I still have to cook dinner. Our older three produce more dirty dishes in one day than a five-star restaurant, booked solid on Valentine’s weekend. Oh, and my 7-year-old thinks she needs three wardrobe changes per day.

Life didn’t stop because we had another baby.

My husband still has to work every day and we still have commitments.

Trust me – neither my husband nor I would trade this new balancing act for anything.

But, believe me when I say: this is not easy.

Our two oldest need a constant referee. Threats of no evening snacks or video games are doled out as the baby is fed.

I move urgently from wiping spit-up off my arm to cleaning up our 3-year-old, who just had an accident…only to, moments later, wash poop off that same arm and then realize there was spit-up in my hair all along, as well.

Getting the whole family in the car now takes twice as long, and feels as though we’re continuously packing for a vacation we never go on.

My husband and I drive separately to accommodate our family of 6, sports and baby gear, and two conflicting baseball schedules.

Before, I had joked: “what’s one more?”

Well, now I can actually tell you.

Baby Girl is one more mouth to feed, one more body to keep clean, one more soul to keep healthy and happy, and one more reason to lose sleep.

And, if you think that’s a laundry list of complaints – you’re wrong.

One more isn’t as easy as I had hoped.

But, sitting here, half awake, watching those eyes try to make sense of the ceiling fan is like watching my own tiny miracle.

And I have four of those miracles.

Life is hectic. It’s rough.

And I am tired.

But life is good.


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