It has been about 8 months since Everett potty trained. This time in my life can now be referred to as “AD.” I suppose the previous 5 years were “DD” and pre-kids my life was “BD.”
Life “BD” is nothing like “DD.” Even though there aren’t diapers to wash, there is still plenty of other laundry that needs doing, including a set or two or sheets that tend to get wet. In fact, since transitioning to “AD” I’m even more behind on laundry than ever! At least when I had diapers to wash it kept my other laundry moving. Anything lingering in the dryer absolutely had to get moved to a basket (for eventual folding) in order to dry the diapers (gasp- I used a dryer all these years!). “BD” I washed laundry infrequently but back then it was just the two of us, my husband and I.
Now, I have piles of dirty laundry and piles of clean laundry. By the time the clean laundry gets folded the dirty pile is ready for a washing. That, and I’m in my last clean pair of underwear. My boys have the largest stockpile of underwear and shorts- I have no idea why Everett has about 20 pair. This just means we can go a long time without washing! The motivation to launder clothes is now only to not be smelly. I’ve never had the desire to have everything clean at once, and if I did, those days are simply impossible now. With a family of four, in one evening you practically have a load of laundry when everyone has undressed!!!
Fletcher, my oldest, is in VPK 5 days a week from 8:30-11:45. Everett is waiting for a spot at the same school. In the Fall I innocently assumed he would have a spot there and booked myself up with new work opportunities outside of the blog, only to find we would have many months to wait. We still wait. He is able to entertain himself fairly well but certain tasks like filming with live sound (no voiceover, so the house has to be silent) are not possible. This work must be done on the weekends when my husband can take them out to play. We are managing and I spend many nights up until after midnight working on the computer doing my editing. Now that “AD” also means the children very rarely nap, this has cut out even more of the time I used to have for working.
Even though Everett is out of diapers he is still dependent on me around bathroom time. Homeboy does not understand that he is fully able to potty without alerting me, like a fire alarm, and with equal urgency in his voice. “Mom I go pee. And POOP! Hurry, hurry!” Then he usually gets onto the potty himself and I am forced to watch until he is done. Self-wiping badge has not been achieved by either son. That will be a glorious day… or a terrible one where I spend nights scrubbing skid marks. Only time will tell.
One of the milestones of parenthood for me was self-buckling. When Fletcher could successfully buckle his own carseat (and do so correctly) I wanted to throw him a parade, in the style of that ridiculous pull-up commercial. At the time our family was living in a colder climate, and I had a baby to also buckle. Having him self-buckle was like hitting the lottery! It saved so much time for me when getting to and from places. It was still nothing like the “BD” era when just getting in the car myself was the routine, but still enough to make outings less stressful.
Everett is getting closer to self-buckling, and can do the chest buckle. Having an older child means that my big boy can UN-buckle the littlest. Rather than hearing one child scream to be let out when we get home as I unload groceries, my oldest will gently unbuckle him from his restraints and everyone is happy. This little things are not to be overlooked, they make life much easier.
On the worst days when I’m too tired to move, or sick, or both, the worst part of parenting is by far the food one. If I could not feed my kids real food I would have many more children. The thought of having to go through the solid foods transition for another baby is great birth control. I hate the mess, I hate the time it takes them to eat, and I hate the wasted food that often goes along with it. I still dislike feeding the bigger kids even though it is much easier than a 1 year old. It is a constant back and forth of “I’m hungry, I want a snack” so I find one and then “I don’t like that.” Breastfeeding, in comparison, was the most convenient way to feed. I could lay there, asleep, and still be feeding.
With older kids having a snack cabinet that is accessible has alleviated some of the struggles. Fletcher can get to fruits on the counter himself, can get grapes from the fridge, can grab some crackers or granola, and can even get his own water. Everett is also learning these tricks and loves getting his own water. I don’t mind when water is spilled as much as milk or juice so they can have at it. We are past the sippy cup and straw cup days, another huge perk of babies growing up.
My next milestone is hopefully the one where the kids have more responsibility around the house. Legos… legos everywhere. And matchbox cars. Dinosaurs on my tables, papers and crayons on my other table. Shoes… where did all of these shoes come from? They are at every entrance and then in random rooms. The toys and clutter never end despite cleaning out so many toys last month. And even if I removed every single toy they could still take my couch cushions and every pillow in the house and make a giant fort. At least incentives work, and we can get the toys cleaned up before going outside to play with a friend.
Since the life from “DD” to “AD” has been a gradual transition I take for granted some of the smaller freedoms that I missed when I was in the thick of diapering and breastfeeding. I can just say “I’m going to take a shower” and take one. I can say “go color in your room” and have a quiet second (notice I said second, not hour) to gather my thoughts. My kids are still kids, and sometimes even mischievous ones (Everett came in 2 days ago with chocolate all over his face, I assumed he ate a candy from the counter bowl by using a step stool, but in reality he ate the top off of the chocolate donut we saved for Daddy. He was very sorry…) so life is not boring in the least.
It is easier in many ways, and harder in others. Diapering, compared to behavior problems at school (think bullying) is an easy one. Kissing boo-boos and making them all better is easier than mending a little boy’s feelings. And having two boys? Well, now they can both talk and sometimes they say pretty mean things to each other. Little people, with their own minds and hearts, make parenting more of a mental challenge. I’m still clinging to Everett as my last baby. He still gets bed privileges and sleeps with me part of the night because that is his happy spot and it is mine too. Even Fletcher enjoys sleeping with me for a nap every so often. I lucked out because my boys are both cuddlers, and will still sit with me on the couch and watch a movie while we cuddle in one big lump.
I occasionally miss the babywearing, folding those tiny little diapers, and the sweet togetherness of breastfeeding. I’m glad to have many of those moments captured on photo or in videos because they go by so fast. It won’t be long before every “baby” part of my last one is gone. I’ll have one child in Kindergarten next year and another in Pre-K. Early morning feedings are being replaced by early morning soccer practice and school start times.
To those reading with little ones in arms right now, there is so much to look forward to “after diapers” but also so much to cherish, even changing the diapers themselves while you wiggle the baby’s toes and blow on their tummies. These days I look forward to our family movie nights on the couch and riding our bikes outside. It is a different life than 1 year ago and we are all figuring it out as we go along.