One mom. Two kids.

It's not uncommon for a mom to have two kids. As a matter of fact, it's pretty average. Then why is it so hard? Why are there minutes that feel like hours? Days that seem like they will never end? Then they do. You gaze over your sleeping children and realize you won't get another today. You beat yourself up at this realization because you didn't make the most of the day you were given. You wonder why you don't have the patience that it takes to not snap or yell at your toddler while your one year old is screaming. It wasn't her fault after all, just poor timing. You wonder did they eat enough, sleep enough, did the oldest one even drink any water today? Then one of them stirs in their sleep and you get out and shut the door as quickly as you can while carefully making sure to not allow the doorknob to click. I hate that click.

For the most part life with two kids over the last fifteen months has been a fairly smooth transition in many regards. We are still on time for appointments. When we meet up with friends we are usually one of the first to arrive. The girls are clean and have clean clothes on. I should probably wash their sheets more often. When I do something happens where they have to be washed again within 24 hours. Every. Single. Time. I deep clean the house once a week and pick up all day, every day to keep my house the way I like it, kind of. When we go to an outing with our friends that have one child we can usually get ourselves ready to get going in about the same amount of time they do.
Over the course of the last three weeks we've had some of the most trying days that we've had yet with two kids. It started with Karoline throwing up one night. We thought she was just hot. After the carseat and van interior was covered in throw up the next day we realized she was not just hot.

A few days later we made our way to Canon City sure that our troubles were behind us. We were going to have a fun four days with my parents. I think they would agree that it wasn't fun. There were fun moments but it really just was hard. Alexandra didn't sleep well and cried a lot. Karoline who hadn't gotten sick in a couple of days now also had not pooped. She was extremely constipated.

After getting home I battled with not knowing what to do with Karoline. She potty trained before turning two. Here we are a few months after turning three and she was requesting diapers and didn't want to get off the potty unless she was in one. I took her to the doctor thinking it was a UTI. It wasn't, just constipation and the ability to have control over her little world and bladder.

Amongst all of the bathroom drama I noticed that Alexandra had four molars now showing in the back of her mouth. No wonder why she didn't sleep and was a little terror while we were at my parents.

While trying to trick my three year old back into underwear we caved and offered treats for dry panties. This was something we never had to do when she was initially potty training. We even decided to take her on a special breakfast, just mom and dad, to give her some one on one attention. Hoping that would help the situation and she would snap back into her potty trained self. She wanted to wear a diaper, we let her. I was embarrassed. As much as I hate to admit it, I was. That was where I let her down. I failed my daughter the day that I was embarrassed that she was in a diaper. A parent's job is to love their child through thick and thin. To support them through their trials and tribulations. God loves us so much that he sent Jesus to save us from our sins. True, endless and unmeasurable love.

I know that in the future there may be moments that I'm not proud of the decisions that my daughters will make. This may have been the first of many moments that test me and my devotion as a parent. I only hope that when these times come in the future that I am able to remember this and make a conscious effort to love first.

All the while we still have our teething, fiery one year old. The child who refused solid food for about three days. She and I were attached. As a result we had a lot of sheet changes and outfit changes. I've never been so consumed by poop in my life until becoming a mom. I had one who couldn't poop and one that couldn't stop. Both equally as worrisome in my mind and every trip to the bathroom or diaper change I was hopeful that they would be back to normal. All good things must come to an end and eventually they did, thankfully.

Back to the beginning, when Karoline first got sick she was allowed to sleep in our guest bedroom. A queen size bed with no sister to wake her up. Getting her back to her room was a chore, but we were able to convince her. Alexandra was still teething and waking up despite sleeping through the night for a few months. I couldn't let her wake up her sister with her teething agony. In I would go to top her off and put her back in bed. Then up again before six in the morning. I was exhausted. Apparently after the newborn stage my body doesn't do well without the sleep it needs. I'm convinced we run on a different body clock when our little ones are brand new. The teething pain subsided, but she knew that if she cried I would come. Babies, they are the masters of manipulation I tell you.

Fortunately or unfortunately Tim's night shift rotation was upon us just in time. I had Karoline in bed with me and slept horribly waiting for Alexandra to wake up, she didn't, she slept through the night. The next night she was up from 3-3:45 a.m. crying. Say what you will and do as you will with your kids. For us, we know that she is manipulating at this point in time and only crying to see if I will come, she didn't really need me. I didn't go in. She went back to sleep and so did I. The next night, she slept through the night. As smart as she is at conniving she's equally as keen to pick up on the fact that I'm not coming until the morning. It usually only takes a day or two for her to snap out of this behavior. 

The last month with two kids has been rough. Probably one of the hardest I can remember. The day that Alexandra was teething those four teeth was down right miserable. The days spent trying to get Karoline off the potty and assuring her she wouldn't have an accident sucked.
Mixed in with all that madness there were these moments. Moments that seemed to stop time and allow me to soak them up. Little, tiny moments that I probably wouldn't have given much thought to if it weren't for a calm that overwhelmed me when they happened. A calm that seemed to remind me that these are the moments that make all of that poop and laundry worth it.

As Karoline was putting on her shoes she told me, "This is my left foot, and this is my right." She got them correct. While holding her bowl full of crackers and attempting to get out of the van she came to the edge and stopped. I was waiting to see if she would jump or not and already in my mind was trying to decide if I would just let her eat the crackers off the ground to avoid a melt down. I watched the thought process from start to finish. She sat and stepped out gently and told me she couldn't jump because her crackers would spill. I was overjoyed. After swimming with a friend we prepared to leave. She was following our friends out of the pool area and was getting ready to head to the locker room with them. I had gotten caught up with loading up our belongings and was not ready. The calm, which may also be part of our parenting style, allowed me to see what she would do. I watched her look at our friends and stop to look back and wait for me.
I can't explain the intensity of these moments. I am so thankful that I caught them or was prompted to see them, but they vividly stick out and I can replay them in my mind over and over with clarity. The reminders I needed to know that I am doing an okay job. She may not know all of her letters yet, but she has common sense and will survive and thrive.

Alexandra was helping me put on her coat. Her little thumb was stuck on the first cuff of her sleeve. Her other little hand came around to help move her coat off her thumb. She repeated this on the second sleeve. She exited our back door, turned around and closed the screen door. Just like she's seen us do. She fell asleep with me and when I picked her up to take her to her bed I got to just hold her like a baby. A wave of pride and joy waved over me with these moments. She is learning how to be a little person.

Moments like this take away the anger and frustration and remind me that courage isn't always getting it all right. It's having the strength to try again tomorrow and take what you learned today with you.

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