It’s long after midnight and I’m struggling to stay awake. The rocking motion is lulling us both to sleep. Ben and I have been up now for at least an hour and I’ve gone through all the motions I know to get him back to sleep so we can both rest. There’s nothing worse than when your baby is screaming and you can’t seem to help him.
There’s only the 2 of us and the room is pitch dark with only the sound of the fan blowing faintly in the background. It’s the perfect scenario for sleep but we can’t seem to get there.
My youngest, Ben, has been the most difficult of my 3 babies thus far. Sometimes I feel guilty for saying that. Maybe it’s just that I’ve done this 2 times before, maybe it is that he’s a little tough or maybe it’s that I am stretched thin with the 2 older children here. But either way, no parent enjoys saying their child is difficult. I sometimes blame myself because it’s true that Ben shares his attention with more children than the other 2 did at his age.
Having 3 kids is no joke. It’s hard work. People aren’t kidding when they say it’s the most stressful number of children to have. You can’t seem to catch up no matter how hard you try.
I’m not sure what I was imagining when I thought of having a third child, but I guess I thought it would be easier than it has been. Since the beginning it’s been a learning curve and adjustment for both of us.
I could go on for an hour about everything that’s hard about him: he has acid reflux, he’s been a terrible eater from day one and he doesn’t sleep well at all. But when I find myself dwelling about the negative, I try to focus hard on the positive: he’s healthy, happy and perfect in so many ways. And we are truly lucky for this addition to our family. I know this difficult baby will grow to be a great kid in time.
Now that he’s starting to get a little older, he can recognize his siblings and he’s starting to realize he can move. I see him constantly trying to flip over and roll. He kicks his legs ferociously trying to crawl away already. It’s like he wants to ditch being a baby and become a big kid like his brother and sister. In many ways, I’m right there with him but I feel terrible for wishing away his baby years.
After all, he’s my last baby. I should be cherishing these baby moments and soaking them all in. But I find myself counting down until he’s old enough to hold his own bottle, or sleep through the night.
At bedtime he refuses to sleep unless he’s snuggled up next to me. So we cuddle up with each other and I try to help him get to sleep the best I can. Sometimes I find myself pacing around a room with a crying baby at 2 am. We both cry together. I breathe in his baby smell and try to remember this is just a phase. Like everything with children, this too will pass and he will grow up and out of this.
I look down at him drinking his bottle as he grasps my hand and I hold him a little bit closer in this dark room. It’s one of the last times I’ll be doing this and maybe I can look back on this struggle fondly someday when all my kids are older.
He and I are in this struggle together and we’ll make it through this phase together too. Right now though I have this beautiful baby boy who still needs me so much and oh, how our love reaches for each other even on our hardest of days.