When people see me these days, with a toddler and baby in tow, they usually ask how we're doing, how our adjustment to being a family of four is going.
My answer is always the same, "We're doing really well. Celia's a really chill baby, and Ellie's adjustment has been smooth."
And I mean it. To be honest, these first almost-three months as a family of four have been better than I could have imagined.
Celia is a peaceful baby, generally content unless she's tired or hungry, problems I can understand and easily solve. Pop her little pink pacifier in her mouth, and she snuggles herself right to sleep. Set her down on her play mat, and she'll entertain herself quietly for half an hour. Put her to bed at night, and she generally wakes up 8-12 hours later.
Ellie adores her sister and has risen to the occasion of sharing my attention with surprising grace and patience. She has her moments for sure, but her overwhelming response has been one of love.
I know I am blessed. With her reflux issues and general fussiness, Ellie was a challenging enough baby that I fully appreciate what a blessing Celia's temperament is. And I have good friends whose toddlers struggled to adjust to their baby siblings. I've seen how exhausting and difficult that road can be.
All that to say, I'm very grateful, grateful not only for the relative ease of these transition months, but also for the two sweet, healthy girls I get to spend my days with. Last night, after bouncing an unusually fussy Celia to sleep and then joining CJ to sing "Amazing Grace" to our tucked-into-bed Ellie, my eyes brimmed with tears.
My girls are here. Unlike my Avaleen, I get to hug them and hold them and dance with them and make them smoothies and play Tinkertoys and dress up with them. Their lives are beautiful, amazing gifts, and I still really can't believe they've been given to us.
Don't get me wrong. Being a mom of two kids is hard. The days are long, and juggling the needs of two little people doesn't leave much time for anything else. My back aches each night from all of the carrying and lifting and bouncing. Celia's had some gastrointestional issues that have required me to cut not only dairy, but many of my other favorite foods from my diet. And when Ellie skipped her nap three days in a row last week, I thought I might go crazy without those treasured moments of silence. The introvert in me is struggling to find the places of solitude, rest, and reflection I need to feel like myself, to truly connect to God and to others.
Those are real challenges, and each one of them has left me in tears on at least one occasion. But mostly, I just feel blessed. Tired, overwhelmed, and disconnected from my heart, but blessed. I prayed for these girls; God answered; and it is a sweet, sweet thing.