Seasons change

The weather turned this weekend, and we had our first cold snap. Luckily my mom always sends one outfit per kid right before each season change just so I am not caught off guard. Their clothes were fine for the lower temperatures, but one warm jacket for one cold August Benjamin Honaker was lacking.  

On Friday, Gus and I found ourselves with no agenda. When we dropped Ellie at school he asked, “What are we going to do today?” And I, with no pressing deadlines and a newfound carefree attitude said, “Whatever you’d like, Auggie Boogie. You tell me what you want to do, and we will do it.”

This poor kid never gets to decide anything. He must get moving and eat faster and hurry up and come on more than anyone else in this family, and his schedule is built around keeping everyone else’s moving. From the beginning, he has always had to adapt and accommodate, and poor thing, his personality is not one that adapts easily.

“What a great day,” he said to me from the backseat after I had woken him up from his nap in order to get him in the car in time to go pick up his brother and sister from school. We had gone to the park, Museum of Discovery and the Whit Stephens Jr, Nature Center. He had gotten to pick out some plastic bugs from the gift shops, and we even got chips and cheese dip for lunch. “Not Ellie, not Jack, not Daddy. Just August and Mommy,” he said proudly.

I mean it when I say that three children is one child too many. Three was a mistake. My husband and I were different people with a shot of having some sort of a peaceful life one day before we had three.

We had hopes that included books to read, couches that aren’t smeared with pizza and crayons, trips to take and movies to watch. Now all of that has faded and we realize we will forever more be those people who walk down the street with some unidentifiable stain on at least one piece of their clothing, talking to their friends about the latest Trolls movie and with the creepy ability to recall all three of their kids’ last bowel movements.

Now, to be fair, I don’t know which child puts us over the edge and is the one who is “too much.” That title really belongs to all three of them at different times on different days.

On Saturday, my husband and I were taking down cribs and re-arranging the kids’ room for bunk beds. Once August was born, Jack decided that he wanted all three of the kids to sleep together in his room, so his bed, Ellie’s crib and Gus’ crib have all been in there.

Now that they are older and Gussy-Gus is getting up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, we realized it was time to get him into a bed. Not to be left out, Ellie was ready for some sort of sleeping upgrade too. Since we aren’t confident that she won’t roll out of the bed, we just transitioned her crib to a toddler bed and moved it right up close to the boys’ two bunks.

While we were creating this mess, we sent the kids outside to play in the backyard. We heard them playing hide and seek and swinging on the swing set and all seemed to be going well until we heard Gus crying for me from the back steps. I looked out the window and heard Jack teach Gus a vital, coming-of-age lesson: “Gus, she is not coming down here. Just wipe your nose on your jacket.”

And when I looked over at him in the yard, trying to pull his jacket up high enough to wipe his nose, I realized that the jacket that was too big for him last year now is way too small. The sleeves are tight and I really have no idea how he was able to get the thing to zip over his big belly.

How does that happen so fast? And why is it in the most cruel way that we find out our children are growing up? We see them every day and dredge through all the daily rubbish. All the mud and fussing,  lunches packed and loads of laundry. Doses of Tylenol or piano lessons or cartons of milk, they all seem like just another thing until you have realized just how many have added up.

It always feels like there is going to be more time – more time for me to take each kid on his or her own adventure one day, snuggle in and take a nap with one of them or to see them in their favorite shirt – but before you even recognize any real forward progress, the time has passed and there is no way to get it back.

When the kids got inside that afternoon, I washed that snot-covered jacket and once it was out of the dryer, I didn’t know what to do with it. I want to force him to wear it this winter so that I can pretend that he is still the size I imagined he would be when I packed away the winter clothes last year, but playing in that thing has to be miserable. He doesn’t have a lot of range of motion, so how will he ever bend over to pick up bugs and worms? And there is no way those critters will fit in the pockets without getting completely squished.

“Isn’t it weird putting all three of our kids down in beds?” my husband asked after the kids had gone to bed Saturday night. Over 6 years have passed since I didn’t have a baby to lower down into a crib, and every single night of it flew by.


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