Yesterday the kids were looking at our photo albums. They'd pulled out the one from Fairbanks and were flipping through it. The Boy was really excited to see the pictures of him in North Pole sitting on Santa's lap. The Girl was interested in all the pictures, but kept asking, "Where me?" She can't fathom the world before she began. I hardly can either. Sometimes I look at those pictures and wonder why we didn't get any of her, until I remember she didn't emerge from the womb until a few months after we returned to the Lower 48.
Six weeks ago today, I was in the hospital having another baby. I already am beginning to forget what the world was like before we had three children and officially became outnumbered. There are moments when the big kids are playing quietly and the baby is snoozing that make me think I wasn't insane and that life is rich and full. More often, the older ones are bickering, the baby is screaming for food or attention and I'm pulling my hair out.
I can't say things are back to normal. I know a new normal will have to evolve as I get used to life with three kids. Right now I'm generally too intimidated to get out of the house with all three kids. I can take two into a store and do just fine, but three is still beyond my ability to cope. I know I would have a meltdown and turn into the screaming, crying, spanking woman in public which would be bad. It's not a good thing to be at home either, which is why when it is not raining, I make the kids play outside as much as possible. They get along better in the yard, and I get a few moments of quiet. A fenced-in yard is a wonderful thing.
Although things are crazy and loud around here and although there are times when I want to sell all the children to the nearest band of passing gypsies, I love them like mad. In a few years, the baby is going to flipping through the albums asking, "Where me?" I'll have trouble remembering that she hasn't always been around.